Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Last Weekend's Fun Part 2: Sunday Sail!

click on slideshow to go to Picasa gallery with much better versions.

And now back to Jamaica Bay, where as of yet we have no ferries to worry about. A knowledgeable friend was telling me that that could easily change someday as the ferry network expands - hopefully if they do they won't be running with the same frequency (knocking wood - I keep old-fashioned non-mechanical pencils at my desk for just that purpose). But for now, the ferry fracas has just made me appreciate my quieter home waters all the more. OK, so I did almost get run down my a powerboat on Sunday, spotted him through the sail window just in time to tack, after which he yelled at me for getting in his way - but that's the rare exception, not the norm at all. 

The rest of the day was stunning. There were a lot of powerboats out there enjoying the weather, the heat wave had finally broken (SO nice being outside without being drenched in sweat), but aside from the one chucklehead everybody was behaving nicely.

We met to rig at 2, which is unusual, we usually head out mid to late morning, but with the full moon we had to wait for later for there to be any water in the bay. I was glad because I was wiped out from the fun but tiring activities we'd run the day before for City of Water Day - so nice to have the morning to recover. Sailing co-chair Jim set our course for the day, he even gave buoys to use because of the lowness of the water; our first leg was a long beat down past Floyd Bennett Field, and that took so long that by the time we all got there there was plenty of water and the markers weren't necessary, but I went and found 'em and used 'em anyways just for fun. We looped around Ruffle Bar in a counterclockwise direction, stopping at our usual beach for a break. 

The horseshoe crabs were out, the night of the full moon is always the night they come up on shore and do their thing and they were running around checking out everything they ran into. One of our guys a local and has been watching horseshoe crabs since he was a kid - he actually picked one up, told us a little bit about the creature, and showed us how you can tell the males from the females (most of a horseshoe crab's legs end in small pincers, but on the males each of the front pair features a sort of a hook that the male uses to hook on to the female's shell and hang on in the moonlit scrum on the beach). The crab was trying to right himself and when he eventually started getting frantic Jeff ended the lecture and put the crab back in the water. You never saw a horseshoe crab want to get out of somewhere so badly, he absolutely jetted off into deeper water.

I found a tiny shell that a younger crab had jettisoned when it got too big - it amazes me that crabs can wriggle out of their old shells leaving them so perfectly intact. I managed to get it back to the club in one piece and the little shell has joined a slightly larger one that I got during one of the first years of 5 Years Around Long Island - they're both in the little built-in curio shelf all of the apartments in my building have somewhere near the entryway now.

Saw my first skimmers of the summer too. They've been back for a while but I just hadn't run across one yet until this one did a couple of passes by the beach. Must not have seen any small fish because he didn't skim, just flew by, but it was nice to finally see one, I love these guys. For anyone who hasn't heard of skimmers, here's one skimming - just a snippet I shot back in 2009 out in Dead Horse Bay, slowed down to where you can see him snapping up the little fish:

We split into 2 groups as we left Ruffle Bar, the beat had been long and a lot of people wanted to just head straight back to the basin, while Holly suggested looping around Canarsie Pol. I was tired but it was so pretty out, and I'd been wanting to go see if the ospreys were still in residence (I have this idea that one of these weekends I'm going to Canarsie Pol on my own with my land camera and zoom lens and try to take pictures of birds) so I decided to go with Holly's group. Lovely sail, the ospreys were home, and then when we got back to the club we had a great potluck of cold dishes plus a perfect watermelon. Sunset was stunning and that was our day. Terrific. 

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