Monday, November 14, 2011

Dearly beloved, we gather to mourn the loss of a fine herping companion, delighted to bathe in the murky waters of our beloved Schuylkill River, content to be tossed around by luggage handlers en route to sunnier streams, gracious enough to hold me and assorted gear as we paddled around in search of turtles.

On my most recent Southern turtling trip the Raftemys suffered a mortal wound, a seam ripped open by an insidious submerged branch, a vengeful snag that, as I eased upstream to examine the branches above the water, tore her open below.

A sudden torrent of bubbles alerted me to her trauma, and we limped back downstream. I contacted the company (Sea Eagle, this is a SE 330) but they said there is no way to repair a ripped seam like that. Patches won't hold.

In exchange for a photo to demonstrate the complete disabling of the vessel, they offered me a steep discount on a replacement hull, and though I am wary to buy another of a model that just failed, it's one hell of a lot cheaper than a higher-end alternative, and I'll give it one more shot (though it pained me to take a razor to her).

Tonight I will bear the deflated and rolled-up Raftemys down to our trash room and leave her in a dumpster. Perhaps she deserves a burial at sea (or at river), but I'm not sure the river or my fellow river-goers would appreciate the 30 pounds of floppy vinyl litter.

Sometime soon the Raftemys 2 will arrive by mail. Until then I will consider myself in mourning, bereft of my turtling companion.