Saturday, February 11, 2006

2/11/06 paddle

Most of today's crew coming up the ramp at the DTBH (Midtown) -

With Sweetwater Kayak's British Canoe Union/Greenland Week a little more than a week away, I wanted to make sure that I got some good time in on the water this weekend & next - plus I should hit the gym at least a couple of nights next week, last week I just didn't have time - so completely ignoring the fact that I woke up with lungs that felt like they'd been lightly sandpapered I joined some friends at pier 63 for a 10:30 launch, with vague plans of paddling north against the increasing ebb until we got tired. High water at the Battery (the standard benchmark I tend to use for trip planning) was at 7:07 am, low at 1:32, so launching midway between the two I was expecting maybe a bit of current going against us, but not that much. First thing I noticed when I got to the pier, though, was that the ebb appeared to be very solidly underway, with the water beyond the shelter of Pier 64 moving in a southerly direction quite emphatically. This was probably due to the fact that the winds were already blowing straight down the river - we're having a nor'easter this weekend, and one of a couple of reasons I, although generally loathe to launch before noon given the length of the subway trip on weekends, actually called for a midmorning launch was because I wanted to be sure there was no chance of us still being on the river when the blizzard arrived. The e.t.a. of the storm was sliding around quite a bit last week, but by later in the week Saturday morning was looking like a good bet. Still, the wind was already coming squarely out of the northeast, and that's the sort of thing that can cause noticeable differences between what your tide predictions say & what you actually find to be the case out there. That was definitely the case today; we rounded the corner of Pier 64 to find a gusty breeze in our faces and a solid current against us. Nothing we couldn't paddle against at that point.

We'd coordinated with Nancy & Harry from the Downtown Boathouse - now actually in Midtown (their old Pier 26 location was demolished & their proposal to become the operator at the spiffy new boathouse in the northernmost segment of the Hudson River Park) but they've been the Downtown Boathouse for so long that misnomer or no, that's who they are. The plan was to meet them at 11; owing to the headwind & current, we were a skoshie bit late, but that was OK 'cause they were just launching when we got there. Haven't paddled with them for a while - was sorry Tim wasn't there, he's a pleasure to paddle with too, but he was on some sort of Long Island adventure today. According to the loose plan for the day, we paddled north into that gusty headwind and an increasingly powerful current; finally, a bit shy of Riverside Church, we all seemed to simultaneously realize that we were making very slow headway & decided it was time to head for home.

That cut the trip down a bit from the original 4 hours I'd envisioned spending on the water - but feeling a bit under the weather, I was fine with that. Plus we ended up using that time to accept our northern neighbors' invitation in for a spot of tea! Green tea with roasted rice, specifically. I hadn't seen the inside of the midtown incarnation of the DTBH, so it was fun to get a tour - it is so clean and spiffy-looking, and it has heat, and indoor plumbing, and (wonder of wonders) a hot shower (that's the part that caused a few green eyes, Pier 63 has a cold outdoor shower in the summertime - in the wintertime you just go home smelling like a drysuit, which is helpful in obtaining lots of space in the subway but otherwise unpleasant)...nice digs. Funny dock though. Harry's got some pictures of our joint venture up on Hudson Kayaker where he gives an entertaining review of the dock.

Afternoon Tea at the Downtown Boathouse

We then headed on our way & then went to the Half-King pub for lunch and some intensive pipe dreams. The snow started while we were there, although it was very light. That was the one thing that was a little bit dissappointing about this paddle - as late as the day before, it had really been looking like we might get some gentle snow towards the end of the paddle, and that can be so nice. Ah well. I am not going to complain about the weather we've been having this year.

Almost home

So that's it for tonight; I've now kept myself up late enough that I won't wake up at 2 a.m., so it's time to get some sleep. This being under the weather unfortunately kept me from going to an Irish music house session which was going to be fun; I held off making a decision until way too late, but I just had a feeling that running around out in a blizzard when I was already feeling really run-down might just push it from run-down to flat-out sick.

And with Sweetwater just a little more than a week away, I seriously don't have time for that!

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