Sunday, April 21, 2013

Solo Spring Paddle

I took a short jaunt this morning, short but challenging.

I had hoped to paddle as far as Alpine, but a strong, steady wind from the north hampered my progress. After leaving Inwood, and then paddling past Spuyten Duyvil, I crossed, working against some chop most of the way, hoping that perhaps I'd find some shelter on the western side of the river. I had no such luck. As I paddled into the wind, I had a good rhythm going, but I was thirsty, and it dawned on me that the farther I paddled north, the more following seas I would have to contend with on the way back south.

I pulled out at a small beach somewhere across and north a bit from the Bridge to Nowhere. With small waves pushing in from the north, I had to rudder in, first on one side and then another. I got out and had tea and M&Ms, the wind nonstop as well as the waves. Mind you these were not ocean waves, but there was a shallow run and they gathered speed quickly. After about twenty minutes, I hopped back in and launched.

Getting out was a little tricky, but once I was back on the river proper, things were a bit more straightforward. By then, the current and wind were in the same directions, and I edged towards them to cross the river. This was remarkably easy, and is new technique I am trying out. The idea is, edging against a countervailing force, whether wind or current, narrows your profile, thus reducing its influence. It was only when I had to turn south, chased by little wavelets, that I got more than a little annoyed.

Once back, I put everything away and got out of my drysuit. I stayed inside but watched the scenery from the boathouse, a sunny, if windy day unfurling. While I didn't go far, I got a lot of experience out of this paddle, managing the wind as well as the current.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tubby Hook, Then and Now

One of my kayaking clubs is near Tubby Hook, an old name for the Western end of Manhattan at the end of Dyckman Street, in Inwood.

Recently a club member found photos from the late thirties. Using Google Maps to approximate the same view, it's clear, sadly how far usage of the waterfront has fallen.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


I spent some time this morning at Pier 40, working with some of the instructors there to try out some games. I'll be assisting there this summer, and it was good to meet the team - including my old coach.

I arrived early, and as nice as it was, the regular paddling season felt right around the corner. I say "regular paddling" because at this point, I've paddled all twelve months in the year. But this morning was sunny, and relatively warm, and I could spy the Freedom Tower, the Statue of Liberty, and the Holland Tunnel blowers right across the way.

I pulled out my iPad and did some work - a little research, and a little email. Then, I caught a glimmer out on the river, and I watched until I was certain they were paddlers. They were very far out, but as they came closer, there were five, a group out of Valentino Park in Brooklyn, on their way into a weekend-long trip up the river.

My coach showed up, and talked to them - some he knew. We all talked about boats, and people we know, and paddling horror stories. For them, it was a pit stop, and as the rest of the crew arrived, they saddled up and headed out, while we pulled out boats and suited up for practice.

It's going to be a fun summer - like so many, too short.