There is the one cloud I saw in the sky yesterday. There may have been others, but not very many. It was a beautiful day on the Elizabeth River.
The wind was better than I had expected, about 8 or 10 knots or so right down the river. Lots of snowbirds passing through on their way south, like this nice ketch below. I sailed for a couple of hours, tied up in Freemason Harbor to get a sandwich and NY Times. Anchored in Crawford Bay for lunch, read the paper and then nodded off. I was just going to "rest my eyes" (as my Dad used to say) for a few minutes, but two hours later I woke up after a deep sleep.
I was also on the river the day before that, this time at a place called Money Point in an industrial area a few miles south of my normal sailing area. A few years ago this area was just shallow toxic mud, the leftovers of a creosote plant. The plant is long gone, the chemicals remain.
Government agencies, industry and local groups got together and built a rip rap barrier on the edge of the river, covered the toxic mud with clean material (they said you can't dig up that sort of river bottom, that just spreads the mess downriver), and planted marsh grass (Spartina alterniflora).
I visited some friends there while they were checking on the marine life in the rebuilt wetland. And this is where they got to measure the eel. Measuring an eel, it turns out, is easy. It's getting a hold of it that can be tough. But with enough hands they finally got it under control.
It was cool to see the vibrant green marsh grass and all the marine life that surrounds it.
They set up fish nets on a few of the drains where the outgoing tide flowed from the marsh, catching fish, crabs and eels - whatever had swam up into the marsh at high tide. They were comparing the number, variety and size of the marine left to earlier counts. I can't even remember how many different species of fish they found - spot, speckled trout, a couple of types of shad, crappie (a freshwater fish), flounder, and mullet were just some of the fish in there. In the mesh below you'll see a flounder, at left, a bunch of spot and a few other species.
As for the eel, it was an American Eel, the kind that spends much of its life in wetlands but at maturity swims downriver (in this case down the Elizabeth River to the James River and then Chesapeake Bay), eventually reaching the Sargasso Sea hundreds of miles away where it will spawn. It was an interesting connection between this beautiful rebuilt wetland miles upriver on a very industrial waterway and the deep blue Atlantic Ocean.
The eel, once under control and measured at 22 inches, was released to swim back into the Elizabeth River - a river that is, at least in places, on the mend.