Rowing by Moonlight

Moonrise on Totier Creek Reservoir


Every autumn, for the last few years, I’ve posted photos of the fall foliage here for friends and family who don’t get any. Did something a little different this time.

A couple of weeks ago, I took a row in the small local reservoir in the late afternoon, going from the dam all the way back up the creek that feeds it. The low sun set the trees on fire. These boats draw less than three inches, and it was a wonder to glide over water so shallow, well back into areas I had never been before.





The sun went down and a full moon rose long before I got back. Crossing the lake by moonlight was especially nice. Sound takes on a whole new dimension, echoing back and forth between the banks.


What follows is about seven and a half minutes of very pleasant sights and sounds:


Youtube link



DoryMan, another friend on the west coast, was all set to build himself a Melonseed. He’d heard they were good for rowing, and he loves to row, needs another row boat. Before he could get started, though, someone gave him a fine pulling boat, which took the urgency out of the situation. I wonder if I’d posted this sooner if it would have confused matters more.




6 Replies to “Rowing by Moonlight”

  1. You didn’t say if you’d teach me how to make fine videos like yours, but I wish you would.
    The slim, sexy pulling boat has been a distraction, it’s true. But you convinced me long ago that I need and want a melonseed. Yours is a hard act to follow, but I’ll try.


    1. Well, not sure I can teach what I’m still learning myself. Hold the camera still and don’t blow in the mic. Got that much figured out pretty quick.

      Still fine tuning my rowing setup. Haven’t settled on oarlocks vs thole pins, captive vs loose, leathers with buttons or not, etc. Don’t have enough experience with any to have a preference yet. Would like to make them quieter, though. A little wax stopped the squeeeeek, but the thunking is pretty annoying when you want to sneak up on wildlife. Suggestions?

  2. And don’t chuckle or answer someone who’s voice we can’t hear. Then there’s the sound of the wind, which always clues Mary that I’m looking at yet another sailing video.

    I have some deep seated prejudices about rowing hardware. Thole pins break. Just a fact and you don’t want to be very far from home when they do.
    On a beach boat dory (used as a pick-up truck) I used plastic from milk bottles wrapped in duct tape for many years. Ugly but indestructible, even with daily use.

    Today I use leathers, no buttons, with an open oarlock. I like the freedom to lift my oars out or slide them in any direction necessary at any time. The oarlocks have lanyards on them in case they pull out, too. This has never actually happened to me, but it could. Mary has recently been practicing her Turk’s Head knot, so now many of my oars have buttons. Jury is still out.

  3. My husband is a melonseed nut and just came across your video. He called me in to watch it. It is absolutely gorgeous! So peaceful, and I love the fact you didn’t play any music, but let nature provide the soundtrack. Thanks for posting this lovely bit of nature.

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