Friday, June 24, 2011

River Nazi

Noyo River Nazi??? I hate yelling and generally only raise my voice in dire circumstances. This week the circumstances weren't necessarily dire but here's my tale.

We've been having phenomenally warm and sunny weather on the Mendocino Coast. Kayaking on Fort Bragg's Noyo River has been GORGEOUS! Everything is green and blooming, and lots of different babies are starting to appear on and along the river (baby otters, merganser ducklings, fawns, kingfishers, downy woodpeckers).

I enjoy watching the babies as they learn about the new world. Even the Canada Geese's goslings are intriguing. (We have mixed feelings about Canada Geese. They are beautiful but non-native breeders in our area that are starting to overpopulate and really make a mess).

One of the joys of kayaking is being on the water and seeing wildlife. I emphasize to all of our renters the joys of watching wildlife from a kayak but also our responsibility to be respectful of it.
This week, I was doing some equipment repairs on our deck while a few of our customers were paddling on the river. I saw a few kayaks coming down river but didn't pay much attention to them as they were not part of the LFK fleet. A few moments later, I heard tons of splashing and honking from the geese. A boy in one of the kayaks was chasing some goslings and their parents. At first, I thought he had just paddled too close trying to get a good look, but it became apparent that he was chasing them. The goslings are fairly good swimmers but can't fly and were panicked and swimming in circles while the parents honked and tried to protect them.

So the River Nazi stepped up to the edge of the deck and yelled across the river, "STOP Chasing the Geese!" The boy stopped and his mom and sibling looked at me dumbfounded. They continued on down the river toward where a group of ducks were sleeping. I called them over and proceeded to try to explain the need to respect wildlife especially the babies.

From their expression, they either didn't get it or didn't care. I hate having to yell but felt it necessary to protect the creatures who make the Noyo River their home. I can only hope that they understood and didn't harass any more birds, harbor seals, and other creatures as they kayaked on the river.

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