After some hemming and hawing over where to paddle this morning I decided to launch from the closest possible place, which is the foot of Castle St., about 6 blocks away, into the Cape Fear River and paddle around Eagle's Island. I did the trip with the Geezer back in March, so I felt comfortable enough with the distance and the route to go it alone. Tide was high in Wilmington at 12:46. I launched on the incoming at about 10 am and paddled to the S end of the island, against the flow of the river (due to tidal influx). Once I was in the Brunswick River I was able to just float with the current and light S wind all the way to the Cape Fear. The last leg I was going into the wind, which picked up a little, but not bad. I never did see the tide top out and turn around, despite being on the water until almost 1:30. All the crab pots were still pointing N. Go figure.
I saw one smallish alligator; we cautiously regarded each other for about two minutes and then went our separate ways. The birds were pretty good: several osprey, great blue heron, green heron, snowy egret, great egret, one lucky little blue heron, cormorant, gulls, red-winged blackbirds, etc. All very handsome right now. The birds seem a little more vibrantly colorful at present, particularly the little blue heron was a very rich hue and the epaulets on the red-winged blackbirds are striking. I saw one osprey that looked perfectly black and white in all the proper places.
It was interesting to be on the water for almost 4 hours by myself, just observing and thinking about music and books and food and whatever came to mind as I paddled along. Good trip, but better to time it so that you hit the S tip of the island as the tide hits dead low.