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On the other side of the Jaws Bridge, Sengekontacket Pond feels entirely separate from the traffic creeping along Beach Road, newly sunburnt families piling into cars, and the relentless pull that summer has on people’s time and nerves. Although I’ve lived on the Island my entire life, the closest I have ever been to Sengekontacket is driving by it on Beach Road, until I signed up for a sunset kayaking tour of the pond with Felix Neck.

The day had been a scorcher, high 80s, no wind, humidity — the kind of weather where everyone who works in an office with air conditioning was thanking their lucky stars. When we set out at 6:30 pm, the heat was just beginning to fade away, and the mosquitoes were scoping out their next meal. I was excited to get out onto the water.

We paddled out into the pond and the absence of wind made the water impossibly smooth as the kayaks glided through, rippling the surface. Although I was in a group of about 15, our paddles made little noise. It was refreshing to be out on the water without the hum of a motor boat creating a blanket of white noise around everything within earshot.

We drifted past an island of nesting Cormorants, a black bird that you can see diving into the water in search of fish, or drying its wings in the sun. Savannah Lawson, our tour guide said, “It’s so amazing to get people excited about an oystercatcher or an osprey or a shell you find on the beach. I grew up here, I’ve lived here pretty much my whole life, so I’ve got to see these things from when I was a little kid. It’s incredible to watch people discover something for the first time and start to understand what they’re looking at and build a connection to the Island.”

Most of the people on the tour were staying on the Island for a week, but these tours aren’t something for the seasoned Islander to scoff at as another tourist trap.

Much of my time is spent bouncing between Edgartown and Vineyard Haven, going from summer job to summer job. I choose the quickest route and spend my time in the car weaving around mopeds, bikes, and pedestrians, trying to avoid an accident. This doesn’t leave a lot of time for admiring the Island in its peak season. The kayak tour gave me a chance to pause. I could let others try to navigate summer traffic. For two hours, I would be on the pond.

 

This article by Sophia McCarron originally appeared on mvtimes.com.