Thursday, December 15, 2005

Paddle-Off-The-Turkey Paddle (11/27/05)

Floating the Apple - I have to write a post about them sometime, this is a VERY neat program!

I'd mentioned my Somethingth Annual Paddle-Off-The-Turkey Paddle in my post about the unplanned layover at the South Street Seaport - thought I'd expand on that a bit today, that ended up being quite a fun paddle. In fact Thanksgiving weekend ended up being quite delightfully watery - as you may recall, that was also the weekend of my first sail with the Rosemary Ruth.

The Paddle-Off-The-Turkey Paddle had actually beened planned quite a bit more in advance of the sail, for which I think I got the invitation on Thanksgiving proper. The whole intent of this paddle is to get in the boats and just paddle hard, in whichever direction the current requires, for about 3 hours. No lilydipping, no shilly-shallying - we all overindulge a bit on Thanksgiving, and it's wonderful, but it feels great to get out on that river that we mostly have to ourselves this time of year and put those calories to work!

This year, the current said we'd be heading South. I was estimating that we'd go to the Statue of Liberty, which is of course a fine destination, but in this case our paddle was more about hours on the water than getting to Point B.

Lyn, Tom, & Goofy joined me for this outing.

After a less than perfect crossing (I wanted to cross early but failed to spot a small, low-lying barge, which we saw in plenty of time but had to turn & paddle up the middle of the channel in a way that I don't like doing until the barge was well past), we headed south along the Jersey side of the Hudson. There was a fair amount of ferry traffic - probably taking people in for the big sales (ha ha ha give me what I was doing any day!) - and as we got to the Liberty Landing Marina, we spotted a water taxi heading across the river, and there may have been a Statue of Liberty ferry loading passengers too. At any rate, we found ourselves waiting on the north side of the Morris Canal, which houses the Liberty Landing Marina, and Lyn suggested a side trip to go see the boats. We were all into that - Goofy loves sailboats, his family had always had one, and Tom just always seems to enjoy whatever we do out there - and me, of course I had to show off by taking them to see the Rosemary Ruth, still being all bubbly about how much fun I'd had the day before.

Richard taking Lyn's boat for a spin

Richard was on board working on the aforementioned water tanks, when out on the water there arose such a chatter, he came up to the deck to see what was the, that sounds oddly familiar. Anyhow, he came up, I introduced everyone, the questions started flying and eventually Lyn (who's the most gregarious person I know, I swear she lives by the motto "There are no strangers, only friends I haven't met yet") was climbing out of her boat to go get a closer look. Richard then asked if he could try out her boat - he's done plenty of paddling, and although right at the start there were a couple of braces (Lyn's boat is one of those ones that's not big on the initial-stability thing), within short order he had everything under control and moving nicely. After a brief spin, we went back to the Rosemary Ruth. At some point I joked about heading over to the Lightship Bar & Grill (a real retired lightship with a restaurant that's also at Liberty Landing) for a beer and somehow that ended up leading to Richard inviting the rest of us on board for beer (which he needed to finish off anyways) and donuts - as he said, he wasn't really in a big hurry to get back to the water tanks!

So that's how this year's Paddle Off The Turkey Paddle ended up featuring beer and donuts.

I did still want to put a little more water under the boats - Goofy needed to get back to the dock by a certain time, but the current had turned to head north, conditions were good, and I figured we'd have at least enough time to get down to Ellis Island. We did, passing one of the Floating the Apple boats who were clearly out with the same idea of a good healthy post-feast on-water workout (that's them in the rowboat - technically a Whitehall dory - up in the first picture); I took a couple of photos of Goofy down by Ellis Island (that's the picture down at the end of the post) - he had gotten to the end of a summer in which I suspect he paddled more than I did (heck, everyone did, I was a-schoonin', which is also lovely plus um I get paid...does that make me a mercenary?) only to discover he had NO pictures of himself paddling, so I've been trying to rectify that. Then we turned back north and did a hard, fast, satisfying paddle home again, getting Goofy back in perfect time to head home to his family.

The rest of us went for sushi.

It was all really, really nice. Tom said at one point over dinner, "I just can't think of how that could have been nicer". I thought for a minute and said "Well, what if we'd seen a seal?" (there are some seals that are known to haul out on the islands down near the Verranzano Narrows Bridge, but sighting in the Upper Harbor - the more enclosed area north of the Narrows, where I do most of my paddling - are still quite rare).

But I was kidding. Mostly. I got home that night & just couldn't get over what a perfect Thanksgiving I'd had - a good visit (and of course a wonderful meal) with my friend Am and her family up in East Fishkill, a chance to go for my first sail on the Rosemary Ruth (meeting some really nice people there), and then a good paddle (and post-paddle sushi) featuring still more congenial company...

I really couldn't ask for much more than that.

Goofyman & Ellis Island

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