Sunday, February 12, 2012
I Know, I Know, These Are Terribly Dicey Conditions In Which To Go Paddling...
But, you know, sometimes a person just has to answer the call of the bay, no matter how fiercely that wind is gusting.
Nah nah nah nah nah, just kidding!
This is totally a joke based on the fact that up until fairly late on Friday night, it was looking like a weekend where the winter windsurfers were gonna shred but the rest of us should stay on dry land - the forecast was calling for Saturday's temperatures to be a totally reasonable (by Northeast winter standards, at least) mid to high 30's, but the winds were supposed to be gusting to the mid-20-knots - not quite a gale but definitely small craft advisory & more than I would've thought about tackling in the wintertime & especially for the first paddle since New Year's Day, when I'd gone overboard (ha ha) with the rolling & ended up hurting a shoulder.
I was really pretty disappointed when I'd checked the weekend weather on Thursday. There'd actually been a seal-watching paddle at Jones Beach planned, which I'd been really looking forward to - that's usually a nice moderately-paced paddle (especially if the seals are feeling curious and start watching us watching them - at that point everybody of both species stops paddling or swimming and we all just bob around gawking at each other) and I'd thought that would be a perfect test paddle to see how the shoulder was going to behave after a few weeks of first being coddled, then given light exercise as the soreness and snap-crackle-poppiness settled down. Of course, I wanted to make sure that the seal paddle would involve proper nutrition, so Thursday afternoon, I dropped a blatant hint about a post-paddle Bigelow's visit (hint taking the form of a photo of a paper plate heaped with fried Ipswich belly clams and a Harpoon IPA, captioned "Hint, hint!") on the organizer's Facebook wall.
It then occured to me that I hadn't checked the forecast; went over to NOAA.gov and two minutes later I was back at Walter's wall saying,
Oh. Never mind. Stupid NOAA. Jones Beach marine forecast:
Saturday: NNW wind 6 to 11 kt increasing to 12 to 17 kt. Winds could gust as high as 25 kt. Snow likely, mainly before 9am. Seas 1 ft or less.
Sunday: NW wind 17 to 20 kt increasing to 21 to 24 kt in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 34 kt. A slight chance of snow showers after noon. Seas 1 ft or less.
Things were still looking about the same on Friday evening.
Saturday morning, TQ & I were talking about heading into the city for clubmate Joe Glickman's reading from Fearless, his book about Freya Hoffmeister's unsupported circumnavigation of Australia, at the relatively-new REI in SoHo, but then then I pulled up the forecast and read "Winds NW, 8-11 kts."
Apparently the massive cold front that was on the way had gotten held up in traffic somewhere. It was still very much on the way, it just wasn't going to hit our area until Saturday night, re-opening a window of fine paddling weather on Saturday afternoon.
All other plans for the day were instantly dropped & we went for a thoroughly pleasant 8-mile paddle out to a little way past the Marine Park Bridge and back. Our turnaround point was at a beach that's always covered with all sorts of old bottles, I always end up finding a treasure or two & I was actually looking to replace a small brown one that I'd broken recently, trying to take a fan out of the kitchen window without moving all the bottles I have lined up there first (I'd managed to put the fan in without disturbing them when I cooked bacon one weekend, but that turned out to be the easy part - next time I won't be such a lazy-butt, I'll move the bottles first, I'm just glad the one that broke wasn't one of the small number of harder-to-find ones that I do have). TQ was ready for a leg-stretch at that point anyways and it was warm enough that we took a pretty good beachcombing break. I found a suitably-sized brown bottle to put in the spot where the one I'd broken had been plus a couple of other nice additions to the collection before we started feeling like we were getting chilly enough that we wanted to get going; at that point the wind had picked up from "barely there" (as shown in the photo above) to exactly the forecasted 8 - 11 kts NW, so we did have a bit a headwind going home, but my shoulder held up fine & although I may not plan a Manhattan circumnavigation for anytime in February, I do think I can safely get back out there now. Good to be back on the water!
The cold front did finally come blasting in on Saturday night, as rescheduled. I had a nice lazy day in the neighborhood today, hit the farmers' market for beef stew fixins', met some friends for brunch at Purple Yam and then came home, prepared the stew & then curled up on the Evil Futon of Nap and finished the latest book (Terry Pratchett's Thud) while the stew simmered away for hours. Perfect weekend, and I think the activities were definitely on the right days.
Say, did I ever mention that some of my friends are way, way tougher than I am?
(kids, those are trained cold-water swimmers - don't try that at home, OK?)