Monday, August 04, 2008

Trip Report, Mid-July open paddle at Sebago Canoe Club (plus Hey, Free Paddling in the Brooklyn Bridge Park!)

Here are some more pictures from my Sebago weekend a couple of weekends ago. These were from one of our Open Paddles – I mostly don’t lead these because I work hard, I can get insomnia when I’m stressed (and this has been a stressful year in a couple of ways), and I’m generally not a morning person. Absence of alarm clock noise is a key feature in my personal concept of “relaxing weekend”. However, Sebago does 2 of these every week, and we’ve got a stalwart member who does the thankless task of making sure each & every one has a sufficient number of qualified leaders. This particular weekend, we were getting pretty close to the day, B’s pleas were getting more plaintive, and for once I had no excuse other than pure laziness so I finally said I’d do it – but I also mentioned that I’d need some good help because I haven’t done this this year.

Who I got was Minh (our fleet captain, knows the boats better than just about anybody, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when he volunteered, a big part of making a beginner trip go well is getting the right people in the right boats, and when you’ve got the fleet captain on your team, well, that’s suddenly not such a worry!) and Prof. M. – a very nice team & a good one to work with, I may have been the official trip leader but it felt like a cooperating team of equals.

This was a fun one, we had Don Riepe, the founder of our regional branch of the American Littoral Society & the society’s official Jamaica Bay Guardian as our guest speaker. He knows an amazing amount about the ecology of the bay.

We had calm conditions & a pretty evenly-matched group & I think everyone had a pleasant day. We took the group to the nearby salt marsh, a nice destination for a beginner group & a good spot for a talk about salt marshes, shellfish, bird life & any number of other items.

Don told us lots (here, he’s talking about oysters & clams).

Birder Prof. M identified a number of birds for us, as well. That's her behind the field glasses. I think she's looking for the marsh wren she heard singing.

Entertaining moment in the salt marsh – Prof M. & I were standing next to the little outlet channel of the marsh, looking at the clear flowing water. She said “If I were a kid, I’d have to jump in & float that”. I, of course, had been looking at the water & thinking “Gee, it’s hot, I want to jump in & float that”, so that was just the extra impetus I needed. In I went, classic feet-first moving water float down ‘til I ran aground. Felt GOOD. A number of people followed my lead!

This went on for a little while. Nice activity for a hot day!

We call this area the "Horse Beach" because it's frequented by people out of a nearby stable. I would love to do this sometime (it is open to the public), but I've heard the people there aren't very nice, and they have, in the past, tried to tell kayakers they aren't allowed to land here. But it still looks like fun.

The leader told the group "Keep their heads up, don't let them roll!" Wonder if they ever bring them out bareback when it's hot & let them have a good cool-down...

All in all, an awfully nice way to spend a hot morning, even if it did involve an alarm clock going off.

The nap in the hammock made up for that, too

Like to join one of these open paddles? No experience required, just check out the basic instructions on the Sebago Canoe Club website!

Oh, hey, and for those for whom Canarsie is a trek - how about free paddling in the Brooklyn Bridge Park? Not through Sebago, this was one of those random reroutes of a train of thought, but seems like a spectacular location to try things out (just don't go chasing waterfalls, OK ;D).

No comments: