Sunday, August 27, 2006

Shamefully late first surfski run of the year...

I watched the weather forecast yesterday, so this was no surprise.

Yes, this is a picture taken from the salon of a schooner that did not sail today.

I rather wilfully did not call prior to going in, though. I could have, but I had a Plan B. I packed my kayak clothes. It's great having kayaks one pier up from the Adirondack - if I plan things right, I always have a backup. I'd opted to stay home & read yesterday (got a new book, 1776 by David McCullough - fascinating reading about those pivotal early battles that happened right here where I live, so I can actually picture where they were & even, to a certain extent, what the scene may have looked like), so by today I was really interested in getting out on the water one way or another.

And looking out at the calm-looking water - there were riffles where the wind was brushing it, but very little chop - I realized that I finally had the time, the inclination, and the conditions to pull out my poor neglected surfski.

The funny thing about keeping boats in a rusty old steel barge is that the barge produces a slow, but steady, flow of rust flakes. I get out often enough in my Romany that it never gets too bad - but since my surfski lives on the top level, right below the deck, and ends up getting put away for the entire winter (and this, yikes, a shameful amount of the summer, too - I can't believe it was the end of August before I pulled it out this year, usually it makes it's first appearance a little while after the drysuit's made it's last appearance - I've been even busier than usual, though, this year), it comes out of winter storage in desperate need of a bath:

Had an awfully nice spin on it - just an hour or so, long enough to get over that wobbly feeling & the tendency to slap-brace at every puff of wind or minor wake. I actually love rainy days on the river - it's so quiet, and you have the place all to yourself. I didn't go anywhere today, just around in a whole lot of circles and oblongs and figure-eights between Pier 63 & Pier 62, then down a couple of piers to the golf driving range at Pier 59, then back up looping in between piers, but it was still a really nice way to while away the time I had before I needed to be back at the schooner - the rain got harder and harder while I paddled, and I suspected the 3:30 would be off too, but you have to go be ready on the off chance you get a bunch of die-hard sailing enthusiasts - 6 brave souls & we'll go.

Here's my surfski looking a LOT happier. Oh, see the yellow thing out there? the one that might or might not look like a giant rubber ducky?

That would be a giant rubber ducky. Hey, it's a strange place, the Rustbucket...

Naturally the 3:30 did get cancelled. We did have to prep the boat, as we ended up having 8 people who didn't bother calling, just didn't show up - if they had, we would've gone. As it is, well, less work for the Monday staff.

Capt. Michelle had already cancelled the 8:30; I'd called Chris, who was supposed to come relieve me at 6, and told him I'd hang out & work the 6:00 in the unlikely event that it actually happened. He took me up on that. Capt. Michelle suggested we go get a bite to eat & sit "somewhere fun". We went over to the barge - Sticks was over there, had had the same thought I did that it would be nice to paddle for a couple of hours in the rain. I asked him to pose with the ducky...

While I was doing that, the skipper & the first mate had discovered that the bar & grill were sort of on the closed side, so we headed on over to the Half King, where we continued to behave as though we were actually sailing (i.e., no beer). Finally, by 4:30, after a couple of calls - that sail got cancelled too. Oooh, did somebody say "heffelweissen?"

Sort of a washout of a day - but a nice one. Think I was ready for it.

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