Friday, January 30, 2009

A few more Coney Island pictures -

Heading up to CT tomorrow from work, time to pack up the Great Big Bag so no time for much writing tonight. Bit frustrating having a blog a few topics I'd like to write about, and no time in which to actually do any writing, but that's the life I've got. Well, the way things are now, I can't complain about having too much work. I have a decent job & that's a good thing. We're just feeling it like everybody else. Anyhow, in the meantime, here were a few more random Coney Island pictures that I liked from last weekend, and another video snippet (well, this time more of a sound clip that happens to come with a visual component).

An emptying Astroland, with the Astroland Rocket, the Astro Tower, and the Cyclone in the background . It was announced this week that the family that owned Astroland is donating the rocket. It will stay in Coney Island. It will be a fine souvenir.

My favorite Coney Island mermaid, on the side of the Grill House. She doesn't have much competition, though, I always miss the Mermaid Parade for one reason or another, so it's pretty much her & the Cha Cha's mermaid.

Carnival games, that's all, just liked the way the light looked -

Somebody's sad. Usually in NYC, a bouquet tied to a fence like this is left in memory of a departed friend. The picture on the bouquet (you can see it if you click on the picture for the full-screen-plus view) is of the devil that loomed over the Dante's Inferno ride.

The Wonder Wheel isn't going anywhere.

Sound clip with video component:

One thing I always notice when I get off the train at the West 8th street - Coney Island Aquarium stop in the wintertime is that high, hollow tone on that snippet. To me, that's like the signature sound of the place in the off season. I'm pretty sure that the source is the Astro Tower, acting like the world's largest Aeolian harp. Or would it be an Astroaeolian harp? You can't hear it in the summertime over the rattles and shrieks and music and buzzers and bells and all, but whenever the wind is blowing in the wintertime, it sings itself a solo.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pitchers & catchers notwithstanding -

There's still some winter left. Particularly dreary specimen of a winter day today too - it was still looking pretty here in Ditmas Park when I left for work, but the snow had already turned to sleet & by the time I got into the city...

BLECH. Good day to go to the office & not go out all day.

Oh well. It'll come, the spring. Won't it?

In the meantime, hey, at least it seems the Hudson River ice yacht set has a good shot at happiness this year. Now would that be something fun to see, or what?

ps - wow. Just stopped by the Stevens Institute NYHOPS harbor conditions site, checking the New York Bight Apex surface temps. OK, it's not like Sebago's SailComm needs to start thinking about hosting an ice yacht regatta - but it does look like sticking a set of runners to the hull could be a helpful modification for any kayaker who's planning an launching in the basin this weekend!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


When some things change, it can be such a relief.

Elsa's Irish Music Party 2008
Elsa's Party 2008 9

But it's nice that some things don't.

Elsa's Irish Music Party 2009
Elsa's Party 2009 1

Same sunny apartment full of nice people, good food & lively tunes - what a pleasant way to spend another chilly winter day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cold Water Workshop at the Small Boat Shop, 1/31/09

From Cold Water Workshop at the SBS, February 2008

This year, they might have to cut a hole in the ice for the swim!

This is a fun & informative event & if you live anywhere around the South Norwalk, CT area & are looking forward to pulling your dusty boat out of the winter mothballs as soon as the air starts warming up, this would be a great thing to attend. Early Spring (see "Hope", post before last, it's coming!) always seems to be the worst time for small-boat tragedies - the air starts warming up & people just can't wait to get on the water, but they don't realize how hazardous the water can still be.

Workshops like these are a very good way to learn what you need to know (and wear) for cold-water paddling. It's a 2-part approach. In the morning, Chuck Sutherland (webmaster of my favorite off-season boating safety site, link at end of post) gives a talk about hypothermia, and the local Kokatat rep does a show & tell of all the various cold-weather clothing & talks about how the various pieces work together to help a person with the right skills for off-season boating stay safe & comfortable in water temperatures from "ooh, refreshing!" right on down to freezing. Then there's a lunch break, then anyone who wants to can get suited up & go swimming. It's all pretty interesting, but I think the swimming is the fun part!

TQ & I even did some rolling & rescues last year & unless it's too hard to cut a hole big enough to manuever in, I think we'll probably be trying it out in the ice this year. BRRRR. That will be interesting! I'm actually a little nervous, but it's a great opportunity to practice & see what it's like to work in water that cold (this will be the coldest water I've ever been in).

Whatever we are able to do, I will definitely be taking pictures!

Visit for more information.

Want to learn more about cold water boating, but can't make the workshop? Check out Chuck's site - well worth a visit!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gong Hey Fat Choy!

Manhattan's Chinatown, 1/26/08 - Members of the New York United Lion and Dragon Dance Troupe practice their moves (and keep warm) out on the sidewalk prior to a Lunar New Year performance at the Red Egg Restaurant.

Happy Year of the Ox!

The Original Nathan's Lives On

Well, I don't think anybody who saw that picture I put up in December of the Thor Equities people putting up the For Lease sign on the Nathan's on the Boardwalk thought that that could be the end of Nathan's.

But just in case anyone was wondering - yes, the original Nathan's lives on!

And they were doing a fine business, even here in the depth of January!

Plenty of hot dogs for all.

I Haz A Hot Dog!

Srsly, though - I'd just assumed that whatever was going to happen with Coney Island, there'd be at least a few vestiges of what's there now left & that Nathan's was a solid enough business, and even more basically, enough of a fundamental part of any tourist's mental checklist of things that are really New Yorky, that Nathan's would be one of those survivors.

I got a little swamped & out of the local news loop in December, though, so I missed the short flap in the papers about Nathan's maybe being slated for shutdown. Instead, I saw the CEO's refutation of that rumour on the NYTimes' CityRoom blog.

You get a really good sense of how people feel about the whole Coney Island facelift thing in the comments, too.

No need to look much farther than Times Square & Soho to see what people are afraid of - those areas used to have character (ok, in the case of the former, that character was "nasty, sleazy, skanky & louche"). Now, there's not much there that you wouldn't find in your basic suburban mall.

A clean-up isn't always a bad thing. I think that with Times Square, most people would agree that the Mall of the Mouse is a big improvement over the bad old days.

But it would be so nice to see something a little more original out in Coney Island than another Red Lobster with extra neon...


People were walking around my office this morning yelling things about pitchers & catchers. Could it possibly be that spring is on the way?

(Ha, you thought I was finally going to say something about the inauguration, didn't you?)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Coney Island, January '09 - Friendly Fur Seal

Having a non-paddling weekend for a change. Some of us had been hoping for a paddle today, as the forecast was mild temperature-wise (mid-30's) - but by yesterday the windspeeds we were seeing in the forecast had gone from a just-fine 10 kts when I was looking early in the week, up to a windchillin' small craft advisory "gusting to 30" when I looked yesterday. The incipient plans were dropped.

It was absolutely gorgeous out though, so as I frequently do when conditions preclude getting out in boats, I went out to Coney Island.

I ended up having the most amazing time at the aquarium - I ended up alternately playing with & watching other people play with a fur seal!

It being cold, I had all the usual cold-weather accessories - scarf, hat, and gloves. When I went inside the Sea Cliffs exhibit, where they keep the otters, seals, walruses and penguins, I took off the gloves & scarf. I was standing in front of the seal tank when I noticed this seal seemed to be looking at me much more intently than seals usually look at the people looking at them.

So I waved my scarf at it and suddenly - oh, hello!

I never saw a seal quite so interested in what was going on outside it's tank.

It seemed to be particularly intrigued by waving scarves.

Me, I couldn't get enough of this game. The seal would follow you from one side of the window to the other - if you stepped back from the window, it would watch you intently - I even figured out that if you walked away from this window, there was another window about 12 feet down the hall & the seal would zip down there & wait for you...too funny!

I took about a zillion pictures of other people playing the seal's game and then finally realized that the Optio does have a little video capacity, so here's a little sample of the fun. This wasn't even much, you get the basic idea here, but the bigger your motions, the more the seal seemed to like it. These folks were a little reserved.

The funniest thing was as I was leaving, right at closing time. I went back upstairs to the outside section of the exhibit. As I was walking past the seal pool, I stopped for a second - and curious, remembering how this seal had had no problem tracking me from one window to the other, I waved my scarf again - and within a couple of seconds, the seal popped up & swam right over to me!

I felt very, very bad that I didn't have a fish for it!

On another note - is it just me or does that sea otter appear to be winking?

Tomorrow's colder but less windy. Could've been a paddling day, or I could have gone to the pool - but it's my friend Elsa's annual Irish music party and that was such fun last year. Woman does not live by boat alone. At least not this woman!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sita Sings the Blues

Totally, totally, totally off any of my usual topics...just had to share my current YouTube favorite(s).

Takes about 15 minutes to watch all 4.

I think I can promise that you'll never think of the Ramayana in quite the same way again!


Part 1: Dandaka Dharma

Part 2: The Abduction of Sita

Part 3: Hanuman Finds Sita

Part 4: The Battle of Lanka

Afterwards, if you like it & are curious about what sort of marvelously odd person would actually think "Hey, wouldn't it be great if the Ramayana were set to some classic 1920's jazz songs?", check out! I see that the feature film is going to be aired on WNET (NYC's PBS station) in March - I don't have a TV, but I'd bet a bowl of buttered popcorn that with this spiffy new computer, that might not be an obstacle. Or I might just stick with my original plan of catching it at the New York International Children's Film Festival - just one of the stops on Sita's world tour!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

MLK Day Snow Paddle

Wow! A puttering around the house day on Saturday, a pool session Sunday, and a Serious Snow Paddle on Monday, TQ's company from Saturday evening on - darned good 3-day weekend.

Trip Report!

Right - so Sunday, as mentioned, TQ & I joined a lot of my clubmates someplace where we didn't have to worry about that pesky ice stuff. About time, too - we were both feeling a little rusty! Yes, I've been rolling - but for me, coldwater rolling is purely about getting the boat rightside up again. I don't mess around with anything but my plain-vanilla works-almost-every-time sweep roll. All the other party tricks get rusty. I wasn't as intense about it as I could've been but it did feel good to get in some warm water & work on some of the stuff I'm not so good at. Got some got pointers, gave some (hopefully) good pointers, shared my boat a bit, and it was fun seeing some of the club folks who don't come out for the outside paddles this time of year.

Next day - I had the day off for Martin Luther King Day (as always, I'll say I always wish we didn't have to have a Martin Luther King Day - especially this year...). I'd made a vague "anybody want to paddle on the 19th" noise on the winter paddler list. Got a couple of "If I didn't have to work" replies; considered re-posting & posting to the Sebago group, but in the end decided against - sometimes it's nice for me & TQ the luxury of getting to the club whenever we feel like it - or not.

Monday, I have to admit that I was having a smidgen of the lazies. 2 days of even half-serious exercise in a row just hasn't happened this winter, best I've been doing is 1 day of exercise, 1 of moderate activity (housework, walks, that sort of thing) - think the body just kinda went "OK, there was our usual Sunday activity, now it's time to be sedentary again". Fortunately TQ was really up for a paddle, so my lethargy went unmentioned & it turned out to be a great snow paddle!

I can't remember if I mentioned why a good snow paddle is such a rare thing on the Seals in the Snow report. Basically a snow paddle requires a triple alignment of 3 things that are completely beyond one's control (unless one has a job which allows for spontaneous vacation days, or is willing to call in with the Arctic Flu - neither of those work for me):
1. It has to be snowing. (well duh!)
2. Conditions must in every other way be as benign as conditions can be in the wintertime. Gently falling snow is pretty. Horizontal snow whipping at you & sandpapering whatever skin you've left exposed? That sort of stuff I'd rather watch out the window.
3. The gently falling snow has to be falling gently on a day when you are free to go paddling. Gently falling snow tomorrow? No use. Gently falling snow yesterday, when I had a day off & my favorite paddling companion to go out with?


We got to the club around 2 in the afternoon. Commodore John had been there in the morning - the shovelled path bore witness to that!

The ice was still all around the dock (which the Commodore also shovelled - I think TQ & I were the only ones who got the benefit).
It was still quite mushy, though. I'd actually checked that before we even took TQ's Sparrowhawk off the roof rack - I didn't think it would've solidified overnight (especially since Sunday got up over freezing during the day), but if it had, there's always the option of cartopping to a put-in with open water (Plumb Beach, where we sometimes put in when we want to go surfing at West Bar, is usually still open for a while after the basin gets locked up). No trouble yesterday, though!

There goes TQ, playing icebreaker. A minute later I realized something that I MUST remember next time I go to a pool session - if I let anybody else use my boat at the pool session, I have to remember to reset the footpegs before I leave! Why? Well, I took this picture, then hopped into my boat. I found the footpegs were a hair short - not bad, but more set for rolling than distance paddling. I went to move them out one notch & discovered that they were frozen in place! I'd knocked some pool water ice out of the boat as I was getting ready - I guess the footpeg tracks had enough moisture on them to lock up! I was lucky that K, who'd used my boat, has legs about the same length as mine. Of course I imagine a careful application of hot tea would've fixed things, but I'd planned to put the tea in me, not in my boat!

As it was, I didn't really need to move 'em, so a minute later I was krshlkrshlkrshling through the slushy ice & we were off down the Paerdegat. There was just enough ice to work through that we both ended up ducking our heads in the water to cool down a bit once we got out - we'd both gone for extra layers for this trip & were actually uncomfortably hot by the time we got to the cleaner water of the bay. Far easier to deal with being too hot than too cold.
The plan was simple - paddle out past the bridge a ways then back. Paddling conditions were really just perfect - look how calm! And right at freezing. We actually got to talking about how if it had been just a few degrees warmer, we probably would've skipped the whole thing. Snow can be nice. Rain can be nice. Icy sleet? Yuck. None of that this day, just a steady light snow.

Nice for paddling. Probably not so nice for these guys, who were working on the bridge. Tough way to earn a living. The only other boats we saw during the day were small commercial fishing boats. We did not envy these folks who were out there because they had to be.
We stopped for hot beverages (I'd brought along a thermos of tea & another of cider), a leg stretch & (believe it or not) a little beachcombing (there's a ton of glass here, really have to watch your step). Didn't spot anything as interesting as some of the things I've found on Ruffle Bar, but then it was a little cold to be digging things out of the wet sand to inspect them!

We paddled on for maybe a mile after this, to the point of land just past Gerritsen Creek. I'd gone from my earlier, slightly lethargic, "don't know if I really want to go paddling but I will 'cause TQ does and I know I'll get into it once I'm on the water" mood to one where I just wanted to keep going. If it had been summertime, I would've wanted to go to Brighton Beach. As it was, I thought of suggesting Plumb Beach (a little under a mile more) as a turnaround, but looked at my watch, found it was 4:15 & came to my senses. TQ & I had seen a couple of fishing boats heading for their harbors & we decided we should do the same.
Snowy bow, pointed for home.

Good call, too. TQ had turned on his light outside the bridge; I put my lights on a little later. It was pretty much dark as we were passing the old hangar at Floyd Bennett Field. The snow kept falling & we started having some fog - the lights on the Canarsie Pier had been visible when it got dark, and we'd been using those to keep ourselves on a course for the basin (we couldn't make out the bridge). Then the pier lights disappeared & we switched to following the lights on the channel marker buoys. We never actually lost sight of the shoreline, but we were using channel markers as guides a lot more than I've ever actually done in a kayak. Sort of reminded me of the delivery trips I used to do, taking the Adirondack up to Albany in the fall, following those red & green lights up the river in the dark (OK, those trips were a lot longer, but we did have snow one time!) If it had gotten much murkier, we would've had to switch to our compasses to keep from going around in circles (there are a couple of stories about Sebago paddlers getting mixed up in the bay when a fog rolls in - the bay is not that big, but I do always feel like the compass I always carry is a good bit more necessary in J-bay than it was when I was paddling the Hudson - Manhattan's a little hard to lose track of!). As it was, the markers led us home just fine - but looking back into the bay was a bit spooky, like looking into nothing. It was very nice to get back into the confines of the Paerdegat & finally back to the club (with some very snowy boats!)

Come on, now, doesn't this just look INCREDIBLY appealing? Like my mom said to me the other day, who needs Waikiki? Yeah, right. Whatevahs.

A fire had been going in the stove when we'd arrived earlier in the day; I'd added a log as we left & although the fire was down to ashes, the clubhouse was still nice & warm. Felt good but was even nicer to get home, finish the hot drinks, take hot showers & have a good dinner.

A good paddle, all in all, just shy of 11 miles at a good steady pace. We were dressed right & had the right gear for what we did; that being said, I usually prefer being in before dark in the winter & I don't think this exception that worked out fine is going to change my mind about that!
Interesting to have done it - but we spent a great deal of the remainder of the evening curled up on the couch watching YouTube videos of people surfing and bodyboarding in Hawaii.
I think we did it as an antidote to that last hour of the day, paddling in the snow in the dark.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Good Day for a Pool Session

So there was some mushy ice on the Paerdegat -

Not something we were worried about today!

PS - Great series of the recovery of US Air Flight 1549 over on Tugster. Thanks for the heads-up, John!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ice Ice J-Bay?

Finally breaking down & going to go to the pool tomorrow (but it's gonna be a balmy 34!!! what's wrong with me?), but hoping to paddle on Monday. Fortunately through the magic of the Internet, modern kayakers can now assess the conditions of their home waters from the comfort of their own cozy apartments:


Seriously...ok, I amused myelf a little more than I needed to here, but the basic map is straight off that Stevens Institute site I posted this week. 32 degrees is where the blue just starts to shade into violet - but 32 degrees isn't quite freezing for salt water, we have to get down below 30 to freeze. The magenta areas? Those may be ice. BTW I'm seriously curious about those little hot-spots in Jersey, where it looks like otherwise there's probably a lot of ice - anybody happen to know if there are power plants there or something? Funnier still, I went back to the Stevens site & the Monmouth River one (the northern of the two) is gone now. Huh. Well, no time to look now, I have to brave the cold to go buy groceries, but if anybody happens to stumble across this who knows what might cause those, I'd love it if you left a comment!

As far as paddling - well, Jamaica Bay looks pretty liquid so far. Can't tell about the Paerdegat Basin, which freezes before the bay, tomorrow when we meet at the club for the rolling session. If that's frozen, there's always the option to cartop to Plumb Beach for the put-in.

Not that ice ALWAYS means a change of put in of course. All depends on how much ice!

I'm glad this cold snap is supposed to snap tomorrow.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Smart Friends & A Crazier One (A Few Lunch Break Links).

So in case you didn't hear - it's cold here.

Here are the NYC friends of whom I am the most jealous right now:
Steve & Camilla the Adventure Travel Agent, who are overwintering in (and vlogging from) Hawaii.
Richard, owner of the small schooners Issuma & Rosemary Ruth*, who's giving his newer acquisitiion, the Issuma, a good complete overhaul - in Buenos Aires.

And posting about those folks reminds me about an acquaintance from Pier 63 whose adventures I've been following with NO envy at all. I wasn't really planning on posting about Reid of the 1000 Days again until he hit the 2-year mark (coming up in April) - but he's approaching Cape Horn right now, and there is some pretty serious sailing mixed in with the new-age reflections. Good luck to him, here's hoping that when the 2-year mark arrives, it finds him safe & well & still engaged in his quixotic quest.

BTW, these are just a few of a number of blogs I've been following that aren't on my blogroll. This is the time of year when I usually get around to updating my blogroll - I'm not very good about maintenance, usually takes a day being stuck at home in really foul weather. We've had a couple of those this winter & a couple of weeks ago, I finally had a quiet day at home, sat down to update, and promptly found out that some jerks hacked into Blogrolling late last year & they are still in the rebuilding process. So if I've been reading your blog, and you've blogrolled me, honest, I will be reciprocating as soon as I can!

*btw as 2 small schooners is about twice as many small schooners as any private individual needs for their own personal use, the Rosemary Ruth is still for sale - details here!

ps - updating here at 9 pm. Speaking of singlehanded sailors rounding Cape Horn, the Vendee Globe race is currently passing that spot as well. I've been following this one with particular interest because of Sam Davies - alright, yeah, it's sexist but I always root for the girls! I love the way women are doing this stuff these days - the only female athlete by whom I recall being inspired when I was a kid was Ruffian. 'Nuff said? Anyways, I stumbled across the blog of a friend of Richard of the Two Schooners the other day, and he had a link to a very cool little video update from Sam the day before she rounded the Cape. Very neat. She mentions that you just can't tell the size of the waves from the video, and having tried to take pictures of water that looked pretty bouncy from my boat, only to find that the camera flattened it into a millpond, I know exactly what she means (although even video-flattened, those waves look impressive) but you sure can tell that she is just SCREAMING along! Great fun to watch, and yet somehow makes a person really appreciate her nice comfy apartment. Thanks, George!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Plane Crash, 100% survived!

Wow. Check THIS out!

The pilot ditched in the Hudson, looks like every passenger boat in the vicinity, along with Coast Guard, Harbor Police & FDNY went to the rescue & got everybody out.

Really amazing!!!

I know it's all over the news already, it's just too cool that everybody did so well. Seriously, for pilot to land in the Hudson, with a water temperature about 40 (although I'd thought it looked colder on that Stevens Institute site I'd posted earlier), with 155 people on board, and for every single person to make it onto one of the rescue boats, without there even being any major injuries (at least from the sound of it)? That just has to have taken cool heads all around - rescuers & rescued alike.

Snow Day Commute

Now that's being prepared.

(Actually it's likely he's just taking a snow day to go play in the park)

By the way, my #1 informant for what's up up in the Hudson River Valley (Moonstruck DennisG) left a comment yesterday saying plenty of ice up his way. Not quite enough for the ice yachts to come out to play - but the word on their site is "Sharpen your runners!"


Curious about water temperatures in the area? The Stevens Institute of Technology has a Maritime Forecast site that gives that & all sorts of other info. Fun to just mess around on, seeing what they have. Looks like J-Bay is still a good bit over the salt-water freezing level today, but being pretty shallow, it does respond to air temperatures fast. I'm hoping to get in a paddle on Martin Luther King day, either in J-Bay or up in Norwalk. If it stays this cold there might be a little icebreaking involved (especially if we go with the CT option)!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Job Opportunity...

Hey, I could do that!

Oh, except I'm a little camera & public speaking shy. Plus I just know I'd miss my cubicle so much. Oh well. I'll just tell Jolea about it...

Mermaid's Purse

From Seals in the Snow

The link goes to a short gallery from Saturday.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Seals in the Snow

1/10/09 Trip Report - Reader's Digest/Picture Worth 1000 Words version!

Another fantastic Sebago trip courtesy of Tony & Walter:

With seals

and snow!

Despite the fact that Tony had posted this specifically as a seal-watching trip, I didn't mention it. I always tend to be a little cautious about getting excited about seeing wildlife on my various hikes & paddles - the animals are on their schedule, not mine.

But wow. The Jones Beach inlet area was FULL of harbor seals. Never saw anything quite like it.

That's all for now. Thank you to Walter & Tony for planning, and everybody else who came for being great company. More pictures later, looks like a nice day for another park stroll, must go before the snow all melts!

oh, wait, one more thing -

January Butterfly Roll!

Tony was spotting me & I asked him to take pictures, sorta liked the impressionistic effect here!

Friday, January 09, 2009

fingers crossed...

Pools schmools. Hoping for a snow paddle tomorrow!!!!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Lunchtime Links & Pool Session Updates

Busy week here, so here's a little lazy linkage on my lunch break!

1. The Paddling Chef sent an interesting NY Times article about that funkedelic animated subway art I'd "filmed" (with my Optio) back in December. I think my favorite line in the whole article is a quote from the artist himself: "I think it was such a preposterous idea that no one bothered to say no..."

2. Ah, maybe THIS is what they did with all the algae from the Olympic sailing venue in Qingdao...

Back on the pool session topic - I'd posted a few that I knew about off the top of my head, and that (and a few inquiries I made on NYCKayaker) ended up with people giving me info about some I either had forgotten about, couldn't remember sponsors for, or didn't know about. No time for details but the websites should give those:

Kayak & Canoe Club of NY has sessions in NJ (thanks Rob!)

Andy, who's been doing the Yonkers Paddling & Rowing Clubs rolling sessions forever & (with Greenland mentor Jack) did a ton to help me get over a very stubborn mental block I got after subluxing a shoulder on my very first attempt to roll a sea kayak, posted the following:

The Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club expects to arrange pool sessions again this winter: Also, The New York Kayak Polo Club currently has pool sessions on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings for polo games and practice:, there's no excuse for sitting around and being lazy when you could be improving your kayak skills in a nice warm indoor pool. OK, Snow sledding in kayaks is cool, and maybe skiing, ice skating and snowshoeing too. and ice sculpturing, ice climbing, any others??


(please note that the NY Kayak Polo sessions are primarily for active members of that group; if you've never played but are interested, check out the intro sessions page mentioned at the top of the page; if you have played & don't need a from-scratch intro, there's contact info on that site you can use to find out more, they're always looking for fresh blood, mwahahahaaa!)

And of course Don had reminded me about the Appalachian Mountain Club NJ's sessions in the comments:

NY/NJ AMC starting in Feb.$10, they supply boat, lottery, don't have to be a member. I believe the location is handy to mass transit, and you don't have to haul large stuff.

(funny that I am being reminded about a NJ session by a Vermont paddler, but that's one of the odd but fun things about this blogging thing, you never know who's going to tell you about what)

2 more -
Holtsville, NY (Long Island): Elizabeth O'Connor at Sea Kayak Skills & Adventures is offering private lessons through the winter:

Wallingford, CT: Speaking of Greenland mentors, Cheri & Turner of Kayakways are offering their usual winter pool lessons (partially sponsored by Connyak, up in Wallingford, CT. This one's a bit far away for NYC people to get to, but I can't leave 'em out 'cause they are really amazing intructors & people in CT might stumble across this post at some point!

I also got a couple of updates on the Downtown Boathouse sessions, which were not happening for a while due to roof repairs at the pool - the word is that the repairs seem to be on track for them to go this weekend but there wasn't a final confirmation, that should come today or tomorrow. I'll try to update this whenever that comes out, but my friends at the DTBH also mentioned that there's a phone number for the pool on their website that can be called for updates - , scroll down to find the winter pool session info.

That's it for now!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Boat Blog Fashion Fight!

Funny coincidence...

Moonstruck DennisG, clearly getting a little cabin feverish, sent the following:

Stuck in by cold, snow, wind. I figured out how to send pictures, I think?

Start ugly sailing jacket contest. I think this one is a winner?


Here is the jacket in question. It, yes? :D

Shortly after viewing that item of sartorial splendor, I happened to do a brief check-in on a few of my favorite Midwest blogs to see how deep the deepfreeze is (you can call it schadenfreude, I prefer to think of it as "adjusting my perspective"). One of those which I visit is Gitchee Gumee Guy's The Lake is the Boss, and what should I find there but...well, DaveO's own description follows (and it's a link, too, so you can check it out for yourself):

...noted musician, RawhidePhil, in one of the ugliest jackets I belive I've ever seen. It takes a guy with considerable self esteem to consciously put something like that on and then go out in public.

I don't know, DaveO...I think DennisG might have you beat...

Anybody else want to chime in here?

Anybody got any article of foul-weather gear they'd like to put in the contest?

Me? Well, I have this hat. It's a great hat, at least when you're the one standing under it. Not so hot when you are with the wearer & forced to look at the thing! It's warm & fuzzy, but it does come with the slight drawback of making people deny that they know me.

Pool Sessions!

Oh how dreadfully annoying! I was just answering a comment asking about pool sessions & Haloscan lost all my links & nice explanations & all (ok, actually that's not that annoying, it's an anti-spam feature. Well, here's a quick n' dirty version.

Sebago Canoe Club (my club!) is running Sunday afternoon pool sessions in Flushing Meadows Park. Full details & contacts on Stevie's >Kayak Brooklyn.

The Appalachian Mountain Club's CT branch kicks off their >Sunday morning Greenwich YWCA pool sessions this weekend.

Those first 2 sessions have some small cost to cover pool rental - usually $20 - $25 I think, but I can't swear. Both are bring-your-own-boat, and the instruction is volunteer & informal, but people are generally willing to share both their boats & whatever level of expertise they've achieved.

Downtown Boathouse runs a pool version of their popular public programs at Riverbank State Park.
Possibly free, or at the very least very low cost. Again, it's volunteer instruction. Equipment is provided at this one.

If you're interested in a more formal, intensive learning experience, check out >The Small Boat Shop's winter classes.

Those are the ones I know about off the top of my head!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

Well, ordinarily I'd be posting a gallery of Sebago Canoe Club Frostbite Regatta fun, but TQ & I ended up skipping that & having a quiet New Year's Day on our own (after 6 days of fun with both of our families, and making the North Carolina to Brooklyn drive back all in one day, we were just a little on the wiped-out side).

The fact that it was effin' COLD out there was one of the circumstances (hey, Sebagoites, anybody roll???), but it was also absolutely beautiful, so we did go for a walk in Prospect Park.

Picked up some curried goat & jerk chicken on the way home for dinner. Nice way to start the new year. Hope to get a paddle in over the weekend!