Watching Wildlife From the Water in Shelter Island, New York
Shelter Island sits like a big green meatball between the two forks of Long Island. It’s quiet and idyllic, offers sweeping beachfront views and, with its many protected harbors and coves, is a perfect place for a novice kayaker to find his sea legs. Your guide is Jay Damuck, who’s been running Shelter Island Kayak Tours for nearly 20 years. In Coecles Harbor on the island’s northeast side, Damuck will lead you along a five-mile marine nature trail that skirts the undeveloped, 2,100-acre Mashomack Preserve (owned by the Nature Conservancy). A kayak, with its streamlined hull and low profile, allows you to become one with the water, soaking up its adaptability and indifference to society’s frantic comings and goings. It also allows you to paddle close to Shelter Island’s bounty of wildlife—ospreys, herons, turtles, egrets, deer and foxes—without scaring them off.