Awake on the hook! West Neck Harbor, Shelter Island NY

5:30 am Wednesday June 14, 2017 awake on the hook.    I totally forgot how much I love waking up afloat tied to nothing but an anchor.   Part of the fun is  waking up and seeing all the boats around facing a different direction than they were the night before.

There are some man-made noises like a distant jet.  But, the birds and jumping fish and water noises dominate!

My coffee came out of a whistling kettle instead of a microwave.   I had to run the engine first thing to replenish the batteries that were drained all night keeping the fridge cold.  But, these small changes in routine are so minor compared to the reward of waking up on the hook!
This particular Harbor is perfect for this too. It is very protected, very quiet, and while there are a lot of houses around this Cove, they all look unused. The don’t appear to be neglected or run down.  On the contrary, they are beautiful.  They are just unoccupied, as if this is the middle of the work week, and these may all be just weekend getaway spots for the families that own them.

I wish there was a camera that could capture what waking up on the hook feels like.   The different species of birds are all competing for the airwaves here.   I wish I could identify the species by their call just so I could name them all for you.   It won’t be long before there is a smartphone app for that, I suppose.  I’d download it, but I doubt it would be able to separate all the calls from each other.   It’s not like I can tell every species but one to be silent for a time, so I can get that one recorded on my phone.   No, I’d prefer to just learn all the calls myself by ear.     Here are a list of the ones that I DO recognize:  the osprey, the crow, the mourning dove, the blue jay, herring gull, Canada goose, countless other calls that I definitely recognize; I just can’t tell you the species.

What is interesting here this morning is that it is mostly cloudy; only a few small patches of blue appear.  There is no beautiful sunrise to overwhelm the sense of sight.  The temperature is moderate, neither hot nor cold, my coffee tastes the same as always, there is no smell that I can distinguish or describe for you.   So, it is like all the inputs on my sensory equalizer board are turned down to their minimum setting with the exception of the one for sound!

I now hear a halyard clanging against an aluminum mast.   I guess the wind is picking up a bit.   There do not appear to be any trains here in Shelter Island like I would hear if back at Neguntatogue Creek in Lindenhurst.   There was a distant helicopter a while ago.   There are definitely fish jumping.   They are not very large ones.  But they seem to be making sure that I am aware of their presence in this painting of sound.   There is, of course, the sound of tiny waves against our boat’s hull. That sound is a study in and of itself.  But the Osprey seems to barge in and say, “Listen to ME now!”    A warbler is doing the same.  Now there is crow trying to take over again.

It is now 7:17, and only now can I distinguish the purr of distant vehicular traffic.   By direction, none of it is coming from Shelter Island.  Rather it is all from the South.   Even the sound of boat traffic has been rare, only one boat was heard in the hour or two I’ve been up.  I guess that’s what it is like during the work week.  Back in Maine, the Lobster fisherman would have wanted their share of the airspace.

This is day 12 of vacation.  This vacation started out in the city with the lights and glitter of Times Square, and the amazing talent and culture of Broadway, all that followed by the grand adventure of an ocean voyage across to a distant island we could not see.   And now this!  The concert of nature at its best… bringing me back to a place I all but forgot, waking up on the hook!

It is time to hit SAVE and fix another cup of coffee.

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