Monday, July 31, 2006

First days back at work DON'T rock (but dang, that workshop did).

Wellll, here it is 10 pm and I am just wrapping up this quarterly report I do for this not-for-profit organization - Really Big Children's Publishing House is probably their biggest member - once a quarter I have to fill out a questionnaire by a set of categories which our reporting systems do not provide in the particular format required. Lots of roundabout research & parsing things together & eventually I do get there but UGH, it's tough. It usually ends up being one of these things that I prefer to just do in one big lump - once I'm chugging along on it I do OK.

Anyways, I got it done & that was the biggest, ugliest chunk of work I came back to.

The nice thing - if you can call it nice - was that I knew it was going to be waiting. I worked enough extra hours getting ready to be away last week; this one was a little more than I was ready to deal with. Figured I'd knock it out today. I did, too. Boy, it was rough, though - I had such a nice active outdoorsy week last week, starting with Greenland-at-Sea Cliff & going on to NC, it was tough to sit myself down in my cubicle & get anything done. One big fidget, that was me. Think I finally hit my stride, oh, around 4:45 or so. Sigh.

Hopefully, though, having knocked this one out, my plate's clear enough to ensure my planned response to this ridiculous heat wave - rolling and rescue practice tomorrow after work! woo hoo! Time to go fall in the water repeatedly, see if any of the stuff I was doing with Cheri & Turner stuck. I find everything I do that involving the Greenland style rolling is a 3 steps forward, 2 steps back process - only a certain amount sticks each time - but as long as the cumulative effect is that I'm feeling like my skills are increasing & I haven't totally plateaued out (or worse, started to regress), I'm happy.

BTW , with everything I've had going on I haven't had much time to write about that workshop, and the way my summer is going I don't know if I'll even get back to it, but Mr. Sea Level has done a really nice post about the day - head on over there for a better writeup!

I think I made some jokes about how I organized that workshop out of purely selfish motivations - most of Cheri & Turner's workshops have been too far away for me to get to easily, so my schtick was that I just did it 'cause I wanted them to come to somewhere I could get to them - but seriously, I was so happy to be able to give 6 other friends the chance to do that too. I saw a lot of people doing a lot of amazing things that day - wasn't surprised, that was just what I'd expected and I really am happy to have had the day work out so well.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

N.C. ROCKS! So does ICE!

Just a few shots from the French Broad River. We did 2 day paddles, TQ brought his sister a new kayak that needed to be broken in, she had a great book that listed 50 paddles in Western NC, and we picked one that took us through the middle of the Biltmore Estate (fantastic paddle, peace & quiet & all sorts of wildlife - in addition to the deer & the groundhog, there were a lot of great blue herons, some smaller brown herons which I'll have to look up, kingfishers, and I even spotted a hummingbird!) the first day, then the next section the next day (not quite as quiet, never got far from the highway, but there were lots of fun little mini-rapids to play in).

Back to work on the schooner today. It was hot, and the lack of sailing over the last two weeks told when it was time to raise the sails. At least we had some decent breeze & were able to actually do some sailing. Had there not been a breeze, today would've been exactly the kind of day I always tell people about that makes working on the Adirondack a job, not a hobby - raising those big gaff sails is some fairly heavy work & when you know you're not even going to get any drive out of 'em, well, it feels WAY more worklike than when you at least know that in a minute the motor's going to be shut off & the boat's going to come alive.

I had a very middle-of-the-season moment today too - my morning was simply MADE when I went into Ruthy's to get the ice for the cooler and saw, there where the old non-functioning smaller ice machine used to be -

A Great Big Shiny NEW Ice Machine!

Woohoo! Woohoo! Yippeee!

See, one of the recurrent tasks that has to be done between each sail is getting ice to chill the beverages. During a heat wave, cold drinks are absolutely CRUCIAL to passengers having fun, and also help the crew not pass out from heat exhaustion. We have 4 big ice chests on the boat, and to chill the drinks properly usually takes at LEAST 2 fresh buckets of ice between each sail.

Ruthy's, the cafe right next to our dock at Chelsea Piers, has a big ice machine that we use - I think there's some co-ownership arrangement or something, even. Anyways, they've had the same one since I first started working on the schooner, and it just can't keep up with the demand when the temperature cracks 90. You'll go up there with the buckets & the guys at Ruthy's will just say "No ice". That means a run a couple of piers down to where the guys who run the Mariner & the Chelsea Screamer keep their ice machine - saves our necks but it's a LOT of extra exertion on a hot day. I was fully expecting that to be the case today, hence the extreme happiness over finding the NEW ice machine in addition to the old one - and between the two, there was plenty of ice for everyone ALL DAY! YAY!

It's the little things in for all when it's hotter-n-heck? Life is good!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Cheri & Turner at Sea Cliff

Cheri & F.


I slept SO well last night, and I am so pleasantly achey all over this morning - not I-need-advil sore, just I-used-these-muscles well sore.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Greenland paddling at Sea Cliff

Got to be a busy week last week. One of the things I was trying to make sure was all taken care of was wrapping up the final details for a Kayakways workshop I'd arranged for a bunch of people I paddle with. Packing up now for a semispontaneous (well, for me anyways) trip to North Carolina with TQ - plus I'm pooped, that was a serious day, especially when that Jamaica Bay trip was the last time I paddled (and the water was too icky to roll that day). But I thought that while I finish packing up, I could at least post some pictures of our absolutely wonderful day.

The day started out gray & cool - but after 2 straight days of pouring rain & thunderstorms, this looked pretty good!

By lunchtime, after a 3-hour morning rolling session, we were all very happy to discover that the lunch stand had hot chocolate!

By a little while after lunch, though, things had cleared up NICELY!

Hey, who's that guy?

New York Harbor from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway - end of a perfect day.

More pictures and maybe more writing to come. Maybe. Summer seems to be going by at runaway speed this year, though. Some of that is in a good way, though - just keeping busy with things I love doing.

A few days off is going to be lovely, though.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Why I don't rant much these days...

Or -
Why I Now
Only Rants
On Pants.

Perfect example today.

Over the last few years, under the Bush administration, we've had the country's top official legal minds figuring out how to ignore the Geneva Convention, and how to maintain a prison where people can be taken and held and tried in ways that the Supreme Court has now said isn't legal...and so on...

And then today Bush vetoes stem cell research and making a statement about it that includes the phrases "America must never abandon our fundamental morals", and " it also offers temptations to manipulate human life and violate human dignity. Our conscience in history as a nation demand that we resist this temptation."

And then I become very confused & depressed and decide that since I can't begin to figure out anything worth saying that I haven't seen written better in five hundred other places, and most of the people who visit probably just want to read about my water stuff, and so I go there instead.


Seriously - the headlines lately have just been too depressing, and I just don't have the free time it would take to write anything more than the insanely obvious "Wow, things just don't seem to be getting any better".

Anybody else get that same feeling these days?

OK. End of break. Back to work. Tons to do.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What THAT was all about...

We had the schooner crew middle-of-the-season party last night! I more or less had to behave myself 'cause today & tomorrow are pretty crucial days at the day job - but the champagne was definitely flowing freely!

The midseason party idea was actually inaugurated last year - Capt. Sarah and Rick the owner/builder put it together. I suspect Sarah was the originator of the idea - Rick's around a fair amount, but Sarah's the one who runs the office at Chelsea Piers & hears the most from the other skippers & the crew. This is the time of year when it starts getting really hot, and the boat is always full, and the full time staff is just working their posteriors off, and the end of the season seems like an awful lot of long, hot days away. A chance for the crew to go out & blow off some steam is a good morale booster. Last night was fun - we started out with drinks on the Manhattan (the new motor yacht - air conditioned, ooh lar lar!), then headed to the Ear Inn for dinner.

The Ear is a neat old pub in a landmarked building, the James Brown house, that dates back to 1817. Back when it was established, there was a good bit less of Manhattan, and the bar was right on the waterfront, so it was a hangout for longshoremen, so it's a perfect place for a bunch of hard-working boaters to go soak up the atmosphere (and a couple of pints, and some yummy Prince Edward Island mussels, smoked trout & halibut). They have paper tablecloths & crayons & we had far too much fun with that - in addition to the Name-The-Nonexistent-Band contest, we also played hangman (only it was a variety where the guy got fingers and hair, plus except for the first word, all the words were sorta limited to the nautical type, so nobody ever lost), and the owner's girlfriend, who's really creative, did the best caricature of the BACK of people's heads I've ever seen - well, actually this was the first caricature of the back of people's heads I've ever seen, but a couple of the guys on the crew have very distinctive hair & she captured their do's perfectly. I drew the schooner with a mermaid and a seasick passenger, and Capt. Rob added an inbound pink cannonball, and I think the woman who handles the catering for the motor yacht added a pirate flag...

Well, it was fun. The final event of the evening was supposed to be a movie...what movie? Need you ask? Arrrr...Pirates of the Caribbean II, of course - but first there was some cake, and more champagne, and official "Crew" cleaning shirts - see, the schooner gets a good cleaning & restocking at the start of each day, and you just sweat like a horse during that, so rather than mess up our crew shirts, we tend to wear grubby old t-shirts for that, then change. So the crew all got gray "Crew" shirts, and the captains all got "I Love My Crew" shirts - and then all the sudden, I'm not quite sure how, there was a mutiny and somehow the 2.5 (but FUN) hour movie was out the window and we ended up at the West Side Tavern.

This was the point at which yours truly had to admit that the days when I was capable of carousing until the wee small hours, yet still putting in a coherent appearance at the 9-to-5 the following day, are fading into the mists of the past (not that I was ever REALLY good at that, but there were some late nights). Easy to forget when hanging out with a rowdy & highly entertaining bunch of twentysomethings, but I listened to the voice of reason & opted for home. Glad I did, too, had a ton of work I had to accomplish today, and there will be another ton tomorrow.

I wonder how late the rest of 'em kept going - and I wonder how whoever had to work in today's heat felt! Ah well, they're all young and tough, I'm sure they hacked it.

Fun evening, though, and I was definitely still feeling a trifle on the kick-up-my-heels-ish side even by the time I got home. Hence last night's rather silly post!

Band Names...

As chosen by a rawther tipsy schooner staff on the hottest night of the summer so far (don't worry, no boats were harmed - or even involved, for that matter):

translation for those who can't quite make out Capt. R's crayoning:
The Sump Pumps
Boom Crutch (the skipper mis-heard this one - Boom Crush is not too bad either though...)
Angry Dolphin
Water Pump (crossed off list 'cause the other varieties of pump were far more interesting)
The Bilge Pumps
Blackwater Pump (we liked this one for the sheer yuckiness of it, particularly in light of the fact that only boaters know just how yucky that is...)
The Lazyjacks

Whaddayathink? Any bands out there looking for names? At this point our band roster stands at 1 real live classical guitarist, 2 tin whistle players and a couple of people who don't mind getting silly with a microphone in public, so I don't think we'll be using any of those too soon!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Open Question for Any Fashion Designers.

Not that I think a lot of fashion designers read this blog. But on the off chance any folks of that ilk happen to stumble across this, I would like to know -

What the EFF were you all smoking when you all decided that ALL slacks (pants, trousers, WHATEVERS) intended for sale to the female of the species should have waistbands that sit down around the coccyx or so?

Sorry, that may seem pretty random, but I have been going nuts as my older trousers for office wear have slowly been wearing out & getting closer & closer to NEEDING replacement. I don't like shopping anyways, and it's so annoying to go pick out something that looks, at first glance, like a reasonably conservative pair of pants & go put them on to find that they sit somewhere below the points of my hipbones. Ick. I work in a youthful industry - you do see the odd midriff around here, but I leave the midriff-baring to the cute little fresh-outta-college twentysomethings.

I'm just particularly cranky about this today because I'm crewing on the schooner tonight. I used to have a pair of Columbia Sportswear convertible pants that I liked to wear sailing. I bought them at Eastern Mountain Sports & with the zip-off legs, they were the BEST things for spring & fall, where it could get cold in the evening. Wore them 'til a knee ripped, then patched 'em & wore 'em some more until they just weren't presentable anymore. Well, tonight's crewing was a last-minute call (one of the crew hurt her hand badly yesterday, let the mainsail throat halyard jump off the winch - everybody gets told to watch out for that 'cause it ends up causing some severe rope burns on the hand, but almost everybody ends up doing it once...generally only once though, and I'm speaking from personal experience here...anyways, she's off now for a few days), and I don't have my khakis on today. So on my lunch hour, I decided I'd trot down to EMS & see if I could replace those much-missed pants. Walked in, there's a rack of khaki convertible pants. Yay. Tried on a pair in a size that usually either fits or is a little too big & there's my navel floating lost, cold, lonely and exposed high above the waistline.

Sheeeeeee-it. I'm going sailing, not clubbing. I will actually have to bend over occasionally & IMHO, plumber's cracks are universally unattractive, even on the youngest & hottest sorts, which I'm not. Pretty darned good for pushing 40 no no no. I did not buy those pants. There are passengers' feelings (and stomachs) to consider. No.

So then, not really to wanting to drop seventy-five bucks on a new pair of technospectrahypasupralon EMS Self-Bailing Adventure Pants of the non-convertible variety, I went to Old Navy hoping to find an inexpensive pair of khaki something-or-others - I wasn't gonna be picky, shorts, slacks, capris, whatever, I was out to buy...I swear that every khaki item bore a tag proudly proclaiming "Ultra Low Waist". Maybe 4 or 5 said "Low Waist". Not one single thing said "Waist Where Your Waist Is". I guess that is far too much to ask for.

since when did they decide that only teenyboppers, or people who want to look like teenyboppers, go shopping?

I guess I'm wearing my still-presentable black polyester office trousers to sail tonight. Can't wreck 'em 'cause they are apparently, until designers come down off of whatever it is they've all been high on for the last couple of years, irreplaceable.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Happy Planet Index

Ever heard of it? Me neither, until today! Pretty interesting stuff, you can check out their website here. You can find out what your own country's HPI is (the U.S. is of course not great), then take a survey that calculates your own personal HPI (happy to report that mine is considerably better than my country's, but I probably got about a zillion points for not owning a car & always taking public transportation). Fascinating stuff. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Jamaica Bay Early Full Moon Paddle

Way, way, WAY out in Brooklyn, on the Paerdegat Basin, you'll find the Sebago Canoe Club.

With the weather forecast for Friday looking actually non-cataclysmic for a change, I'd been thinking about paddling after work on Friday anyways, so when an invitation from my friend I. to go for an "Early Full Moon Paddle" at Sebago, where she's a member, turned up in my inbox, I jumped at it - and so somewhere around 7:30, she and I and a couple other members were ready to launch.

The great thing about paddling out of Sebago is that the Paerdegat Basin lets out into Jamaica Bay. Jamaica Bay is part of the Gateway Recreation Area, a 26,000 acre national park that includes areas in 3 New York City boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island) and northern New Jersey. The bay itself is a wildlife refuge, and quite an amazing one too, seeing as it's located in such a thoroughly urban area. You don't forget where you are when you're paddling out there - for starters, the planes rumbling overhead on their way into & out of Kennedy International Airport keep you from imagining entirely that you've been picked up & magically transferred to the Outer Banks of North Carolina - but at the same time, you can still just be transfixed with amazement as you paddle around the marshy islands of the bay with seabirds sweeping past (seagulls, terns and skimmers - I loved it when a skimmer flew past us then circled back & skimmed right past us with his lower beak cutting through the water) and fish scattering as you approach and horseshoe crabs doing their horseshoe-crabs-at-full-moon thing.

It's a beautiful place, but ailing. Over time, the islands and marshes of the bay have been shrinking. Our course around Ruffle Bar (one of the islands) took us past this odd-looking barge. This turned out to be a relay station for the marsh reclamation station that's now underway - they are pumping sand to replace some of what's been lost. The New York Times just happened to have a great article by Nicholas Confessore about the project yesterday, perfect timing to make me really enjoy seeing this!.

For those who might not be registered, or read this after the article has gone into the archives, here's a quote and some statistics from the article:

The project had to overcome some significant early resistance. During the 1990's, residents of Broad Channel, the island neighborhood that sits in Jamaica Bay between Howard Beach and the Rockaways, began noticing that the marshes they considered their backyard were shrinking. State environmental officials, however, were initially slow to agree.

"It took an enormous amount of arguing with the powers that be to convince those of us in government that there was a problem," Mr. Weiner said.

Satellite photography in the late 1990's showed conclusively that the marsh islands — there are 16 left in Jamaica Bay — were ebbing away, and that Elders Point would most likely go next. (Elders Point, once a single island of 132 acres, is now two islands totaling about 21 acres.)...

The restoration plan is financed by the Corps of Engineers, in connection with a $1.6 billion project to deepen New York Harbor, and by the Port Authority.

Yearly marsh loss: 50 acres
Time until marshes are gone, at that rate, with no action: 15 years
Cubic yards of sand (if I'm getting this right, the sand is coming from the harbor deepening project) added to Elders Point since start of project: 120,000
Number of acres of marsh to be added over next 2 years: 70 (ok & this is where my inner number cruncher is going "that's still a net LOSS of 15 acres a year" & feeling like it's better, but still...)
Length of sand-pumping pipeline from Floyd Bennett Field (where the sand is stored until mixed with water & pumped) to reclamation site: 3 miles
Number of marsh plants to be planted by hand over next 2 years: 900,000 (WOW).
Cost of project: $13 million.

I hope it works - Jamaica Bay is a wonderful place to have & it would be a tragedy if someday those islands, which provide a safe home for so many animals here where there are so many people, were gone.

As far as last night - we paddled around Ruffle Bar; the moon was rising as we headed out, not quite full but bright enough to sparkle on the water very beautifully as darkness fell. As we headed back, we could see the lights of Manhattan off in the distance - we landed close to 11 after a long rest to watch the Coney Island Friday night fireworks. Couldn't have been much nicer.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

More About the Bears

There is a story behind the bears - here's Brian's note!

The bears are part of a project from St. Mary´s School in New Mills, Derbyshire. They've been on the boat since the start, and there are lots of pictures of them doing interesting things (like going to the top of the mast) in
the "Schools" album in the photo gallery on the New York Clipper
website. Their names are Barnaby and Azraboa.

Too darned cute for words.

You can check out the amazing adventures of Barnaby and Azraboa (and Tigger and in fact the whole New York Clipper crew on their last leg, New York to Jersey*here!

(happysurfer's gonna LOVE that gallery - she's liking the ursines lately!)

*- ok, I have to admit that when I first saw that the last leg was NY to Jersey, my knee-jerk reaction was "Sheesh, what kind of lame-o last leg is that???!!" - then I realized that it wasn't the NEW Jersey they were talking about, but what my friend O, who's from there, calls "the ORIGINAL Jersey" - across the pond, what what?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

It's the Safe Boating Bears (and a pretty schooner!)

Here, courtesy of my friend Brian, is a way-too-cute shot of a couple of wise young teddy bears enjoying a little safe boating on Fourth of July. See those PFD's? Smart bears. There was just the wildest debate over PFD's on the NYCKayaker list serve of which I'm a member -- came down to the safety squad vs. the personal freedom squad - it got heated enough that I was reminded of the good old bad old days when I first thought up the word "frogma"! Our list manager totally cracked me up today - things got fervent, but pretty much stayed within the bounds of acceptable behavior, so he'd let the whole thing play itself out & today said something along the lines of "Well, that was inspirational - it inspired a whole bunch of people to unsubscribe".

We've had a couple of these lately - the other really weird one was over how the Clearwater Festival would be so much better if it was a free hip-hop concert in Long Island City...OK, I am maybe exaggerating here but there was definitely a weird little flap over that. Think all the rain is giving people a spot of cabin fever - there's definitely a direct correlation between people not getting out & list serve flame wars. Actually part of why I started this blog was to stay out of those!

Anyways. Might elaborate on my thoughts on both of those as they certainly elicited a lot of thoughts. Not tonight though - those are both posts that will require a little consideration. Just for starters, I can't quite claim that I never paddle without a PFD. There was one time,in fact,that I think it made a certain situation I found myself in simpler to get out of (that was when I earned the title "Queen of the Manistee" among the Michigan/Ohio branch of the family - yep, now that's definitely worth a post). Wouldn't catch me without one on the Hudson or anywhere in New York Harbor, though - I'm a good paddler, I know my abilities, I know my turf, I have a solid roll & self & assisted rescue skills, but y'know, if I get hit by a speedboat or something, and am knocked unconcious or worse, rendering all those years of training & practice utterly moot, I want to make darned sure that I at least retain the ability to float.

Back to the Fourth -

The bears are out for a ride on the New York Clipper, the boat from which Brian sent those reports I was posting back in April & May. They had a press sail on the Fourth - I loved this picture, gives a good sense of scale - the Adirondack is one of the bigger sailboats in the harbor & usually appears quite large and stately - well, here, she's still stately, but looking a little smaller than usual!
Yes, this was one of those weekends that we couldn't say that the Adirondack is the fastest sailboat in New York Harbor.

I missed all that though, and the Macy's Fourth of July fireworks - had the nicest offer to go camping in the Norwalk Islands in Connecticut, and as I think I may have mentioned, that's exactly what I did on Monday & Tuesday.

Sailing on Sunday when the wind was good for sailing - paddling on Monday & Tuesday -watching the official fireworks from four towns, and less-official-looking fireworks from all, and fiddler crabs, and plovers and egrets and terns (oh my...), and a class of tiny sailboats practicing getting out of irons (at first glance, out of the corner of my eye, I thought it was a regatta but then I actually looked at them & realized that every sail in the fleet was luffing, TQ said it was probably a class, and sure enough, they drifted close by each other for a little while, then started their exercise - one by one, the one who was at the front would back their sail, got underway, sail around to the back of the group & rejoin the queue)- plenty of jumping in the Sound to cool off - racing a thunderstorm back into Norwalk after a stroll around Shea Island - plus a nice lazy day at home on Saturday - it was the most wonderful Independence Day weekend I can remember in a long time!

Somehow didn't get around to taking any pictures...well, I suspect I'll be up there again.

Hope all the U.S. readers had a fabulous Fourth & that everybody else had a happy & safe weekend too!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Too tired for anything but pretty pictures...

But as pretty pictures go I thought these were nice. We had a little pre-Fourth fireworks action in the form of a good thunderstorm - I'd just finished working on the schooner and gone over to the barge to watch the storm. Ran into friends there so got a drink, hung out, and eventually as the storm cleared out we we rewarded with a spectacular sunset.
Photo Hosted at

As far as the sailing - well, it was a hot day (some watermelon materialized at one point and I have no words to explain how good that watermelon tasted - imho, watermelon is THE ABSOLUTE BEST THING when you've been sweating buckets all day, and ladies don't glow when the ladies in question are sailors on a hot day, we SWEAT) - the sailing rocked though, good solid wind, we got the sails up first thing on both sails & didn't have to motor at all until it was time to drop at the end. We had the rail in the water on both sails - it's always fascinating to do that, the Adirondack is a good-sized boat & I can't remember how many pounds of lead she's got in her keel - the builder did tell me one time though & it was an impressive amount. All that weight is resisting the heeling force & trying to keep the boat right-side up - when we do heel that far, you can almost feel the struggle between the wind pushing on the sails, and the boat resisting, but gradually going down until the water comes up on the deck. Makes for an exciting sail for the passengers. Oh yeah, and it was All-Girl Crew Sunday! There are a number of other women besides me that work on the boat, and every now & then the rotation comes around to a situation like today where it was me & Capt. Kat (crewing today, she still crews sometimes) & Capt. Michelle. That's always fun, 'cause people just aren't expecting it. And we do a pretty good job if I may say so myself.

The one thing I was a little bummed out about was - no sign of catamarans (and I have to apologize to all the Prindles and other makes, I did the knee-jerk "Hobie cats!" the other day when there ARE other kinds). The forecast was a little on the dicey side - small craft advisory, possibility of severe thunderstorms - that didn't come through until probably WELL after they would've gotten back to Sandy Hook, but that stretch across the Lower Harbor is a long one & maybe they didn't want to risk being caught out there. Of course the other possibility is that with that fantastic wind they did their zipping-past-the-statue before we even left on our 1:00 - Alex, if you're reading, fill us in!

Did get one nice picture of a sailboat though - here's the sloop Clearwater - worth checking out their website if you aren't familiar with the Clearwater organization. Folk singer Pete Seeger founded the group & is still very involved - it's a neat program, they take groups out (focusing on schoolkids although grownup groups can book trips too) and teach them about the river. Think all us recreational users owe Mr. Seeger a debt of gratitude for doing so much to increase awareness long before kayaking became such an in thing.
Photo Hosted at

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Pier 63 update -

I think I'd mentioned that the June 7th eviction date came & went & nothing happened? Well, I went for a short paddle yesterday & while I was there, I asked somebody who's in a position to know what was going on & he told me that BasketBall City & the police horses had worked out an extension until November. So hurrah, we've got at least the rest of the summer & fall before things change.

About the paddle - I did my most basic after-work paddle of down to Battery Park City & back. When there's an ebb, this favored route of mine contradicts local conventional wisdom of doing the outbound paddle against the current & the homeward leg with, which is smart, particularly for trips involving beginners, 'cause that way if anything happens, you've got the current helping you get home. However, the route I do avoids the ferry terminal, which I just don't like messing around with at rush hour, and there are a couple of places en route that I could get out if for some bizarre reason I had to. Anyways, that's all a little beside the point. The actual point was - you know how I'd recently mentioned reports on the yahoo group that the hold crew uses for trip planning that the runoff was making for a strong ebb? Well, it was powerful - the water was running so fast that there were almost whitewater-y features out there - eddies behind pilings that I was able to park my bow in & quit paddling, eddylines at pierheadw where you could slide up to the pier inside the eddylines & then get your boat to spin like a pinwheel (granted, a 16-foot pinwheel with a total weight in the vicinity of 200 pounds spins in a more stately fashion than some sparkly little toy...) by just nosing your bow across the line & letting that downstream current grab it - whee! Quite entertaining. Even a few standing waves around some of the piers - tempting though it was, I didn't stick around & play more 'cause I was meeting a friend for dinner & the trip back took a bit longer than planned - definitely some feistier than usual water out there after our drenching.