Postcard From Cockenoe

Last Friday’s Flashback featuring Cockenoe Island — specifically, its rescue from a planned nuclear power plant, thanks to Westport citizens and politicians — sparked a note from Willie Salmond. He writes:

No need to go to Africa for adventure and game viewing.

This past Friday I took my kayak over to Cockenoe. I had first booked Campsite #3 at Westport Town Hall ($20).

They were very helpful. They gave me a map, and told me to put the Marine Police number in my cell phone. (It’s 203-341-6000. Anyone heading onto the Sound should have it.)

Cockenoe Island. It’s a mile off the coast of Compo Beach — but a world away.

It was windy. I struggled to set up my tent, since the pegs did not hold easily in the sand. Eventually, I was ready for the night. I then spent an hour walking and gathering wood for the fire. There wasn’t much, but enough.

Campsite 3 has a little picnic table, which is a great help. At dusk I sat and watched 4 American Oystercatchers in a line, feeding on the edge of the lagoon just in front of me. Their elongated red beaks are superb.

American oystercatchers, on Cockenoe Island. (Photo/Willie Salmond)

Suddenly they took off.  Two jet skis thundered into the lagoon, with 2 people on each. It was extremely low tide. I hoped they wouldn’t hit any sand banks.

Then a small speedboat arrived, and crunched up to the shore at my campsite. A boy pulled it a little up the shore. Two girls came over and asked where Campsite 4 was. I showed them it was further up the little inlet.

“Can we sail up there?” they asked. I said it was low tide. They would have to follow the jet skis out of the lagoon, turn right, then approach the campsite from there. I walked overland to their site and waved them in.

Soon it was time to watch Jupiter and Saturn risw in a clear eastern sky. Saturn remained so bright wheeling her way west through the night.

Sunset on Cockenoe Island. (Photo/Seth Schachter)

Next morning I went on my morning game walk, just like I had in Uganda. Up the little creek I saw 2 very young deer, wobbly on their legs.

The little Bambis came up to me, then skittishly turned into a copse of trees. How did they get there, and where was their mother?  Did they walk at low tide from Norwalk, since they seemed too young to swim that distance? Or were they born there? The mystery remains.

The journey back was so calm. I was grateful for the toilet facilities at Compo’s Ned Dimes Marina at Compo.

We are truly blessed to have this island on our doorstep, and that it never became a nuclear power plant as was once planned.

(Want a Cockenoe Island camping permit? Click here.) 

7 responses to “Postcard From Cockenoe

  1. Peter Barlow

    That’s a nice account – thoughtfuly written. I’m glad Cockenoe is still pretty much as I remember from many years ago.

  2. Remember that we are the visitors and the flora, fauna, shellfish etc….call it home 365. Be kind and carry in and carry out MORE! It is how we MUST enjoy such an amazing natural resource.

    Jamie Walsh
    Vice Chairperson
    Westport Shellfish Commission

  3. Peter Barlow

    Also I like the picture of the birds – looks like a painting.

  4. leslie orofino

    We all can thank Jo Fox for heading a committee to stop the govt. from putting a nuclear plant on the island.

  5. Seth, that is a museum quality, almost unbelievable photo…thank you. for it and, surely, you must know it’s a winner.

  6. Stacy Prince

    What a lovely post. Thank you!