Friday, November 11, 2016

Recent Paddling

I've been out a few times since coming back from the Rendezvous symposium in Maine; here are the highlights.

About a week after I came back from the Rendezvous, Mr. Cowgirl and I went out with my good friend Kayak Dov. It was a very windy day - technically "out of remit" for the Four Star, with F5 winds gusting to F7, though otherwise sunny and beautiful. We went down to the GWB zipper, a minor race that forms under the George Washington Bridge as the Hudson begins to flood. It was fun, but a bit washed out with wind coming abeam.

Heading on down.

Approaching the Zone.

Afterwards, we paddled south a bit, and did some downwind surfing in the bay immediately below. It was great fun, with the long fetch of the river taking western winds and pushing up water towards the Manhattan shore.

We crossed the river, and along the way Mr. Cowgirl heard two large "kerplunk" sounds as we paddled under the bridge. He didn't think they were large enough to be people, but could easily have been pieces of bridge, or bottles tossed haphazardly by passers-by. He reported it to a nearby police boat (in person, sidled right up to her), but their only concern was whether it was a body.

About a week after that, I had a jam-packed series of days. We joined my good friends the 2 Geeks, and several of their friends and acquaintances, at the Touring Kayak Club in City Island, NY. J is pursuing her Four Star, as is another acquaintance I met at my 3 Star, AD. They wanted to practice some trip leadership and incident management, so we corralled a group of about eight paddlers to head out around Hart Island and back.

It was great fun. First, J and AD gave the trip briefing and practiced some navigation. Then, en route, everyone wanted to throw surprises at them - in short order we had bellyaches, injuries, and a capsize - all for show, all for practice - and they were handled well.

I got a little taste of it. Leading the group around the southern edge of Hart, I spotted J lagging considerably, a classic attempt at being the lost/lingering paddler.

The Brief.

To Water !
In a change, I paddled the Argonaut while Mr. Cowgirl put the Gemini SP seriously on edge.

Edgin !

We came up around the eastern edge of Hart, and took it easy, enjoying the scenery and company. Then, someone had the bright idea to husky tow a "tired paddler". I was the support while two others clipped in. I'm just going to say: in-line tows over husky tows whenever feasible.

I wrote about Hart Island a little bit the last time we were out here. Suffice it to say it's presently NYC's potter's field, worked by inmates from Rikers Island, and no one is allowed, except those who have business with the dead. Even on a sunny day like the one we had, it's a morbid place.

Paddling past Hart.


J for scale.

Some dedicated Greenlanders were present, and the stick was passed around.

D. Trying the Greenland paddle.

The group at large.

Signs in the distance.

The wind began to pick up. We were still in the lee most of the way, but off in the west we could make out several sailboats heeling over quite a bit in the wind. They were having a race, and it looked like a lot of fun, but it meant we had a bit of work to do getting back.

A frothy rock, just below the surface.

Passing the northern end of Hart.

Mares tails forming in the sky.

We passed Rat Island, which we noticed had gained some structures since our last visit. Most notably, a statue of William Tell.

Swiss Mister.

Flags and Signs.

Yodal-ay-hee-hoo !

Shortly afterwards we landed back at TKC - and found the tide had completely covered out beach! Fortunately this excellently appointed club had a launch ramp, so we got out there and carried our boats up.

After a debrief, we had lunch and talked kayak geekery - boats, kit, etc.

Cowgirl's two boats.

The Pelhams, and Hart in particular, are among my favorite paddling spots. I hope to bring some others out here, and am glad to have made the connection with TKC.

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