A Paddler’s View of COVID-19

I hope I’m allowed to cross-post this from another forum (a hunting/fishing forum that I am a member of, local, right here in Virginia)…

I know what you mean… Sunday, I drove out to Amelia WMA with my kayak and was blown away by how many people were doing the same thing! The place was mobbed with kayaks, canoes, jon boats, and small bass boats!

Every cove you paddled to was occupied by someone else, and some even had two in there, one of either side! I pretty much stayed out near the middle, trolling along with a rapala minnow as I paddled along.

Look at the parking lot when I first got there!

Here’s a view looking down the small lake towards the dam or embankment (supposedly around 30’ deep at that end).

On my way back, I snapped a photo of the parking lot from across the lake.

Lastly, and I don’t want to say something I shouldn’t say, or be one of those weird “tinfoil hat” type of people… But… Obviously I didn’t take a photo, so you’ll just have take my word for it… Once I was done and ready to paddle back to that boat ramp at Amelia WMA, it was getting even more crowded with canoes, jon boats, etc… Once I got out, and hauled my kayak up to the grassy lawn area to unload, I just happened to look up at the parking lot.

You guessed it - one of the DGIF game wardens arrived for some reason. He didn’t do anything or say anything. But he stopped short of the big dirt parking lot, and (honest, I mean, I swear on my mother’s grave…) I watched him point his finger at pickup trucks, SUV’s, etc… and he was literally COUNTING the parking lot! How much you wanna bet, he gives those figures to the state, who gives them to Gov “Blackface” Northam, who will then start to shut freakin’ everything down! :astonished: :angry:

Just sayin’…

As I said above, that is not going to go entirely away until we have a decent testing level.

For the WW folks, I doubt any loosening up is going to put the traditional shuttles - as in vehicles intended to carry a number of paddlers with boats on the roof - on the road this season. But I can envision stretches of release WW like below Sacandaga, the Deerfield and the West which is a fall event anyway allowing a moderate number of paddlers on the river. Probably measured by counting cars in the parking lots.

If you limit your own groups and don’t rely on external transportation, the worst issue should be whether anyone within your crew is a risk. In most cases you aren’t going to ge more than 4 in a car and that being damn cozy.

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If it is that crowded I would agree with your Governor…

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I know… I know… :anguished:

Granted, yes, you can keep a safe distance out on the water. I mean, look back at my photos. I was waaaaaay far away from anyone else (they were all in the coves, anchored and cast fishing). I trolled near the middle, keeping well aware of who was where.

But once you got to the boat launch and parking lot, it was a madhouse! People were all over the place, and worse - some NOT paying attention to the 6’ social distancing rule!! :fearful:

That has been the problem A very popular bike and walk trail in Portland had its parking lots closed today… So it is available and open but how to get there.

It really defies common sense though. There is a grocery store parking lot across the street.

People aren’t making sense… Some of the rules aren’t either; though most have a reason.

People have to get food. They don’t have to bike or walk further than out their front door and around the block.

If the grocery store can retain enough employees to fill orders and have them picked up curbside, it is best. What has happened around here as this thing ramped up is that the stores cannot retain enough staff to manage that. I doubt Maine will be any different in that respect, just when not if. So I got into a store as rarely as possible with something washable around my face - they are not perfect but bandannas do a decent job of it - and stay ages away from everyone else. My gloves are washable too, they come home and under a faucet. We have a senior only shopping hour each morning if I could get up early enough to make it.

The worst part is figuring out how to check out safely. Until you have really tried to dive down that rabbit hole you have no idea how convoluted it can get to figure out how to check out - self serve or cashier with a protective screen - safely. The grocery part is simple, leave everything you can in the car for 24 hours and be happy about a chilly might.

Two major grocers in my area now allow only a certain number of people inside the store at once, based on the square footage of the store. Had to shop this morning and just about everyone was wearing a mask. A few employees chose not too for whatever reason. Store was not crowded

I always opt for self-checkout. If the store accepts Apple Pay I just have to hold my watch or phone near the scanner. If not and the touch screen requires input, I use a stylus and a credit card. The stylus and credit card are immediately sanitized when I get to my car, as are my hands when I pull off my gloves.

My county now has 28 confirmed cases, two of which are EMS first responders currently on ventilators and hospitalized in a different city, plus several other EMS positives. I have to wonder if their transmission was at the station since they’re on duty 24/7 and communally dine.

Situational awareness required at the grocery store. Who would’ve thunk it?

The Hannaford you use has a max allowable person load of 50. There is plenty of staff and because of that fewer people are allowed in. You know, those high school kids really need the money so staff is not an issue.
Gloves are a false sense of security. Far better to hand sanitize frequently as gloves can cross contaminate. Few people were wearing gloves and many sanitizing frequently.

Getting up at five to make a six am opening is the pits( my store is 20 miles away so that walk around the block is not to the store.). A deer ran out in front of my car. However the moonset and sunrise was spectacular. What is not fun is waiting in line at 22 degrees. And the store parking lot was full . at 6 am. I got my TP and paper towel supply for a month so I won’t engage in that early morning activity again
Most grocery stores here are not equipped yet to do order to go. Those that can are scheduling for three weeks out.

Just learned that the primary in June is expected to move to July. I get a sense that things will NOT be back to some sort of normal till August.

On the other hand farmers markets are sprouting up… I have a list of seafood farmers markets.

PS Celia checking out was easy…The cashiers will remind you of safety precautions. I am a self serve screwup. I always need help.

I meant staff to assemble orders for curb side pickup. It isn’t until a huge portion of a store’s customer base suddenly ALL decide they want to shop that way that resources are short.

Gloves can be rinsed out, sanitizer can be difficult to get. I take them off and use sanitizer at the point of checkout, But for carts and similar public surfaces, gloves are easier.

Parking lot will likely ease up. Ours were all packed full right after the Stay at Home order because no one sure of the parameters. It is a new thing. Eased up as people figured out the day to day,

The checkout thing can get way more complicated than following instructions at the store if you engage w someone who has seen a few too many videos on the topic. All I know is that it appears I am clean, and I find it best not to enter into those debates.

Mask or a bandanna DOES matter. More around here are using them happily.

Models are showing peaks in adjoining states possibly quite late. Heck only knows what that means for rentals in summer. I have not spent July here in 27 years so not sure if I could stand it,

Farmer markets were inside still so they all got shut down. Many of the vendors have found ways to form groupings and sell each others stuff where one farm has a stand alone sales location.


gloves on carts then you pick up the produce…eech.( and in areas where gloves are popular the untninking are throwing used ones on the ground. I am not accusing you as you said you wash)
All I can say Celia is the Maine you experience is not the way things usually are. When you have a state with 38 million tourists and a resident population of just over a million things operate differently.
And while our peak is modeled to be April 17 with six deaths a day we are nicely flat and I expect Mills to extend the restrictions all summer to make sure it stays flat.

Our problem with curbside pickup is that everyone DID decide to order on line at the stores that offer it. Because of the incredible demand there was a three week backlog so they suspended it. This was right after the poo hit the fan. Some stores have resumed and others not. Smaller rural stores can run around and assemble your order now. They won’t be able to handle the normal summer crush when 20000 people jam into my town of 3000.

Pick something else to do this summer as a backup It is a good thing this did not hit in Tourist Season. The restaurants that are closed in my area are usually closed anyway now. Red’s Eats is now just a shuttered outbuilding. Our plan is always to escape Maine in the summer and go elsewhere so I hope the border is open so we can grab our kayaks and RV and jump on the ferry to Newfoundland and spend a month there.

Gotta go WD 40 the snowshovel. It’s a coming.

MITA islands are fortunately open. But access is being complicated by the enforcement of : people in a car must all be of the same household. And people from out of state must quarantine for two weeks. Inside. Some towns are checking this.

Oddly grocery shopping here is not that hard during the day… I was just out of TP! I won’t be getting up at the cracka to shop next week cause I am outfitted in that dept for 30 days now. And if it is raining I will remember to take an umbrella if there is a little line.

Life is remarkably normal. We do see neighbors for a chat outside with 30 foot separation. The dogs leash makes a good measuring tool. And we do have people who sew. Our neighborhood Little Library is now stocked with face masks for those in need. It is disgusting to watch a sneezer in the market without a mask. This is a good thing to have for after this is all over and you have a cold too!
The guys in the neighborhood are trying to figure out how to get the dock system in with social distancing! Who would have thought?

The loons are back.

edit: Governor ordered schools to stay closed the remainder of the year. Auxiliary hospitals are being constructed in two places to handle peak expected next week. I mentioned the number of tourists who visit. Because letting in everyone would presumably result in a second wave that the healthcare system would not be able to handle due to increased population I expect measures to be taken to throttle tourist season.

I paddle alone in a C-1 several times a week. My first rule of paddling is No Shuttling. So I’m still getting in 3-4 mile paddles several times a week. But when the fear of quarantine started I loaded up with cedar and poplar boards from Lowes and started cedar stripping a canoe at home. Almost done. That’s what quarantines are for.

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If one likes sniffing pots of epoxy. :wink:

See. Benefits everywhere

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I started thinking about alternatives a month ago, when many were saying that Maine would skate by relatively unaffected. Don’t need any help on that one.

I visit Maine off season, regularly. From midcoast to Roques Bluffs over the years. I have a good sense of how it operates then. In fact my husband and I spent some serious time exploring the idea of moving to Maine when we were both retired. We had criteria though, cultural assets and scale of medical facilities, that meant it really had to be Portland. Saw little reason to move from one city to another where the primary income would be more heavily taxed.

The concept of smaller local markets handling a mass of individual orders is yes, silly. Had you asked I could have explained that there are some alternatives for where I go that would allow a weekly run and some bundling. Without needing to impose on store staff to do most or maybe not any of it.

I did question the restrictions not being statewide. Earlier posts seemed to suggest that a town by town decision might be OK.The Governor eventually making it statewide suggests that I was not the only one with that concern.

Regardless any rental experience I can get this summer is going to be different than usual, because there will still be some restrictions in place even if places are allowed to open. Frankly I would be concerned if there were not changes. Until there is a vaccine even being more open has to come with limits.

surface spread on gear,

What do they refer to by this phrase? If my wife and I go out, paddle and come home, what are we spreading? Our stuff has it or it doesn’t.

(And just in case you don’t know us well, we’ve been voluntarily self isolating since before the government was asking us to, we’re just both aware of the risks. But here, I’m not seeing the risks aside from a crowded launch. So we’ll just go to remote places…)


That element bleeds into some of the stuff I have been seeing about how to shop for groceries, like that if you picked it up from a surface while checking out it is also in your car once you put the bags there. And maybe to other surfaces after something has been in the car if you stop elsewhere and transfer things in the car. Or on the porch furniture that you may have put the stuff on to dry then sit on too soon.
Based on an assumption that it can live up to 24 hours on many surfaces.

If you are very tightly restricting your activities this stuff is not likely a problem, because the car is not being taken out to drive to populated places more than once a week tops and the errands are restricted to rarely. The clothes that you may have sat in the infected chair wearing aren’t exactly out and about near people either.

There is also at least one story out there talking about the virus’s survival on hard or plasticized surfaces as opposed to items that are soft cloth. I was sent it the other day after I questioned a statement in a thread. I am not going to reduce my habits because of it. The gist of it was that the virus can be trapped by the fibers of a soft material and thus not be as transmissible. It’ll last just as long though.

Don’t get so ruffled. I have no idea of your vacation experiences here. The restrictions are sometimes statewide and sometimes not.
I am not here to argue with you nor insult you just offer information. Forums are a mighty poor means of having a get to know you conversation
You can watch WGME on line every day as Dr Shah the head of Maine CDC gives updates. Gov Mills is occasionally there if there are new developments on the State front. Rignt now Wells has delayed rentals until at least May 15 and schools will not have any in person education until Sept.

Dr Shah stated that we have resources to cope with the population now and said it is an ever changing situation . Gov Mills said yesterday the State will have phased reopening. To my mind and perhaps only to me this alludes to the potential influx of tourists that will require some control . This is a dilemna as we do rely on tourism quite a bit.

Have a nice day! I am going to watch birds fight at the feeder with new binoculars and bake Easter bread. We are getting snow. It was supposed to be a little and is now looking more like perhaps a lot maybe a foot.


Sorry, this isolation is challenging even people who are hermits by predilection.

I have been catching the daily info from Maine CDC. They often run into other stuff so recap rather than live.

I am aware of the May date on rentals. Regardless of whether things reopen, I expect localized restrictions impacting renters or decisions by owners that reduce the tourist population. Which makes sense to me. Phased reopening is already being planned in some cases I know.

My one grump here is that Gov Cuomo did not declare schools closed statewide to the end of the year. But they cancelled the major end of the year major tests. Expect full closure soon.

The sun has left for a couple of days here, but a day or two of rain would be fine for growing things. Buys me time before I have to feel guilty about not washing the car.