Monday, August 29, 2011

Chelsea Yacht Club - High Tide during Irene

Oh my goodness. Just in from Dennis G. Moonstruck - members of the Chelsea Yacht Club in Chelsea, NY (Latitude N 41° 33.190, Longitude W 073° 58.221) inspect their club at high water on Sunday.


Sebago really, really, really got lucky. Good luck to the CYC in their cleanup. Wow.

Anyone who's done the Great Hudson River Paddle may recognize the Chelsea Yacht Club as one of the overnight hosts of the paddle.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A few photos from the tail-end of Irene

17th St. blocked for traffic
East 17th street blocked for traffic.

Tree down 17th st 1
Tree down on East 17th street.

Tree down 17th st. 2

Tree down 17th St. 3
What a lucky fall - it went down right across the street and just missed the porches on the other side.

Almost-empty bread shelves at C-Town

Almost-empty watershelves at C-Tow

Aftermath of the mad shopping stampede - bread and water almost gone. What, were we getting ready for a hurricane, or a weekend in the brig?

Still windy
Inverted (in focus)
I just happened to take the first one at the precise instant a gust came through and turned both umbrellas inside-out!

Mamma Lucia's - closed anyways!
Did they pick a good weekend for vacation, or what?

And for a few pictures of how the club did, check out Andy's pictures on the Sebago Canoe Club blog. Some rainwater in the clubhouse, but mostly OK!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Final Hurricane Prep



There we go. Precariously perched collection of Jamaica Bay beachcombing treasures moved off the windowsill. I think I'm now as ready as I'm going to be. :D

Seriously - I wish I could've gone out to the club to help get tie down boats this morning, then I might have had some pictures that were actually interesting to share here, but I've STILL got a stupid cold.

Raining now, but I think I'll go for a walk. Maybe see if any of the neighborhood restaurants are feeding people today. I know I should keep my germs to myself, but tomorrow is looking like a cooped-up kind of day.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Watching the weather

Looks like we might be getting some heavy weather this weekend, and I just thought I'd pass along a link to a pretty thorough writeup on what we could be seeing all along the east coast over the next few days - Dr. Jeff Masters' blog on

Originally passed along by the gentleman who serves as the listmaster for the NYCKayaker mailing list. Good read, worth taking a look.

So glad I did all that work on my garden last week. Ha ha.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Well, that was exciting.

The funniest part was when people got back from their lunch breaks and were actually disappointed that they completely missed it. Apparently it was so light here in NY that you had to be in a building to notice it - anyone who was outside on the sidewalk didn't feel it at all. Here on the 9th floor of the Really Big Children's Publishing House, there was a distinct jolting followed by a sway.

The building shakes five hundred times a day from subway trains passing underneath it, but this was entirely different. I was actually a bit spooked because having been at the World Trade Center, my mind immediately went to a much scarier place than "mild earthquake", and when everybody around me started saying "What should we do", I said "We should probably go downstairs". They all followed me down, we found most of the company out on the street too so it wasn't just me. The smartphone set got right on the investigation, though, and within a couple of minutes had found out that it was an earthquake. I was pretty relieved, actually.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Plane Zones

Plane zone, Saturday:
plane zone

Plane zone, Sunday:
plane zone 2
Noon to two,
woo hoo hoo!

Holly the Sailing Co-Chair's post-sail comment - "Anyone who didn't plane today is doing something wrong".

Yes, I had a very, very, very good weekend.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Return to Orient Point

Eddied out again (except I washed out while I was filming) - this time with a few friends!

Once we'd dropped off the dogs with Laurie, we headed on out to Orient Point, where the Sebago troops were gathering at our favorite "kamp"site out there, the Eastern Long Island Kampground.

There'd been discussion of an afternoon or evening paddle - but after all the packing up and getting ready to go, and the excitement of the shepherd instinct trial for Bella, and a couple of last-minute stopping shops, I found that the only thing I was particularly interested in doing once we'd made camp was testing out the Thermarest for leaks. It was functioning fine - and it was absolutely perfect weather for napping in a tent with the flaps open & the breeze passing through. Aaah. TQ had brought a book along, and then when I woke up, well, there was still time if anyone had really pushed for it, but somehow we were all quite happy with camaraderie and beer.


If we'd known what was coming on Sunday (recordbreaking rain), we might've gotten off our duffs & gotten out there, but I'm not going to lie - I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. I spend entirely too much of my life running around doing stuff and I love it when there suddenly aren't any deadlines or places to go or things to do. There was discussion of dinner, but I was already getting peckish, and we'd stopped for corn, potatoes and tomatoes at a farm stand, and I decided to break out my camp stove and cook up an ear of corn for an appetizer, only it was my first fresh corn of the summer and I couldn't stop at one, and John had brought out his usual fantastic cheese, and Jake was suddenly passing around cheeseburgers, and somehow all the sudden I was full. Go figure! We talked about the various plans for the weekend, we sorted out more or less who was going on what, TQ & I brought out the chart and the Eldridge & talked about what we were going to find in Plum Gut on the following day, TQ gave a nice on-shore (more like on picnic table, really) lesson about ferry-gliding using his pocket knife as a model kayak, and there was more beer & more camaraderie and it got dark and the cicadas started to sing and then we all got sleepy and that was pretty much Day 1. Nice, huh?

Day 2 - Woke up psyched for the day after a good night's sleep. TQ knows me entirely too well, he'd brought Spam! Eggs and bread, too, and he cooked those up while I made coffee and packed up lunch. By ten o'clock or so, we were back at Orient Point!

Look familiar?

Now, we had promised our little crew a real rough-water play-session, boils and eddies and waves oh my, and I had pored over my Eldridge carefully, and by gosh, look at the veritable MAELSTROM into which our...
little band...

No, no, no, we totally meant to do that. Ebb was starting at the Race right around noon, and Plum Gut really gets going before anything else does. We very intentionally set our launch time for about an hour and a half before that because that's when we figured things would be quietest - and I hate to brag but look, we nailed it. I'd wanted to start with some rolling and rescue practice, just to get warmed up; we did that, and TQ also came up with the great idea of going out & giving everyone a calm-water preview of the area we were going to be playing in as the current started picking up. We did that, caught a few boat wakes to practice surfing, it was all very nice --

and as we were out there, our bands of standing waves ever so gradually began standing up.

We went in for a lunch break, a little more discussion of using eddies and ferry angles, and another good look at the Gut from the point - things starting to move now, the waves still not very big, but you can see where they are shaping up, and where the eddies are forming, and all that good stuff:

And then after that, time to go give it a try!

Main hazard of the day:

We should have had helmets, but we had a pretty capable group and as long as we stayed downcurrent from the rocks, we thought we would be OK; water temperature was fantastic, air temperature likewise; there were motorboats around but we kept our eyes peeled & didn't have any problems with them - really, these lion's-mane jellyfish were the main issue. Fortunately, as you can see, they are big, easy to see, and while there were plenty of them, it wasn't anything like my first trip to the point a couple of years ago, when there was a bumper crop of smaller ones & you literally could not have capsized without running afoul of at least one. Stevie did get a little bit of a sting at one point, but these are also not the worst of the stinging beasties out there; he was able to keep going fine & by the end of the day the redness was gone.

We'd gotten back on the water at a good time - things were starting to pick up but we had some time for Luis & Derrick, our two takers who were trying this for the first time, to familiarize themselves with the feel of moving water before things got to max ebb.

Stevie already knows his way around moving water fine - that was nice, TQ and I were the "official" trip leaders on this one, we've done plenty of paddling on our own and with others in water this size, but this was our first trip where we were actually in charge & taking care of others (that was neat...there are SO many people out there who've taken me out in conditions that were at my outer limits, finally & officially doing the same for others felt like the start of paying back a longstanding debt -- great stuff) so a one-to-one ratio plus one extra totally competent person out there too was VERY nice.

Derrick working his way up an eddy -

Oops. Shore break while one of the trip leaders makes the aforementioned (aforeblogged?) emergency repair (SO disconcerting to look forward as you're careening about in waves & current & realize that you are looking INTO your hatch - I was just lucky I noticed it BEFORE I took anything over the bow - that was starting to happen, too)

Paddle flourish from Luis - Derrick & Luis both really got the hang of this fast & Luis even got a combat roll (not his first, really, but his first in moving water - that was VERY cool - "Boat over!" - "Boat back up, WOOHOO!")

This is actually right when the video at the start was taken - we'd been playing for a while, and we were about to strike out for the lighthouse, and there's a patch of large rocks right before you get out into the more open section, and that makes a nice spot for a group to take a bit of a breather.

TQ, having fun!

Stevie makes his break for the lighthouse -

And a minute later the rest of us followed & once we left the shelter of those rocks, no more pictures until --

Rest break at the lighthouse

Stevie, Luis, TQ & Derrick at the lighthouse

And the next pictures I took was of the purple potatoes I was cooking for dinner -

and a very shiny car.

Day 2 ended with an absolutely ridiculous amount of food (Sebago's notorious for eating well, but this was over the top - I swear you could've stocked a small butcher shop with the meat that was cooked!) and a thoroughly entertaining debate over whether marshmallows should be Gently Toasted, or set afire (I supplied the marshmallows that fueled the debate and I think that has to be one of the most entertaining contributions I have ever made to a Sebago repast), and some good stories.

Day 3 -

A total...


Stevie was the only one crazy enough to want to paddle in the deluge (with possible thunderstorms), so that didn't fly - but still -

spirits remained fairly high -

An extra tarp was set up -

Coffee was made -

and then TQ and I got the heck outta Dodge & back to the club, where I took advantage of the good soaking & the rain-every-day-for-the-whole-week forecast by planting some seeds - my beets had gotten strangled by weeds, and I hadn't planted enough basil seedlings, and I had some seeds in my bag and figured a wet week might make it worth trying again. We'll see!

Then home, to where the bathroom is still festooned with stuff hung up to dry.

Could've been more paddling - but on the whole, what a really fun weekend.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Catahoula Learns Her Stock Dog ABC's - Part 1 of last weekend's fun!

I have a ton of pictures from the Sebago Orient Point weekend that I'm hoping to sort through this week, but I thought I'd start by putting up the most unusual event of the weekend - we took TQ's dog Bella for a sheepdog instinct test. I had never seen this before and it was quite fascinating. The Catahoula Leopard Cur is an American breed from Louisiana bred to be a multipurpose working dog - hunting, guarding and herding. We needed to board the dogs somewhere for the weekend, and in the process of looking around, TQ found Laurie Raynor-Carmody at the Long Island K-9 Academy and thought it would be fun to let Bella have a go at the stock work she was bred for.

The dog LOVED it and picked up the basics really fast!

Laurie starts the introduction of the dog to the sheep by walking the dog around the pen on-leash. This both gives her complete control of the situation and lets her encourage the dog to take interest in the sheep.

Bella was VERY interested.

The red paddle is the more emphatic of the two tools Laurie uses to control the interactions between the dog & sheep once the dog is let loose. Bella is a very energetic dog & has actually done some hunting in her past (groundhogs & mice, mostly, although she & Buzz did go after a bear one time - fortunately the bear went with the "flight" option of the fight-or-flight choice); TQ had warned Laurie about that so Laurie had started with the paddle, just in case Bella really went after the sheep.

Fortunately (and fascinatingly), Bella very quickly caught on to the idea that the game today was to just run the sheep around - and run around the sheep! She did get one good swat with the paddle when she snapped at a laggard heel, but that was enough to give her the right idea. After that, Laurie was able to switch to the rod, and Bella very quickly got the hang of running tight circles around the sheep ("Get around!"), without getting in too close (which brought a "Get out!")

Laurie had her switching directions on cue - and Bella was having the best time.

WOOOOF! As city dogs, Bella and Buzz aren't allowed to bark very much. She was quite happy to discover that that was an OK thing in this game, too.
Slowing down a bit, now.

Breather time for sheep (and dog and trainer).

Back for a little more "Get around!"
She had her second wind and I thing she would've done this all afternoon.

Next steps...learning "That'll do". That's when the dog's job is done, and when the dog hears "That'll do", she's supposed to walk away from the sheep and relax. That may be the hard part for Bella - at it took a while to wind down & just listen to "Sit!", which she knows - but I think she'll have another chance, TQ and I got such a kick out of watching her & he really wants to do it again sometime.