Well, we’ve done it again. For the second time near the start of duck hunting season we have managed to row our whaleboat smack dab into the middle of a duck blind, between the now not-so happy hunters and their pathetic raft of floating decoys, designed to attract real ducks, not whaleboats.
And like before, it was an accident…mostly. You see, our team of hearty rowers, called the Gray Buzzards Rowing Team, head out just before sunrise when darkness is still slowly lifting from the harbor, inlets and river where we row. It’s nearly impossible to spot their camouflaged little “hideouts,” called blinds, let alone being able to make out the men holding rifles, poised at the ready, on land and like today, sitting in their cute little pram.
By the time we realized that our twenty-nine foot gleaming white whaleboat, with five guys rowing and splashing merrily along, we had, without question, ruined yet another happy party of duck hunters. With little else to do but nonchalantly steer towards open water and away from the island, I thought it would be nice to share a gesture of maritime courtesy by waving and saying “good morning” to one of the hunters crouching on shore. However, though he was staring right at me, he did not return the favor.
Just what these guys were doing hunting within the inner harbor of the city of New Bedford alongside tiny Palmer’s Island was beyond me. The surrounding waterway is a busy place, with hurricane dyke workers to the southeast and fish houses, with boats coming and going, on the westward side of the harbor.
Within minutes we heard shotgun blasts echoing off of our stern. Seeing no ducks, or anything else with feathers for that matter, we imagined that the hunters out of sheer frustration may have started shooting their decoys. In any event we made our usual loop out into open water and on our return warned other rowing teams headed out to stay clear of the hunters line of fire.
As we made our way past Palmer’s island headed home, we noticed that the police with blue lights flashing had arrived on shore, a stone-throws distance from the hunters and duck boat that was trolling nearby. Someone, hearing gunshots, must have called the cops (not us!) on these guys. I know, it’s shocking. Though we were curious to find out how things ended we thought it best to just keep on rowing.