Saturday, May 29, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

3 Weekend Kayak Events in NYC: Sebago Open House (Sat) & Greenland Kayaks at the Polar Festival (Sat & Sun., Manhattan)

And Speaking Of Dreaming of Boats -

Are you an NYC-or-environs-thereof resident who also thinks boat dreams are the best kind of dreams? There are a couple of fun things you could do this weekend.

If your best boat dreams are small-boat dreams, and you'd like to bring those dreams to life*, maybe you should come check out my club tomorrow -- we might be just the way for you to do that! Come join us at our OPEN HOUSE: Saturday, May 29, 2010, 10am - 4pm rain or shine. Conditions permitting, we'll have kayaking, sailing, rowing & canoeing. Wear clothes that can handle water, or bring something dry to change into, you'll probably get at least a little wet (how wet depends on which kind of boat you go in). We'll provide everything else.

Public Welcome!

Here's Pictures from '09.
Directions to the club (and all sorts of info about who we are & what we do) at
Canarsie too far away? Well, in Manhattan, QajaqUSA (the main U.S. Greenland-style club) is bringing along their very best boats & participating in 2 days of the American Museum of Natural History's "Polar Fest" weekend event. Both days sound fantastic.

For more information on the Polar Festival,
click here!

For more information on Qajaq-USA, visit

For direction to Pier 66, and more info about New York Riversports, visit
Saturday the 29th:
On 29 May 2010 QAJAQ USA will present at the American Museum of Natural History’s International Polar Festival in NYC.
QAJAQ USA club members will display replicas of qajaqs from the various coasts of Greenland. One of particular significance at this event, the Goodnow Qajaq, is so named for its home at the Goodnow Library in Sudbury Massachusetts. The original was collected by Professor Alfred E. Burton of MIT, who travelled aboard Lt. Robert Perry’s ship, during one of his expeditions to the northwest coast of Greenland in the late 1890's. Throughout that decade, Perry was gathering ethnographic materials for various museums.

It is interesting to note that on this particular expedition, Perry brought back three large meteorites from the Cape York region, which have found their home just down the hall at the museum.

Experts will be on hand to share their knowledge. Arctic historian, Vernon Doucette, who studied the original Goodnow survey done by then Mystic Seaport curator Mark Starr; Emeritus Mystic Seaport Curator, Ben Fuller; and anthropologist/artist Richard Nonas, who was instrumental in documenting some of the other arctic boats in the museums collection. Throughout the afternoon, replica qajaq builder Fred Randall will be constructing a full size replica of the Goodnow qajaq, allowing the public to see the structure of the craft in comparison to the covered one that is on display.
Then on Sunday, beginning at 2 pm - Want to see what Greenland boats can do in the water? Well, prithee, get thee to Pier 66 at the Hudson River end of West 26th St. If you've seen a demo like this, you know how cool it is; if you haven't, I bet you'll be blown away.
QajaqUSA and NYRiverSports/ invite you to an on-water demonstration of traditional Greenlandic paddling skills:

On Sunday May 30th, at 2:00 PM, members of QajaqUSA, the American Chapter of Qaannat Kattuffiat (The Greenland Kayaking Association), will demonstrate in-water Greenlandic traditional qajaq (kayak) skills such as qajaq rolling at Pier 66 in Hudson River Park at West 26th Street.

Come by and watch the show from the pier or with a beer and a burger from the deck of Pier 66 Maritime's café next door. You can also get information on the many non-motorized boating programs available to the public at NYRiverSports/

This event is being presented in association with Saturday's International Polar Festival at the American Museum of Natural History, where QajaqUSA members will display replicas of qajaqs from the various coasts of Greenland.

I am SO upset I can't make either of those! Reasons are good - I'm helping at the open house on Saturday, then on Sunday my sister's arriving on a jet plane, first time she's visited me here in years & I'm psyched, but dang I wish I could be 2 places at once!!!

(Thanks to the friends who posted about the AMNH events - happy to pass them along, sorry I didn't get to it sooner!)

*Already managed to make your small-boat dreams into reality? You're still more than welcome to come to our Open House, but you might have more fun at our all-club invitational on July 17th. Just sayin'.

Open Letter to Midwood Singing Cyclist

Dear guy who rode a bike past my building, singing "Leaving On A Jet Plane", just as I was turning in for the night last night:

Your voice was lovely, your cheerfulness was infectious, you made me think of my own midsummer jet-plane plans & I drifted off to sleep happier (and faster) than I have in ages (and then I dreamed about boats).

Thanks for the Midwood lullaby!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Let's all be careful out there, ok?

Sorry, have to get serious for a day.

I've just read too many terrible stories this May.

First there was the awful thing in New Mexico where two of my favorite bloggers lost a dear friend, crewmate & sometimes skipper. Particularly awful there in that the gentleman was a habitual life-jacket wearer but for reasons no one will ever know, he'd left it in his bag that day.

Unfortunately, that was just one in a string of sad stories from New Mexico.

And then there was a grim day in San Francisco, and then in my own backyard, police think they have just found a kayaker who went missing earlier this month. I had heard about this before, I think he actually went paddling on the day that TQ and I had cancelled our planned "dam paddle" & gone hiking instead because it was too windy to paddle; by the time we were talking about it at Sebago, the kayak had been found without a kayaker. Thank you Soundbounder for the link).

Don't really have anything wise to say on this, just horrified at how many of these sad stories I've read in this one month, & particularly that one happened to an experienced boater who was a good friend of people I've "met" through boatblogging.

Seems like a good time to pass along a link from Tillerman. Check out's post on 48 Blogs that Offer Tips on Boating Safety.

The first section of the sidebar to the right also has a number of my own favorite boating safety info pages.

And as Matthew at Soundbounder said when he passed on the local news - let's all be careful out there.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dear Subway Preacher Lady:

Why, yes. Actually I do want peace in my life. I particularly appreciate peace during my morning commute, that last bit of the morning when my time is my own.

And you know what?

It was a lot more peaceful in that subway car before you got on & started YELLING.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

For O!


Presenting the New and Improved Frogma Kayak Smiley, Patent Pending - Now With Better Blade Angles, And No More Ugly "Spacing Dots"!

Thanks, O-Docker!

PS - check yesterday's "Sunfish Fantasy" comments if you actually want to know what this is about.

PPS - And speaking of For O, did everybody see Hawaii Five-O is coming back? YAY!!! Book 'em, Danno!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Scene from a Laser regatta - It's The Sunfish By A Mile!

And here they are coming along towards the finish, and folks, this is amazing, it looks like it's going to be the Sunfish with the rec rig, by twenty-five lengths!

(this fantasy brought to you entirely for the purpose of giving Mr. Twofish a smile!)


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sebago Laser Regatta -

From Sebaga Laser Regatta 5 22 2010I had a great day being on the race committee for Sebago's 2nd annual District 8 Laser Regatta yesterday. I took tons of pictures, of course! And did OK on not blowing blowing my signals, too. Good weather, a breeze that picked up nicely over the course of the afternoon, and wow, 10 boats & only 3 were from Sebago (and 2 were from the Saratoga Yacht Club, that's a long trip)! Good racing, good company a nice day on the water & a delicious post-race spread of roast chicken, chili, a few other sides & brownies & ice cream for dessert. Couldn't ask for a much nicer way to spend a Saturday! And no, no bouncy castles - which reminds me, here's the story behind that particular bit of silliness, found via a link posted by Tillerman. cross-posted at the Sebago Canoe Club blog

And here's a little video from a motorboat! :D

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Continuing the Just Plain Silly Streak

I think this is the Just Plain Silliest of All.

Thank You John!

PS - I think I can safely promise that we will have no such silliness at the Laser District 8 Regatta that Sebago is hosting on Saturday. And I hope that last year's winner is coming back - I think we'll have planes this time! :D

Facebook Like A Pirate.

For those who are on Facebook - this is almost as much fun as asking Google Maps for directions from Brooklyn to London.

Go to the very bottom of your Facebook page. On the left side (next to Facebook 2010) in little blue letters, you'll see "English(US)". Click on it. When the language list appears, click on English(Pirate).

Via a friend of a friend of an actual friend who posted that his son is in a major pirate phase. Poor kid, not much salt water in Illinois, I think they should move back to NYC!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Just futzing around with a paintbox for fun tonight.

Oystercatchers make me laugh. They go puttering around in little groups and they are constantly hollering at each other. They're really loud and insistent and it seems like whatever it is they are saying to each other, it's Really! Really! Really! Important!

They're a summer resident in Jamaica Bay & I think one of the earlier to arrive. I feel like spring is really setting in when I start hearing that unmistakable, impossible to ignore "Wheet! Wheet! Wheeeeeeetweetweetweetweetweet!" mixed in with the wintertime brant's "hrnk, hrnk, hrnk".

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pop Quiz

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What am I reviewing & did I get it right?

Friday, May 14, 2010

No Record? And We Just Hear This Now???


Personally, I don't think canning extreme-sports "youngest person ever to..." records of this sort is such a bad idea.

But I sure hope that young Jess & her team have known this all along.

Note later - Pat from Desert Sea left a very nice clarification in comments - seems that everyone involved in both of the teenagers' attempts would have been totally aware that they were chasing a record-with-air-quotes. This article gave me the impression that this was somehow actual new-type news. Pat's explanation makes it all make a ton more sense.

Very good class -

Home, tired & need to turn in but first, just wanted to say "Thanks" to all the people who put on tonight's Paddle Smart class. I've been hearing good things about this class since I first started hearing about it a couple of years ago & now I can join in and say good things about it too.

Naturally there were a few things they covered that I already knew. I never mind refreshers, though.

But I also learned some new things, was reminded of some old things that maybe I sort of hadn't thought about in a long time, and (maybe best of all) - there were several times when I found myself listening to someone talking about something that I really, truly would have said I knew - but coming at it from a different enough angle that it was like learning it all over again.

So if you're a paddler or rower & you hear about one of these being given in your area, I really recommend going!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

EVENT - Paddle Smart, TONIGHT 5/13 at Pier 66 in Manhattan

I should've realized I wouldn't need to stop blogging this month. It is perfectly easy to blog without actually writing. You can link, you can post funny videos, and hey, you can re-post things you got from other people! Here's one from my friend Nancy. I had posted it earlier but this sounds like a really good event for all us NYC paddlers to attend (especially with this troubling recent resurgence of horse/bike/highway language) so I thought a reminder would be good.

The New York City Water Trail Association and NYRiverSports/ invite you to join us for:

Paddle Smart in the NY Harbor

Presented by the North River Power Squadron (

We won't be covering any paddling or rowing technique or skills because we know that excellent sources for that training already exist throughout the area. Instead we will be focusing on topics that address how we, as human-powered boaters, operate as mariners in a shared harbor.

As the boating season gets underway, now is the perfect time to learn or refresh your knowledge of:

Aids to Navigation
Rules of the Road
Marine Radio Use
Assessing the weather
Nautical Charts
How to read the Hudson River .

Date: Thursday, May 13
Time: 7:30pm

Locations: Pier 66 Boathouse classroom (for directions see
The event is free and open to the public. Feel free to bring friends and refreshments to share!
For more information contact

We look forward to seeing you there.

Best Powerboat Video Ever: My Vote

This one, Tillerman!

Please note - I think it's actually funnier if you have the sound turned down, as I do at work.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lazy Lady Linkfest: Link #1 - Bowsprite On The Spill

No, I'm not really lazy, just busy, but as I said yesterday, I'm probably not going to have much to say (or more like enough time in which to say the things I'd like to) for the next few days.

But there's always time for a little linkage, right?

And today's is a good one.

I haven't said anything about the recent oil spill yet because I just don't know what to say about it beyond "*!&%, #@*^, @*$%, &#@+." Hardly necessary to share that sort of opinion - when everybody's already thinking that anyways, why inconvenience electrons to say it here?

But the same situation that reduces me to miserably muttered expletives has inspired another thoughtful, informative, hand-illustrated meditation by Bowsprite.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Photo taken in January '07 on what I think remains the quietest day I ever saw in Jamaica Bay (except for the police practicing with their helicopter at the helipad). Trip report & more pictures from that day here.

Fiscal year-end close at the end of the month means it's probably going to be a quiet rest of May here at Frogma.

There are some activities planned at the club on the next couple of weekends that'll be great picture taking opportunities. Trip Leader Training this coming Saturday, a two-adults-in-a-Sunfish workshop on Sunday, and then our 2nd Annual Laser Regatta on the 22nd, and there's a Blessing of the Fleet in here somewhere, so I'm sure I'll be tossing up some pictures from those on weekends! I'm really hoping to go to the PaddleSmart workshop at Pier 66 on Thursday & if I can make it, I'll definitely post a quick review, but for the most part the next 3 weeks are just going to be Work Work Work.

Can't decide whether I can't wait for Memorial Day Weekend, or whether I'm terrified at how soon it's going to be here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Comprehensive Waterfront Plan - Borough Workshop Dates!

I'd snuck a mention of these with a link in at the end of one of my posts about the MWA's writeup about that City Council Committee on Waterfronts meeting, but I think these meetings are important enough to warrant mentioning again -

Full schedule & lots more info here, courtesy of the MWA.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Vote For Bowsprite (or, uh, me..)

And here's a little lunchtime something for those of you who just don't give a flounder's fart about the water access politics on NYC...

Carol Haywood, the artist behind the Trawlers & Tugs: Art of the Working Boat blog (one of the more recent additions to the "Generally Salty" section of my blogroll) is having a little contest in celebration of her 100th post. Each of her posts features an artist who specializes in nautical themes. I actually found her blog for the first time after one of my occasional looks to see who's linking to me. I followed the link over to find that she'd posted a link to my old Buzznet gallery from my first visit to the Graveyard of Ships (not counting the MKC "toxic tour" where we turned back 5 minutes shy of the actual yard).

Now, I think I've taken some not-bad pix with my 3 little Pentaxes, but I do not consider myself an artist and I'm insanely flattered to be included in company like that.

I told her about Bowsprite right away of course - Bowsprite being one of my favorite roving artists of NY Harbor (Harry's another) - and Carol did a great post on her, too.

The 100th day contest is simple - you vote for your favorite artist, and you try to predict who's going to win. There is actually a very nice prize for one lucky voter!

3 Trawlers & Tugs links & then I'm going back to work:

Here are the rules & Carol's email address

Here is our wonderful Bowsprite's post

And look, here's me! Hee hee! Bonnie K. Frogma, photographer...I do like that.

Obviously I think everybody should vote for Bowsprite (or me, if you really really want to!) - but don't cheat yourself by just sending an email without taking a look at the others! Spend some time browsing the site, there's some amazing stuff over there & I swear if Bowsprite wasn't in there, I really don't know how I could have picked a favorite.

Observation re Waterwire article - Best reason of all to put the horse to bed.

Excerpt from an email to a friend...

Interesting final quote from Capt. Mahlmann in the Waterwire article - he went through the horse/bike-on-a-highway party line but then he kept going & what he closed with makes so much sense...

"I believe there are already plenty of rules in effect -- and they can't enforce those rules, so making more unenforceable rules wouldn't work. Education of the small boating community is the best we can do."

I read that & think maybe we're more on the same page than I thought. That horse or bike on a highway thing just puts us paddlers so much on the defensive, I think we stop listening once it's said.

Remember my diatribe about why it was time to put the horse to bed?

I think that was all "bloggerhea" compared to the this last reason that the "horse on a highway" line should be retired.

That being because the minute somebody says that phrase, they've almost guaranteed that a bunch of people who should be listening & may have been listening will stop listening.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Rules of the Road & Cooperation Meeting - plus followup meetings for comprehensive waterfront plan link.

Quick post on a busy day - hot off the email, here's an excellent writeup of that Rules of the Road meeting last week - the one that was in the middle of the work day.

I had been meaning to throw out a question - maybe we could even call it a writing challenge, a la Tillermaan - for those of you who boat in urban waters. The situation in NY Harbor has an interesting spin because the place was so polluted for so long that recreational boating had really dropped off in popularity. The tugs & tankers had the place more or less to themselves for a long time. There were always a few determined people who kept playing out there, but there's been a huge resurgence since the harbor has become cleaner.

Every time the issue comes up, with or without references to horses, bicycles or children on highways, I find myself wondering how things work in harbors where recreation never waned. San Francisco, Boston, Hong Kong, Sydney, Venice, Seattle, wherever you are - near or far, if you're dodging freighters & ferries when you're out for fun, or if you're on the freighters of ferries being dodged, I'd love to read a little bit of how things are handled in your little piece of our wide watery world.

And before I dash, I should also add that the Metropolitan Waterfront Association also has full info & links about the 6 breakout workshops for NYC's Comprehensive Waterfront Plan up now on

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Graveyard Gallery

From Graveyard of Ships 2010

Lots more pictures from the graveyard there! And a few, like this one, from Tottenville Marine - if Witte's is the graveyard, this is the lifeyard.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Hila (Ex ATR-89), or, Why I Wanted to Get Will To Witte's

May 2, 2010

September 19, 1944

Source chain:
National Association of Fleet Tug Sailors, via Navsource Online, via commenter "Fairlane", via Tugster.

And that's exactly why I wanted to get Will to the "Graveyard of Ships". That place makes me hungry for history, and I knew that Will -- and Will's readers -- would be a very good source.

Abandoned, but Admired.

Me, looking for the perfect shot - photo by Tugster

Fellow old-boat admirer Tugster Will - photo by me.

Actually, although they may look abandoned, they really aren't. The whole "Graveyard" is actually the storage area for ships bought for scrap by Witte Marine. I'd understood that there was a scrap metal company involved, but didn't know the name until I took Tugster Will there.

With the name, here are 2 articles I found in the NY Times giving a lot more information about this place.

1999 article which explains why so many of the boats have vanished in the last decade. I'd heard some rumour once that it was because some developer wanted to build condos & the old boats were considered an eyesore. More recently I'd heard that it was just because the hulks are actually owned by the scrap company in the area, which dismantles them as they get buyers. That actually sounded more plausible to me than the eyesore theory. The article confirms that that's the case, and also added that further dismantling of other hulks was a project that the Army Corps of Engineers was going to work on at that time because as those old ships decayed, timbers large enough to pose a hazard to navigation could come loose.

And then there's the second one - which I just realized was the same one from which Tugster Will originally learned about the place - A Lesson in History Of Old Ships, by reporter Keith Meyers.

*Yes, Will's in my Romany! I'd gotten a favor from our fleet captain in borrowing a boat to take off site - ordinarily when you do that, it's supposed to be for you, but I thought it would be so interesting to see what Will, with his research acumen, would be able to tell us about a favorite trip destination that I asked for the favor & got the OK. Then I got the clever idea in my head that Will would probably really like to paddle a handmade wooden kayak instead of a plain old plastic fantastic. Nice idea except that the handmade wooden kayak had hard chines which meant very different handling characteristics from his old kayak - plus it completely put his legs to sleep in 5 minutes flat. He was really trying to be a trouper but when you run into a situation where a boat and a physique turn out to be incompatible, it's not a battle worth fighting. Any experienced kayaker has probably experienced that for themselves with one well-regarded boat or another - for me, it's the Anas Acuta, beautiful boat but it does a number on my hip flexors. Fortunately I found that out in a quick tryout session, not a paddle! TQ can't use my Romany for similar reasons. I don't think the Romany was the perfect boat for Will either, but, thank goodness, it was just enough better to get us there & back again.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Abandoned ship

Taken on yesterday's return to the Staten Island "Graveyard of Ships". I was joined on this trip by Tugster - and look, he's already given a name & a bit of history to the hulk on the right.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Onion, Thyme and Bees

Back in March, when my garden began to revive after that cold, cold winter, I had posted a picture of the first bud of 2009. It wasn't a crocus or a daffodil, as you might expect - no, it was on a green onion that had overwintered. I've been watching them come up since then - they weren't in a particular rush! 2 weeks ago, they were just beginning to split their papery coverings, as shown above.

Steve the Paddling Chef told me that the proper kitchen-gardener thing to do would be cut them off so that the onions would focus on bulbing out their roots. I couldn't do it though, like last year's experiment with the runaway chard, I was just too curious to see what was going to happen.

This week, I found out! Look, isn't it spectacular?

For size comparison -- oops, adding this note after some confusion was expressed in the comments: this is a Matchbox car that I found half-buried by my plot:

The thyme I showed in that March picture is flowering as well:

And I'm not sure why I didn't take a picture but in the next plot over, there are some collards that made it through the winter & they are putting on a show that's almost forsythian in nature. Who'd a thunk?

While I was taking pictures of the onion blooms, I noticed that a bee was working on them - but it was a kind of bee I'd never seen before. Not honey, not bumble, but the tiniest bee I've ever seen. I might have mistaken it for a fly if it hadn't been behaving in such a perfectly apian manner, and if I hadn't been familiarized with the idea that there are more than 2 kinds of bees by neighbor & fellow blogger "Xris".

I think it's a sweat bee - not a very attractive name for a not unnattractive little insect, but apparently they are quite fond of salt & if you are sweating on a hot day, they may try to land on you & lick some off!

I began to learn about native American bees when Xris the Flatbush Gardener (actually a neighbor of mine) introduced his readers to the cellophane bees who had taken up residence in his garden. He's got several interesting posts about bees of different types - including an interesting rant about how we could be less dependent on the health & well-being of our "livestock" honeybees if we'd paid more attention to maintaining habitat for the range of bees who are native to this country. For that, and some great pictures & video of his cellophane bees, click here!