Friday, September 28, 2007

5 Years Around Long Island - Leg 1, Day 2.

Day 2 - Island Park (near Long Beach) to Kismet, Fire Island. In Which Visibility Gets Low, Long-Held Theoretical Knowledge gets Real-World Application, And We All Manage To Get There In One Piece.

p.s., enjoy it, no posts 'til Monday & probably not then either! Fun, busy, soggy weekend planned.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

National Estuaries Day approaches!

Looking for a good way to celebrate National Estuaries Day? Sure you were! Right?

Well, here's one idea -

There's a National Estuaries Day Festival at the Alley Pond Environmental Center in Queens (see site for how to get there).
September 29, 11:00 AM-4:00 PM
From the APEC website - All activities are free!

Please join us for this festival to commemorate our country's coastal bays, sounds, and lagoons- the magnificent places where rivers meet the seas. APEC will be celebrating our own local estuary Little Neck Bay. This bay provides a variety of sea life with habitat, as well as recreational opportunities for the residents of Queens. The festival will feature educational exhibits and interactive booths from various organizations and neighborhood groups. Bring the whole family to enjoy FREE boat rides, activities, entertainment, hands-on demonstrations, crafts, and fun games!

Sebago is going to have a table there, and some of us will be showing off oops I mean horsing around NO NO NO I mean doing some very serious demonstrations of Highly Important Kayak Skills throughout the day. Should be fun!

A couple of other possibilities that I found through the quickest of surfs -

In the Bronx, check out the Bronx River Festival and Procession of the Golden Ball, brought to you by the same folks who brought you the totally awesome Amazing Bronx River Flotilla. This is not specifically being tied to National Estuaries Day but it's a celebration of a waterway on the same day & that's good enough for me!

On the Harlem River, it's time for the annual Head of the Harlem Regatta, which will feature some exciting racing as well as a festival in Swindler's Cove Park, featuring oyster gardening, face painting, rowing, live music and more.

Speaking of gardening, I need to go water mine - but check out the Metropolitan Waterfront Association's Waterwire for a full calendar of waterfront fun.

Sneak Thief Seagull

This cracked me up...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Day 1 Photo Trip Report is DONE!

It's my first time trying a Picasa web album and I'm completely sold if for no other reason than you can see exactly where we were! I didn't set up EVERY picture with a location, but you can track our progress pretty well.

Buzznet was just getting so buzzy...

updated 2017...updated to Google album since stupid Google broke most Picasa links when they shut down Picasa. So annoying. Definitely a case of you get what you pay for I guess.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Migrating Monarchs

One thing I didn't realize about this paddle was that we were lucky enough to schedule it during the migration season for the monarch butterflies. The air was full of them - even out in the Atlantic you'd see them fluttering by. They don't hold still for very long, but I did actually get a nice picture of 2 of them on the 3rd & final lunch break, we pulled out on a little beach at Davis Park and there was a bush there that all the pollen-gatherers & nectar-sippers just loved. Here are two of them having lunch on their way to their winter home.

Just amazing to look at them & think of how far they are flying.

Reminded me of something from childhood -

My dad was stationed near Vallejo, California for about a year when I was in 5th grade. we were at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard while his sub was being overhauled. I really enjoyed that stay in northern California. I have incredible recollections of a lot of wonderful things that we'd go do - visiting San Francisco, going to see snow in the Sierra Nevadas (incredibly neat for a couple of snow-deprived kids who'd been mostly in Hawaii for the prior few years...awwwww, poor us...), Yosemite, stuff like that. Most of the spectacular memories involved a bit of driving - but I also have vivid recollections of a small park with a eucalytpus grove that was just a block or two from our house on base that happened to be a rest stop for the monarchs.

They'd hang from the trees in massive clusters. It looked like fall. Incredible.

I never saw near that many during this paddle, but there were almost always at least a couple, sometimes five or six, on this bush while we were there, and dozens in the air, everywhere you looked. We have had plenty stopping over at Sebago, too - they are enjoying the garden & I'm glad that we've provided them with a nice place to rest & refuel on their long flight south.

Oh, btw, speaking of gardeners, gotta give a big shoutout to Adele the Gardening Chair, voted Volunteer of the Year. Hear, hear! Thanks again for making the club so beautiful, and introducing me to a really enjoyable (and yummy!) hobby!

oops, almost forgot - I decided to do this quick post (which is a cheater post as I incorporated a post I put up on NYCKayaker) after reading about the CKayaker household's new resident. That will be interesting! Michael, if you need any info on keeping your new pet happy, check out!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunrises are pretty.

Sunrises are pretty. Sunrises are pretty...

And guess what - the "This is going to be fun" part was true, too.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Gone Paddling...

You know these paddling blogs.

Every now & then, we just go into hiatus for a few days, because we're running off beyond easy reach of electronic communications.

My turn. YAY. Although 6 am launches do sort of bite.

Off on the first 3-day leg of the 5-year circumnavigation of L.I. I've been mentioning on & off. Year 1 - Paerdegat Basin to Long Beach to Fire Island to Smith Point. 2 25 milers and an 18. Here we goooooo!

One good thing - we've got (knock a Greenland paddle) the perfect weather for it. Mid-80's, wind 5-10 kts.

This morning's mantra:

Sunrises are pretty. Sunrises are pretty. Sunrises are pretty. And this is going to be fun.

Trip report next week. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

You know it's a good day...

You know it's turning out to be a pretty good day when you get to turn to your significant other and say,

"Quick, honey - after that blimp!"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Jet Ski Update

By sheer coincidence, one of my fellow Sebagoites just got a notice concerning a proposal by the National Park Service to weaken the (already totally unenforced) jet ski ban in Jamaica Bay. I don't have time to opinionate here, just wanted to post the link to the Sebago blog. Includes better information about what to do & most importantly, where written comments need to be sent by October 4th to be considered. I don't think you need to be an NYC resident to send in your 2 cents worth - this is a NATIONAL Park Service issue & I imagine it could set a precedent for weakening the ban elsewhere.

I still actually have it in me to feel kind of sorry for the jetskiers who had their recreational access taken away by the ban -- I see them out there & they're enjoying a nice day on the water same as I do, albeit in a smellier, noisier way -- but the Bay is so fragile & it seems like even an incremental measure like this should be supported. And there must be launches they can trailer to so they can still get out on the water.

And with all the reading I've been doing on the subject (in my nonexistent free time) I think I'd like to nominate Reef the Planet Protector for the Ironic Toy of the Year Award.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sometimes time flies and you're not having a Gowanus BaChANAL!

Sorry that the blogging has gotten short shrift lately. Time's been flying - I've been having some fun but also doing a lot of work. Of course the work is in preparation for the 3-day paddle along LI (plus I'm taking a day off the day before so I can pack up and be ready without pulling an all-nighter, I'm too old for those any more). So we could say time also flies when you're getting ready to have fun.

And the weather forecast is pretty darned good so it SHOULD be fun.

Anways, just got lots to do, hence sparseness of blogging time.

Here's what I would have posted for the fish on Friday if I'd thought of it on Friday - this was my most favorite comment on the Bunker Bunker Bunker extra-credit question, from one Thomas Duncan, who does not admit to having a blog (but if he had one I bet it would be funnier'n'heck) - thanks, Thomas!:

I'll venture that the differences in those bunkers has to do with size:
Peanuts are about 3" fish, Mossbunker are a bit bigger, and regular Bunker are full grown menhaden. Peanuts are sometimes used as live chum when fishing for something like striped bass, blues, or trout.

The Archie Bunker is the largest bunker of all, and the species known to smoke cigars. But when trolled behind a boat, actually repels most known gamefish.

How's that?

One quick PSA now before I get on to my next project du jour...if I wasn't launching for this little 3-day event at 6 AM on Friday, I would for SURE be attending the Gowanus Dredger's BaChANAL on Thursday evening. Going for a paddle with the Dredgers is one of your more unusual-sounding Brooklyn experiences, I'm a little embarrassed that I've never gone, I really do need to rectify that someday. Check out this Big Sky Brooklyn for a good trip report with photos. Gowanus Lounge is of course another great place to read more - they've actually got a little more detail there, too.

This would actually be the perfect chance to do this since one of the things I like to do before a long trip is eat well the night before...all-you-can-eat barbecue would be great, but with that 6 am launch, I just can't see being out & running around in the evening. Bummer...too many fun things, too little time, as usual. Well, that's a good problem to have.

But at least I can post about it. Sounds like a lot of fun!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I Want to See This Movie...

Thursday 9/13 note - TQ and I did go see this last night. Amazing documentary of a terribly sad story and I really, really recommend it. Anyone interested in sailing, yacht racing, or really any sort of the pushing-the-bounds-of-human-endurance type adventure sports events that are so popular in our day and age will find it fascinating. The contrast between the footage of Knox-Johnston in Suhaili, Moitessier in the Joshua, and Crowhurst and his odd little Teignmouth Electron is in itself remarkable - and the filmmakers spoke to so many people who were involved, you end up with such a clear picture of how he came to do what he did.

It's sad. More than once, you see one of the interviewees choking back tears. I was choking back a few myself.

Returning to regular programming - if there was any way I could, I would be going to see Deep Water at the Angelika Film Center - it's the story of Donald Crowhurst's participation in the first nonstop solo circumnavigation race back in the late 1960's. It's showing tonight & tomorrow & you can buy tickets at that link. Cripes I want to see it. May drag TQ into the city for it, he's down tonight anyways & I think he'd enjoy it.

This has been a story that gives me goosebumps just thinking about it ever since I first read about the race. I'm always fascinated by people who push the limits of what flesh and blood and equipment can do - this has to be one of the scarier ones. Not just simple death or failure...

TImes article with Fiduciary Trust people

There was an article in the Times this morning with some people I used to work with. I liked it because it showed the sort of quiet heroism that went on then. I did a couple of little good things that day. I had heard from other Fiduciary Trust employees that Ed and Alayne had not made it out because they were making sure others left. My picture looking back on that day is this odd one of buildings swarming like anthills, but alongside all the fear & despair (as the terrorists wanted) only God knows how many little and big acts of bravery & caring.

One thing that always bothered me was that "Heroes of 9/11" became such a catchphrase for the fire department and the NYPD. Yes, they were heroes too - but there were so many more, people you'll never hear of. I was glad to see the Times remembering that.

I actually checked on the rights thing - it would cost $1,000 for me to share it with you here. So, here's a link, sorry, it's Times Select so you won't be able to read it unless you have that service.

Think this will be the last 9/11 post this year. We now return to our regular salt-water programming.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The full story

The version I posted this afternoon was of course an in-a-nutshell synopsis for the forum. But I did write up the story of the day on the evening of September 11th, 2001. I wrote it so that I could let everyone who wanted to know what had happened to me read the full day's events - I knew I wouldn't be able to write it again and again and again.

If you are interested in reading that I have posted it here, backdated into the archives. Six years later I don't feel like I need to force it on anyone.

Six years. Feels so long ago. As I mentioned this afternoon, my company had some level of observance of the day for a couple of years afterwards, but that eventually went by the wayside. The odd thing now about September 11th is how basically normal everything feels - naturally there's the annual media blitz, the memorial service at the site (an NPR announcer slipped up this morning and referred to the annual "celebration" - he began to correct himself but then he paused and said that that's almost what the atmosphere felt like), but beyond the official observations, the day just felt normal. Of course it may just be that everyone's mostly said everything they felt needed to be said -- I was riding on the subway this morning looking around at the other commuters, wondering who else was thinking about what they were doing that morning six years ago.

Mostly people were just poking away at their electronic distractors, as usual.

Lady in a dress scratching her head - looking more tired than anything -

Blonde woman in a light blue sweater top standing near me - she looked pensive. She may have been thinking about it.

Guy whistling "The Mexican Hat Dance"...probably not.

But you just can't always tell what people are thinking by looking at them. There was probably more awareness of the day out there than you would know from conversations. I myself have come to a point where it feels odd talking about it - I have so many thoughts on the matter but for whatever reason - it was mostly in the semi-anonymity of the online world that I chose to share those.

I bet I'm not alone in that.

Answer to "where were you"

Somebody started a thread on -

asked where people were.

I have a hard time not answering that - even though I have a ton of work - yes, September 11th at the Really Big Children's Publishing Company is just a day in the quarter-end close period, I can reflect all I want after work - but there were an interesting range of answers. Here was mine:

I was at the World Trade Center. I got away on the last subway out of there. It came in as I was trying to decide whether it would be safer to stay inside the subway station, or go outside where things were blowing up. I didn't know what the things were yet as I had run inside after the first explosion. I saw the train pulling in, managed to catch it & rode to 23rd street. Stopped in a diner where I finally saw on television what I'd just run away from. I went to Pier 63 where the office of Manhattan Kayak Company was (I was a partner at the time) and helped out when the party boats Horizon & Royal Princess showed up and started taking people to New Jersey. I was stunned so I wasn't much help but I walked up & down the line talking to people, answering questions (I think I said "No, it's free, you don't have to pay anybody" most) & reassuring them that we would get them out of Manhattan, the boats were going as fast as they could.

Sept. 11th is a hard day for me but I think about people who live places where people get blown up or kidnapped or killed or starved every day and I think "They would trade with me in a second and think themselves lucky".

many many many more thoughts of course but can't put down anything more now. Good at least to be around to be regretful & wishing that I could take the day off & go somewhere & reflect though.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Letter to National Parks Service Gateway Recreation Area

Delivered using the contact form on the National Parks Service Gateway Recreation Area page. Note for non-locals - Jamaica Bay is a wildlife preserve and there is a ban on jetskis in the area.

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am a Jamaica Bay kayaker who is disturbed by developments in the Bay this summer. I and other paddling friends have noticed an upswing in the number of jetskis in the bay. Rumours from a source we tended to trust said that the ban was no longer in effect; however an individual who had not heard that reported a jetskier to the NYPD harbor patrol. He was told that the ban was still in effect, but was no longer enforced because no one complained. Apparently the officer encouraged my friend to do so - idea being that if people complained, the police would resume enforcing the ban. He was told that the complaints had to be made in person.

This is rather like the highway patrol asking motorists to call in complaints about speeders.

Assuming that the jetski ban is for environmental reasons, it should be enforced. Jamaica Bay is a wonderful resource & I'd like to see every feasible action taken to protect it - enforcing extant rules seems like a very simple way to do so.

However, I feel that it is extremely unfair to ask individual recreational boaters to collect the registration number of other recreational boaters, report them & get them taken off the water. My own access has been threatened enough (I used to paddle in the Hudson River Park, and kayaks on North River & the Upper Harbor have been a matter of contention in our own right) that I'm just not comfortable doing that.

Please don't ask me to do the job that the parks service and law enforcement should be doing.

Thank you.



Cross-posted at theSebago Canoe Club blog

Take the A Train

9/10/07 Note: I'm floating this up to the top because it just so happens that today marks the A train's 75th anniversary! I totally didn't realize that was approaching when I posted this.

I don't feel like this blog's been very New Yorky lately.

So here's the A train. There, youse.

Did I mention that I circumnavigated Jamaica Bay on Monday? Worked out to be a nice day. Getting in that 2nd solid day in the boat was a good exercise to prep for this 3-day excursion too - I believe I'm basically in good enough physical shape to do 25 miles, 25 miles & 18, but I think I should take some gloves (my hands were feeling tenderer by the end than I thought they would) and maybe some of that BodyGlide chafe stuff that Tillerman recommended to Scott Chicken when Scott Chicken was running his first marathon. Plus I either have to stay off my surfski or I have to pay attention & do it in a way that I don't paddle my tailbone raw - there's something about the ski that makes me ignore discomfort but my hide needs to be intact when we start. Bizarre that it looks like it's all gonna come down to skin care. Anyways, should be fun.

More pictures from my circumnavigation probably next week, including Gollum's NYC pied a terre - actually it's more a l'eau - and the place where they keep the alligators, you know the ones I'm talking about, right?

No posts for a few days as I'm off to Norwalk this weekend to help out at the The Small Boat Shop's Demo Day Sale. Did that last year, it's fun - here were some pictures. This year it looks like I'll be doing a bit of a Greenland rolling demo on Saturday, filling in for their (very very good) usual guy Dominic, who can't make it that day - that'll be fun & a good warmup for the weekend after when there's something in my calendar about observing a BCU 2-star type class one day & teaching some G-style the next. Location: Lake Champlain (YAY!) - instructor: an old friend from Manhattan Kayak days (Double YAY!) Then the week after that is Long Island Part I. Oy. It's all going to be wonderful but the week after that I think I'm going to get some groceries on the way home on Friday, pick up a couple of good books too & cocoon all weekend. I don't particularly plan my life to be that hectic, that's just where things fell out, you know?

Just as well at this time of year. We're in the leadup to Sept. 11th of course. They were testing the beams for the Tribute in Light tonight, it's all over the paper & my mind starts replaying random bits of that day. Not saying I'm trying to ignore it - that's just not possible, nor would it be desirable. I always make time for reflection, even if it has to be a late night visit to the site because quarter end close has me working long hours. But it's better to have good stuff to be doing - keeps it all at reflection level, not make myself miserable level.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Bunker Bunker Bunker!

Peanut Bunker:


Plain Old Bunker:

Archie Bunker:

Frogma Extra-Credit Essay Question: Using the comments section, please explain the difference between the types of bunker shown above.

Posting now even though I hadn't planned to post again until next week. Because we are all missing our Fish on Fridays.

Sorry, you'll probably have to go elsewhere for a weekend wahine.

Bunker Clues:
Peanut Bunker
Plain Old Bunker
Archie Bunker

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Let Us Now Pause To Admire A Sweet Boat.

Ever wonder what happens when a person who is...

a sailor by avocation...

and a cabinetmaker by vocation...

decides to build himself a boat?

Alright - chances are you've never actually wondered that...

But I thought I'd show you anyways.

She's named Cricket, and I honestly think this may be one of the best-looking boats on Jamaica Bay.

And anyways, after all the grey-sky pictures I posted yesterday, I thought this blog was ready for a little sunshine.

Look, even the peanut bunker are filing by admiring!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

8/19/07 - Paerdegat Basin to Gravesend Bay

I've been having fun training for this 3-day paddle, Leg 1 of that attempt to break the world's record for longest ever circumnavigation of Long Island by kayak.

Although it seems overly dignified to call what I've been doing "training". Mostly it's just getting in the boat & paddling to whatever destination sounds appealing.

Two weeks ago, in fact, it wasn't even about the destination being really appealing in and of itself, as being appealing to my sense of liking to see what's around the next bend. There's just something about that. Maybe that's why I like the Hudson Highlands so much (oh, ok, or maybe it's just because the Hudson Highlands feature the most knock-yer-booties-off, drop-dead gorgeous scenery in the train-accessible vicinity). I miss paddling the Palisades - you had that same effect in places there.

In this case, the corner I wanted to peek around was Norton Point, the western tip of Coney Island. I've made a couple of trips partway out along the Coney Island shoreline, and there was the temptation to keep going, but it was usually a matter of I'd started a little too late & had work the next day, or I had only packed for a shorter trip.

This time, I almost fell into the same problem. On the surface, Saturday may've looked like the better paddling day, sunny and all, while Sunday was gray & rainy, but I was playing it by ear & Saturday I just felt lazy, so I slept in & lazed around reading all day. It had been yet another long & tiring week at work. The branches on the trees were dancing about in a way that produced a particularly nice play of light & green shadows in my living room - also spoke of rather more energetic paddling than I was in the mood for. I've kept so busy this summer, the occsional day at home feels nice.

The next day, though, was quiet & gray. Sometimes that's my favorite paddling weather. The way the rain smooths the surface if the wind is low makes a kayak just glide, the fair-weather boaters all stay home & you're just sharing the water with a few quiet, like-minded souls.

I didn't get going as early as I would've liked to, and I didn't have a set destination when I set out , but I'd packed for an all-day trip, so when I found myself feeling good & enjoying being out, I decided that I would make it a bit of a longer trip.

The obvious choices were Breezy Point or Norton Point.

I was paddling solo, visibility was less than fabulous, and I didn't like the idea of crossing the main channel into Jamaica Bay in those conditions, especially knowing that I was likely to be returning after dark.

So Norton Point it was.

And it was a very nice trip. I love Coney Island in the wintertime, when the crowds are gone - a rainy day gives that same effect. Like seeing a showgirl relaxing & enjoying a moment of peace when she doesn't have to put on a show. Of course there's something particularly touching about that when the days of the show are probably numbered.

Rainy day at Coney Island. There's the rides, there's the beach, there's the lifeguard in an orange slicker - and there's a guy with a metal detector. Funny, I'd just heard a song about a guy with a metal detector a couple of weeks ago - the National Public Radio show Studio 360 did a show called Castles, Mermaids, Giants - the giants being the band They Might Be Giants. You can hear their song "Metal Detector" at that link. Even better, it was recorded at the Coney Island Museum - that segment of the show was in honor of the present version of Coney Island. BTW, anyone who was around Pier 63 back when I was a partner at MKC (hello? anybody? anybody?) will recognize the face on the upper right hand corner of the Coney Island Museum - yes, it's none other than the original patron saint of the barge tiki bar...

oh my, but I digress. At any rate, there was the beach, there was the guy, and you can go hear the soundtrack which a fortuitous morning at home had put in my head for this very scene.

Onward to the Parachute Jump & the Coney Island Fishing Pier. I must have taken a hundred pictures of this since my folks bought me the first Optio WP. Never from this angle though. Seems like all the times I've come out for winter walks, I've imagined it from out there - well, here it is. And it was good.

Not so good - the police were buzzing around awfully intently. Made me wonder if I should be looking for someone. Or maybe they were looking at me. Wasn't too much else to look at on such a gray & quiet day. They moved on, though.

A bit further down the beach, at about 5:50, the second to the last lifeguard along the beach actually blew his whistle at me and waved at me to indicate I should be further offshore. First one to pay me the least bit of notice. I obliged him - needed to head out for the Sea Gate jetty anyways. He must have been bored out of his skull, I was probably the first thing worth blowing a whistle at all day. A bit later, all the whistles started to blow - it was 6 pm, and that's how signal travels down the beach that it's time to knock off.

On past the Sea Gate jetty - looking back at another fisherman. True fisherfolk don't seem to mind the rain any more than kayakers. This gent caught a ray or a skate just as I passed. I was a little too slow on the draw to catch the catch.

And here's the beach club at Sea Gate a gated community that occupies the western tip of Coney Island. Another thing I'd always been curious to see. Closed gates, bends you can't see beyond - good thing I'm not a cat. This was the perfect day & time to get nosy, too - I'm sure that on a sunny afternoon, their lifeguards would've been five times more emphatic in their guard-dogging than the Coney Island guy trying to kill the last few minutes of a long day.

Hey, look, I must be near Norton Point!

Oh look, I made a wrong turn somewhere and here I am in Maine.

No, just kidding. This is the Coney Island Lighthouse, built in 1890 and notable by being the lighthouse with the last civilian lighthouse keeper in the USA. His family grew up with strong ties to the lighthouse, and his grandchildren now maintain a website with a history of the light, it's keepers, and an interesting essay about their grandfather's life.

On around the corner, and there's the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. I guess that's another bend to head for sometime down the road. Red Hook would be a nice destination.

But here's today's destination! Gravesend Bay! Look, isn't it glorious?

panning to port...

ok, maybe "glorious" isn't quite the right description. Although it would be fun to see how far up Coney Island Creek I could get with my paddle.

If Coney Island were still an island, in fact, this would've been a circumnavigation. Would've come out right about here anyways! As it stands, though, that would be a doozy of a portage. Maybe if you had a good cart, some good walking shoes, and a lot of time, it could be done (ha, people are always circling things by kayak to raise funds for things - maybe the Coney Island Museum should get a kayaker to do that, that would be funny) - but as for me, I'm taking the easy way home. About face & back the way I came.

And here's Kingsborough College, on the east tip of Coney Island. Lights on, it's twilight & at this point there is a little more motorboat traffic. Not as much as usual, but the rain didn't keep everybody home.

Pretty straightforward trip the rest of the way home - one quick pit stop at the east end of Plumb Beach to have a Luna Bar & dig out a jacket when it started to rain a little harder, then on back to the basin.

Another good day on the water. The destination may not have been the most exciting one in New York Harbor - but the journey was totally satisfying.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day Weekend

A little sailing...

A little gardening, with praying mantis safari (no mantis but plenty of other bugs asking to have their picture taken)-

Funkedelic ladybug?

this bee appeared almost besotted with pollen - he was covered with the stuff, and was just sitting on this sunflower as though stunned. H

and a whole lot of paddling - including some with a loon!

Hope your weekend was good too!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Garden Guardian

I went out to the club for another 8-mile surfski run to the Gil Hodges bridge tonight. That's a nice distance for a postwork paddle. It took me 2 hours tonight, including a pause to mess around with my rudder, which evidently got knocked a bit off-kilter the other night when I dropped the boat on my foot. I was able to improve the situation enough to keep going, although there's more I can do to put it back the way it was.

It was a little choppier tonight than it's been on some of the nights I've chosen to take the ski, I was quite pleased to actually stay rightside up all the way!

I'd stopped to do a little gardening before I left - just watering & a little weeding - and I'd noticed that the 2nd wave of cherry tomatoes are starting to get ripe. Fresh-picked cherry tomatoes had tasted SO incredible after the last paddle that naturally tonight, after putting my boat away (this time without dropping it!) I made a beeline for the bed.

I still had my headlamp on, and after I'd eaten the easy-to-find ones I did look around a little more to see if there were any hiding - and that's when I spotted this!

Sorry it's such a bad picture, but believe it or not, that is a BIG praying mantis. Preying, too, she was actually chowing down on some fairly good-sized bug when I spotted her.

I'm just tickled to know I've got a little hunter like this providing a little natural pest control!

Now I just hope she doesn't suddenly become overwhelmed with yearning to run away to sea.

I'll be around the club at least one day over the 3-day weekend - I'll see if I can spot Her Greenitude again for a better daylight portrait.