On the water, it’s always so calm in the morning. Usually as calm as it’s going to be for the rest of the day. We are tucked away in the northernmost corner of beautiful Bristol Harbor, away from the hustle and bustle of the town and working waterfront. Off in the distance, the growl of an outboard motor starting breaks the silence temporarily until the small wooden john-boat it’s connected to finds its way to open water. The happy skipper, one hand on tiller and the other on a white paper coffee cup, directs his rig around a channel marker and out of sight.
Large schools of tiny fish undulate and ripple the surface next to our boat. “Breakfast is served,” I say to Mr. Osprey, who is circling ominously. Graceful. Majestic. Powerful. Deadly. He is death from above. Wings pull in close, talons at the ready, his body turns into a guided missile screaming full speed toward the water. There is such a crash that I wonder why this handsome creature isn’t killed instantly. But there he is, mighty wings pulling him skyward. Dripping. Shuddering. Successful. There is no escape for the unfortunate silver fish that is carried off into the trees. The cormorants are awake too. Oily black feathers cling to their streamlined body. With ugly yellow beaks and big webbed feet, they are not an attractive bird. So clumsy and ungainly above the surface–they’re terrible flyers–but underwater, they have amazing skills. Death from below. Those poor little fish haven’t got a chance.After breakfast we dinghy over to the marina to check out the showers and have a bike ride before the summer sun turns angry. When I was younger, like three years ago, I would stay out all day long, broiling away, no sunscreen, no hat. Forget about it now. I love the sun. It feels so good, but it’s sooo bad.
We couldn’t have picked a better day for a bike ride through Colt State Park, one of the places recommended by our friendly Dockmaster. This 460 acre park was once owned by industrialist Samuel P. Colt who kept his prize-winning cows here. The dude loved his cattle so much he polished their horns and kept them in a huge heated barn. Each cow had its own personal caretaker. He died in 1921, and his will stipulated that the land would be open to the public forever.
It’s getting towards noon, not a great time to be out in full sunlight for my lovely fair-skinned bride, a descendant from the land of the pink people. My ancient epidermis is crisping a bit as well. It’s time to head back to the boat. I’ve got a new bottle of Gosling’s Black Seal, and a rack of Bud on ice.