Purple Yam's cua pao is a huge favorite of mine because it's about the closest thing to manapua I've found in this town, with the exception of the char siu bao at a Chinese bakery that shut down a month after a co-worker who also hailed from the islands introduced me to it, and one other little hole-in-the-wall bakery in Chinatown whose address I idiotically failed to note (I'd stumbled across it during one of my rambles). Funny thing is, almost every Chinese restaurant and bakery in the city serves steamed roast pork buns that resemble manapua - but there's something about the seasoning of the meat that's not right. I think they cook the char siu sweeter in Hawai'i or something (or maybe everything just tastes sweeter to me when I'm there), but whatever the case, Purple Yam's cua pao comes pretty close.
Oh, and how was the paddle? Well, I stayed closer to home than usual - I launched a little too late to go to the marshes, and a little too early for beachcombing, and it wasn't the nicest day, and I was on my own, so when I say I made it a paddle-my-buns-off paddle, I'm not really kidding. Instead of setting a destination, I stayed closer to home, took a leaf out of our racing paddlers' book and just did laps, focusing on keeping the boat moving at a good brisk clip for what ended up being 3 hours. The folks at the club who paddle the tippy little K-1 rockets tend to stay in the basin and do loops - I couldn't quite restrain myself that much but I did work out a very nice loop that ran up and down the entire length of the basin, out into the bay, east to the Canarsie Pier and west to what we call the "Jeep Marsh" (located between the Paerdegat and Mill Basin, and a pretty destination at high water despite the abandoned Jeep parts at the inlet to the marsh and after which it's named). I did the big loop twice and then did one more full circuit of the basin because I was a few minutes shy of 3 hours. I'm not sure I could've done 3 hours in the basin but this mixed up the scenery nicely, and also broke up the chilly fighting-the-headwinds pieces and the slightly-too-warm tailwind segments, in a really nice way. And for all it wasn't the prettiest day out there, it still pulled of some decent moments: