Friday, February 27, 2009

Good News, Bad Poetry and Fish on Friday

Awright, here's quick lunchtime post to lighten things up a bit!

Good news:

They freed the whale! It was still hurt & weakened but at least its tail isn't tangled up in fishing gear. Can't imagine getting into that cold cold water & going up to a hurt animal that size. Amazing.

Bad Poetry and Fish on Friday -

Yes, it's a two-in-one:

Scrod

By Me

I wish I had a piece of scrod,
I like it so much more than cod.
A trout's a dandy kind of fish
But scrod is so much more delish.

The golden Koi delights mine eyes
But don't go very well with fries.
For golden feast, think fish of brown,
The humble Scrod of Boston town!

There, is not beautiful?

AND...woohoo...we've got a special bonus atrocious poem by the Ol' Philosopher, one of my new blog-friends (god, I just wrote "blog-friends" with a totally straight face, how big a geek does that make me - oh, PLEASE don't answer that!) from the Malden Yacht Club! He left it on my comments yesterday, it's far too good terrible to let it languish off on Haloscan, such talent must be given a proper spotlight (and PS I bet Ogden Nash would LOVE it). Take it away, Ol'P!


...Maybe I can help by offering some of that atrocious poetry you mentionedThis one is about kayaking in the Hudson in the winter:

The Estuary
(with apologies to Ogden Nash)

The estuary
In January
Is colder than a mortuary
It’s texturary
Is quite contrary
To being a paddler’s sanctuary

But an estuary
In February
With ice, is very sumptuary
Kayaking in this ossuary
Could cause results textuary
In the form of your obituary!


That's all for now!

And speaking of blogfriends - oof, I typed it AGAIN, arrrrggh - I'm actually meeting some of the other NYC boatbloggers tonight - nothing formal, should be fun!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hudson River Greenway also losing funding...

Oof. 4 posts in one day. 3 sort of serious. I will have to write some really atrocious poetry to get things back to normal...

But since I posted that notice about the press conference tomorrow, I wanted to post about another organization that stands to be lost to this year's budget cuts - the Hudson River Greenway.

I know these are hard times & it's hard to find places to cut budgets. I work in finance, my company's been doing it just like every other company, every city, every state, the whole country.

Things have to go. The trimming apparently has to go beyond the fat & into the meat.

But it's really hard for me, as a paddler, to see the Greenway falling under the axe. The idea is apparently that their work will be parcelled out among other agencies. But the Hudson is such a NY state treasure, I hate to see it turned into just extra duties for other agencies, where the best use & preservation has been under the eye of one deeply invested group.

As a paddler, I know that I am indebted to this group for the increasing ease of access for kayakers & rowers. They worked closely with the Hudson River Watertrail Association on creating the Watertrail. The Watertrail increased ease of access & encouraged the resurgence of human-powered boating all the way down to NY Harbor. It set an official precedent, saying "These recovering waters are valuable not just for commercial shipping, but for small recreational craft, just as the river used to be before we filled it so full of pollution that you couldn't go near it".

I don't think I was even living in NYC when work started on the Watertrail. I certainly hadn't discovered kayaking yet - if I was here, I still standing on top of seawalls, watching the water swirl by & assuming (like a proper child of Hawaii) that the only reason it would be so hard to get to the water would be because there was something terribly wrong with it.

Meanwhile, the people from whom I first learned to kayak were chipping out their tenuous toeholds on the river. I came into an NYC paddling scene that was gathering momentum, but still struggling - there were (and still are) those who didn't like the increasing recreational use of NY Harbor & the North River; there was (and still is) deep concern among public officials about the safety of kayaking & the insurance risk posed by public access - but the Watertrail Association and the early paddling & rowing groups & people were making a lot of progress & I joined a growing wave of people who were tasting the fruit of that early groundwork. 10 years later, we've got a real, full-grown paddling & rowing community with skilled paddlers who are eager to pass on what they've learned to newer paddlers, an actual New York City Watertrail & although there's always room for more learning & growth, human-powered boating seems to have gained a real acceptance as a legitimate use for NYC waters.

That's what's made NYC work for me. Without the boating, I don't know if I would've ever stayed in this city that long.

I owe a lot of people a debt for that, and people at the Greenway are among that group.

I'm not aware of any formal campaign to save the Greenway, but I did use the "Contact the Governor" website to voice my support. I'm never sure if that sort of thing makes a difference or not - but failure to speak up tends to be mistaken for acceptance.

For more about a wider range of work done by the Greenway, check out their website:

http://www.hudsongreenway.state.ny.us/

There's also a posting on the Hudson River Watertrail Association's site:

here it is...

And if you want to send an email to the governor about it, here's that Contact the Governor page I used.

Thus endeth the rant. I promise I shall strive to make my next few posts foolish & frivolous!

Governor's Island Press Conference FRIDAY 2/27 - No Funding for 2009

This just in from Nancy Brous at the Hudson River Watertrail Association

http://www.hrwa.org/

FYI:Governor's Island is still not funded for this summer in spite of manyoptimistic groups making and announcing plans for activities there. Ifyou're free or in the area tomorrow, stop by the press conference at CityHall and please send the postcard to the Governor, posted here last week oravailable at the GIPEC website (address below).tx

nb

hrwa / nyc wta

Following the Action: Keep the Island Afloat Campaign Last week, GovernorsIsland Alliance launched the

"Keep the IslandAfloat" campaign

", asking Governor Paterson to provide the funding necessary to open the Island for Summer 2009 and to maintain the historic buildings on theformer military base. With the help of our Alliance coalition partners andIsland-supporters, we're on our way to making a big splash.Since just last week, almost 650 Island-lovers have signed ourpostcard

http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?key=p8XEkd6rkN-yXKFNZTJbCNA&hl=en

****NOTE TIME CHANGE****On *Friday, February 27 at 12 PM*, the Alliance will hold a press conferenceon the steps of City Hall. All are welcome to attend. *Please let usknowif you'd like to help out.

*for more info on the fight, check out http://www.governorsislandalliance.org/**

Also in CityRoom - The Pepsi Sign Is Coming Back!

This one's for Moonstruck DennisG & DW!

The Pepsi sign is coming back!

taken during the small re-run of the 2005 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim - the original was reduced to an unofficial event due to hurricane-related water quality issues; the Manhattan Island Foundation organized a small match swim for 2 of the local distance swimmers later in the year - it was a really amazing race!

Unfortunate news about a whale in Times CityRoom -

Oh, that's really too bad.

Hate reading about that sort of thing, but it's never bad to be reminded of the effects we have on the world. The comments over there are mostly running to "Oh, those terrible fishermen, that poor beautiful whale". Well, yeah, but that sort of thing is also a good reminder to look at one's own habits & say "OK, what can I do better".

Tillerman had posted an interesting-looking list of "non-point source" polluters earlier this week, and talked (quite honestly) about how he's doing personally against all of those, that was an interesting read. All the car and lawn-care related items are sort of n/a for me, but I still fall down a bit more often than I like to admit on some of the more applicable items. Plastic bags are kind of the big bugbear for me - I have this huge bag of plastic bags under my sink; it would be ridiculously easy for me to stick a few in the inside pocket of my jacket when I leave the apartment in the morning & re-use those for small purchases. I told myself I was going to do that when the old big bag of bags under the sink exploded & I had to find a bigger bag to re-stuff em. I'm improving there, but I am still not at 100%.

I did just stop typing for a second to go put some bags in the pocket, figured as long as I'm thinking about it I should actually act, y'know?

More directly related to fishing and fish - I think I picked up one of these sustainable seafood cards at an aquarium once, not doing the planet much good sitting in whatever drawer it ended up in, it's certainly not in my purse where I said I was going to keep it when I picked it up.

Anyways...not trying to have Guilt Day here or anything, just a doing a little entangled-whale-inspired thinking-out-loud here.

Thanks for posting to NYCKayaker, John!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

There's Trip Planning -

and then...

there's 5 Years Around Long Island planning!

....O
:D/>
.O

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Seal Watching Redux - 2/21/09

Sebago Cookie Monster Club!
Pre-Trip Cookie Fuel-Up

When it's cold, it's wise to fuel up with cookies!

And it was COLD!

Full photo trip report from Tony & Walter's Seal Watching Paddle #2 here!

And John Harris posted more pictures & a nice little writeup over on the Sebago Canoe Club blog.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

CNN News This Morning: Man Sinks Own Yacht

Ordinarily, as a kayaker, I might just have a good snicker at that -

Sad thing is that yacht in question was a pretty sweet-looking one.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Another Event - 3/19/2009 Northern Forest Canoe Trail Talk, The Arsenal, in Central Park

I'm posting for my friend John ( www.controlgeek.net/blog) who posted this to NYC Kayaker & the Sebago yahoo group for his friend Ann Moore. Pardon the ugly links, I'm just doing a copy & paste & slapping this up on my lunch break. Like the 2 events I posted yesterday, this sounds like another way to partially scratch that "I'm ready for boating season but it's not quite here yet" itch. Or maybe it'll just make that itch even itchier. Either way, it sounds cool & here's the details!

Please join us for a talk by Kate Williams, Executive Director of theNorthern Forest Canoe Trail, the Arsenal Gallery at 6:30pm, March19th, 2009. The Arsenal Gallery is located at 64th Street nd FifthAvenue inside Central Park , NY .

Click here for directions.

THE NORTHERN FOREST CANOE TRAIL
The New York Times called it the "magnificent obsession" near the roofof the Northeast the 740-mile-long interstate Northern Forest CanoeTrail, which traverses the largest intact ecosystem east of theMississippi.
The trail, which traces historic Native American travel routes acrossNew York , Vermont , Qu├ębec New Hampshire, and Maine was officiallyopened in June, 2006. It is widely accessible for both kayaking andcanoeing, for trips of an afternoon or a season in length. See http://www.northernforestcanoetrail.org/ for more information.
Kate Williams, of Waitsfield , Vermont , Executive Director of thenon-profit organization, Northern Forest Canoe Trail, will talk aboutthe trail, its history, and efforts to manage and promote it.
The event is free. Please post widely—all are welcome.**********************************************************************

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Upcoming Events - Long Island Paddlesport Symposium and Paddle Smart New Haven



Well, pitchers & catchers have reported, and the Cyclones are trying to sell me tickets, and for all it was a seriously yucky day out today, it must be that Spring is getting close and Summer will eventually be moseying into view as well. Phew. Not that it's been such a horrible winter, it's just that last winter was hardly worth the name at all, and I kinda liked it that way.

Anyways...as Spring approaches, a lot of people start getting the time-to-get-out-in-a-boat itch. March is still a little early, but if you happen to live in my area (OK, I'm taking "my area" in a sort of broad sense), and want to get yourself in the mood and the right frame of mind, there are a couple of really excellent events happening on the weekend of March 7th and 8th! Curious about paddlesports? Gotten a taste of paddling and want to explore where to go next? You'll enjoy either one! Which one to pick? Well, there's the beauty of it, one's in New Haven, Connecticut, the other's in Oakdale, Long Island, so generally, you'll be able to let geography decide. They're both free, and open to the public.

I'll go in date order and start with the Paddle Smart Safety Event in New Haven on Saturday, March 7th. I haven't been to this one, but TQ participated last year and came back with a glowing report, said it was a really good event. Here's the press release for the event, from Coast Guard Auxiliary member, organizer of the AMC CT rolling sessions at the Greenwich Y, and all around very neat person Jean Trapani (I'd have posted this for her even if TQ hadn't enjoyed it so much, that just helps!):

Coast Guard Auxiliary to Participate in Paddle Smart Safety Event

New Haven, CT - The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and the US Coast Guard in participation with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) oating Division, the City of New Haven Department of Parks and Recreation, Power Squadron and ConnYak will present an afternoon of safe paddling demonstrations and information sessions on Saturday, March 7th, at the Wilbur Cross High School, 181 Mitchell Drive, New Haven from 10 AM to 4 PM. All demonstrations take place at the indoor pool.

The event is free of charge and will feature in-pool demonstrations and other presentations including self-rescue, life jackets, choosing the right craft and communications.

A variety of representatives from the paddling industry will be on hand to answer any questions. This is a fun filled day of safety and skill building for the whole family.

Inquiries can be directed to Jean Trapani, Coast Guard Auxiliary at

203.606.9459.

DIRECTIONS:

From I-91 South: Take Exit 6
- Take right onto Willow St. at end of ramp
- At second light, take right onto Mitchell Drive
- Pass the Wilbur Cross Athletic Complex on right
- At second set of tennis courts, take right
- Parking in school lot.

From I-95 North: Take Exit 48
- Follow signs for I-91 North
- Take Exit 6 (left exit)
- Follow directions from I-91 South above.

- From I-95 South: Follow signs for I-91 North
- Take Exit 6 (left exit) - Follow directions from I-91 South above.
****************

Then on Sunday, March 8th, we've got the Long Island Paddlesport Symposium. I'll be there with the Sebago gang again, we always have a table there, some of us will be suiting up and soaking our heads in the Connetquot River (still pretty derned chilly, youbetcha!) as one of the afternoon's on-water demos, there'll be all sorts of talks over the course of the day, it's just lots of fun. Full details here, and a gallery "trip report" from last year over here!

Not in the tri-state area? This sort of thing starts happening quite a bit all over the place this time of year - check in with your local canoe & kayak club, outfitter, or Coast Guard Auxiliary Branch to find out what's going on in your area!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How Rolling is Confusing

Ha ha. Here's an example that anyone can understand, using a single picture.

You know this one from yesterday?


Well, maybe that was kind of upside down.

When I took it, if I looked up, there was the floor.

If I looked down, there was the surface.

So...maybe this is right side up?

Hmmm.

Confusing?

Great! You got the point!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Margarita Monday! Plus - Two Outta Three Ain't Bad.

Hey, look! Brian and Karen (from A Movable Bridge are in Florida, heading for Key West, and they sent me margaritas from Islamorada!

Thanks guys! Cheers!

Speaking of Cheers, although there will be no more moveable bridges while the good boat Puffin is on the hard for the winter, there has been an update - I'll link to that at the end!

In the meantime, boy those margaritas look delicious & the current Islamorada temperature of 70 degrees at 9 pm is pretty mouthwatering too - but I do have to say that for all I only got 2 days of my 3 day weekend, the 2 that were left were pretty action-packed!

Woohoo!

Pool session Saturday. That's Laurie trying to hang onto my bow. She knew I was trying to take a picture but she didn't realize that the idea was stop to take the picture while we were upside down, or she would've opened her eyes & waved hello!

Meanwhile, the Inuit invasion of Queens continues apace...

That was Sunday.

Today was President's Day, and the weather forecasts had looked pretty darned splendid - high of 38 degrees, partly sunny, winds 8 to 10 kts, picking up a bit in the late afternoon.

Of course as Holly the Sailing Chair told me once, you can automatically knock about 5 kts off the marine forecasts for our area due to the sheltered nature of Jamaica Bay...


I'd started agitating for something to happen today earlier in the week, and we ended up having a fantastic paddle to the Wharf Bar & Grill. I was joined by 5-years-around-L.I. companion Minh, and we were joined by Kevin, the new camp chairman at Lake Sebago (the original location of the Sebago Canoe Club, the Canarsie site came about in the 70's but we still have, and love, the Sebago cabin at the American Canoe Association camp - this is in Harriman State Park in NY, btw, we're not talking about the Sebago in Maine!). There was a bit of a scare with the lake last year where all the sudden it was sounding like the American Canoe Association was feeling like the place was just an insurance nightmare waiting to happen & they wanted to divest themselves of that risk. That got turned around after some emergency meetings requested by people who care a lot about the place, including Kevin & a bunch of our Sebago board members (yay!). He's been turning up at a lot of the pool sessions (actually he's the "Inuit invader" shown above) and when he heard about the Wharf trip planned for today, he asked to come along. Great addition to our group!

It was a glorious day. Incredibly clear! Here's Kevin launching after lunch. We're on the bay side of the Rockaway Peninsula & if you click on the picture to see the full size picture, you'll see the Jersey City (left clump of distant tall buildings) and Manhattan (right clump of distant tall buildings). You should even be able to see the Empire State Building - that's the tall pointy one that's sort of on its own in the Manhattan clump.


Minh hadn't been doing much winter paddling, but he's a runner & has been keeping himself very fit through the winter. This picture was coming back, and he'd slowed down a bit (earlier in the paddle, the picture would've been of his back), but my gosh, he got in his big red racing boat & took off like a waterborne Man O' War (ok, actually the boat is red & yellow but Man O'War's nickname wasn't "Big Red & Yellow", so I am taking artistic license).

He has definitely not lost it after a couple of months off the water! I did my February rolls today. It wasn't a sacrifice at all. I had worked up such a sweat trying to hold Minh's pace that I needed a cooldown! We made it to the Wharf in about an hour flat - and I'd steered us too far to the west & probably added a half-mile more than necessary. Got to be some kind of record for Sebago sea kayakers!
Stevie & Adele met us for lunch, boy did that cheeseburger taste good, and then we headed back. We went east of Ruffle Bar this time - saw seals in the same spot as TQ and I saw one last time, we gave it a much wider berth this time but even so one big one went in the water - think that after seeing seals in the same place 2 weeks in a row we can now assume that's become a standard haul-out & try to be a little more alert to veering off when they are there (seals need that sun time, even with the blubber they are not immune to hypothermia & the haul-out is very important to their health & well-being).

We went around Canarsie Pol for a little extra distance; even with a bit of a headwind kicking up (no rolls necessary on the return leg) we made good time & were coming back into the Paerdegat well before sunset.




Not terribly long before sunset, though - the parakeets got home for the evening as we were putting our boats away!


OOPS! Almost forgot the link! Brian and Karen participated in PortSide New York's Operation Christmas Cheer 2, delivering Christmas cookies to tugboat crews until they needed a tow themselves (oops!). They've got a nice slideshow of the event here.

They also have some excellent pictures of the serious ice that formed on the Hudson this year - they made a special trip up to the Hudson Highlands (the most astoundingly beautiful section of the Hudson & never un-scenic, that's where a lot of your Hudson River School paintings were done) just to see the ice & take some pictures.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Something pointless about the economy. And snow hike pix.

So there I was, getting ready to come in to work. Yes, it's Saturday. I've just had a little too much work to keep up with during normal work hours & a couple of quiet hours at my desk will let me wrap up a few projects that have been almost, but not quite, finished for a little too long now.

The phone rang, and it was an old friend calling to tell me she got laid off this week.

Isn't this just how things are now? You either have too much work, or not enough.

I'm actually genuinely glad I'm in the former category & (knock wood) likely to stay there. I can ride this out where I am. Good place to be & I'm glad I didn't go chasing off after bigger bucks in the finance industry, as I'd thought of doing now & then when things got particularly rocky.

I'm very worried about my friend though. She's got people relying on her. Actually that's true of a number of my friends.

Like I said, there's no real point here. Just hope that things level off before they get much worse.

OK, on a happier note - how 'bout some happy snow hike pictures? TQ & I went to Sleeping Giant State Park up in Hamden the day after the cold water workshop. We'd originally meant to go to the AMC rolling session in Greenwich, but we kinda overslept & anyhow, it was a glorious day for hiking - sunny & much warmer than the day of the cold water thing. Took my camera, of course, here are my favorite pictures from the day:

Let's build a SNOWMAN!


Isn't it interesting the way this bush has sort of little fins growing along its branches?

I'm afraid I don't think the bluejay lived to tell the tale.



We took the Gorge Cascade Trail. Things were pretty slippery, we were doing a lot of "boot-skiing" on steep bits, TQ with great verve, me a little more cautiously. We very specifically picked this one instead of the one that goes up over the top of a quarry - that one's got the best views, but would've been pretty iffy. I was actually hoping for spectacular icicles along here but it was a little too warm. Still pretty nice, though.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I Can Has...

...TERIBURGER?

love it love it love it!!! go see!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

auwe...

Like I wasn't already homesick enough with my parents relocated to some summer-tourist town in NC without me even having a chance to get in a last trip home*, and with this winter being a real one** -

My friends Steve (aka "Tetefano") and Camilla have just spent 5 days on Oahu. They did make it up to Aiea, I wish I had known, I would have begged them to go get lunch at & take pictures of the Forty-Niner***, the building, the saimin, maybe lau lau & lomi lomi salmon, yum. No pix from my hometown except Arizona Memorial tour though, they didn't like the Aloha Swap Meet much & that was what they went to in Aiea proper. More in Waikiki, froufy drinks, spam musubi, surfing lessons, hula, all kinds of tourist-kine stuffs, silly to sublime, all part of the fun. They have been vlogging diligently & I had a great time catching up last night. Ended up a little weepy, though. God do I miss that place.

The surfing lesson is the best - longboard surfing, plenny good fun, Steve got Camilla having a great ride, and Camilla having a great wipeout, and he even tried to get a couple of his own rides - not entirely successfully, but a noble effort.

*I was invited, but it was on too short notice during a bad time at work & would've been an awful trip anyways, kind of like going to Disneyland the day after your favorite auntie died.

**It does seem to be relenting, we've had a few stunning days lately, hear it's a good one today, will be working late but maybe it'll be a walk across the bridge night!

***One of the weirder things that bugs me about the whole move thing is that the last time I was out there was the first time I was there with a digital camera. I wanted to take pictures of everything that was same as I remembered from small-kid time. 49er, Aiea Snack Shop, the library (with the alley with the crowing roosters behind it) - all sorts of peculiar things, not obviously photogenic, just stuff that was part of my childhood environment. But taking pictures always meant asking people to wait, and I was taking so many anyways, and I felt stupid asking, and I figured I'd leave some of those sillier pictures for my next trip. Ha.

There will be a next trip, though. I swear. Maybe not this year, but yikes, next year's my 25th high school reunion - haven't made any so far, but now I have some serious impetus.

If I can get myself back to my hometown, then maybe my parents not living there anymore will stop bothering me so much.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kayak Rainbow (much less dreary)

OK, also not quite in order. And maybe not quite the full spectrum. But we certainly had a sharp-looking fleet turn up at the pool session this week. All lined up for a good hosing down before we take them inside. Actually I'm glad I have gotten my boat there a couple of times, otherwise it just doesn't get washed all winter - the water at the club gets shut down to keep the pipes from bursting.

This just gave me a good chuckle. I'm pretty good about zipping up but I border on obsessive-compulsive when it comes to key check. The whole security setup at the club is with big padlocks. A padlock on the gate, padlocks on the clubhouse, padlocks on the containers. Leave your keys on the wrong side of one of those padlocks & you are somewhere between slightly & seriously screwed. Especially if you're a cell-phone-less renegade like me. Lock 'em in your container with the clubhouse open - there's a telephone with a list of phone numbers next to it, it'll be mortifying but somebody will probably come bail you out.

Lock 'em in the clubhouse with the front gate locked? Oops, time for a little Escape from Fort Sebago action. Then you still get to call somebody to come bail you out. Fun on top of fun.

I don't have "keys" written in the bottom of my boat, but I have got a ritual - I jingle them every time I have to lock a lock. And they don't go on the dock without being in a zipped or clipped container.

I had a great pool session this week. Or at least better than my last, which was not so hot (although it was fun & it was great seeing everybody). I'm on track for rolling every month of the off-season (Sebago's doing our usual demo at the Long Island Paddlesports Symposium, outside again this year, so that'll be March, February's the only month that's up in the air for an obvious chance to roll), and I've broken the barrier of rolling in water with actual ice in it (somehow that concept had always sort of unnerved me, but the Cold Water Workshop gave me the perfect chance to try it), but when the water gets that cold, my rolling gets to be all about just getting the boat rightside up. I do not mess around with the stuff I'm not so good at, and when I don't mess around with the stuff I'm not so good at for a while (as has been the case this winter), when I do get back to messing around with it, gee, surprise surprise, I'm even less good at it. It's half rustiness, I just get out of practice, & half just the instinctive "yikes" reaction sneaking back in. For a lot of people, the hardest part of learning to roll is learning to stay in the boat when it goes over in the first place. I'm a very confident swimmer, comfortable in the water, but even so, our brains are wired to advise us that being upside down underwater with our legs stuck inside 50 pounds of fiberglass is just Bee-Ay-Dee BAD. Not entirely inappropriate advice either, but anybody who really wants to learn to do kayaking beyond the rec-boat-on-a-pond is eventually going to get to the point where they have to convince a part of the brain that's been around & doing it's bit to keep the human race alive for a very long time that no, this time it's really OK to be upside down underwater etc etc. I was just looking at a site about brain functions & it seems like what you've got going on is a bit of a dance (or maybe a tug-of-war) between a couple of parts of your limbic system - the amygdala (which handles fear, but also memory...) and the hippocampus, which I'm not going to link to because the definition is too good:

Hippocampus- the portion of the cerebral hemisphers in basal medial part of the temporal lobe. This part of the brain is important for learning and memory . . . for converting short term memory to more permanent memory, and for recalling spatial relationships in the world about us.

Sounds like the brain's Learning-To-Roll-A-Kayak center to me. Whaddayathink?

I'm getting a bit off-course here though. My point was really that even though I know perfectly well that I have a fall-back roll if a roll I'm still working on fails, and a wet exit if the fall-back roll fails, and friends all around in the off chance something really weird goes wrong, I will still find an odd lack of confidence sneaking in if I don't practice regularly. Not quite fear - just a lack of enthusiasm for throwing myself into all the rolls I'm not so good at, sticking with the basics &, well, actually just spending an inordinate amount of my pool session chitchatting or otherwise avoiding actual practice. It's a weird feeling when I get that way. I was kind of being that way at my first session of the winter 2 weeks ago - until L. went completely bonkers with the hand rolls and then got me doing one of those hand rolls where you just don't bother coming off the back deck (a roll I was doing lots of the first winter when rolling became fun & then somehow stopped doing & eventually just sort of forgot). Still felt like a less-than-great practice session, but I was glad Laurie was there & pushed me to try something new-old. Got the hippocampus back in gear, I guess!

This time around was lots better.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Cheerily Depressing: Rubbish Rainbow.



I'd gotten the idea to do this over on Alison Dyer's Squid Ink. She and a couple of her friends were stormbound on an island one day last summer & while killing time, made a Garbage Rainbow. She's been documenting refuse problems in her area of Newfoundland as a personal project, and this was just a twist produced by the weather suddenly handing her some time to kill, but she'd suggested that it might be an interesting project for kayak bloggers who are interested in sort of bringing people's attention to the astounding amount of crap we see out there to do the same in their own areas.

I'd left a comment saying that sounded like fun & I'd probably do one sometime once the weather warmed up enough to make beachcombing fun. See, I had this crazy idea that it was actually going to take me time to get the full spectrum. Ha. Silly me.

It's a little depressing how wrong I was. TQ & I stopped for a quick break on Ruffle Bar on Saturday. Nothing fancy, we just wanted to have a little tea & stretch our legs for a bit. I collected this mini-rainbow in about two minutes, from a shoreline space of just a couple of square yards. I was standing up near the high-water mark, where a lot of the trash gets stuck in the brush along the shoreline. I looked around & realized I was seeing just about every color I needed. Those that were missing, I found just a few steps away.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Jamaica Bay paddle, 2/7/09

Just a few pictures from a 3 hour & change afternoon paddle. The weather gods smiled on us, it was in the 40's & a beautiful day. Paddled around 9 miles around Ruffle Bar & Canarsie Pol. Saw a seal on Ruffle Bar - first time I ever saw one in Jamaica Bay! Raccoons, too, been seeing them out on the beaches of Ruffle Bar a lot this winter.




Thursday, February 05, 2009

Small Boat Shop Cold Water Workshop - 1/31/2009

Seeing the Coast Guard off - this was an excellent addition to the cold water workshop, they came & talked about both the gear they use in cold water (quite similar to kayaking gear, really) and the work they do, and what recreational boaters can do to make their work easier. Good stuff.
Please note there's ice in that water. I rolled every month of the off-season last year, but it was a bizarrely warm winter & the water never got that cold. This is the coldest water...

to which I have voluntarily subjected myself.

Would you believe it was actually a lot of fun? Informative too, this week is falling apart workwise but I'm hoping to get at least one more post out of it.

A bunch more pictures from the day over on my Flickr page! Pictures variously by me, Jean & TQ - thanks guys!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Tired of winter...

i wanna go home...

(don't miss step 33)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I Made UglyShips.Com!

Or rather, one of my pictures of the psychedelic tugboat Hackensack did!

Woohoo! Check it out, UglyShips.com!

Thanks for the heads-up, Bowsprite! Great post over there, too!

Monday, February 02, 2009

But First, Photo Tag!


Oops. I promised more pictures & writeup from the cold water workshop, but I haven't quite sorted out what I want to talk about yet, if I want it to be a couple of posts, or if I want to do it as a photo gallery, or what...

So being all befuddled in that direction, and also rather tired, I'll just take the lovely out that DaveO has provided me, in the form of tagging me with a photo archive game.

I've been terrible about tags for a while - I have a tendency to overthink & overwrite them, so that something that's just supposed to be a fun thing ends up keeping me up all night blathering on. This one was simple, though - the instructions were to "go into your photo archive, pick the 4th folder in the archive, select the 4th picture in the folder, and write about it. A person then needs to tag 4 other people to do the same". Well, that's simple & I was very curious about what picture that would come out being!

And the one above is it!

This was taken during one of the longer day paddles I've ever done, a circumnavigation of Staten Island done on Saturday, July 16th, 2005. About 50 miles. My folks had just sent me my first Pentax Optio WP (I'm working on #2 now, #1 went to the big darkroom in the sky after a day of surfing, I knew it was leaking but I stuck it in a ziploc bag, hoped for the best, and didn't get it) & it turned up about a week before the big trip. I took about a zillion pictures that day but lucky for this game, the 4th folder was sort of a subset of pictures I'd taken in the Graveyard of Ships.

This picture appeared in my blog on Monday, July 18th; I'd done a quick trip report on Sunday the 17th & eventually did a 2-part photo trip report on Buzznet - Part 1 was southbound, Part 2 was northbound, and then there was the Graveyard of Ships set.

Now let's see, hmm, who shall I tag?

I think I shall tag...

It's hard to choose really - but I'll start with Tugster Will,

and oh, let's take this international!

Captain JP in London

and

Claire of Claire's Garden in Scotland (and I should start a pool on whether it will be a flower or a horse!),

And then how about Japan? Hello, Pandabonium?

(hope none of you mind, I usually leave the complicated ones for "whoever wants to do them", but this one's not too complicated!)

Paddlers Survive Repeated Duckings in Icy Norwalk Harbor!

Ha, and how is THAT for an attention-getting title? Not to worry, though, it was all completely intentional - if you missed it, there's a full explanation down a few posts!

Yep, we did the full demo, rolling, assisted rescues & self rescues, and then a bunch of people jumped in & went for a swim, and it was all good educational fun!

Turns out that not having enough space for sea kayaks to manuever was not going to be an issue. There are bubblers and then there are bubblers - Rex Marina's bubblers do some serious agitation of the water. The shop has them run those for a few days before the workshop, they clear the whole slip area - plus the area wasn't quite as locked up as I'd thought it would be. It's more like the Hudson, where the ice comes & goes.

Pictures & more of a writeup tonight - just wanted to confirm that we did do the demo & actually had a great time. Beautiful day - cold, yeah, but that just helps make the point!