Thursday, April 13, 2006

Robbin's Reef, 04/09/06

Here's the rest of last Sunday's fun. Tuesday's pictures were actually the last quarter, not the last half - I didn't pull out the camera 'til we were down at Robbin's Reef. So here's the 3rd quarter.

Here we are at the Robbin's Reef Light. It's a little ways north of Staten Island. The paddle from the Statue of Liberty down here is nice because you are travelling down an area called the Jersey Flats, which ranges from four to ten feet deep at mean low water. Here's a chart of the area Maptech (I love Maptech, Maptech is cool) - I've fiddled around with centering on this one so you can see Liberty Island on the upper edge, over to the right, and the Robbin's Reef Light at the bottom edge. Channels have been dredged through for access to the marine terminals in Jersey, but those are all extremely clearly marked so if you know where they are & how the buoys run, you can mostly put yourself in areas where the "big guys" just aren't going to go. I try to never let myself NOT be keeping a lookout when I'm paddling, but there are different levels of alertness & over the flats, the eyes in the back of the head can ease up a little & that's nice. There's one thing about the history of the Robbin's Reef light that I like - the keeper of the light from 1894 - 1919 was a woman by the name of Kate Walker. You can read her story (and more about the Robbin's Reef Light) at Worth a visit. Found myself imagining her coming out of the lighthouse & inviting us to stop in for a cup of tea or something. Although from the sound of it she would've been just as likely to join us in her rowboat & show us all a thing or three about how to move a small boat!

Back to the present - here's Port Liberte, New Jersey. Strangest place. It's a luxury housing development - with canals, so everyone who wants gets to have their boat practically at their doorstep. Sounds neat, but it's this weirdly isolated-feeling place - if I could have sent my camera up on a balloon, you'd see an industrial landscape just on the other side of these condominiums.

Makes for a nice leg-stretch/energy-bar break though.

Here's a comb jelly, one of a whole school that was drifting past. Maybe not as spectacular as a seal or a porpoise, but it's still a living animal & proof that the Hudson's made huge strides since the bad ol' pre-Clean-Water-Act days. And there's a sort of neat thing about these guys that I would've had to be extremely lucky to catch with a camera - if you watch them for a while, when they catch the light just right every now & then, you'll see a flash of iridescent sparkles run down their ribs. Very attractive in a quiet comb-jelly sort of way.

Looked back up from the comb jellies to find that the leg stretch/energy bar break had moved into Phase II & become a doze-in-the-sun break...those energy bars were clearly misnamed.

After that, we headed for home. Good paddle. Got another nice one planned this weekend too - picnic lunch on the Palisades, then burgers on the barge. Aaaah, Spring!

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