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As I mentioned in my last post, the campground we recently arrived at is pleasantly located on the shores of a large lake, and quickly after our arrival a few weeks ago I decided to buy a kayak and take advantage of our temporary “lake life.” Carrie and I have a tiny bit of newbie-level kayaking experience, and I really enjoyed it when we paddled around some of the reservoirs at home in Colorado, so I’m fairly excited about my new hobby. Since acquiring all the necessary equipment I’ve been out kayaking on pretty much every nice day available, which has been most days so far. I am still building stamina, but I can get out for 30-45 minutes a day before my muscles start to get tired. Today was an especially pleasant time, so I decided to write this post to tell you about it.

There are three islands not far from the boat ramp where I’ve been launching, and I’ve circumnavigated them a number of times so far. Generally the lake has been quiet (like the campground), and I have only seen the occasional boat passing by in the distance. I am happily taking advantage of the calm now, because I think this place will be a little more crowded and hectic as the season starts.

Today I decided to head out to paddle about mid-afternoon – the sun was shining, the temperature was perfect, and the wind was calm – the ideal day to go explore a little more. My goal was to try and sneak a picture of some turtles sunning on driftwood at the nearest island – I noticed them yesterday, just as I was startling them all into the water with my loud paddling. My plan was to quietly paddle toward their spot and then drift in for a quiet photo with my phone.

Luckily, a number of them were out in the same place today, and I put my plan into action. As I floated closer my speed dropped, but I patiently waited to be close enough, while enjoying the moment. As I was savoring the stillness and warm sunlight, I suddenly realized I was surrounded.

All around me, at varying distances, were dozens of small turtle faces poking out of the water to watch me drift past. They were occasionally darting down into the water, and then resurfacing in a different spot to get another peek. I noticed that another long-fallen tree further ahead had it’s own crew of sunbathers out as well. I had inadvertently drifted into the middle of turtle-town, and today everyone was out enjoying the weather with me. Unfortunately, the entire crew of turtles seems to be very shy, and I never did get close enough for a *good* picture. At the tiniest noise or movement they jump into action and shuffle themselves into the water. Only if I sat completely still and didn’t paddle were they brave enough to surface and give me a glare.

squint and you might see a turtle!
(click for larger image)

After a few minutes I decided it would be best to stop harassing my new turtle friends, and I departed Turtle Island and pointed myself to the next island over. Yesterday I saw a pair of geese hanging out over there, and I wanted to see if they were still around. I was in luck: they were home and having their own paddle at the small beach. It might be a coincidence to see them there two days in a row, but I *think* they might live on the island, so if I keep seeing them there I will call that island Goose Island.

There also seems to be a great blue heron that lives in the nearby power tower that I’ve spotted a few times, and there are plenty of other birds on the lake. I snapped a few blurry photos of what I think is the heron’s nest, and an egret (?):

It was fun to have a moment with my new turtle friends today, and I hope they won’t mind playing my game as I try to drift past for a better photo in the future. I am tempted to take my DSLR camera and macro lens out with me, but I am a little afraid of it potentially getting wet. Overall, I am excited about the possibilities as I get stronger and explore further away. Do you kayak? What’s your favorite place to explore?

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