Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sebago Sailing's First Cruise of 2013 - Memorial Day

And now back to Monday's cruise - click on the picture to go to a Picasa gallery with my favorite photos from the day. Not as painfully long as some of these get to be for the simple reason that by the time we left Ruffle Bar, the wind was up to the point where you really kind of need 2 hands for the tiller. It was a fun and gorgeous day! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Little Bit More About Horseshoe Crabs

I did a little online research on horseshoe crabs during my lunch hour - I've learned a fair amount about them since I began paddling Jamaica Bay, I like knowing about the creatures who call the bay home, but something like the police catching poachers in the act makes me want to brush up on things. I found 2 items that I thought I'd share quickly - 

1. A Daily News article talking about the US Parks Police ramping up efforts to catch horseshoe crab poachers in Jamaica Bay. This is a few years old but the information is still relevant to understanding Monday night's events. Link:

2. PBS did a documentary about the relationship between humans, horseshoe crabs, and red knots. I won't have time to watch it until tomorrow, probably, but from the synopsis, this looks like something that anyone who wants to learn more about these strange old animals is likely to enjoy.

Poachers caught in Jamaica Bay, night of 5/27

Pardon the interruption to my sailing recap, but I can't resist sharing this very interesting story of a bust that started shortly after dark on Memorial Day, when police using night-vision goggles in a helicopter flying over Ruffle Bar (yes, the same Ruffle Bar where the sailors stopped for lunch earlier the same day) spotted some actual skulduggery in process. A high-speed helicopter/boat chase ensued with the crooks being nabbed red-handed back at their own marina in nearby Sheepshead Bay.

The take? Freshly stolen horseshoe crabs, 200 of 'em, poached from the protected waters of Jamaica Bay.

You wouldn't necessarily know it if you only had J-bay to judge by - we've got a pretty healthy population - but because of overfishing and possibly climate change, horseshoe crabs are a species in decline along much of the east coast. This is a huge problem for certain migrating shorebirds who depend on the eggs laid by the crabs during mating season and as a conservation measure, moratoriums or strict catch limits have been put in place in many areas that the crabs inhabit.

Apparently the guys they caught last night thought that our Jamaica Bay population would make easy pickings.

They thought wrong. Click here to read the full story. 

Note next morning - unfortunately, as Pandabonium pointed out in the comments, the penalty was pretty much a wrist-slap - first thing I'd said when I read the less-detailed Fox News version that I'd first seen was that I hoped they got more than that. Still, getting chased down and caught by a night-vision helicopter - hopefully that made something of an impression. And now they are on record as poachers. Boy, I think if one of the clubs on the Paerdegat found out that one of their members was involved in that kind of stuff, I think that person be looking for a new place to keep their boat pretty much instantly. We're all on Parks land though, don't know how seriously the owner of a marina on private property would look on something like that.

2nd note, lunchtime...A friend emailed me with an awfully good pipe dream. How about fines of $500 each - plus costs incurred? Heh heh. Wonder what it costs for a helicopter to chase a motorboat for half an hour?

Of course the sad part is that they were working at LEAST the night before, and the other boat got away - who knows how many crabs they have taken out of the bay? Thinking about that now because I shared this with my clubmates at Sebago this morning, and one of them instantly got back to me with a comment saying that the folks who went paddling on Monday thought they'd noticed that there was a dearth of the animals at Ruffle Bar (they're usually all over the place and they actually find kayaks attractive - the bigger the female crab, the more attractive she is to the males, and it seems like the fellas mistake our boats for some unbelievably hot mama crabs). I wonder if the poachers actually took enough to make a noticeable difference?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Wind up! and up and up! Wound up being a perfect first sail of 2013.

lap lap






Heading back for the Paerdegat. Manhattan on the horizon, the tall tall building is WTC 1. Lovely clear day on the bay!

Great first SailComm cruise of the year and a fine first outing under sail this year for me. Winds ended up being more than the forecast (which had been for around 10 kts all day) and I'm glad it was a cruise, where everybody's relaxed and we're spread out all over, instead of the more demanding sailing racing entails, but it was an excellent day for knocking off the winter's rust - started out at 10 kts or so (less in the basin and OK, the first shot of the series above was in the big lull that hit just as I was launching), good windspeed for being back in a Sunfish for the first time in months, and then a nice steady build through the afternoon with some terrific planing on the way home. Docking took a few passes as the wind in the basin was puffy but I did manage it without any damage to boat, self, or innocent bystanders. Terrific day! More pictures to come, of course, the blue boat one was just too pretty not to share right away.

iwindsurf wind chart for the day - look what a nice build-up!

Monday, May 27, 2013


Nope, just Jamaica Bay. Fine weather for the Sailing Committee's first cruise of the season, and my first sail of the year. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

How does my garden grow?

Pretty well, so far! We've been getting a good amount of rain, and I've actually been getting out to the club to tend to things between the rain, and at this point everything's coming up...

no, not roses, but lots of other things. I did what I expect to be the last bit of spring planting today - I needed to do a little boat maintenance to get ready for the Trip Leader Training that I'm assisting TQ with for the next 2 weekends, so since I was heading out anyways and flying light (the maintenance only involved bungees, electrical tape and a small spool of cord) I decided to swing by Dragonetti's and pick up herbs to replace the ones that were wiped out by Sandy. Sage, rosemary and thyme. Hard to believe that giant rosemary bush I used to have grew from a tender little sprig like this!

Baby basil, and plenty of 'em. Last year I tried just doing seedlings and although they did fine I didn't feel like it ever got as lush as they do when I use seeds. Back to seeds this year. I said I didn't expect to do any more spring planting...well, come to think of it I may have lied, with the basil I usually get impatient with how long the little ones are taking and put in a few seedlings to give 'em an example - then they take off and it's pesto, pesto, pesto! And caprese salad (OK, Joe's is gone but I still work across the street from Dean and DeLucca and if I want to go for made-fresh-same-day there might be another place or twelve in NYC where you can get that -- and although I didn't find the curd that simplifies making your own in my visit to Murray's on Friday, I haven't given up on that yet).

Chard's coming up this time - it was weird, last year I just couldn't get these to take off, ended up putting in some pepper plants and calling it a day. Off to a good start this year. Northern Lights, you can already see the colors.

Tomatoes - Rutgers and some sort of beefsteak - Dragonetti's didn't have the fun heirloom variety packs this year so I went with what they had. These guys are just sort of sitting there not doing much right now, I think they'd like it to be a little warmer, but only one of them (not in the picture) is visibly distressed - leaves on that one are quite yellow which could be because of too much water. I'm tempted to replace it with either some funky heirloom, 'cause weird tomatoes are fun, or a Buck's County if the plant sellers at Union Square have those this year, that was the best producer last year. I wasn't forcing tomatoes on friends or anything but there were always two or three ready to pick on each weekend. 

Cukes! This was another one I had surprising problems with last year, they got off to a good start, I got a few cukes and then all the sudden the vines just withered with no visible cause. Hope whatever it was isn't lurking to take out this year's crop. 

Beets! Haven't done more than a few beets for the last few years but I've got a bunch coming up this year. I'm always tempted to pull up the daffodils and devote that space to beets, daffodils are sort of a waste of space for most of the summer, and I'm usually just about set to pull them out at the end of every season - but then they bloom in the spring and I get all mushy. I did  compromise and pull a few out to make more room for beets this year, though.

And, lamb's quarter. This one plants itself. Some people call it a weed but I actually like it steamed like spinach, so although I pulled the ones that are competing with the little guys that are just coming up, I did leave a few in over in the corner with the tomatoes. These tend to be the first pickings from the garden, in fact. 

My snake survived Sandy!

Boat maintenance - there was a rear-deck bungee cord that needed to be replaced. I don't really use it but when you're teaching your boat is supposed to be all proper-like. I was actually impressed by one of the clerks at the Eastern Mountain Supply - I asked for deck bungee and he knew immediately that they didn't have it in the selection of cords-by-the-foot where I was expecting it to be, but he thought for a second and then sent me up to the camping section because he knew they had shock cord for tent poles and he suspected that would be the same, and it was.  What was more urgent, though, was doing something to save my decklines, which are otherwise in fine shape, from the chafing that the deck compass I got a while back turns out to be causing. So far it's just the cover of the line that's fraying so it's just a matter of adding some layers to give the clip something more to chew on. 

First layer, electrical tape - 

And then a wrapping of cord because I didn't trust the tape to stay stuck after a few soakings. Looks much better now.  
Nice afternoon at the club.  Hoping for another good day out there tomorrow -this time hoping to get in my first sail of the season! Woohoo! 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Say It Ain't So!

Tillerman says bring on the gloom, so OK, here we go with a few bars of the blues.

The Mozzarella Blues.

I made a woeful discovery on Tuesday. Not quite a tragedy (I'd reserve that word for things that happened in other places this week) but still, I set out on a mission in the fine warm weather that Tuesday brought to New York City and instead found sadness and disappointment. Auwe! Alas, alack, and well-a-day!

I brought my camera today to recreate Tuesday's trauma for you.

First, the lead-in: 

The company cafeteria was closed for an event. Nothing the in-house coffee bar and snack shop had to offer was appealing to me. I left the building trying to decide what I felt like getting at Duke's (the closest deli) and stepped out into a lovely warm afternoon. We've been having a pleasant, quiet week at the office, and it suddenly hit me that it was the perfect sort of afternoon to treat myself to a sandwich from my hands-down favorite food discovery of 2012, the long-established SoHo cheesemaker Joe's Dairy, home of some of the best danged mozzarella I've ever eaten anywhere including during a couple of summers in Italy (although I was much younger then and didn't always know what to look for). Definitely some of the best "mootz" (to borrow Baydog's term) in my area. They had fresh and smoked and both were amazing, I'd gone quite crazy for the stuff, treated myself and TQ on a fairly regular basis, took the smoked (which travelled better) along with some of the hard sausages Joe's also carried to a couple of family gatherings and other get-togethers - everybody loved it. They also sold sandwiches of a couple of varieties, sundried tomatoes or roasted peppers with fresh or smoked on great chewy rolls. Yum. That's was what I was after on Tuesday. 

And now - the photographic re-enactment:

I headed west on Prince Street and then turned right on Sullivan, approaching the shop from the south. All sorts of trendy little eateries on this block, but I hardly notice 'em. 

 There's the place - just past the gated entryway to the St. Anthony's Rectory.  Joe's Dairy! Cheeses! Hooray! All I was thinking about was which kind of sandwich should I get, and whether I should get some to take home and have for dinner, or just get the sandwich, choices choices...

 But then as the storefront came into view beyond the rectory's little "patio" -- wait -- what? -- what's this???

Closed? How? It's Tuesday! Joe's is closed on Mondays! It is Tuesday, right? Yes, yes, it's Tuesday...wait, there's a sign. Maybe this is the week they always go on vacation. Nice week to go on vacation, the week before Memorial Day, yeah, that must be it, proprietors of little mom-and-pop establishments need a break every now and then. Yes. The sign must say that they are on vacation, or temporarily closed due to some family thing...

Let's read it and find out when they'll be open again:

 Wait. What???? NOOOOOOO!!!! 

Yes, another SoHo classic gone, poof, like Las Brisas del Caribe, my old favorite Cuban hole-in-the-wall (which I was introduced to by an old favorite New Yorker - I wonder what happened to him? Nice guy, his kindness helped me through some very rough times with the kayak company and then we just sort of lost touch), long since replaced by a fancy deli that's exactly like the fancy deli half a block to the north, the fancy deli half a block to the south and the fancy deli across the street and two blocks towards Houston Street. 

The shop that housed Joe's is on a nice block in SoHo.

As I said, there are all sorts of trendy little places.

The storefront will surely be snapped up quickly by another hip-yet-cookie-cutter organic fair-trade gluten-free yadda yadda coffee shop - 

I might go there, though, if the owner is clever enough to sell sandwiches made with Joe's Dairy mozzarella. The fact that Joe's Dairy is not actually going out of business entirely, just out of retail, was the one thing I was happy to see on that sign. Looking into the closing after returning to the office with a mozzarella sandwich from a fancy sandwich shop nearby (yech, rubbery, definitely not Joe's), I read that the walk-in traffic at the shop just wasn't generating enough revenue to keep it open. That, I guess I can believe - most gourmet food places in NYC you're waiting in lines or taking numbers, here I would always walk in and be served immediately; if there was another person in front of me, they were usually a second from done with their purchase. It's lovely to not have to wait, but I should have recognized that for a bad sign. If I can figure out which local places have it, that would be a big draw for me.

For more details, visit Jeremiah's Vanishing New York.

Glad I at least found out about it before it was too late. 

And you know what? When I mentioned the closing of the shop over on Facebook,  Baydog said he could actually teach me how to make my own. Funny thing is, it was the shutdown of Las Brisas that started me cooking my own pernil, which I now do rather well, if I may say so myself. Maybe I should try my hand at cheesemaking next.

Setting the tone...

Done with my temporary spell of posts of cuteness here on the blog. Prepare yourself, soon it will be time for:

Gloom, despair and agony, even.

Still more cuteness!

OK, so tonight I am going to post a sad post, a woeful post, an alas-alack-and-well-a-day post. But first here's Lucy, who was also a factor in the high cuteness quotient at the club on Saturday. Lucy is also an incredibly nice little dog, loves people but is especially devoted to her owner Dennis, for whom she was keeping a sharp lookout when I took this shot (hence the intent expression).

That'll be it for cuteness - tonight, gloom, sorrow and sadness. FB friends may have an idea of the topic -- no spoilers in comments please!

And in case anyone missed the link the other day, here's a slideshow from Saturday's Open House. Not a big big turnout but I think everybody, both members and guests, had a good time. BTW, I've added captions now so if you're curious about any of the pictures, click on the slideshow to head on over to the gallery. Enjoy!  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

More Cuteness!

Here's another photo from Saturday that I really liked. We didn't have a very big turnout on Saturday - there wasn't as much advance publicity as we've sometimes done, and then instead of the perfect weather that had been forecast (72 degrees, partly sunny, light winds) it was overcast and drizzly, which tends to make people not want to come out boating.

However this year's event did have an extremely high c.q. - Cuteness Quotient! And I think we have to thank the revivified Canoe Committee for that. With more canoes in the mix (and there were more canoes plying the Paerdegat on Saturday then I think I've ever seen out there), suddenly there's a perfect spot for the youngsters who are a little too little to keep up in a kayak - and the kids seem to love it. In fact I think it was the littlest of the three girls, the one in the blue lifejacket, who burst into tears when her first canoe trip of the day was over and it was time to get out of the big "canot du Nord" and give her paddle back (all of us on the dock were SO worried when we heard the sobs because at first we were afraid she'd gotten scared, but it was quite the opposite). Fortunately Dan Olsen, our canoe committee chair, was ready and willing to get the group back out on the water in one of our smaller canoes, and here she's all smiles again. A paddler is born? We don't know for sure but it certainly looks like a possibility. Hooray for canoes!

And to anyone out there who works on a bigger boat - happy National Maritime day. There's a very nice, if somewhat sad, post in honor of the day over on the Old Salt Blog -- I'll finish this off with a link to that:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Happy Safe Boating Week!

I took this at the Sebago Open House on Saturday - this is clubmate John M's granddaughter getting ready to take some furry friends paddling, and our Canoe Committee chair made sure everyone was ready and safe for the trip! 

More pictures from the day here (although you've seen the cutest already):

And more about Safe Boating Week Here:

Monday, May 20, 2013

uh oh

pretty bad infestation there...

And here's this year's "Get 'Tooned Adults-Only No-Kids-Allowed Cocktail and Claymation" production. Penguins at 1:42, they spell out "NYICFF", the initials of the New York International Children's Film Festival (I don't think anyone would guess that out of context although people at the benefit were getting it by the "C"). Once again, great fun for a good cause. And yes, unfortunately that is my hand at 1:50, I barely finished the penguins in time and I was rushing to get the animation done!

Friday, May 17, 2013

More Fast Boats (plus schooner Arabella, and a duck)

I was feeling a bit wiped out at the end of the work day last night, so I decided to head home instead of going to Blue Drinks (hopefully there'll be another later in the summer). On my way home, though, I did loop by North Cove again, this time to see, and of course take some pictures of, the Atlantic Cup fleet (thank you Harry M. for cluing me in). A few of my favorite photos are down at the end of the writing. The big 3-masted vessel, btw, is NOT a Cup contender, that's the schooner Arabella. Not sure what she's doing in NYC but she's been here for a while (Update 5/20 - I finally found out, answer's in the comments). And the duck is a duck.

BTW, Icarus, #116, has a local connection - she belongs to the USMMA at King's Point! Go NY! 

The Atlantic Cup is an interesting 3-legged race. Two sailors on each boat and see, they stand next to each other on the dock with their arms around each other's shoulders and then they have their 2 adjacent legs tied together, no, no, not really. Although that would be an interesting race too. This one's three distinctly different legs. 

From the Cup's website: "The first stage is a long offshore, double-handed leg from Charleston, South Carolina to New York City. The second stage is a sprint leg, also double-handed from New York to Newport, Rhode Island. The third and final stage will be a fully crewed inshore series raced over a weekend in Newport."  For more info, visit

IDEC wasn't there but according to the website he's still here on standby - maybe Joyon decided to take some friends sailing or something, it was a very pretty evening and maybe it's fun for a singlehander to occasionally have other people on board.

Here are my favorites from last night's pictures - it was an excellent night for picture-taking, too, the late afternoon light is always pretty and when you get lucky enough to have a large black cloud that's passed by and is to the east, stuff just glows. Didn't actually storm this time as far as I know, but it sure looked dramatic!

BTW, I have again put all the text at the top, here, nothing more to read, so you can just click on the first picture to get the much nicer slideshow view. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Really Random: Blue Drinks, Separated at Birth, IDEC in Motion, The Village Penguins, and Sebago's annual Open House

1. Blue Drinks! 

D'oh! Once again this done snuck up on me, there's another New York City Watertrail Association Blue Drinks waterfront social evening on the barge at Pier 66 TONIGHT!  These are always fun - I don't know if I'm going to make it tonight as I'm an antisocial butterfly having a social butterfly week & last night's event (claymation yay!) ran late - but I did at least want to spread the word. 6 pm, $20  donation includes 1-year NYCWTA membership, one drink (doesn't HAVE to be blue) , and a tide wheel (nifty device and very useful for trip planning). Click here for more info. 

2. Separated at Birth?

Pandabonium at Sweet Bluesette wants to know if IDEC is based on a Klingon Qlb'etlh-class Battlecruiser. Well, what do you think?

Image found on the Scifi-Meshes forum.

3. IDEC in Motion:

When I posted some of my IDEC photos on Facebook, my friend Harry M. shared this video, which I loved. These guys have a way of looking like they're doing 15 kts when they're tied to a dock - seeing 'em in action is fantastic.

4. Village Penguins:

As I mentioned briefly in the Blue Drinks piece, last night was the New York International Children's Film Festival's 3rd annual Get 'Tooned No-Kids-Allowed Cocktails and Claymation benefit. I haven't managed to do any stop-motion stuff on my own since the Origami Bunny Dance, but I have a great time going and joining the folks at the fabulous NYICFF for this annual fundraiser. The first year I made a seal, the second I made a tiger -- this year I got ambitious and made an entire flock of penguins! The theme was At the Disco so of course the penguins are dressed up and end up spelling out "NYICFF" Village People style. I was joking about going for quantity instead of quality this year but they actually came out pretty cute.

5. Last but definitely not least - Sebago Canoe Club's annual Open House is this coming Saturday! The club will be open from 10 am to 4 pm and there will be public boating all day long. We'll have kayaking, canoeing and sailboat rides; the trips will mostly on the Paerdegat Basin although the kayak trips may go take a look at the bay, depending on conditions and the ability of all the participants in any given group. The forecast looks lovely, partly sunny, high of 72, and light winds, should be a fine day on and by the water. You need to be able to swim (don't need to be Mark Spitz, we have lifejackets but you should basically be comfortable with being in water), but no boating experience is necessary, all equipment provided, just be ready for fun and dress to get wet. Mostly people don't fall in but you WILL get a wet backside in a kayak or a Sunfish, that's just how they are. We're on Paerdegat Avenue North in Canarsie. For full details, visit