Thursday, April 03, 2008

Three-Trip Conglomerated Trip Report.

OK, jeeze, these go back to February. And it's April now (4/3 note - and I actually did this slapped-together post in the wee small hours a couple days ago, budget season at work means crazy hours, and then I remembered about the arsenal thing & put that up instead. Time to just get 'em up already...

President's Day weekend - TQ took a Sunday off, and of course we both had Monday both off, so we paddled together 2 days in a row. Unusual treat.

Sunday, we paddled with a friend we'd been running into at the Greenwich pool sessions - he'd suggested it & we both jumped at it.

I think this was the most ice I saw all winter. Yes, there's ice there. A skin. It melted by the time we got back, and I prefer to do my rolling at the end of a trip when it's chilly, so although I've been testing my mettle (or masochism, or something) by rolling every month of the winter, I missed my one chance to say I rolled in water with ice in it. That's really cold. (p.s. note later - Mettle? I have no mettle. I am wimp. Here's mettle.. Brr!

It was just a nice straightforward 10-mile paddle with a lunch break on one of the islands. Here, we're passing Sprite Island, site of a club that's very busy all summer. This day, we had the place to ourselves (if I had a dime for every time I'd said that about a winter paddle I'd have at least enough for a beer, I bet).

Saw this cable layer while we were on the beach at Shea Island having lunch. This reminds me that the word is that that Broadwater LNG platform has apparently been given a green light. Seems too bad seeing how much community resistance there was. This reminds me of that because we were sitting on the beach, and this boat was very noticeable, and I couldn't help think how much more noticeable Broadwater's going to be - the promoters of the thing have apparently said that it'll be so far out in the Sound, no one will notice it - well, TQ says we won't see it in Norwalk, but the people further up the sound? I bet they'll notice it.

Next day was President's Day. Originally, we'd planned to go to Howard Beach (surprise surprise :D), but then the forecast looked like this:


The group I paddle with in the winter is solid, everybody's pretty skilled, but with conditions like that, none of us is so goal-oriented that we're going to insist on making it to the original destination when the trip back was so predictably going to be an upwind slog. We left things open-ended 'til we got to the club; we looked at the conditions, and we decided to switch directions, slog out & get blown home.

It was pretty feisty. By the time I discovered that I'd put the battery in my camera backwards, I'd already been thoroughly misted with salt spray breaking over my bow, hence no pictures - too much salt water flying around to open the watertight battery compartment.

Originally we set out heading for the Goethals Memorial Bridge - but we stopped a half-mile or so short of that to take advantage of the shelter of one of the big seaplane ramps at Floyd Bennett Field. We had a pretty good lunch, considering that plans had been so loose - there was turkey jerky, and hot cider and tea, and homemade beer bread & some wonderful cheddar (the Paddling Chef is always far too good to us), and my yuppie gorp (cashews, coconut & dried tropical fruit instead of the usual Good Old Raisins & Peanuts) & some of the chocolate TQ gave me for Valentine's Day - we ate well there on the blustery beach! The whole time we were eating , the wind was picking up just as forecast - I'd made noises about going on to the bridge but when we came out from behind the ramp, I stopped! We headed for home & oh my, I think that was some of the best surfing I've ever done in sheltered water. Not breakers, just really nice, smooth, 2 foot swells that kept the boating just leaping along. Faaaaabulous. Absolutely the right decision to go into the wind, have a light lunch & then catch a good wave-driven rocket ride home, instead of getting blown to Howard Beach, stuffing our faces & then having to claw our way over every inch of the trip home.

Most entertaining thing about the day after the long sweet surf was the weather - it was to warm for snow but we had a little bit of everything else. Started out overcast, then it rained, then when we stopped for lunch it got gorgeous & sunny as the wind picked up, then the fog rolled in, then the fog rolled out - dramatically in flux. Fun since we knew what we were going out in - I think the whole trip was 7 miles, really short for the winter but we were all totally satisfied.

Finally, a few weeks later in March - President's Day, the weather forecast was pretty much dead-on - this day, I think they were talking 10-15 kts gusting to 20, but this time that was a bit of an overstatement - it was maybe 10 kts when we set out & then it just died & turned into weather I almost could have taken out my surfski in! This was the time we went to Howard Beach & I took the food picture I posted in the "Why We Like to Paddle to Howard Beach". I was actually rolling to cool down on the way home - these warmer days in late winter to early spring can be the trickiest to dress for, the folks I paddle with, we all like to be in drysuits at least 'til the water's over 50 degrees - but I'd dressed for cooler conditions because of the breeze that wasn't actually there. Always easier to cool off than warm up.

Chasing geese down the Howard Beach basin...
Our takeout in Howard Beach. This trip gets a little trickier in the summertime when these docks are a little more populated - but right now, it's just us enjoying this incredible day.

Home again - naturally this is the kind of weather that makes K-1 racers deliriously happy, so there's Sylvie the Dog waiting for us - we're not as good as Joe, but she was still happy to welcome us home.
There we go, all caught up!

No comments: