Friday, July 03, 2015

Where are the HERMIONE pictures?

 L'Hermione will be at the South Street Seaport for the weekend of July 4th (except when she's in a parade) then continuing north up the East Coast. See yesterday's post for visit details and other blogs that are covering. Beautiful vessel, I'm so glad I got to visit! 

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

L'Hermione In NYC - Starting Today!

L'Hermione crossing the Atlantic, May 2015. Photo from Hermione Voyage FB Page.  

Bad boat blogger, bad. I've been going on and on and on about Hokule'a coming here in 2016, but totally forgot to ever say anything about another spectacular replica which actually arrived in NY Harbor today and will be here for the 4th of July weekend. 

Our current visitor is a beautiful replica of the Hermione, the frigate that brought Major General Lafayette to America in 1780. She was built in France; the build began in 1997 and she was launched in 2014, with sea trials in September of the year. In April of 2015, she set out from France, bound for the East Coast of the USA. May was spent sailing across the Atlantic Ocean (photo above was somewhere in the middle, isn't it gorgeous?), she arrived in Yorktown, VA at the beginning of June, and she's now making her way up the East Coast, arriving in NY Harbor just this morning. She'll be staying at Pier 15 at the South Street Seaport, where she'll have visiting hours for tours throughout the weekend, and on July 4th there'll be a grand parade past the Statue of Liberty and up the Hudson along Manhattan's West Side. For full details for her NYC visit, click here, for the additional schedule and ports of call, click here

Thank you to PortSide NewYork for the morning heads-up about where L'Hermione is staying while in NY. Keep an eye on Tugster, New York Media Boat, and the Old Salt Blog for more reporting of the visit; at the time I write this, none of them have posts yet, but I know Tugster Will and Bjoern Kils (NY Media Boat) went down to the Lower Harbor to meet her this morning, and Rick Spilman at the Old Salt Blog is the one who first told me about the visit, and I suspect he was at the welcoming ceremony at the South Street Seaport today, and I expect they'll all be putting something up eventually. I'm also hoping to get aboard tomorrow, so I might have something more to share too.Will did post a few photos on his Facebook page this morning - here was my favorite, Hermione in Gravesend Bay. Lovely, can't wait to see his writeup! 5:14 update - Tugster's first post is up with some pictures from the morning that are simply Ooooh La La! 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Turtle Tuesday

Start your week off with this video of a unique Coast Guard rescue.

Posted by Go Coast Guard on Monday, June 29, 2015

I've never tried embedding a Facebook video on Blogger before, but this is too good to not share. Poor turtles shouldn't have to tangle with our stupid plastic, but since they did, at least they got some good help in time. This is actually the 2nd turtle rescue video I've run across recently, but this one's especially nice due to the alacrity with which the turtles zip away once freed - the other one, the turtle wasn't moving the flipper that had been the most entangled and I wasn't sure of his chances. This one, they look good. Go Coast Guard indeed!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Petals on the Paerdegat - a farewell to a friend

Saying a quiet farewell to friend & Sebago clubmate Joe Glickman on Saturday afternoon. Several Sebagoites attended his memorial service on Monday evening. That very moving service (Joe had so many friends) ended with a small paddle-out - one of the OC-6's from NYO came out with five paddlers and one symbolic empty seat, while Joe's surfski, covered with rose petals, was paddled out by two of his best friends from the racing world that he loved so much. One of our Sebago attendees suggested that we take some of the extra petals out to the club to scatter on Jamaica Bay; yesterday, on a day when Joe would've been in his element in the wind and the waves, I scattered mine on the Paerdegat.

Here was the story I put together for an upcoming tribute to Joe in the club's newsletter:

At Joe's memorial service, one of the themes his eulogizers kept coming back to was how he had this way of seeing you as somehow much better than you saw yourself. I loved that because that's exactly what happened the last time I saw him. 

It was back in March. I'd gone to the club to do something or other, maybe paddle, maybe putter, can't quite recall, but I was out in front of the club when Joe comes around the corner with a friendly-looking tower of a man. I recognized the tower instantly of course - you just can't mistake Oscar Chalupsky for anyone but Oscar Chalupsky. At first Joe assumed I must know Oscar already; when I told him that we'd never actually met, Joe of course proceeded to introduce me. 

Now, I'm a good paddler. I know that. But standing there with these two I was feeling very very ordinary -- Glicker's Glicker, and Oscar Chalupsky is a total surfski god -- but then Glicker did that exact thing that everyone was mentioning at the memorial service, telling Oscar a short story with me as the star. He recalled a day when there was a tropical storm moving through NYC and he decided to go out on the bay and have some fun in the wind and the waves. "So I'm out there, blasting around, having a great time, and I'm thinking I've got to be the only person crazy enough to be out there, but then I see another boat and I paddle over to see who it is and it's Bonnie, and she's bobbing around in the waves -- taking pictures!" 

Being me, I instantly had to explain that I was in my Romany, which is a super-forgiving sea kayak (and I think John Huntington was out there with me too) - but still, for those last moments I spent with him (and I had no idea that that would be the last time I saw him, he was a little on the lean side but his usual warm and happy energy seemed undiminished), Joe made me feel like a little bit of a rock star too. 

Goodbye, Joe, we'll miss you. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Clearwater Festival 2015

I had a wonderful weekend attending my first-ever Clearwater Festival at Croton Point Park. The Clearwater Festival, more formally known as the Great Hudson River Revival Festival, was founded by Pete Seeger in the 1960's to raise funds to build a dream of his - a replica of one of the sloops that hauled cargo on the Hudson River before the advent of steam, to serve as a platform for educating people about the life and lore of the abused river (or estuary really). His dream came true and although Seeger left us a couple of years ago after a very good life, his handsome sloop Clearwater still sails the river today, educating kids and grown-ups alike. The photo in the last post was actually of the Clearwater and the Mystic Whaler, a CT-based schooner they bring in to help out with the education in the spring, settled in for Friday evening at the barge they bring in as a temporary dock for the event.

I tend to think of the festival today as a music festival, but it's always had a strong environmental focus, and still looks to the river and the sloop, so this was the perfect place to go talk to people about the Hōkūleʻa's current voyage. Unfortunately there was a direct conflict on Saturday - remember the big Hawaiian music and dance festival I enjoyed so much during the Liberty Challenge outrigger races last year? Well, Hālāwai (organization that's coordinating the 
Hōkūle'a's NYC welcome) actually PRODUCES that, and it's not just Hawaiian, it's actually considered to be one of the biggest Pacific Islander festivals on the East Coast. I think we sort of knew that would be an issue back when we signed up, to the point that I actually said I would go on my own on Saturday if necessary - well, in the end that's what I did, took on Clearwater as my "kuleana" (personal responsibility), creating a portable table display and being up there talking story on Saturday, with 3 Hālāwai board members then joining me on Sunday (which was beautiful and I'm still kicking myself for totally forgetting about my camera - that doesn't happen often but somehow it did).

Now, back when I originally said I would do that, I wasn't too confident about my ability to actually tell people about 
Hōkūle'a properly -- at that point my wa'a talking points were pretty much:

1. She began her voyaging when I was a kid growing up in Hawaii

2. She and the Polynesian Voyaging Society revived Polynesian navigation
3. We were all really proud of her
4. Now she's sailing around the world
5. Isn't that cool?

Better than nothing but I was still worried that I was just going to "make a" (Hawaiian pidgin for "make an idiot of yourself", generally couched as a warning to someone who's about to do that - "Eh, brah, no make a!"). Fortunately I've attended several really amazing events with Hālāwai and the Polynesian Voyaging Society since then, listening to stories told by Nainoa Thompson (one of Mau's original apprentice navigators and probably the most apt and driven one, now chief navigator of the 
Hōkūle'a and president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society), Sam Lowe (Nainoa's cousin and author of Hawaiki Rising, the story of the Hōkūle'a and the people who made her happen), members of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, and the folks at Hālāwai. My recollections from "small kid time" were full of admiration but  otherwise shallow, I've had a wonderful time learning more, and I had a wonderful time sharing what I've been learning on Saturday.

I was still very happy to see the others arrive on Sunday (of course I ran off twice to play with boats, I got into a Harbor School rowing gig in the morning, extra cool since the Harbor School will be the primary host for 
Hōkūle'a while she's in NYC, and then David from Balogh Sail Designs took me for a sail in the afternoon, both lots of fun) but I felt pretty good about Saturday. 

Attendance was a bit light because of the weather, but instead of dozens of people paying brief visits, I would have a person or two or three stop by, and we'd talk story for ten or twenty minutes before they moved on - real quality discussions, I thought, and hopefully effective in helping build awareness, I'm hoping the people we talked to will read more, start following the journey, and tell others about it. Great weekend.

 Click here for flickr album

And as always, for more about the Hōkūle'a, visit   

Sunday, June 21, 2015


 Schooner Mystic Whaler and the sloop Clearwater docked for the night at Croton Point. Friday, 6/19/2015  

Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Yorker Magazine Talk of the Town - A Paddle with New York Outrigger and the Polynesian Voyaging Society (with a plug for NYO's Liberty Challenge on Satruday!

And I was lucky enough to get to go!

Back in the middle of May, Nainoa Thompson and some of his colleagues from the Polynesian Voyaging Society visited us here in New York as part of the preparations for 
Hokule'a's visit here in June 2016. They spent the weekend here with 3 different official events. I went to all 3 and it was great - there was an educators workshop, where I was amazed the range of ways teachers in Hawaii are incorporating Hokule'a and her voyage into their lesson plans (social studies, geography, ecology, biology, art, music, history, all of those and more can and do incorporate lessons from the wa'a - I was almost jealous of the kids in Hawai'i these days getting to learn so much this way, but mostly I just think it's rather wonderful), then there was a fundraising cocktail reception at the Harvard Club where Dr. Sylvia Earle welcomed Nainoa, who then gave us a marvelous talk about the history and the voyage. I think my favorite moment was when Nainoa decided to give Dr. Earle the beautiful maile lei which had been presented to him at the beginning of the evening, and as he took his lei off an draped it around her neck she took her own orchid lei and gave it to him in a lovely moment of warm mutual respect - but then Nainoa's stories were wonderful too. 

The next day there was a planning meeting at NYY that was pretty exciting to be part of. As we wrapped things up at the end of the day I thought I would be heading for home, but then I was talking to Lehua from the PVS and she said something about needing to get Nainoa and everyone else up to Pier 66 for a paddle with NYO. I jokingly said "Oh, I wish I'd brought my paddling clothes, I would invite myself along!" - totally totally totally TOTALLY kidding, but then
, gesturing at her jeans and t-shirt, Lehua said "Well this is what I'm wearing. You should come."

WOW. There was a split second when I was for some reason sure I couldn't do it, I don't always deal perfectly with abrupt changes of course and my immediate response is sometimes to try to stick with my original plan even if there's no reason to, but then it sank in that I'd just been invited by a member of the current generation of Polynesian navigators to go paddling with her and another of her compatriots and Nainoa Thompson himself and...heck, I went, and it was wonderful, and you can read an absolutely wonderful article about it in New Yorker Magazine's Talk of the Town this month (click here). 

And speaking of the nice folks at New York Outrigger - their big Liberty Challenge race is this Saturday! Festivities kick off tonight with a screening of a Hokule'a documentary by 'Oiwi TV (see yesterday's post for full details), and then the races run over the day on Saturday, starting and finishing at Pier 26 on the Hudson River, where the East Coast's largest festival of Pacific Island culture will also be going on all day. The canoes will be all over the upper harbor, the northern reaches of the race are 23rd street on the Hudson and the Brooklyn Bridge on the East River while the southern portion goes south of Governor's Island and over to the Statue of Liberty. It's a terrific day - I'll be up at the Clearwater Festival talking story about the Hokule'a but if I could be 2 places at once, Pier 26 would be the 2nd place I would be!

Wrapping up with a few pictures from that paddle with the PVS. I didn't have my waterproof camera along because I never in a million years expected to end up on the water, but here are a few pictures from pre-launch on shore. 2nd picture is Nick Paumgarten, the author of the Talk of the Town piece, interviewing Nainoa. What a great evening that was.