Saturday, November 12, 2016

Liberty Paddle

It's usual, but it happens: a client calls up New York Kayak Company in the off-season and wants to go on a journey.

In this case, it was a pilot, Kiwi by way of a Pacific city-state, who came in to buy a paddling jacket and inquired about trips - in November, when the water temperature drops below 60 F.

"Well," I mused, "depending on which day and for how long . . ." He was recovering from an injury and so we settled on either a short trip south or north, or to the Statue of Liberty. As it turned out, that last is what we went for.

The Statue of Liberty is about four miles away from Pier 40 - shorter as the crow flies, but we cross the river then head south, so roundtrip it's about 8 nautical miles. We went, coincidentally, on Election Day in the US. We had very little wind, sunshine, and a bit of sun, and very little river traffic. On a workday, and in the off-season, there wasn't much besides the occasional water tax and Statue ferry, and maybe one or two barges.

I did use my radio twice for bridge-to-bridge communications. First, as we were crossing, I saw that a tour boat was on track to get to where we would be if we'd kept going. I'd heard her on the radio earlier and hailed her. "This is kayak two, just south of the Holland Tunnel. Captain you mind if we keep going straight across and you cut astern."

He didn't see us. I waved my paddle high in the air. "Oh, there you are. Sure, no problem."

She altered course and we headed straight across. I radioed my thanks.

Later, just south of Morris Canal, we saw a Statue ferry just about loaded up, and waited for her to cast off. We waited. And waited. And waited some more. Finally I hailed her. Rather than a radio response, one of the deck crew waved at us. I got close enough to shout for confirmation and he nodded his head.

We passed astern and continued on our way.

Waiting for a Statue ferry.

Curiously, the client asked for a winged paddle, which we were only able to oblige by digging in to some personal stock. Yet, he wasn't especially athletic. He had just learned on the wing and greatly preferred it. I'm going to have to practice some more on the wing so I can keep up with my clients' knowledge!

Halfway there !

About halfway to Ellis Island, the ferry cast off and passed us. I always get a kick out of waving to people on these boats. If you kayak in New York City, you'll definitely be in other peoples' photo albums!

Other than that, it really was an uneventful day. I did take the opportunity to try out a Tiderace Xtreme, a discontinued model that is the most Greenland-style of Tiderace boats - now supplanted by the Xtra in their product mix. However, we didn't really have the conditions to push the boat in; the best I got was a bit of surf off the ferry wake.

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