Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Ke Aloha Outrigger's Hudson River Cup, Hoboken, 7/28/2018

So glad my friend Derek stopped by - thanks for the photo!

I haven't been keeping up with the blogging very well, but that's at least in part because Operation Seize the Summer has been going pretty well and I've been getting out and doing a good bit more on and in the water this year than I managed to last year.

My last post was from the inter-club race day at Inwood, where I ended up racing for Sebago, getting the club points pretty much by virtue of putting my butt in a boat and not getting distracted by a passing seagull (paddle paddle paddle paddle OOH LOOK BIRD! MUST TAKE PICTURE! - anyone who's paddled with me can tell you that's not really too much of an exaggeration
) and wandering off the course without crossing the finish line. The following week was Ke Aloha Outrigger's Hudson River Cup race; I'd gone to the first one the year before and just had a blast, winning the kayak race, which consisted of me and one of the volunteers from the Hoboken Cove Boathouse paddling the sitatops the boathouse uses for their public paddling program (you can paddle with them for free on summer weekends, there's a link at the end if you'd like more info, also a link to a Flickr album of course - if you're just here for the pix, skip on down there!). The other guy was actually faster than me, but the timing was such that we were paddling into a strong current on the return leg, I knew the trick about pulling over to into some slower-moving water, and the other guy didn't and by the time he figured out what I was doing it was too late for him to catch me. It worked out fine but oh, that moment I made the turn at the buoy and suddenly discovered that I wasn't making ANY headway AT ALL...jeeze, I was having visions of having to be fished out by one of the safety boats! It was such a relief to find that sidling over into quieter water let me start moving again. 

Starting Line 2018

This year they stepped things up a bit. The sea kayak race went from being a little short one of I think it was about 2 miles up to a 5 mile distance, which I thought that sounded like a good test distance to see how I'm coming along with the general fitness level. I was not interested in doing that distance in a Drifter, though, so I got in touch with some friends there who were kind enough to hook me up with a QCC700, which is a good fast touring boat. Unfortunately I failed to do justice to the boat - I set the foot pegs a little too short and ended up getting foot cramps and a shin cramp (ow ow ow, that was a new one for me!) maybe a third of the way in. I'd been holding onto 3rd place of the 4 sea kayakers until that happened; I tried to suck it up and keep going but when the guy who'd been in 4th breezed by me I decided that if I was going to be in last place, I might as well be comfortable. Fortunately QCC's have footpegs that you can adjust easily while seated in the boat , and once I took care of that the cramps eventually eased off and I was able to get moving again. I didn't catch the guy who'd passed me to get into third but I also wasn't too far behind him.

Answer to the test of my general fitness level - I did five miles in just under one hour and eighteen minutes, in a fast boat, but with a episode of foot cramps; it's frequently said that the average cruising speed of a trained paddler is 3 mph, so I was at least doing better than that. However, I had absolutely no extra gas for a finishing kick at the end (I wanted to 'cause the other guy was just NOT that far ahead of me, but it just wasn't happening) - so there's still progress to make.

Sea kayaks were split by gender this year though, so I still brought home a trophy - 2nd place women's was the same tiki bar coconut mug as last year's 1st place so now I have a matched set! Now, I would LOVE to see more sea kayaks in this next year, but they drew a really nice number of outriggers and stand-up paddleboards - the race definitely grew this year and that was really good to see. Ke Aloha is a relatively new organization, but counts among its founders and members some of the most experienced outrigger paddlers in the area - I'm happy to support them, many of them are old friends from my Pier 63 days and they're good people, they didn't name their new club "Ke Aloha" lightly. These folks know how to run a major race and I'm looking forward to seeing the Hudson River Cup continue to grow.

In addition to the races, the boathouse folks also put together the Ohana Festival that went on throughout the day in Maxwell Place Park. The post-race atmosphere was thoroughly enjoyable, with ono-kine grindz, arts and crafts for the keiki, cornhole boards (not particularly Hawaiian but good fun for a summer day in the park), and lovely music and dance by the talented performers from Aloha Hula NYC - couldn't think of a nicer way to spend a day. You didn't have to be in the race to have fun!  As I said on Facebook when I posted the video snippet you'll see at the end of this post, "Lying on the grass after a five mile kayak race on the Hudson, looking up at the sky, Bill Wynne singing, happy people all around...can't get much closer to da 'aina without getting on a plane". Mahalo nui loa to Ke Aloha and the Hoboken Cove Boathouse for another great event!

Looking forward to 2019!


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Lots more photos on Flickr, click here to view

147 from Bonnie on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Inwood Invitational, July 21 - now with writeup

Race day at Inwood! 

Note - I'd uploaded some photos and meant to save them as a draft until I could copy in the writeup I posted in FB - accidentally posted though! Same pix here, but with the report. Lots more photos on Flickr.  

A couple of years ago, Yonkers, Inwood, and Sebago, three of the oldest paddling clubs in the area, started having a really fun and friendly inter-club competition. Three days of racing are held, with each club hosting the others for one. The days generally start out with a couple of group paddles, one short, one longer, then the races are held (100 yards, 400 yards, and 800 yards, men and women competing separately), then grilling, refreshing beverages, watermelon and much talking story ensue. So much fun! Points are awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each race, with the winner at the end of the season taking home the Glickman Cup, named after Joe Glickman, a remarkable Sebago member, a racer, adventurer, writer, and devoted husband and father. He passed away from cancer a few years back - far too young to go but when people talk about living every day to its fullest? Well, that was Joe. We all miss him very much.

I missed Inwood last year, and the year before I was actually recovering from my own bout with cancer, so went to enjoy the cameraderie without really getting on the water (although I did get drafted for the war canoe race, and I was delighted to at least get out that way). This year I got to participate much more fully, joining the longer paddle in the morning and then representing Sebago in the races. We usually have a really good woman from our racing committee, but she was injured and couldn't race today and so I volunteered/got volunteered. I do think I'm making progress on getting back in shape, but the other women who were racing today are very serious paddlers and I didn't really stand a chance against them. However, the field was small and for 2 of the 3 races, last place meant 3rd, so all I had to do was negotiate the course as instructed to get points for Sebago. I still paddled like I meant it - Yossi (our racing committee chair) loaned me a good wing paddle and I did not futz around out there!

 And the morning paddle was wonderful. The current was at full ebb when we launched, so we headed north and then hung a right into the Harlem River, paddling nearly down to the Peter Jay Sharp boathouse. This is a beautifully scenic stretch of the waterways around Manhattan and was always one of my favorite parts of a Manhattan circumnavigation back when I was at Manhattan Kayak and doing those regularly - you've just spent a couple of hours on a pretty industrial stretch of the Harlem River and then all the sudden everything starts turning green and lush, and then you turn the corner and there's the Hudson ready to take you home. Glorious. Absolutely a delight to re-visit this area with our hosts, and extra fun because one of them actually knew a whole lot of history about the area. A beautiful, beautiful day on the Hudson and Harlem rivers. Thanks a million to our wonderful hosts at the Inwood Canoe Club. Looking forward to Yonkers in September!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Friday, July 20, 2018

Friday night paddle - around Ruffle Bar

Beautiful post-work paddle tonight, nothing fancy, just out and around Ruffle Bar with a couple of clubmates. 7 miles and change at a good steady clip, a solid workout paddling into about a 14 mph headwind going out and then of course the reward for that is a great downwind run going home. I didn't take too many pictures but of course there were a couple. Note about the osprey photo I usually try not to get too close to osprey nests because they get worried about kayaks, but I didn't realize there was one on the daymark until we were flying past it on the way back to the club. By the time I realized it was there I was right next to it and the wind and the waves were carrying me on past at a pretty good clip, so I went ahead and grabbed a shot as one of the parents circled the nest with a fish for the kids. Felt bad about disturbing them but I was happy with the photo!

Only other shots were back in the basin with one of the folks I'd paddled with making a nice silhouette against the late-afternoon sun (turned into a nice sunset a little later, sorry I didn't get that but I got offered a ride back to my neighborhood) and then the little half-moon. Great to get in a nice simple paddle on a beautiful evening like this. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Still trying to keep the plastic use down...

Not the actual beverage in question - Chowhound's version looked fine! 

Just copying an update from Facebook. There was a period in 2015 when I did a few reports on my efforts to achieve a "Zero Net Plastic" day - I did eventually manage one but it's not an easy thing to do! I don't write about these much but I came SO close yesterday without really trying, if I'd just thought to ask for no straws. Next time!  

Very annoyed with myself - could've had a Zero Net Plastic day yesterday if I'd just thought to request no straw in my cocktail when I went to the Slainte session last night. I usually have a pint (they have a fantastic rotating selection of draft beers there, and if I'm not feeling adventurous, they almost always have Fat Tire) but I went with Dark n' Stormies in honor of the weather.

"Zero Net Plastic Days" are a personal thing I like to try doing that date back to the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokule'a's visit to NYC during their Malama Honua worldwide voyage. In honor of her visit and the voyage, I started working harder on cutting down on plastic where I could - there were a few items where I knew I could do better if I was just a little more disciplined, like using my own containers instead of single-use clamshells, and carrying a bag for unplanned purchases of groceries and sundries (and not buying stuff if I didn't have a bag). As I got better with those things, I started looking for opportunities for "zero net plastic" days, where I was able to make it through a whole day without either acquiring or disposing of any plastic.

I don't really write about this much any more but I never stopped doing it, once I'd made the habit, I kept it. This is harder than you might think - there's always the Chinese food oyster pail that you thought was cardboard but turns out to be lined with plastic, or the decorative toothpick stuck in your sandwich, or the straw in your Dark n' Stormy.

I'll close with a link to an excellent article by Robert Haynes-Peterson, a Whitman College classmate of mine who has built himself a career writing about cocktails and bars - it's wild reading his Facebook page because he's always attending these spectacular events hosted by high-end distilleries and such. His friends from college would all be incredibly jealous if we didn't all know that he's a really good guy who worked his lemu off to get there - that being the case, I just thoroughly enjoy experiencing these things vicariously through his writing. He's been having some discussions about the no-straw movement in the hospitality industry with his friends in the business, and I shared his article in the comments on my post - I think it's really worth a read. Click here to read it

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Storm over NY Harbor

Just having a little fun with EarthCam's New York Harbor cam as a big storm line moved into the area. Images downloaded from 2:38 to 3:04. Click on any photo for a slideshow view. Glad I am not in a small boat out there! 

Friday, July 13, 2018

City of Water Day is here again! Saturday, July 14th

Sorry for the late notice - City of Water Day is TOMORROW, Saturday July 14th! The main event this year is at the South Street Seaport, and there are ancillary "In Your Neighborhood" events happening at parks and boating clubs all over New York City (and at the Hoboken Cove Boathouse, home of Ke Aloha Outrigger, too). We'll be offering kayak and canoe trips and sailboat rides from 9:30 to 4:30 (last trips launch at 3:15) at the Sebago Canoe Club in Canarsie; for other locations and activities, visit the Waterfront Alliance's City of Water Day page.  Always a fun day, and with temperatures forecast to be near 90 tomorrow, on the water will be the best place to be outside.