Thursday, January 19, 2006

Sweetwater here I come!

The deed is done, I actually reached Jean Totz (president of Sweetwater Kayaks) on the phone Tuesday afternoon & after a brief discussion about boats, I gave her a card number & it's done, I'm all signed up for Sweetwater's BCU/Greenland Skills Week! I was being so paranoid that somehow if I didn't get them the money, somehow the classes I wanted were going to get booked up - it's a very specific set of classes & instructors they have that made me want to do this. Now I have to work out the logistics - that's going to be interesting.

I started with a vague plan of flying down & camping out, renting a boat from them; today I checked with a friend who's been down there & has offered to loan me a tent and a stove (was considering getting one of those for myself, I had one on sort of on a long-term loan from another friend & it did get used a couple of times, but not averse to putting off that purchase a little longer, camping opportunities in the New York City area being sadly limited...gee, I never did write that letter to the new head ranger of the Gateway Recreation Area - the one where I was going to ask couldn't they please please please make there be somewhere a LITTLE closer than Croton Point where a law-abiding kayaker could paddle from NYC and camp legally?) about there being any food available in the vicinity - answer was nope, no food. That means that esentially what I'm planning for is a completely self-contained camping trip, four full days with a partial day at each end. And everything has to fit in my giant duffle bag! And just to make it even MORE interesting, Lyn mentioned that there are extremely aggressive raccoons at the campsite & that if you leave food in your tent & they are feeling clever, they will unzip it; if they aren't feeling clever they will just go right through the side. Tonight I asked her if the presence of a human being in the tent with the food was a deterrent - haven't heard back yet! I do rather expect to be the single carless weirdo from NYC (well, Dubside doesn't have a car either so a - I'm in good company & b - I should be careful about equating carless with weird...) This may all sound like a bit of a challenge for somebody whose idea of a good time is paddling for Japanese gourmet delicacies, but I think this is going to be a good time too.

I am actually finding this kind of funny - on the whole, when I say the word "logistics", it's usually paired with the word "headaches" - but somehow I'm already having fun thinking about the logistics for this one. What will I need, what can I dispense with, how can I keep my kit down to my one big bag plus paddles now that I'm adding full set of camping gear, I wonder how those dried scallops you can buy in Chinatown would go in a rice dish for dinner... But then I thought for one split second about renting a car & taking my own boat down, and immediately my head started to hurt. I guess this is also where being a little bit of a loner when it comes to doing this sort of thing comes into play - having at least two people involved would make a big difference - loading the boats is so much easier, plus then you can switch off during the (ugh) 18-hour-plus drive. Mostly, though, I just want to get there in the most expedient way possible, with all meals & such planned for. As long as the logistics are aimed at making that happen, I guess I feel like they're worth it.

I also just thought of something that Captain Peter likes to say to Adirondack passengers when the prevailing conditions on the harbor are such that we could have a wonderful sail north, or a motorsail to the Statue of Liberty. Ordinarily, your thirty-five bucks (includes beer & soft drinks) by day or forty-five (we add champagne, wine & better beer) buys you a 2 hour trip which will includes as close a pass to the Statue of Liberty as we can manage. That's what people expect and that's what we give 'em. However, every now & then, we'll have a small group of passengers who are clearly there because they like sailing & they like our lovely schooner. Under that rare circumstance, the captain will sometimes offer to run the sail to maximize the sailing - the issue won't be forced, but the offer will be made. Sometimes somebody will be on the fence, and that's when Captain Peter likes to say, "Is it going to be about the journey, or the destination?".

Seems that here on my home waters, for me, it's always about the journey, but with something like this - suddenly, the destination is everything and the thousand-mile plus journey to get there is...a hassle to be gotten through as fast as possible.

And this time it's not just the destination, it's who's going to be there, and how much I hope they will help me shake loose the rust that I feel like I've been accumulating lately...

Cheri Perry, Dubside, Nigel Foster, Greg Stamer -

This is NOT going to suck...

No comments: