Monday, March 20, 2006

Better than expected weekend -

I just had a sort of perfect weekend - here's a very quick recap!

Started out with a sushi paddle on Saturday, which was more rousing than usual. Actually we were the most indecisive bunch of paddlers you've ever seen. First of all, I got to Pier 63 at about 10:25 am when our (me, Kayak Boy & the Voyageur being the "us" du jour) scheduled launch time was 10:30. I got to the pier to see the Hudson covered in whitecaps & a pretty solid wind blowing - the forecast had been for winds 15-20 kts, gusting to 25 - this looked like it was sitting at 25. Plus it was cold. I was ambivalent about the whole thing - I'm really tired of winter by now - so I attempted to weasel out. First indirectly - "You know, do you guys really want to wait for me? You don't have to if you'd rather not". No go, they were happy to wait for me. I then confessed that it seemed a bit on the cold & windy side to which Voyageur responded "I have one word for you. Quitcherbitchen. Now get your gear on." The amazing thing about Voyageur is that he's one of these people who are so completely even-tempered & good-natured that he can say something like that & come across as perfectly nece. Kids, don't try this at home (especially to, say, your parents, you will NOT pull it off, OK?). Might have something to do with his actually having grown up in New York. Dunno. It's quite a talent, though. Anyways, that ended this lady's protests & I got my rear in gear on the task of getting my rear into my gear. In the meantime, phone tag was going on between Kayak Boy and Nancy & Harry up at the Midtown Downtown Boathouse - with strong winds from the west to northwest, he was thinking maybe we should meet on the Jersey side (the Jersey side has bluffs that offer a bit of shelter when the wind's from that direction); Nancy called back to say that she'd seen a forecast involving gusts to 35 kts, and she and Harry were considering bailing; finally it was agreed that we'd paddle up, meet them at their boathouse & give them a report. That being done, and us finding the conditions brisk but manageable, we all agreed that we'd still paddle, but not go all the way to Edgewater, but that we would start by crossing the river to see if it was quieter on the Jersey side. Well, it was, and as we were crossing, we found that the current was still quite powerful and we were being whisked north quite nicely (full moon makes things go faster in both directions), so we quite literally made a snap decision to go with the flow. Literally! We had a good lunch, Kayak Boy got to test the Pokky Stick capacity of his new touring kayak's hatches, and we left to find ourselves being whisked just as nicely south. Estuarine paddling, what's not to like? It was quite breezy but we don't think it really broke 30 kts before we got home. The picture of our poor old going-going-gone Pier 64 was an interesting one to get - the Optio is designed for one-handed operation, so I had one had for that & one for the paddle, but lining it up meant not keeping an eye out for the gusts that were getting stronger, so it was a good exercise in just letting the lower half of the body take care of balance & compensating for gusts & chop while I concentrated on steadying the camera, getting the shot lined up, and not letting my paddle blow away (I think that's the very first time in my entire paddling career that I actually thought "Hm, a paddle park might be a good idea" - usually I'm of the "just don't let it go in the first place" school of thought. That's also where cropping comes in handy, but I gotta say I did not do one thing to that picture to make it nice!

And speaking of pictures - the next day I got a ride to & a spare boat for a rolling session in CT courtesy of Greenland mentor Jack G. I ended up playing musical boats, which was kind of fun; failed to do anything wonderful but it was a good solid practice of the sort I've been missing this winter, and it was fun feeling how different boat fits & shapes affected my rolling. I am pleasantly sore today, between Saturday's small-craft advisory fun & Sunday morning rolling various sizes of boat I had a good workout. Afterwards was the really neat part, though - Jack & another friend from Yonkers, Pat, are working on boats in a studio she's got - it's a nice deal for both of 'em as it works out, he gets workspace to work on a boat (the Yonkers Paddling & Rowing Club used to have a workshop space but that was a temporary arrangement, nice while it lasted but they haven't got space right now, and their old boathouse is unheated so working there in the winter doesn't work too well), she gets mentoring, they both get new boats & everyone's happy. They invited me over to hang out & help out. I took some pictures, I lashed some joints (that was one thing Jack was able to teach me to do quite easily, plus it's eminently fixable had I screwed it up, I didn't but it was nice to know that if I had, it was no big deal), it was an awfully pleasant way to while away a chilly Sunday afternoon.

Finally headed for home about 6:30, and posted some pictures from the building session, one I liked of the interior of the Yonkers boathouse (that's it up top), and one from the pool session over on Buzznet (the last one is of the pool full of kayaks - that was one popular session!). Enjoy!

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