Sunday's odd picture was taken on my second paddle and TQ's first paddle of the New Year; it was a road sign that had washed up on Ruffle Bar, one of the small (and roadless) islands in the middle of Jamaica Bay. It had probably gotten into the bay during Sandy and it just sort of struck my picture-taking fancy - we actually stopped just for me to take the photo (TQ didn't even get out of his boat). I still had the sniffles but it was just too nice not to go out - temperatures were in the low 40's (aaah!), there was hardly a cloud in the sky, and the wind, although forecast to be a howling (not) 8 - 10 kts, seemed down closer to 5. We chose, as we sometimes do, to be antisocial - that's nice 'cause then we can sleep in, take the dogs for a walk, dawdle over a nice breakfast (Sunday's was scrambled eggs with jalapenoes, zucchini, onions and, yes, hasenpfeffer gravy, yum) and then head out to the club whenever we're ready. Of course this time of year, with daylight savings time, you can't dawdle too much or you'll run out of daylight (why DO they call it "savings"? No actual daylight is saved, it's just moved to a less convenient time for us non-lark types), but we got to the club by 2, plenty of time for a nice afternoon jaunt out around Ruffle Bar and back. A couple of the racing paddlers were at the club and taking advantage of the balmy weather too, but aside from them, the only other boat we saw all day was a police boat (and if you're only going to see one other boat all day, that's a nice one).
We paddled around Ruffle Bar in a counterclockwise direction, poked as far into the marsh as we could (we were a little late for a proper marsh paddle and a little early for beachcombing, but that was OK), then took a cocoa and pistachio break on the eastern shore, out of the little bit of wind there was (and to the great annoyance of the raccoons who were out digging for clams on the stretch of beach we chose for our break - they were out in force, seemed to appreciate a nice warm day as much as we do); I put the CG minimum "one white light that can be shown in time to avert a collision" on deck as we left in case it got dark before we got back to the basin but although the sun was quite low as we left Ruffle Bar, the descent towards the horizon is at such a long low angle that the sunset just seems to stretch on forever, and we'd covered the distance back and were back in the basin by civil twilight. Such a beautiful paddle, I almost feel bad that I didn't invite the rest of the winter gang - but sometimes it is nice to have a paddling date all to ourselves. Maybe next time we'll be sociable and tell the rest of the winter crew we're going. But this was quite lovely. :D
And here are some more pictures! Don't forget to click for detail - especially on the 3rd one down from here, where you can actually see the skyscrapers of downtown Manhattan, for once the air was clear enough that the Optio was able to catch them, it can't always pull that off.