Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Number 1 Reason Why Carrier Pigeons are Better than E-Mail.

Because when you send something that is likely to cause confusion & misunderstandings by carrier pigeon, there's at least a chance it will get eaten by a cat before it gets to its' destination.

I'm. Just. Sayin'.

ps - as long as I'm posting, here, might as well link to an extremely interesting USA Today article. Sort of like an expanded version of the Coast Guard press release I posted not long ago. Thank you David at Never Sea Land (best mermaids anywhere!) for the heads-up. Here in fact is the email I sent him in response - as I say in the very first paragraph, I don't have time for coherent commentary but as incoherent commentary goes, the rest of the email wasn't too bad...

ohhhh...I'll definitely post it. Thanks for the link. Work's crazy so I won't have time to come up with a coherent commentary. This is definitely in the same vein as that Coast Guard press release I posted the other day.

A friend of mine in the CG Auxiliary told me that the Coast Guard is really going to be focusing a lot more on paddlecraft this year. I asked him if they'd considered making a more kayak-specific Boating Safety course (the current one is very motorboat-centric) - that's not on the drawing board, but what they ARE going to be doing is establishing much closer contact with the people who sell the kayaks.

Most actual kayak shops are already very aware of giving prospective buyers a rundown
of the risks & what you can do to allay them (take classes take classes take classes & never assume that you aren't going in the water), offering lessons & having plenty of literature on hand about clubs, boating safety, rules of the road etc. Those places are all going to welcome whatever the Coast Guard wants to do to help them spread the message.

It's actually the Wal-Marts & Sam's Clubs where I wonder what sort of reception the Coast Guard is going to get - I imagine it's going to be along the lines of "Huh?"

A lot of kayaks these days are designed to be very, very beginner-friendly, but that turns into a huge problem when they're just easy-to-use enough to get that beginner out into a situation where conditions turn rough & the poor beginner suddenly discovers that they don't have the skills to handle it.

You occasionally hear sitatops described as "idiot-proof". Unfortunately, "idiot-proof boat" is an oxymoron!

Sebago Rock Garden & Open House.

There will be no time for a real post here today, but I put up some pictures of the rock garden that a couple of the Sebago gardeners have been making beautiful, plus some rhododendroms that were looking lovely a couple of weeks ago, at the Sebago blog.


And there's now full info on the club's Open House on the Sebago website! Come check us out!

OK, gotta run!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Some More Kayak Races

Well, can't really start writing about the writing reading (or would that be the reading of writings) at THIS hour of night. Yes, work dragged on a bit & then there's, oh, food, and housework that patiently waited while I amused myself to the hilt all weekend. So no time for musing on the wonderfulness of the Writing New York Story readings tonight. I'll just say they were all great & I hope Jack does it again sometime.

Oh, yeah, and the instructor apparently starts his class with Carol Anne's Where I'm From exercise, which was fun.

Anyways, musing time got cut by day to day necessity, but since I was just going on about my Race Curse, here are some kayak races I've heard about or know about besides the one I'm in on Saturday.

I'm going to start with the one with the wonderful artwork you see above, which I found when one of the organizers, Ural Talgat, left a comment in the Williamsburg Bridge post. I actually love this artwork, it reminds me of a favorite poster I had in college which was called "Maine Currents" - similar black & white woodblock print effect, with swirling water full of seals and fish and kelp, very nice to have on the wall there in landbound Walla Walla Washington. Unfortunately since I was in college it got thumbtacked & taped to a few too many walls & got past being worth keeping - but I did like that poster. And I lke this one, which is the poster for a 10K race to (copying now!) introduce to the public the "Nature Kayak Trail System", which circumnavigates Greenport. The proceeds to help implementation of signage at trail heads/creeks and to help improve boater awareness. That's on June 14th on the North Fork of Long Island, barbecue afterwards - a little too far outside my turf for me to really think of going (plus chances are I've probably committed to SOMETHING that day - can't believe how much of the summer feels spoken for already), but it sounds like a lot of fun for a good cause. For full details, visit the Kayak Greenport website.

One other big race date for 2008 was announced recently on a couple of the email lists I'm on - the Mayor's Cup Manhattan Circumnavigation kayak race (at 26 miles you could quite properly call it a marathon) will be on October 18th (with a series of training races beforehand).

A couple other somewhat lower-key races also happen in the Fall -

there's Johnny Miller Adventures' GoZero races in Beacon. 3 events on Sunday, September 21st - 9 miles, 2 miles, and a 9 mile non-competitive "rally" for the non-competitive paddler who just wants to join in the fun on a lovely piece of the Hudson. Post race party, Johnny's a good guy, again this is one that's ooooohhh so slightly outside of anything I could call "an easy commute" - but I couldn't resist giving it a plug as long as I'm listing races.

Then of course there's the Soundkeeper's Lighthouse to Lighthouse. This one's actually not in NY at all, but it's in my OTHER favorite paddling territory, Norwalk Harbor. It's on September 13th, and I see an interesting change they are making this year - in the interest of allowing a wider range of paddlers to participate, this year, for the first time, they'll have 2 count 'em 2 courses - the normal 14 miles, and a new 7 miles. Now the last two years, I had conflicts, but this year TQ & I are going to see about maybe working out our schedule so we can come out and play instead of hearing about how much fun (or lack thereof) our friends had after the fact.

Last of the kayak races I know about, and possibly the most novice-friendly race in New York - yes, can't leave out the annual Harrison Street Regatta, being run this year on August 3rd. From the Downtown Boathouse website: This is our annual fun-race and BBQ that is held every year at the Boathouse. It is the highlight of the paddling season. We hold a race from Pier 96 to near our 72nd St. dock and back. The winner is the 2nd boat to cross the finish line. The race is open to all human-powered craft. All participants are entered in a drawing for boating-related prizes. Our fleet of public kayaks is available for use, or bring your own boat. Come at 1:00PM to register, the Race Starts at 2:00PM at Pier 96. A BBQ is held after the race at our the boat house. Everything including the food and soft drinks is 100% free.

That's the DTBH spiel - I will add that the year I went in this one, some serious racers went in it and chose to race it seriously, so the 2nd place thing didn't work the usual havoc - but I've heard that when everyone in the race chooses to respect that the 2nd boat across IS the actual WINNER, it makes for quite the entertaining scene - mad dash, then everybody pulls up to a dead stop at the finish line & jockeys until somebody can't stand it anymore & busts across the line, at which point pure mayhem ensues. And then there's a barbecue. And all free following Downtown Boathouse tradition. Did a post about it with a couple of pictures & links to more last year - you can check that out here.

I'm sure there's a lot more I'm missing but I'm just going to close with 2 NON-kayak type races -

First off, there's the ORIGINAL Really Big NYC-area paddling race - the all-outrigger 2008 Liberty Challenge - that's on Saturday, June 28th -

and then again zipping out to Fall, and moving to SAILBOATS! - yes, October 1-5 is New York Classic Week the week that makes me wish I still worked on the schooner Adirondack (although oooh, come to think of it, my racing curse even kicked in there one year - yes, Pioneer and/or Adirondack friends, the truth might as well be known - that whole debacle was probably attributable to my being on board. Sigh!

Well, that's all I can think of right now - of course if you're in the tri-state area & are running one of the many many MANY races I don't know about, feel free to leave a note in the comments!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Saturday Solo (Slightly Stupid, But I Survived) - also Race Curse, and Why I Missed the Sebago Season Opener

Last week sort of fell apart on me in various ways, which led to a Wednesday night date with TQ in Brooklyn transforming into a Friday night date in CT. Interstate dating does require a certain amount of flexibility - fortunately we both do work where occasionally things happen that aren't under our control but do require our attention, so we're patient with each other. Anyways, Friday night date in CT leads to uncertainty as to time of return to Brooklyn on Saturday, which meant that if I wanted to paddle (which I did, as my Tuesday bridge walk was otherwise my main exercise in a deskbound week), it was gonna have to be with team Me Myself & I, as I couldn't possibly ask anyone else to work around my totally unpredictable schedule.

Looking at the conditions, it was pretty marginal for solo paddling - winds 15 knots, gusting to 20, maybe more.

Fortunately the water's warmed up (I can't get over how fast, too, it's in the 60's now - J-bay's so shallow, it changes FAST), and the temperatures have continued to be in the appropriate 60's. Decided to go for it - I'm actually signed up for that 3-mile fun race out at Empire Kayaks on Saturday. I'm hoping to get out for a couple of paddles over the week, but if I can't pull that off, I really didn't want to turn up at a race when I hadn't paddled for 2 weeks!

Proper clothing gets to be an interesting call this time of year. Based on water & air temps alone, I would have opted for farmer jane wetsuit, long sleeve wetsuit top & a windbreaker. I'm more than ready to leave the drysuit home (wonderful though my TQ gift one is, it is still a drysuit) - but with the additional factor of some serious wind, I decided that it wasn't time to leave that at home just yet.

That was a good call - by the time I paused about a quarter mile outside the basin to try to get a shot that would show all the whitecaps & Joe here shot past me on his surfski,

I was pretty much drenched by the spray from my bow crashing through the chop. Joe of course was making me feel like a whuss - it wasn't so much that he passed me like I was standing still (well, I was, how else would I have taken his picture) as that he was out on his surfski & mine hasn't touched the water yet this year. But then that's because Joe is a serious racer (and a REAL writer, if you've read a Canoe & Kayak article about the Molokai race, he probably wrote it) while I am going in this race next weekend pretending I don't care to the point that I'm doing it in my slow boat, ha ha won't this be fun, because I am convinced I have a racing curse.

Why? Because I've gone in 2 serious races on a surfski & both were utter disasters. 1st one I'd trained for, but it was fall & the rudder on the surfski I'd borrowed picked up every leaf & branch it hit. Never knew what was going on either - I'd feel the drag, I'd pull over too see what I'd picked up, and there'd be, like, one blade of eelgrass. I'd start paddling again, the boat would zip nicely for a few minutes, then start dragging again. The finish line was a bridge, and Eric & everybody else was standing on the bridge waiting for me to come in (DFL by like half an hour, I think) - they all saw me coming slogging along, oozing misery & dejection from every pore, burst out laughing, and Eric yelled "YOU'RE DRAGGING A TREE!". And of course the minute I stopped, the water pressure that kept everything fixed tight to the rudder was released & they'd all go fluttering away. That was on the Delaware-Raritan Canal canoe & kayak race.

The other one that made me really decide it was a curse was one I went in in Hawaii one year - Bob Twogood had fixed me up with an Offshore, a nice stable but fast ski - it had gotten blown off a rack & damaged, I'd rented a Scupper Pro in the meantime, but he managed to get it fixed by race day - yay!

Except that I somehow didn't hear about the pre-race meeting where they said all the surfskis were going in the first wave, ended up being a little slow getting on the water as my dad & I improvised a tether (I don't think PFD's were required, but they did require that you be attached to your boat) & was heading out as the first wave went. Didn't realize it was MY wave until the outriggers saw me & starting yelling "THE SURFSKIS ARE GONE!" - I bolted to them all yelling GO GO GOOOO! Actually picked off a couple, too, but then rounding Flat Island, there's a beautiful little surf break...and I'd been surfing the same break the day before in the Scupper Pro sitatop, paddle steering, and without thinking I just twisted, dropped the blade in behind me, and BOOM. Game over dude, you do not paddle steer when surfing on a surfski. Then an outrigger canoe coming on the next wave ran me over. Somehow I failed to be DFL that time but 2 in a row sort of took the wind out of my racing aspirations.

So this time, I'm thinking maybe a fun race in the boat I've been paddling all winter, instead of tempting that curse by getting all competitive & taking my surfski (which I put away for the winter with a not-quite-fixed rudder after bashing it into a sandbar during what turned out to be the last surfski run of the fall, anyways), might be a good way to stick a toe back in that water...

But I'd really like to NOT be DFL, which was the whole point of why I was out on my own on a day when yes, I probably would have been happier with a couple of friends along. Of course the nice thing about Jamaica Bay for borderline paddles like this is that you can make it not so borderline by hugging the shore, which I did. Um, mostly!

Winds were SE. Hugging the shore means heading about due south for the first 3.25 miles, so that leg I seriously had to earn & it was something like work. Hanging a right at the corner of Floyd Bennett, the last 3/4 of a mile were west - that meant a bit of a current & a bit of a surf. Nice break.

I'd originally thought I'd like to head on a ways beyond the bridge, I changed my mind because I didn't much like the looks of this:

Thought it might be smarter to get my solo okole back to the Paerdegat wikiwiki like.

Of course I immediately had to earn back every inch of that 3/4 mile that had been a nice break when I turned around & went the other way. Against the current - not much current in Jamaica Bay compared to what I used to see on the Hudson, but this being the mouth of the bay, this is where you feel it the most.

Got around the corner & then I was dealing with the one condition I find the most annoying in the Romany. In general, compared to a lot of boats, the Romany really shines in a following sea - it loves to surf - but it's also kind of short, with lots of rocker, so it also broaches pretty readily. Paddling the shoreline meant due north w/wind continuing from SE. If you picture the boat on a clock face, with the bow at 12 and the stern at 6, the swells were coming in from about 4:30, which meant all kinds of edging & other labor to keep the boat heading north when it really wanted to swing to the east with every push.

Sticking with that plan was going to be doable, but dull, and I knew that if I just went over towards Ruffle Bar, the waves would be a little more astern & that would be fast & fun.

Well, I was warmed up, I was doing fine, there were people fishing here & there & those clouds hadn't budged, so I finally I gave in to temptation, sprinted across the channel & over closer to Ruffle Bar & woohoo. The surf home was beyoootiful. 2 and a quarter nautical miles plus in just shy of half an hour (average cruising speed of a trained kayaker generally given at 3 knots per hour)

I don't know if the extra leg actually saved me any time, but boy, it was fun! 9 miles & change - a little shorter than I've been doing, but that wind made it a fine workout.

Today was a little more New Yorky. Sadly, the Sebago in-house season opener was today, but I had to miss it -

Had another engagement, it was a tough call but a possible one-time opportunity to see a friend do something cool trumps paddling (even opening day - there will be other great paddles & potlucks at Sebago).

A couple of fun things en route. The event allowed a walk through THIS lovely place - isn't it lovely? You'll never guess where it is ... back in Connecticutt, perhaps? Grand estate on Long Island (pay no attention to the flamingo behind the hydrangea)?

Nope - it's the Liz Christie Garden on 2nd Avenue. I love this garden - came to a party here once on a summer night, and it was all full of fireflies, since then have made sure to spend at least a few minutes here on the rare occasions I'm in this neighborhood in the daytime. I think it was actually one of NYC's first community gardens. I think it's grown, too - I was a little disoriented coming off the subway, we were walking past a new building & I thought the gravel walks & young plantings were just part of that, but then we got to the little sheds that I recognized & I realized where we were.

A few more pictures from the Liz Christy Garden:

I'd read about this in the paper just the other day, so it was fun to see - this is a recreation of a mural that Keith Haring had painted in the area sometime in the 80's, I think it was - the Day-Glo colors he'd used had faded pretty fast & it eventually got painted over, but somebody decided to redo it. The outdoor pool I sometimes swim at in the summertime has a wonderful Haring mural, all dolphins & starfish - I'll have to remember my camera sometime.

And the reason I decided to miss the season opener? My friend Jack, along with classmates of his at a Cooper Union "Writing New York Stories" class, was giving a reading at the Bowery Poetry Club.

Couldn't miss that, and it was great. More tomorrow if work doesn't blow up on me again!

And to close - here's some Lower East Side wisteria.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Bunch of Manhattan Bridge Pictures

It was beautiful on Tuesday night, I was done at work at a decent hour, I decided to walk across the bridge, and I had my camera. That's all.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cartoon post.

Total random post. Just 'cause.

Here are 3 strange, yet enjoyable, variations on yer basic funnies...

1. The Family Herman: This one's an old-school do-it-yourself that I remember from college. Resurrected in the blogosphere, earlier this year, by Scott Chicken

2. Marmaduke Explained: The name pretty much says it all.

3. Garfield Minus Garfield: Again, name says it all.

Cause for total randomness -
Washington Post article on the 3rd, which was just too odd to not share. Adding in the other 2 just seemed like the thing to do.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Watched Plot

A Watched Plot...(Tuesday, 4/15 - planting + 2 days...)

Never...(Saturday, 4/19 - planting + 6 days...)



wait a minute...wouldja look at that...tiniest wildflowers

it does so sprout! itty bitty beets

Meanwhile, back on the windowsill - the heirloom tomatoes (courtesy of the Paddling Chef (thanks PC!) were right on the same timeline.

Happy Earth Day!

Monday, April 21, 2008

365 Days At Sea...

Schooner Anne at the Narrows, bound for Sandy Hook, the Atlantic, and...

A whole lot more sailing.

Frankly, it's an odd milestone - a year is a long time to be sailing, but if you've been following the saga, what has to strike home is how much longer the next two are bound to be.

The other thing that continues to strike me is just how determined he is.

I would've put my money on them heading home for repairs after the freighter collision 6 days out - but the didn't.

Now he's singlehanding a 70-foot schooner whose sails seem to be in a perpetual race to see if they can fall apart faster than he can mend. He said something the other day about how boring it must all sound - the situation he's got now, "boring" isn't the adjective I would have picked - "grueling" would be more like it. One day he'll sound like he's on the verge of throwing in the towel - but the next, he's bounced back, found a way to jury-rig something that will work a little longer, staying alive & staying at sea a little longer. Tough tough life he's chosen for himself for the next 2 years - seems like he means to stick it out if he possibly can, though.

I guess people who sign up for this sort of thing don't think it's going to be a walk in the park.

Love him or loathe him, you can't say he's not giving this a serious effort, even in the face of considerable adversity.

You can follow the trip at the 1000 Days at Sea site.

Adam Nichols at the Daily News has continued to follow the story (good, bad & ugly). The Wikipedia article on Reid also gives a pretty good nutshell version of the story.

Good, bad, OR ugly - I still wish him (and Soanya, now readapting to city life) luck.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

They're Baaaack

We Are Not Alone.

Yup, the ospreys were back a couple weeks ago; haven't seen the terns or the black skimmers yet but the internally-combustive flocks are returning (or more coming out of their cocooned winter hibernation)!

Saturday was GORGEOUS, of course - anybody who had a boat in the water HAD to be out in it.

Lots of work going on at the neighboring yacht clubs.

No more blithely meandering around in the channel for us tiny craft. Not that we're ever really blithe about being in the channel - but we do get spoiled in the winter, when you can go for a 10 mile paddle & see maybe one or two motorboats.

Saturday's 10-miler, we saw dozens. Mostly jes' fishin'.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Random Thought for Boatbuilding Friends.

Extremely random thought for my boat-building friends:

If you ever...
Boatbuilder Jack at work - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

get tired...
Careful measurements. - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

of building...
Inside Jack's baidarka-in-progress - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

You could always...

try building...

a plane.

Boatbuilding at the Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club; replica aircraft building at the Historic Aircraft Restoration Project, or H.A.R.P., at Floyd Bennett Field (right around the bend from the Paerdegat).

February 2012 Update: As this post continues to draw hits from people looking for information on the H.A.R.P., and as the old Geocities site the link above used to go to is defunct, I've replaced it with a link to the page of a photographer who's got some great pictures of the aircraft there and a very nice description of the project. If anyone from H.A.R.P. stumbles across this and there is a new website, I'd love it if you'd leave it in the comments - your comment will go in the moderation queue (that's to keep spammers from sneaking stuff in on these old posts) but I'll get it and update here within a day or two. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

PS Thank You New York Outrigger.

Oops. I meant to say thank you to New York Outrigger - one of their members posted that CG Aux press release on their Yahoo group & I thought it was absoposolutely worth keeping it going. I had written something but then I realized I had the header with the person's email address - not nice to post that for the spammers to harvest.

And when I deleted that I think I deleted my thank-you, too.

So now, no further delay -

thanks NYO!

KAYAKS AND CANOES KEEP COAST GUARD BUSY OVER THE WEEKEND - Here we go with the spring boating accidents!

Press Release

Anthony Turner
Chief, External Communications

KAYAKS AND CANOES KEEP COAST GUARD BUSY OVER THE WEEKEND From Oregon to New Orleans to Philadelphia the U.S. Coast Guard stayed busy this past weekend rescuing kayakers and a canoeist. In Oregon the Coast Guard rescued a 30-year old male after his kayak overturned. The man was reportedly suffering from hypothermia when Coast Guard rescuers reached him; In New Orleans the Coast Guard rescued a man in the Bonnet Carre Spillway after the canoe he was aboard became stranded by the strong current; and in Philadelphia the Coast Guard, a tug boat crew and a boom boat crew rescued two kayakers after they capsized and were overtaken by water in the Delaware River. Both kayakers demonstrated early signs of hypothermia.

Stories like this are all too familiar and as the temperatures across the country warm more and more Americans will take to the water for recreation. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary reminds paddle craft operators that a safe trip begins with assessing conditions and planning your trip, including the return. Data is available from a wide array of sources: buoys, NOAA forecasts, locals, previous trip reports, bar condition reports, and charts are starting points as the prudent mariner does not rely on a single source of information. And don't forget to wear your lifejacket (bonnie's note: emphasis mine!). Paddle craft operators are also encouraged to get a free Vessel Safety Check (yes paddle craft are considered vessels too and are required by federal law to maintain specific safety equipment onboard). To arrange for free Vessel Safety go to and click on "I Want a VSC" to find a Vessel
Examiner near you.

As the number of people turning to manual powered craft or paddle craft increases, so does the risk for novice or unprepared operators getting themselves into trouble. A recent study by the Outdoor Industry Foundation has shown a dramatic increase in the number of Americans participating in kayaking, a 23% increase in 2005 alone. Unfortunately, there has also been a rise in the number of paddle craft accidents.

Three knots is the average speed for a kayaker. In the wrong place, where a river narrows or underwater features force waters to speed up or create towering waves, experience and preparedness, not muscle power, are what matter. The prepared kayaker will have a boat appropriate for the task, be wearing protective clothing and a lifejacket, be carrying safety and communication equipment, have the skills to re-enter and roll, and use good judgment tempered with an appraisal of objective and subjective factors. The experienced paddler should also be in the company of one or more people equally versed in reading the water and self-rescue.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the United States Coast Guard. Created by an Act of Congress in 1939, the Auxiliary directly supports the Coast Guard in all missions, except military and direct law enforcement actions. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is an integral part of the United States Coast Guard. For more information visit if you are ready to be join visit

This is absolutely the worst time of year for this sort of accidents - the balmy air tempts people out, but without the right gear a capsize or accident that you'd just laugh about in the warm water of August can put you in real danger here in April. For more info, please visit Chuck Sutherland's highly informative cold water boating site , or contact your local club or small-craft outfitter - enjoy the Spring, but boat safely!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Springy Dinghies

Here it is, the first Sebago dinghy launch of Spring:

Random Sampling of Upcoming Events

A few more fun things going on in the upcoming weeks - sort of random, sorry, just throwing this together quickly!

Empire Kayaks in Island Park, LI is hosting their 10th Annual "MayDay On The Bay Kayak Race" - that's MayDay as in May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii, not mayday in the VHF distress call sense, it's on Saturday, May 3rd! Sounds like fun, a 3-mile zip around the Great Marsh, and then food & I betcha maybe some hanging out & talking-story. I also see on their website that they have a VERY nifty Earth Day offer, that's on 4/27 - check both of those out at

Also speaking of Earth Day - Erik from the Long Island City Boathouse posted a notice to NYC Kayaker that his group has a table this coming weekend at the annual Earth Fair in Grand Central Terminal, (lots of other Earth Day stuff there, too). You can meet some enthusiastic paddlers there, and they'll have various brochures & stuff available including copies of the new New York City Watertrail Guide.

Manhattan Kayak Company's season is underway now, they offer some "polar paddling" all winter but I noticed on their website that they started offering Paddle Basics classes this weekend, and regular tours -

The 5th Annual Jamaica Bay Kayak Fishing Tournament is coming up on May 3rd, details on for details (thanks Andy N. for the heads-up!).

Also on May 3rd, more Earth Day - this one on the boardwalk in Far Rockaway, Sebago's going to have a table for the Rockaways Earth Day. It is on May 3 on the boardwalk, in the Beach 29th area, description from our former membership chair in asking club members to work the table: "A great day of pitching Sebago while meeting up with other community minded people. Last year we laughed all day, and we had the table next to the free coffee and donuts, and the sun was glorious. There were activities from Parks Dept, Surfriders, free goodies for kids..." - sounds like fun! Rain date May 4th. The water will unfortunately still be a little too chilly for a public kayaking program, but you find out more about the sport & the club (celebrating 70 years this year!).

Saturday May 10th - Oh my gosh! The Amazing Bronx River Flotilla is FULL - but you can still sign up for the waiting list, and the festival at Hunts Point Riverside Park (Lafayette Ave & Edgewater Road) is worth a visit in and of itself. Full info at eventbrite site, but also check out for other Bronx River events. What's so amazing? Well, the lovely waterfall & dogwood blossoms up there? I took that at the ABRF 2006! More pictures at never-finished Buzznet gallery. What a great day that was.

Closer to the end of May, Sebago starts getting people out on the water at our annual Spring Open House. Lots of fun, open to the public, that's on Saturday, May 24th from 10 - 5. See for details - not up yet, but should be coming soon!

Plenty more going on, too, but that's all I have time for right now...but the season's definitely warming up! Spring has sprung!

Planted my garden yesterday!

AND - the first Sebago laser sailors of the season went out on Saturday! Given the forecast (20 knot wind, thunderstorms possible), I decided to stick with my original Saturday plan of paddling, rather than tag along in a Sunfish, much though I'm ready to sail again. We did actually delay our launch in deference to some really ominous-looking weather that was glowering & rumbling about in the early afternoon, but by 2:00 or so the weather had settled enough that 2 Lasers got out, and so did 2 kayaks, me & Stevie - nice 14 mile afternoon paddle, just out & about in Jamaica Bay, the ospreys ARE back, it turned out to be perfect paddling weather in the afternoon, it was great!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hudson River Greenland Festival - Registration Open!

photo by Jack Gilman

Hudson River Greenland Festival
June 27-29th
Croton Point Park, Croton, NY

Registration is now open!

Come spend the weekend on the Hudson River at Croton Point Park, learning and refining traditional kayaking techniques. Instruction will be led by Cheri Perry and Turner Wilson of Kayakways. This is a small intimate group so registration is limited and fills up fast.

Do not delay and miss out on the opportunity to be part of the experience.

Sign up now: registration will be closed May 4th. Choice of cabins/tent sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis with your registration.

Go to for more complete information on the weekend as well as the registration form.

For more info, please contact Jack Gilman at

* Check out the Yonkers Paddling & Rowing Club online at
See you on the river!

More of Jack G.'s photos from last year's fun. I didn't make it last year because that was the weekend of the Sebago sailing clinic, but I'm happy to say I'll be joining in this year as part of Cheri & Turner's mentoring team. Can't wait!

Cheri Perry

Group shot

Turner Wilson

Mentor Maggie

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Frogma Gets Thrilling!


(I'm really hoping that at least the dozens of people who are coming in from Flatbush Gardener will understand!)

btw I guess gardeners who actually know what they're doing don't do this this way, but those little twists of papertowel are full of seeds being soaked to start. Had almost everything I want leftover from last year! It's been so warm, I think I'm going to plant these directly...tomorrow. Gambling on no frost...

Except for maybe the heirloom tomatoes I got from the Paddling Chef!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Bye, Broadwater!

Well, that certainly caught my eye when I stopped at a newsstand on my way home from work tonight. Another late night, and it was a fantastically beautiful day, so of course I went for another good walk, this time before heading underground. Actually worked up a bit of a thirst, it was that warm, so stopped to get a drink on the way into the subway station - glanced at the papers and --


Remember how in the 3-trip conglomerate, I'd been kvetching about how this Broadwater thing was a done deal?

Well, I was sort of leaving out the fact that we've got this new governor now...

That was enough for things to change.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pros & Cons of NYC Life

Pro: When you get out of work at 11:00 at night, and you didn't have time to exercise all day, you can at least get off the subway a stop or two early and take a brisk walk on your way home*.

Con: You got out of work at 11:00 at night, and you didn't have time to exercise all day.

Even more con (for your co-workers at least): You actually got to leave early. Ya lucky rat.

Budget season. No fun. Almost over though, phew.

*assuming safe neighborhood of course.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Dear Sailing Committee Co-Chair:*

From: Bonnie the Totally Winter-Rusty Novice Sunfish Sailor
To: Holly the Sailing Commitee Co-Chair
Date: April 9, 2008
Subject: dinghybrain

No, not you, me.

when can we start huh huh huh?


getting itchy for some reason - maybe watching these guys racing for 2 weeks in a row now -

*post title format swiped most egregiously from The Original Tillerman

Verlyn Klinkenborg writes today of vangs...

and learning to sail.

A most pleasant thing to find in the midst of the NY Times editorial page.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A few pictures from Sunday - Norwalk River & Sheffield Island

Didn't take a lot of pictures on Sunday. Spent a lot of time poking around last week - this week, it was colder & rougher & I was more interested in putting some miles under the boat.

but here are a few -

End of the road for a sea kayak on the Norwalk River. A father & son were passing by on another overpass right behind me. The boy shouted,

"Where are you going?"

I laughed and shouted back,

"No further here!"

Lunch break on Sheffield Island -

The dock - unused now, soon they'll be opening for tours again. Looks pretty wintery, still -

until you look a little closer.

Sheffield echo: