Kayaking The Rio Grande (Part 1)

Eve in her Gorgeous Wooden Canoe

Tuesday morning we set off down the Rio Grande – five of us in four kayaks and a canoe.  The calm river moved us away from Rotary Park in Truth or Consequences, past the water tank and riverside homes, past Williamsburg towards Palomas.  It’s hardly strenuous exercise, though I did have to correct the direction now and then as the kayak seems to want to twirl slowly downstream.

Houseboat Home on Land

I finally got a photo of the houseboat home.  Usually we come upon it before I’m ready.  The one thing about photography while kayaking is there are only a few chances to get the shot.  Perhaps I’m in a faster part of the river and need to move into the slow lane.  At the same time, get the camera out of the waterproof case (more on that later), correct the direction of the kayak again, do not drop the camera or the paddle, turn the camera on, turn the kayak again, focus, and shoot.  It’s a bit of a circus.  Then I paddle to catch up with the others.  Perhaps I should get a double kayak and a river pilot!

Speaking of the waterproof camera case, it didn’t work for me.  I decided to get one after a particularly graceless step into the kayak at the lake left me sitting in the mud.  Didn’t have the camera that day (nor did anyone else, thank you).  But I realized the danger and felt that my sandwich bag just wasn’t going to be enough protection for it.  So I bought the fancy shoot-through-the-plastic waterproof bag.  And yes, it worked to shoot through this special plastic, IF the plastic was snug up against the lens, but not so snug that the lens couldn’t open.  But then it was not easy to find the tiny power button.  And I could operate the focus (this is a simple point-and-shoot Sony camera) but couldn’t see the screen well enough to see what, if anything, was in focus.  So I shortly gave up and took the camera out to use it.  The bag is useful now for embarking and disembarking – the dangerous times!

Eve and Nancy on Rio Grande

The shots I missed were of nighthawks.  There were dozens swooping over the water, not really bothered by us at all.  They have beautiful markings.  I had just never seen so many in one place – more nighthawks than swallows.  We also saw orioles, red-wing blackbirds, grackles, doves, and ducks near town.  Farther down river we saw ducks with ducklings that hid successfully when we came near.

Once we passed Williamsburg, it was quieter and we were into cattle country.  This is calving time, so we saw cows nearly ready to deliver as well as some with small calves.  The cows watched us float by while they serenely chewed their cud, but the calves scampered away – their only contact with humans so far was to get tags clipped to their ears and they weren’t taking any chances on us.

To be continued…

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