Friday, March 29, 2013


West shoreline, Washington Island, near Little Islands and
West Harbor.
Washington Island -

Although it has officially been spring for over a week, the conditions until recently seemed far too cold to believe it was true.  Those conditions changed a day or two ago, and we've received bright sunshine and warm (low 40s) daytime temperatures, so warm that you can be outdoors (briefly) without a jacket, or stand about on the ice while fishing without cap or gloves.

The late melting of ice hasn't deterred some creatures.  We observed snapping and painted turtles, both, emerged from the mud and swimming or crawling slowly across the bottom in the Bayou.  Mary Jo thought she saw a kingfisher two days ago, quite early for that bird to appear.

Turtles emerged from mud after months
of inactivity. They dig themselves in
again at nighttime.
Bay ice has softened, somewhat.  It's now more granular, as I found out when I drilled fishing holes by hand through the ice near West Harbor.  But it's still 30 inches thick, and it took all of the steam I could produce, especially once the handle ground down toward my knees and the auger's blue paint disappeared through the ice layer.   No luck in the fishing department, but the weather was grand, and I watched for fifteen minutes or more as an eagle soared low, circling over the ice as it inspected my neighbors' tip-ups, just a few hundred yards from us.

Aaron Cornell and Eric DeJardine fished late
Wednesday afternoon for brown trout.

At the ferry dock, work is progressing nicely on the dock repairs.   Steel work is nearly complete, and the pile of large boulders disappeared one-by-one into the large hole in the dock, against the steel sheeting.  Rough, blasted stone was being hand-placed beneath the overhanging concrete sidewalk by Joel Gunnlaugsson, Rich Ellefson, Jeff Cornell and Hoyt Purinton.  Hard work and, unfortunately, a machine can't achieve those same results.

Leaving the Eyrarbakki for their lunch break when I was present were Ken Berggren and Jim Hanson.  The rebuilt engines and gears are back in position, and as Ken reassembles parts Jim welds up the main deck access openings.

Today, Good Friday and the start of Easter weekend, is also the beginning of an expanded, 6-trips per day ferry schedule.   The reservation book can now be shelved, except for large trucks.   We all hope we'll see increased traffic coming to the Island.  The winter's been long enough, economically and otherwise.    Happy Easter!  
Grandsons Aidan and Magnus enjoyed climbing up, then sliding
down the shoves.  Larger pieces are in the 20-inch thick range.
They were pushed into this upwelling over a month ago,
then crevices were filled in by successive snowfalls. 

-   Dick Purinton

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