I had my first boating lesson this week! I received my boating safety certification from the DC Harbor Patrol in March, and now it’s finally warm enough to be out in the water and to do river tours of the Anacostia.
When we initially got on the boat, I was excited to go see the Bald Eagles with my own eyes and get close to the Osprey nest in the middle of the river while on a tour with Bill Gifford, a writer for the Washingtonian doing a piece on the Earth Conservation Corps (ECC). Robert Nixon, the founder of the ECC, turned to me shortly after launching and asked if I wanted my first lesson. It was only my second time ever being on a boat and I have never even been on a kayak or canoe, but being the adventurous person I try to be I said YES! Although I was very nervous, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be, very much like driving a car. We started out on the Anacostia and made our way out into the Potomac to visit Oxon Cove, a park area run by the National Park Service. As we arrived we spotted Justice, the male Bald Eagle from the Metropolitan Police Academy Nest, leaving the cove with a big fish in its talons. Lining the cove we saw litter and even an old TV lying on the banks, along with Mallards, Black Ducks, a Little Blue Heron and an Osprey looking for a meal.
We ended up going on a three hour boat ride, navigating through sandbars, overpasses and railroad tracks up the Anacostia River to the DC- Maryland border and back to the Pumphouse. After pulling into the dock, Bob gave me a high five and Bill asked why. Bob told him it was my first time driving a boat, and I told him that it was also only my second time ever even being on a boat. “Wow, Rookie of the Year!” he said to me, and he gave me a high five too.