This time yesterday morning my friend Bob C. and I were preparing for our morning dolphin watch cruise up the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal. That cruise is completed now and is filed with in my Fond Memory file. This is the second cruise I've taken on the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal in less than a week. Last Friday I took the evening cruise (see my previous blog posting on that cruise.)
It is ironic that I work right next to the canal but this is the first time I took a cruise on the canal. I knew the boats went out on a daily basis but I thought they just went to the end and back of the canal. I didn't realize that the cruise boat went past the Roosevelt Inlet (where the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal meets the Broadkill River, the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.) Through work I received a couple of complimentary boat ride tickets from the Fishermans' Wharf which is trying to drum up more business in this down turned economy. In my capacity as a front desk clerk in the hospitality industry I guess they figured if I had a good experience I would talk up the experience to the hotel guests. Well, they were right. They now have a new salesman. Their investment of four free tickets to me was well worth it because I am now recommending boat rides up the canal to almost all the new guests who check into the hotel.
Yesterday was another glorious summer day here in southern Delaware. As the warm rays of the sun rose in the clear blue morning sky over the canal, my friend Bob and I waited on the pier of the Fisherman's Wharf for the departure of our boat, The Adventurer II. Two old retired bankers out for a morning cruise up the Seine, er Lewes-Rehoboth Canal to Delaware Bay then the Atlantic Ocean. The thought did run through my mind that maybe I might see that angelic apparition that I saw on the Friday night cruise. However, as the gangplank was put down and the passengers started to board I could see that my knee buckling experience would not be repeated this morning.
Bob and I were the first aboard and I quickly secured a seat for us at the front of the boat, called the "Bow." We were ready. Of course I'm taking pictures right and left in the clear morning light. I got several good pictures of the place where I work from this different angle. The boat's captain blows his horn and we're off. We cruise slowly down the canal so as not to produce a large wake (as several signs along the canal request.) Bob and I take in the sights on both sides of the canal. On the far side we see some long legged birds on the muddy embankment. They may have been herons. Bob takes not of a large beautiful sailboat in dry dock. He says they've been working on that boat for three years now.
One of our fellow passengers yells "Jellyfish!" He has sighted jellyfish in the murky gray waters of the canal. Bob and I take a look and indeed, there they are....jellyfish. They looked like huge pulsating condoms drifting just below the surface of the murky water. I wouldn't want one of those brushing up against my legs while swimming. Then again I wouldn't go swimming in the dishwater gray, oil slicked water of the canal. But then, that's just me.
We arrive at the Roosevelt Inlet. To our right are folks fishing off of the rock formations in front of the Lewes Yacht Club. Bill and I used to have late afternoon Blizzards from the Dairy Queen on that same spot until we found out that each Blizzard contained 1,100 calories.
We round the Roosevelt Inlet and heat on out towards the Delaware Bay. On the way out we pass two large Osprey nests that are on well drilling type platforms in the bay. The Osprey cautiously eye us. They probably thinking "More tourists!" We head out towards the open waters of the Delaware Bay. Ah yes, this is the life. The open waters of the Delaware Bay. This is one of the few times in my life I feel complete. I tell my friend Bob that I must have been a sea captain in one of my previous lives. I've always felt at home on the water. I tell him this is one of the main reasons I retired to the Atlantic coast of Delaware. All my life I've loved open bodies water but I've spent most of it inland. A few years ago I made the decision to spend the rest of my life while I was still in good physical health on or near the water. That is what I am do now and I am completely happy. It doesn't really matter what coast I am on as long as I can see and experience the seemingly endless blue horizon of the ocean. Lakes are alright but not the same as the air of mystery and adventure of the open ocean.
Our boat rounds the open waters of the Delaware Bay then reaches Cape Henlopen. We see the old World War II gun emplacements in the sandy hills of the tip of Cape Henlopen. We see on the beach the Jeeps and dune buggies of the fishermen. On the beach are the fishermen with their long fishing poles pointing towards the blue horizon. Further on up the beach are the colorful specks of the sun bathers on the beach. The boat's captain cuts the motor bringing our cruise boat to a stop in the gently rocking waves of the ocean.
The warm summer breeze caressed the back of our necks and shoulders. Then one of our fellow passengers yells to his small son "Look! There's one!" A dolphin arches out of the water and dives back in. I get my camera out at the ready. I'm ready to take pictures. Then, all about us, dolphins gently dive out of the water and back in again. Dolphins are air breathing mammals and they have to come up for air. They seem oblivious to us. It's obvious that they're used to our boat. They're probably thinking "There they are again, the tourists!"
I continue to try and take pictures but by the time I spot a dolphin gently arching out of the water, they silently slide back in the in the small white capped waves. I mention to my friend Bob that if the dolphins could just hold that pose, then I could get a picture. But I knew that wasn't going to happen. So I switch my camera to a video mode and aimed it at the water. As if on cue, the dolphins resumed with their show of looping out and back into the choppy waters off of Cape Henlopen. This was better. I recorded it all. My fellow passengers and I continued to observe and enjoy the wonderful experience of nature. What a wonderful way to spend a sun drenched summer morning in August. I'll say a phrase which I often say since I've moved to Delaware, "I love it!"
Our boat stayed about twenty minutes before heading back to Lewes. The ride back was just as delightful. Again we road past the Osprey nests in the bay. The Osprey guarding the nests languidly turned their graceful heads and again gave us a wary eye. We rounded back into the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal. The boat slowed down as not to make a wake and we slowly cruised up the canal back to the Fisherman's Wharf. While our cruise wasn't quite Cleopatra's barge up the Nile River, it was pretty close. Loved it, loved it, loved it! This isn't my last cruise. I'll be back.