Riverkeeper report: New terror cruises rivers

Published 11:57 am Friday, August 28, 2015

This bald eagle was practically posing for the Riverkeeper. -- SUBMITTED | JEFF TURNER

This bald eagle was practically posing for the Riverkeeper. — SUBMITTED | JEFF TURNER

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 23rd through the 25th on the Nottoway above and below Delaware. The water was 81 degrees, low, slow, stinky and filthy. Air temps ranged from 72 to 86.

I only saw a few pieces of trash. With the lack of recent rain, the river is not getting flushed out, which is leading to the nasty water conditions.

On the second day, just about dark, I decided to see if I could get out of the nastiness and ran upriver above the chemical plant. The water was in much better shape up there. Good thing, too, ‘cause I ended up having a bunch of hits that night and caught a nice 23-pound catfish. The first night I caught a 13-pounder downriver. I did not catch any bass, and catching bream for bait was not exactly easy. I was surprised to find the wild bulaces just about ready to eat. I actually did find a few nice black ones and gobbled them up before Moonpie had a chance to get any. I guess in the next week it will be time to go out there and let her do the bulace boogie and fill the boat up with those tasty grapes.

We also found another treat out there I call river beans. I think they are really wild sweet pea, not sure though as I’m not that great at plant ID. Anyway, I ate a handful of those. They are good raw. I wonder what they would taste like in a pot with some side meat? Mmmm.

I saw the same eagle again on this trip that I have been seeing near the Bronco Club. This time the majestic bird gave me a chance to get several good pictures of it, and actually did several pretty awesome unconventional poses without me having to pay it a dime! I’m wondering if it is building a nest somewhere in that area. I hope so since I think we have lost our mating pair on the Blackwater near Cherry Grove.

Now to the headline story: Well, I thought I had seen or done just about every stupid/dangerous thing that could be done on the river. Not so, there is a new terror on the rivers. I watched a guy and gal going up the river the other day into one of the most dangerous blind curves on the Nottoway and they both were TEXTING or doing something with their phones, neither one looking ahead. Some of these boats on the river easily surpass running 60 mph.

In the time it takes to look at a cell phone for three seconds a boat traveling at that speed travels 264 ft, or nearly the length of a football field… BOOM, you’re dead from running into the woods, or I’m dead from you running into me. We have already had two deaths from a boating accident this year. Let’s be safe and not have anymore on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.

Message from the Riverkeeper: I’m sorry to say this will be my last report for about six weeks. I am having some surgery done, but hope to be back in action later this fall. I will miss y’all.

JEFF TURNER is the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper. He can be reached at blknotkpr@earthlink.net.