The official planning for this trip started in 2010 as I clicked on the blog of The Downeast Duck Hunter. I knew I liked the Duckman right off the bat. I was interested in the types of hunting and fishing that he did in a land that I have always wanted to visit. It started out simply by me leaving comments after his post and he responding. We quickly moved to rapid fire question and answer sessions on Yahoo and eventually to text messaging each other from the field with pictures of success. One day I picked up the phone and made a call. It took us a while to understand each other as those folks up North "tawk" a little funny, but a great friendship developed and we now share each others lives on an almost daily basis. This trip was bound to happen!
I left home on Thursday morning gearing up for a full day of travel. I arrived at the Atlanta airport and checked in, making sure to ask the attendant if my bag was checked all the way through to Bar Harbor after my connecting flight in Boston. He assured me that my bag would be there waiting on me. I had a bad feeling but I chalked it up to regular nerves. The flight to Boston was nice and we arrived on time. The Boston airport
Once they called for the boarding of the 6 passengers on my flight to Bar Harbor, they gathered us all up at the plane and asked if anyone was interested in sitting in the co-pilot seat.
We taxied up to the terminal and I started to laugh. I had told the Duckman that I would meet him at baggage claim not knowing the size of the Bar Harbor airport. I could see Tony standing inside of the 1,500 square foot building waiving as we parked 20 feet from the front door. Baggage claim was on the ground next to the plane.
I went inside and shook the hand of my friend for the first time. We talked about my travel up as we waited for them to get all of the bags unloaded. As I was watching, I got that sinking feeling. I did not see my bag. I didn't see it because it was not there. Delta did not take my bag to Cape Air for my connecting flight. I was in Maine with no gear and the next flight was not due to arrive until tomorrow. Nothing I could do but go to Wal-mart and buy a toothbrush and contact case and hope for the best. The folks at Cape Air collected all of my information and told me that they would deliver my bag to me the next day. (It worked out ok as the weather was not too cold the first morning. I borrowed some boots from Tony's buddy, ski pants to cover my jeans, I had my hunting jacket on board with me, and the Duckman provided the rest. My bags arrived about 2:00 the next day as promised)
We struck out for Beals Island and the 1 hour trip seemed to take about 5 minutes as the Duckman and I talked the whole way. The conversation was mostly me asking questions about Maine and the Duckman asking about how it compares to South Georgia. Tony was worried about the weather and the possibility of rain and high winds the next day, so we tried to make our hunting plans accordingly. We arrived at my home for the weekend and I was shown to my room by the Duckman's lovely, patient, caring, best cook ever, duck spotting, hostess with the most-est, wife Mrs. Duckman. I was given the royal treatment by my host and felt right at home. We stayed up and talked for a while and got ready for the morning hunt. My hodgepodge of gear was gathered and I went to bed falling asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow!
You do not have to be up at sunrise to shoot sea ducks, but I was. The view from Tony's kitchen table is breath taking as the sun comes up over the harbor. I was enjoying some bacon and eggs and my second cup of coffee when Mrs. Duckman spotted some black ducks landing in the water just in front of the house. We jumped up and threw on a jacket and boots, loaded the guns and stalked out to the water's edge keeping some brush between the Black ducks and ourselves. We waited for them to swim our way, but luck was not working with us. We backed up and regrouped. They had gone the other way and so did we. We crept along the shoreline and I crawled over a small group of rocks and took a peak over. I spotted the ducks feeding in a little group tucked in next to a pier. I told the Duckman that they were about ten yards too far for a shot from where we were. The only problem is that we had run out of shoreline cover and therefore could not stalk any further for a closer shot. I told the Duckman to get ready and follow me. I jumped up and ran towards the little group. By the time they figured out what was going on I had closed the distance. As they started to rise from the water, my trigger finger was ready and with a boom over the morning harbor, my Black duck was down. Tony had a follow up shot on a passing hen and the day's limit of Black ducks was met before breakfast was over. This Maine duck hunting thing is pretty easy so far!
This was the start to a great weekend of hunting! I'll fill you in on the rest on the next post1 Stay tuned!