Bay Weekly Columnists
Our four columnists of 2006 will return in ’07, when we will introduce some new additions to our lineup.
Gary Pendleton’s Earth Journal, with us since 1999, gets two chances to capture the prize in our press association competition, nature column and illustration, both for his color-rich Mosquito-hawk, the dragonfly.
The official insect of my backyard
Like cockroaches, dragonflies are one of the most ancient forms of life in the world. In many ways, they have changed little over the eons except for their size. In the age of dinosaurs, dragonflies were as big as large birds.
A hawk-sized dragonfly would have been a fearsome creature. But humans have nothing to fear from modern members of the order Odanata. They might look a little scary, but they won’t bite you and they do help control those nasty mosquitoes, which is why I am ready to declare the green darner or perhaps the common white tail or the blue pirate The Official Insect of My Backyard.
Steve’s Carr’s Where We Live has been with us since 2003, elucidating the beauties of Chesapeake Country and the ironies of the short-term thinking that puts our quality of life at risk.
It’s cricket season where I live
My house is crawling with crickets. I opened my drawer the other day to get a shirt, and out hopped a cricket. When I come out of the bathroom, they are waiting to greet me. There is no escape from the little buggers, which come in two basic models. The big black ones who look like Batmobiles on the prowl and the big brown ones whose legs are jacked-up in the back like funny cars.
Dennis Doyle’s Sporting Life, a new feature in 2006, lures in armchair readers as well as sporting readers.
Big Fish, Light Tackle:
The tug is a drug
Catching a large striped bass on light tackle is an irresistible challenge and an intense experience. It’s a catch that an angler remembers clearly, and forever; the recall of a big rock’s immense strength against that frail equipment is narcotic. Long after, it provides the glow that warms us while casting on shivering spring mornings when most normal mortals are wisely asleep. It can keep us on the water deep into the dark evening of a fall day when saner folk are inside, sitting by a fire or enjoying a late dinner. It allows normally balanced people to fish through shoulder cramps, elbow pain and generally acute physical discomfort in order to experience more of the same. The tug is a drug.
Alice Snively’s Gunk-holin’, another new feature in ’06, reminds us of the pleasures of on-water holidays, guiding us to fine places on the Bay and offering tips for smart cruising.
Gunkholing in Wonderland:
Eagle Cove on the Magothy
Gunkholing is an earthy term for anchoring your boat on a pleasant out-of-the-way cove or creek. A simple cruise with peace and quiet, beautiful surroundings, tranquil waters, and none of the usual daily grind as your destination. What’s not to love?
Before you pack in the beer and prepare to launch, there are three things you need for successful gunkholing in addition to a boat. First, you need an anchor appropriate for your vessel and anchor chain and rope in good condition. Dragging anchor in the middle of the night could leave you beached at dawn.
Next you must have a good up-to-date set of charts. By definition the sport of gunkholing requires you to go, in loosely translated Star Trek terms, where few have gone before precisely because the destination is comparatively remote.
Finally, you need an operative and accurate depth finder, for you may be entering areas where depth may shallow out very quickly, and the last thing you want to report to your friends after your adventure is that you spent most of it grounded.