New England Mermaid
Have you ever felt, well, a bit “off”? In a bit of a funk? Just not your best self? Come on, we all feel that way sometimes. Well, I had felt this was for a couple of weeks – yup, I was fun … well …
Then I realized what wasn’t right with me – you can’t keep a mermaid out of the water too long, or the crankies kick in! It was time to use that new dry suit for the reason I bought it – year round New England diving! Even mermaids need some extra thermal protection – especially the New England variety!
So off I went to my mermaid happy place … and I’d like to take you along with me.
It was a glorious day at at the shore – both above and below the water. I felt whole again! So, of course, I must share it with you so you can enjoy it vicariously! Not all mer-people get to the ocean in December.
It was a sunny 45 degree day, with high winds. Fortunately, the cove was protected and relatively calm. And at a near-tropical 49 degrees, it was warmer than the air … so time to go diving. Given the heavy winds and surge of the prior several days, the visibility was, well, pretty darn bad! But that’s okay!
Off into the water I went … and I immediately felt better than I’d felt in weeks! Well, after about a minute I felt better, because it took that long for that ice cream headache feeling to dissipate – but it was worth it!
Many of my old friends were there – sea star, spider crab, blue crab, and my invertebrate buddies. Most of the fish had gone on winter vacation – but a few remained. It was wonderful! When I surfaced, I felt so alive … simply floating on my back and enjoying the warm sun on my face!
Then it was off to watch the waves. Heavy winds and incoming tide meant it would be a good day for waves!
As soon as I got out of the car and looked through the trees where I could see the water … WOW! Just WOW!
I have been to this spot countless times. Well, not truly countless for those of us who care to count, but many, many, many times. It’s always beautiful, but these waves were the biggest I had ever seen here! It was peaceful and indescribably beautiful. But I don’t need to describe it, because I’ve got a video at the end of this blog entry so you can experience it for yourself.
While I was watching, I saw some awesome ducks – ducks that I had never seen before. Really cool ducks! I was watching a group of them seeming to play in the waves. Sometimes they would ride them, sitting atop the rising crest. Other times, they would dive below them, and when the sun hit the wave just right, I could see them swimming within the wave. This was not the duck behavior that I have seen from my other duck-like friends. I took out my trusty binoculars and saw beautifully colored ducks – not like any I had seen before. A quick search of the googles, and I found the identity of these lovely creatures – the harlequin duck. Harlequin? Hmmm … another google – and I unexpectedly learned a little about Italian theatre. The Harlequin Duck is named after characters commonly found in Italian comedic dramas of long ago who dressed in bright flamboyant clothing – makes sense! Except for the Italian part – as I learned that this duck is rarely, if ever, seen in Italy!
Besides being gorgeous, the Harlequin Duck is quite the thrill-seeking dare devil. As I mentioned, these ducks’ behavior definitely caught my eye. I learned that they were behaving in the typical, though rather unusual, harlequin duck style. I’m pretty sure that if these ducks chose to actually perform in a theatrical play, Italian or otherwise, that they would do their own stunts. The wilder the water, the better! In the warmer seasons, they hang out inland at the rivers. No slow, rambling river rides for these birds. They are all about the rapids! When moving to the coast for the winter, they hang by the shore where waves crash aggressively, diving and swimming among them – just like I saw! Bizarrely, researchers have found that many of these ducks have broken bones, presumably from the thrill-seeking risk-taking behaviors – the Evel Knievel of birds, the intentional bumper car smasher of the amusement parks. You can see this behavior briefly right at the beginning of the video below!
Then just sit back, relax, and enjoy the waves!