Sunday, January 19, 2020

NOT IN KANSAS (or Brooklyn either)

Sittin' in the back yard, watching all the gators go by...

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Hempstead Bay Houses

A World Within A World: The Bay Houses of Long Island from Greg Blank on Vimeo.

I've done a couple of paddles with Sebago in Hempstead Bay, and I've thought it must be like a dream to be able to spend summer months in these bay houses. Tugster Will shared this on Facebook today - it's not very long but it makes it sound like it's just as I pictured.

Click here for more about bay shack life from the New York Times.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Remember the "One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other" song from Sesame Street? Hum that song while you review (click on the photos for details as usual)...

Hint #1

Hint #2
Hint #3
Did you guess?

That's right - NO TRUSTY ROMANY. Boo. It was a beautiful, beautiful day on the Paerdagat Basin today, temperature in the 60's and sunny, but just howling winds. See those light streaks on the water behind the docks in the neighboring boat club? That's the difference between the areas protected from the wind in the lee of the docks and the surface that's feeling the 25 mph winds.

The weather gods have been teasing me unmercifully since the holidays ended and work is back to normal - we are 7 work days into 2020 and I swear that half of those would've been beautiful paddling days (remember, a careful paddler is going out waterproof this time of year so a little rain is no trouble at all - freezing rain is icky but plain old watery rain is OK). But the weekends have both been busts. Boo! After all the great paddling I squeezed into December I'm really missing being on the water. Hope things improve!

I was at the club for an instructor meeting - summer seems so far away but it's time to start making plans for the 2020 season. The meeting was at 10 and I was really, really hoping that it would work well to go for a paddle afterwards - but nope, not for me, not today.

Oh well. I guess being forced to kick off one's paddling year in Florida is not the worst thing in the world.

January 2019...repeating soon!

1/13 update: 
This Afternoon: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 47. Northeast wind around 6 mph.
Tuesday: A 30 percent chance of rain, mainly after 3pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 46. East wind 6 to 8 mph.
Wednesday: Sunny, with a high near 49. West wind 7 to 9 mph.
This is what I'm talking about  - howling winds all weekend followed by 3 days of perfectly fine paddling weather while I'm at work. BOO! Come on 2020 weather, shape up! 

Saturday, January 04, 2020

George's Dumpling Paddle (going back a couple of months)




:D />

(frogma kayak smiley, patent pending)

George was one of the conditional members who we voted to make senior at the club meeting on New Year's Day - and that reminded me that I never did a post about one of my favorite events from last year, George's Dumpling Paddle! It was kind of gray and ugh today so a good day for looking back through some pictures and putting together this post.

George is a great guy and he loves making dumplings, and he loves teaching other people how to make dumplings too - it's one of his family's cooking traditions and he loves passing it along. This made for a wonderful autumn gathering at the American Canoe Association camp at Lake Sebago in Harriman State Park. The Sebago Canoe Club's main site, where 95% of my trip reports begin and end, is in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, but the club was actually begun at the ACA camp, hence our name. The club was offered the use of the NYC Parks Department land in Canarsie in the 70's, when Jamaica Bay first became part of the National Parks Department's Gateway Recreation Area, but we do still have the cabin at Lake Sebago, and that is really a wonderful place. I don't get up there nearly enough these days, but I wouldn't have missed George's Dumpling Paddle for anything!

I went up the night before and stayed with clubmates in one of the cabins that is available for ACA members to rent. I literally woke up to this - I slept on a couch/bed right under this window and this is what I saw when I first sat up after waking up. I really need to come up here more often. 

You can see the layout of the cabin a little better here. I'm standing in the corner where the kitchen is, and there's a room with bunks around the corner to the left. The guys took the bunkroom, Barbara and I took the couches. You can see that I'm not joking about waking up, sitting up, and seeing that view! 

Those of us who were here early helped George set up in the lodge up at the top of the road into camp. He'd decided to switch things around, having the lesson first, then the paddle, which made so much sense - you can see that this took some serious setting up, an hour and a half isn't really enough time for a good paddle (half of that time can get eaten up just with moving boats, fitting boats, and launching) plus for people who were coming up in the morning, it was going to be tricky to get to the camp in time for a 10 am launch. Lesson first worked great!

And we're off! George started off with an intro, talking about how dumpling making is woven into some of his fondest family memories, and about the ingredients he'd gathered for us.

Here, he's showing how to wrap the dumplings we're going to make - btw that's Andrew in the background, they are a great couple and Andrew was helping out with George's event on this day. They were both voted in as senior members at the New Year's Day meeting. 

The first dumplings out of the pot

After mixing up the beef and vegetarian fillings and showing us the basics, George split up the fillings and wrappers among the tables. Here's Team Vegetarian showing how us how it's done! 

George stops by one of the beef dumpling tables (this was my table) to offer a few more pointers

My first dumpling, hooray!

Another happy wrapper! 

It seemed like we had an endless bowl of filling and an endless stack of wrappers when we started, but with all of us working together it wasn't that long before we had a beautiful platter ready for the pot.

Into the pot! 

Barbara and Andrew tending the vegetarian dumplings (separate pots, of course)

Wrappers, wrapped beef dumplings, and a tray of dumpling hot from the kettle, with hoisin and hot sauce. Yum!

We wrapped and cooked and ate and wrapped and cooked and ate until the dumplings were all cooked and we were all stuffed - and then the lake was waiting for us when we were done. And it was GORGEOUS. Foliage wasn't peak yet but there was enough for a lovely shoreline, and everything glowed. We had a great paddle - there was a canoe capsize, the occupants of the boat were inexperienced but they were great sports about it, the lake water wasn't that cold yet, and it was actually kind of fun working together to empty their boat and get them back into it - we did end up taking them back to the dock so they could change into dry clothes and warm up, and then some of us went back out for a bit longer as the light went into that late-afternoon fall day glow. The Sebago gang reconvened at the Sebago cabin for dinner, everybody had something to share and we stuffed ourselves again, with a member who hails from France finishing off the evening's repast with glorious fresh crepes, sweetened with just a little sugar and so delicious.

A spectacular day at the lake - I must try to take advantage of this place more in 2020! 

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

New Year's Day with the Sebago Canoe Club

Happy New Year from Brooklyn!

Sad to say I did NOT join this salty crew on the water today - there was a small craft advisory, and I've gotten in so much really beautiful paddling in the last few weeks that I just wasn't inspired to deal with all the winter gear for what was likely to be a shortish paddle with a hard slog back home at the end. I'd already been on the fence and then when Mary, one of the club's avid birders, proposed a morning walk in Canarsie Park, I decided to join her instead. We started out at the club just in time to see these guys off, though, so that was fun. 

They did have a good time, they went to Mill Basin, which affords some protection from the wind, and they had a seal following them for a bit, always neat, but it was pretty gusty out there, and I did enjoy the walk -- Canarsie Park is so close to the club but I've never really spent a lot of time so it was fun doing that. We started by walking straight down to the basin and out along the shoreline of the bay, then we came back and walked around the pond. Not a lot of birds (I guess they're not crazy about gusty high winds either) but the sky was providing some dramatic views and it was good to start the year outside. After that, it was back to the club for the usual great potluck lunch and hanging out with clubmates, with a meeting called to order at 2:00 to discuss achievements of 2019, plan for 2020, and vote 3 great Conditional Members in as Senior Members. A good start to 2020 even it I didn't get on the water. Hope everyone reading had a Happy New Year too!

All pictures from our walk after this - click on the first one for a slideshow view. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year! Last Paddle of 2019 - 12/28/2019, Loon, Seal, and Good Friends

So here we are in the last hours of 2019...TQ and I aren't big partygoers and I always look forward to the Sebago Canoe Club gathering, so we're home and I'm cooking chicken adobo for the potluck (I always like to bring something that I remember from church potlucks at Aiea United Methodist back in small kid time - so many family variations on chicken teriyaki and adobo, I never had enough room to try them all!) and figured I would put up a post about my last paddle of 2019. This ended up being on Saturday, 12/28; I had a good Sunday option too for a birding paddle with Louis, who I'd joined on a foggy foggy day for the Christmas Bird Count (there's a 3-post trip report back a couple of posts), but it turned out TQ was game for a paddle, and since he works on Sundays amd Saturday is our one day off together, I took up Chris C. on her suggested paddle.

She'd been away for a bit and was ready to get back out on the bay, and Saturday looked like a beautiful day for a spin - sunny, not too cold, not too windy. We had a well-matched group of 5 and Chris wanted to go see the seal, so we set off for Ruffle Bar again. That's also a really nice midrange paddle. 
Chris asked me semi-jokingly if we would see a loon - she loves loons and does a perfect loon call; I'd seen loons (or at least loon) on every one of the paddles I did getting up to 300 miles, so I thought there was a good chance - I hedged a little bit because you never know what you'll see out there, but we had a loon turn up before we were past Canarsie Pol. 

We headed on to Ruffle Bar after that and sure enough, there was a seal on the sandbar again - hooray! This one was pretty calm about us; I stopped paddling and drifted by and was able to get some pretty good photos with my not-so-zoomy Ricoh waterproof camera, including one with the Manhattan skyline in the background! Remember the drawing I did when we first saw that scene on a day I'd forgotten my camera?

OK, actually the drawing was better, but at least you can see I didn't make it up! Click for detail. There is a seal in there, I swear. 

We then paddled on towards the Marine Park Bridge; some of us were feeling ambitious and the bridge was proposed as a goal. As we approached Floyd Bennett Field, though, one of the group suggested that she would be OK with landing and meeting us as we were coming back. The rest of us decided to scratch the bridge and just head back to the Paerdegat with her. This ended up being a good call as we were 2 days after the new moon and there was a very powerful ebb going on. We'd been scooting along beautifully until we turned into the current - then it became a bit of a slog. But we made it home fine. Back at the club, we built a small fire in the woodstove, suitable for an hour or so of hanging out, and shared snacks and stories. A good end to my 2019 paddling! 9 miles, bringing me to 323 miles for the year, 78.5 of those in the last 5 weeks. Felt good!

All photos after this - click for a slideshow view. And have a very Happy New Year! Here's to peace, friendship, and many adventures (big ones, or quiet little ones close to home) in 2020!