Sunday, August 31, 2014

Brooklyn Bridge Break

I'll get back to my Hudson River trip reporting tonight or tomorrow, but I went on a Highly Scenic Paddle last night and I thought I would share some pix this afternoon. The paddle was from the Long Island City Community Boathouse to the Brooklyn Bridge Park and back, with the LICCB hosting the Sebago Canoe Club. This is an annual event that Sebago folks look forward to every summer - we use the LICCB's sit-atops so all we have to bring (if we want to) are our paddles and lifejackets and money for treats at the Brooklyn Bridge Park. I took something like 20 pictures on the return leg, my camera doesn't do so well on the water in the dark but I just couldn't resist the lights - most were of course just blurs but I think the bright lights on the Manhattan Bridge here added just enough ambient light that the camera was able to get the scene. Click here for a short Flickr album of pictures from the trip.

I actually hadn't been to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse section of the park in a couple of years - lots of changes! The BBP Boathouse has a nice new dock there and I hadn't realized that a whole big sports facility had been put in on one of the old piers - skating rink, bocce ball, all sorts of stuff, and it looks like people are really enjoying it.

Here's another fun picture from last night - 

Obviously not one of mine! This was taken by Sandra Maki from American Express, who was working the Amex-sponsored public US Open viewing picnic at the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Gail and I were heading for the food trucks when she saw my paddle and asked if we were in the group that had just paddled by - we said yes and had a fun talk about kayaking in NYC, and she sent me this picture that she'd taken as we paddled by! BTW, if you are a tennis fan, live in the area, and didn't score yourself tickets, this looked like a fun way to watch - they have a big screen set up on the Harbor View Lawn, people were picnicking there watching the tennis matches live on-screen with the harbor, the river, the skyscrapers of the financial district, and the famous bridges as a fabulous backdrop. Click here for more details.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Don't Forget the Tugboat Race Tomorrow!

It's always tons of fun (many, many tons) when the heavy horses of the harbor come out to play! Sunday, August 31st. Click here for details. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Hudson River Paddle Part 7 - Day 2 On the River: Bronck Island to N. Tivoli Bay

Another long day, this time about 27 miles. Here's my 8/12 journal entry, with pictures thrown in. Italics indicate tonight's notes on the day: 
A mixed day today - woke up to a glorious sunrise (yay!) then fell back to sleep and got on the river late again. OK, 8 am is less late than 10 (my Waterford start time) but it was so calm at 6 and by 8 I found myself fighting a nasty headwind. 
Still had moments, though! The first couple of hours were like, effing wind, effing wind, effing wind --
oooh eagle!
effing wind, effing wind, effing wind, (e.w. for short from here on)

oooh flowers!
e.w., e.w., e.w.,

 oooh, Amara Zee circus barge! This one started out a bit farther away as "What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks kind of boat is THAT?" but I figured it out as I got closer.
e.w., e.w., e.w.,

oooh lighthouse! (Athens-Hudson Light)

 Amazing numbers of eagles up here! Also great blue herons flying off with their cranky "Grack, graaack" every twenty yards of something like that.

I was getting a little depressed with the wind and I was afraid it was going to be another sunset arrival at my Tivoli area campground (I had been planning on Turkey Point but a friend in the Tivoli area told me about a better spot that I could use if I asked permission and camped with care), but I cheered up when the wind died down and even more when I checked my location and realized that I'd moved over into the day's last chart earlier than I'd expected to (day 1 I'd been a bit obsessive about tracking my location on the chart, day 2 I was trying to loosen up on that).

The nicest moment of the day may have been when I was waiting for a tug to pass before crossing to check out the Saugerties lighthouse (2nd lighthouse of the day, woohoo!).  
They were a ways off, so I was just sitting by the nun across the way waiting, watching the clouds go by and listening to the birds. I'd been in this weird rush mode earlier in the day with the late start and that lousy headwind; when I stopped to wait, my destination was in sight, and I knew I'd be there in plenty of time. It felt good to just stop and enjoy drifting there for a moment.

 Saugerties Lighthouse. This one's actually a B&B, and I did briefly toy with the idea of splurging on a night here. That would have been really neat, but I checked their website and it turns out to be expensive (not surprising of course) and then they had a two-night minimum stay. I wasn't on anybody's schedule but my own, but that wasn't on my schedule. 

Excellent paddling weather, aside from the morning wind -- cool, with a few light showers. 
Arrived in plenty of time to pick a nice spot, set up camp, make a few phone calls to friends about meeting up on Wednesday evening (plus one to TQ just to say hi). Watched the barges go by for a little while, then fixed myself a delicious dinner of pasta with sauteed squash, sopressata, onions and 2 cheeses (parmesan and smoked gouda). Thoughts of saving some for the breakfast eggs went out the window with the first bite.

the bravest heron of the day, most flapped off the minute they saw me (which was always a minute before I saw them).

Bedtime now. Tomorrow's destination: Norrie Point. I'll be camping on Esopus Island, I hope to set up there and then head over to the Norrie Point Marina, charge things, get a shower and one way or another meet up with Ralph and Donna and Susan. Short paddle, and I'm ready for one of those!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hudson River Paddle Part 6: Day 1 On the River - Waterford to Bronck Island

Waterford, 8/11/2014 - Trusty Romany loaded, launched, and ready to go!

It was a great day for picture taking, I was trying to exercise restraint since I wasn't going to have a chance to charge for a couple of days, but there were still enough that I put them up  on Flickr instead of loading 'em all on here.  Click here for the album.Here was the day's journal:
Day 1, Waterford to Bronck I - beautiful day, but LONG! Going through a lock for the first time was fun. Got a late start due to having accidentally purloined Louise's sprayskirt, when I found out there was a post office nearby I ran over to send it, partly because I felt bad and wanted to get it home, partly 'cause I just didn't have room! Everything just barely fit, had to tie a couple of things on deck (note added while blogging - remember, I ran out of prep time and my first full packing of my kayak for this trip was there in Waterford!). Wish I'd thought to mail the roof rack (foam blocks) home, but oh well (2nd note added while blogging - although it would have been tidier-looking if I'd gotten rid of the roof rack, it occurred to me later that had anything gone wrong and I'd needed to be helped off the river by a person who didn't happen to have a kayak rack on their car, it actually could have come in very handy). 

Gorgeous day on the river, lots of blue herons and kingfishers, and a dragonfly hitched a ride with me for a good ten minutes.

Was aiming for Gay's Point, but with the late departure I decided to call it a day at Bronck. Jack said it was hard to find, but I knew to pull in close to shore to look after fixed navigation light 171. Jack was right, it would've been easy to miss, but I didn't, so here I am tonight.

Too tired to cook -- cheese and bread and one of my little squashes (raw) for dinner and dried pineapple for dessert. And I actually took a bit of a bath before I ate - nice camping by fresh water.

That's all for tonight. Tomorrow - Tivoli or bust!


That was all I had energy to write. I launched at 10 and I came off the water with the sun getting quite low in the sky, a little before 7:30, and fortunately still with enough light to see all the sprigs of poison ivy scattered around the campsite proper. I ended up setting up on a sort of plateau of moss-covered tree roots that looked to be above the normal high-water mark. There was a metal cabinet for raccoon-proof gear storage in the same spot so I figured it would work, which it did, was more low and dry at high water than high and dry at high water, but it did stay dry (phew). Woke up in the early morning to hear the water lapping very close by, looked out of the tent to discover my little plateau was now a peninsula, but that was as high as it got and I was fine where I was. 

I don't think I got out of my boat all day, I had fruit and Kind Bars for lunch, I'd taken care of those things which sometimes make a person get out of their boat right before I left Waterford, and I knew it was going to be a long haul - that was the price for going through a lock (whee) and I'd accepted it. Ended up being about 28 miles to Bronck Island, would've been a few more to Gay's Point - if I'd gotten the earlier start I'd planned on I might have pulled it off but I was actually really ready to call it a day when I got off the river. I actually didn't feel sore as far as muscles (in fact I never ended up using any painkillers) but I was starting to get blisters. I'd felt good while paddling, but stopping felt good too. Phew.
Google map of Day 1.

Finding Bronck Island - I was actually just about to paddle on when I saw this 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of laminated paper with the oh-so-welcome green and blue flag! I was SO happy to see this!  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hudson River Paddle Part 5 and a half: Charts!

I'd hoped to do the post where I launch tonight, but I came down with a bad case of stuckattheofficeitis and then decided that since I was leaving so late anyways, I would stop by Dempsey's for a pint and a few tunes, so now it's a little late to do a full day's report (and the first day, as I mentioned was a VERY full day). But there was one thing I did to prepare that I hadn't mentioned yet (too busy babbling about eggs and GPS's and who knows what)  and that was charts! Aside from provisions, my main purchase for the trip was a waterproof chart book for the Hudson River. This was actually a really fun thing to get, I love charts and I've already actually done a few trips up and down the Hudson River between NYC and the port of Albany (schooner deliveries back when I was working on the Adirondack) so I found it really interesting to sit down with the book and see what I could match to my recollections of the trip. 

My basic guide was of course the Hudson River Watertrail Guide, which has black and white versions of the same charts with all of the Watertrail info overlaid onto them; it's NOT waterproof so you can't really carry it on deck, but what a lot of people do is copy the charts that they need and carry those in a chart case (or even just a large ziploc bag), but this is bigger and a little clearer and just really, really easy to use. Plus it's just a nice thing to have around - the club occasionally does Hudson River paddles and I've now got charts for anywhere we'd be likely to go. 

What I ended up doing was sitting down with the guide and the chart book one night and copying the campsites I was shooting for into the chart book.

These, for example, were the day 1 possibilities. There were 3 Watertrail campsites within a fairly short distance of each other; first one is Bronck Island - indicated by a little pencilled-in triangle (tent) -

And then there were Gay's Point and Stockport Middle Ground just a couple of miles to the south - these ones had camping and water (actually the island didn't, that was a goof-up because the two are part of the same park - water wasn't a big concern at this point, though, I'd filled all of my containers at Waterford and had more than enough for the first couple of days). 

Each chart with a campsite on it also got a little icon up in the upper right-hand corner so I'd know it was on there. This worked out very nicely.

It was funny, I actually ended up measuring distances by how many charts I was crossing, not how many miles I had to go. 3 charts was a long day. 2 charts was a nice day. Less than 2 full charts was a fantastic break. I think I only had one of those but, oh my gosh, it was after 2 consecutive three-charters and I practically did a little dance when I went to check the next day's distance and discovered that my campsite was on one chart and the next night's was on the very next chart over. Woohoo!

Here was Day 1! As usual, click on any picture for more detail. 

The chart book started at the Troy Lock, Waterford is a couple of miles north there. Here's the piece I was missing, my campsite is circled (just north of Peeble's Island) and so is the Troy Lock. 
The chart book actually runs from NY Harbor UP the Hudson, so I was doing it back to front, right to left. Troy Lock is in the upper right-hand corner of the right-hand chart on Page 24; I did that whole chart, the one on the left, 
turned the page and kept paddling. 
Page 23 - The orange arrow on the right points to the Bronck Island campsite - the one on the left, Gay's Point. 
My experienced friends in Yonkers had actually recommended Gay's Point; they said Bronck Island was actually tricky to find, but for various reasons, I'd gotten a much later start than I'd originally planned, I paddled through the entire flood, and by the time I was approaching the area where the Bronck Island campsite was supposed to be, it was approaching sunset and I was feeling HIGHLY MOTIVATED to find it, and I did. I have never in my whole life been so happy to see an laminated sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper tacked to a tree!
So that was Day 1, by the charts. Pictures from the actual paddle tomorrow - but here's one more, one of the reasons I got a late start. I'd taken a sketchpad along with the idea of doing a little drawing along the way. That didn't happen that much, I didn't really end up having that much free time (I'd also brought my tin whistle and a couple of books in case of being stuck in my tent for a day or something, those didn't get touched), but I did take the time to do a quick one before I launched on Monday morning. Grrrr, baby!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hudson River Paddle Part 5: On to Waterford

Sunday, 8/10 - after a good night's sleep, a not-too-rushed start, and a delicious omelet made by Louise from good local eggs, cheese and mushrooms, I checked emails one last time, added a few more contact numbers to my cell phone, then packed up the car and strapped my boat back on the roof (with Louise's help, how nice that I never had to get it up there solo - like I said, I can do it but it's no fun). I'd mentioned to Louise that my first day was going to be a doozy, 30 miles and change as planned (don't forget, all plans were subject to change as needed), and she took me to a natural food store in Ithaca for some TraumEel tablets, a homeopathic pain remedy which she finds work well in conjuction with Advil (with which I was of course already supplied, that being a pretty standard-issue item in the middle-aged paddler's wellness arsenal). Did I mention she's an Antarctic kayak guide and a very experienced expedition paddler herself (like she did a trip all the way a around Lake Ontario to celebrate her 50th birthday)? She was so encouraging about this and excited for me - she said she almost wished she could come with me, but she totally got the "do it self" aspect of the trip (if you missed, that, it was in Part 1 of this series). 

Me and Louise at the GreenStar Market - we who are about to shop! 

I picked up snacks for the drive, too - a "Hiker Bar" (basically a shortbread cookie with a sweet nutty topping) and some blueberry drinkable yogurt; Alice, who'd hosted me for the weekend, had also fixed me up with a little dish of homegrown cherry tomatoes, some orange variety that was sweet as candy (note to self - don't overlook the cherry tomatoes when you buy your seedlings next year) and I figured with the additional snacks I wouldn't have to stop for lunch anywhere.

Just as we were leaving the store, my eyes lit on a chest freezer full of local grass-fed beef and other meats - I stopped in my tracks, looked at Louise, and gleefully announced, "I'm having steak for dinner tonight!"

We walked out to the parking lot together, where she gave me a nice simple set of instructions for getting to Waterford (I had the GPS but this was clear enough that I didn't need it), she led me out of the parking lot to my first turnoff and I waved goodbye.
It was an absolutely beautiful drive. The picture above was taken en route when I stopped at a farm stand for the things what goes with a juicy grass-fed steak (namely corn, new potatoes and peaches for dessert, plus a bottle of honey that I never opened during the trip), oh boy. I had onions from my garden already. That was my only stop, aside from that I drove straight through from Ithaca to Waterford, with the yappy GPS lady silenced (up until the last bit when I let her help me find the canal visitors' center) and the Boston Symphony Orchestra with YoYo Ma, live at Tanglewood, playing on the radio. Now that was a nice drive. 

I arrived at the Waterford Harbor Canal Visitors Center  at 3:50 which should've been just in time, except that it was such a gorgeous day that I guess they'd shut down early - the doors were locked and no one was around. I was glad I'd spoken to them before I came, I'd asked if there was anything I needed to know about camping arrangements there and they'd said nope, just find yourself a nice patch of lawn and pitch your tent, so that's just what I did! 

Here it is, Campsite Night 1, Waterford, NY! Woohoo!

I set up the tent and threw all of my stuff in - I had no choice but to leave my stuff while I took the car to the Albany airport, but somehow I felt like a person might have some second thoughts about actually going into a tent to take something, and anyways this seemed like a pretty peaceful place, there were plenty of other boaters there. Getting rid of the car worked exactly as planned, I dropped off the car with Enterprise and then went out to a cabstand and got a cab back to the canal. There was one slight detour - as I was unpacking the car, I discovered that I'd picked up an extra sprayskirt -- with a small deck and a small tunnel, I figured it was Louise's and I must have just accidentally grabbed it off of the clothesline in the morning. I wanted to get it back to her because she does a LOT of kayaking and a sprayskirt is a pretty key piece of gear, plus I was already concerned about getting everything into my boat (did I mention that I ran out of time to ever do a full practice loading of my boat? I'd done my tent and had a good sense of how much space was left but something had come up on the only day I would've had time to take everything else out and so I had my fingers crossed - knew it was going to be tight, though). The GPS claimed that the nearest Kinko's was in Boston, I was highly doubtful that that was the real case so I asked the cabdriver if he knew of one; he took me by what turned out to be their actual shipping facility, they couldn't actually take packages there and didn't know if there was a 24-hour branch in Albany - now Albany being the seat of NY State Government and all that, I didn't see how there could NOT be at least one 24-hour Kinko's in the city (and of course there is), but I didn't see any point in continuing to pursue this, figured I would just add the sprayskirt to whatever ended up on deck and maybe mail it back from Wappinger's Falls when I stopped to see my friend there.

So back to the canal we went - I took this picture for my friend Harry because my cabdriver said that that was Vermont off in the distance - Hi Harry! 


Back at the canal, I got my stuff a little better sorted out for the big load-up in the morning, and there was still enough light for a little sightseeing - obviously I was now on foot but there was lots right there to look at, there's a lovely park built around the canal and some neat boats at the docks.

Figurehead of the Onrust - more on this one at the end, I particularly enjoyed seeing her again!

Evening at Peeble's Island

Doggy paddle!

Cabin and smokestack of tug Buffalo

Looking towards the Hudson

A few shots of Lock 2 on the Erie Canal

Canal, vessels, and the Waterford Harbor Canal Visitor's Center (you can't see it but my tent's over there).

Then, dinner and a little wine,
and then to bed to get a good night's sleep to get ready for the next day's excitement!
End notes on the Onrust: I mentioned that it was particularly fun to see the Onrust again -- the first time I saw her was in 2009, when she traveled to NYC to join in with a fleet of canal barges that had been shipped from Holland as part of the quadricentennial celebration of Henry Hudson's visit to the river that now bears his name. I went to watch the Blessing of the Fleet on a very dreary day that year and she was there for that - here was my photo of her then:

2014 is actually the quadricentennial of the building of the original Onrust, which was the first ship built in the area that eventually became New York State. The name is Dutch for "Restless", and as Tugster Will was telling a few of us who attending a screening of Graves of Arthur Kill at the Midtown Library last week, she was built by a group of Dutch seafarers whose original ship, the Tijger, burned at anchor in NY Harbor -- they were too restless to stay where they were, so they built a new vessel, the original Onrust. Will was fascinated by the build, and there's a fascinating series of posts on the project over at Tugster. Click here to read those, and click here to visit the Onrust Project's website. Also, click here for an intriguing article about how the charred remains of the Tijger may have been found early in the 20th century, but lost again to NYC's march of progress culminating in the construction of the World Trade Center.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hudson River Paddle Part 4: Hitting the Road, And A Fine Day in Ithaca

The 4-day work week before my big trip wound down fast. I was busy at work, but I was pretty much ready. I had a last whim on the provisions side - did you know that eggs don't need to be refrigerated when they're straight from the chicken? They come out of the bird with a protective coating, along with other less appetizing substances that makes the USDA require that chicken eggs for commercial sale be power-washed, which is what makes them need refrigeration. Well, I'd chicken-sat for my friends with the Brooklyn backyard chickens last winter and because they had a mostly new flock (their old flock had been "liberated" by a raccoon) that wasn't laying yet, they'd told me that I had a rain check for some eggs in the summertime. Decided to cash that in for some eggs that could go camping, they said the girls were laying well and to stop by, I got stuck late at work on Wednesday night but they left the eggs out on the front porch for me. What a treat THAT was for breakfasts, especially the morning after the night I'd intentionally left the pot greasy after sauteeing pasta with sausage, squash, onions and two kinds of cheese - that made for a fantastic scramble!  Yum. I kept the eggs in a little plastic carton behind my seat in the cockpit - it's good that my friends don't have a rooster 'cause I might have hatched out chicks.

Thursday night I worked late again but when I was done, I was DONE - time to go get the car! Turns out that you can't do the Enterprise pick up at one location, drop off at another unless you do it from a large location like an airport, the smaller ones need to know that their stock is coming back. The main problem with this is that that meant that my first time behind the wheel since last summer was at night, and immediate highway driving instead of warming up in my nice familiar quiet neighborhood. As I mentioned in a comment on Part 3, this led to probably the single most frightening moment of the entire trip, when I went to merge onto the Belt Parkway and discovered that the one thing I'd missed on my pre-flight check at the rental lot was driver's side rear view mirror adjustment - figured this out when I went to check on traffic as I merged. Aieeeee! Fortunately traffic was pretty sparse at that hour, I survived the merge, pulled off again at the next exit, fixed the mirror, breathed a minute or two to let the adrenaline level off, then hit the road again and made it home in one piece. It's just this kind of infrequent-driver stupid moment that always makes me get the best insurance they have available - so far it's just been extra money for Enterprise but I always have this feeling that the one time I go for the cheaper version will be the time I seriously break something.

Loaded up the car the next morning, gambling slightly with an alternate-side parking spot - I was bringing down big armloads of stuff and there just didn't seem to be anything legal close to the front door. Worked out OK though, my lucky day. I went to the club and AGAIN it was my lucky day, a couple of my clubmates were there so I didn't have to muscle my rather heavy 16-foot boat onto the roof by myself (I have done that but it's so much nicer to have help). I. also gave me a great sendoff - I told him what I was up to and his face lit up and he said "I'm going to tell you something that may not sound good, but I mean it in the best way - you are a jerk! Just like I am a jerk! Always going off and doing things on my own that I shouldn't do on my own, because I love doing things on my own!". I burst out laughing and said "I'm going to take that as a huge compliment, and yes, if that's being a jerk, then I'm definitely a jerk." And having received such a suitable benediction, the Romany and I hit the road.

The drive ended up being very, very long as construction slowed traffic that had flowed smoothly last year to a crawl, but everything went well. Fortunately Louise, my friend who organizes the kayakers for Women Swimmin', had suggested I get there early to drop gear off; the extra time ended up being just enough to get me to the Friday night boater safety meeting on time. The meeting went well, I was able to drop the gear off afterwards, and then at the home of the folks who are kind enough to put me up, I had a tomato and some basil from my garden with slices of a mozzarella and prosciutto roll that I picked up at a local grocery. A 2nd tomato, along with a bottle of wine, became a gift for my hosts - a little bit of coals-to-Newcastle since this area abounds with wonderful fresh produce, but I enjoyed giving them something I grew myself in Brooklyn (and these were GOOD tomatoes). 

The next morning, we were all up bright and early for Women Swimmin' 2014. Louise, in fact, was up dark and early - as one of the participants in the go/no-go call, which is made at 5:15 a.m., she had to be there early (she's staying with the same folks who put me up while she works out building a small home in the area); since there'd been weather damage to the parking lot at the Ithaca Yacht Club, I left the rental car at the house and rode in with my host, who's also on the Kayak Safety Team. That worked out great, we were there a little before 5:30 (KST "star formation", our pre-race gathering in front of the yacht club, was at 5:45 sharp). 

Oh-dark-thirty at the Ithaca Yacht Club (it's really darker than it looks, the camera just couldn't accept how early it was)

Kayaks on the water

Star formation forming up

Paddles up!

Setting out across the lake

By 6 am, we were heading out to string ourselves across the lake - when not actively helping out with matching up swimmers with appropriately-paced groups (they start in "pods" but inevitably there are fast swimmers and slow swimmers, the idea is that no swimmer swims unattended so part of what the KST does is matches up swimmers who are falling out of their "pods" with people who are swimming more their pace) we ended up marking the course - they have buoys but those can and do end up drifting, especially in the middle of the lake - when they do, the Kayak Safety Team fills in.

Passenger vessel Columbia at the dock, ready for the first swimmers to board. 2 boats make the runs across the lake, so the swimmers come by in waves. 

First wave! Right now, it's warmer in the water than the air - water temperature is a tricky business with this lake, as the lake can "turn over" without notice, bringing the cold water up from the deep and dropping the temperature from balmy to BRRRRR in a day - fortunately this year the lake stayed balmy for the swim. Now me, I was wishing I had a thermos of hot tea to sip!

Good morning, swimmers! Sun's just peeked over the high cliff on the east side of the lake.
Swimming strong

SUP'ers tend the Lavender Cap Mob (pods are distinguished by colorful caps)

Canoeists lead a swimmer 

Approaching the Ithaca Yacht Club

Dock's in sight!

Successful swimmers on the dock.

The funny thing about volunteering for an event that starts that early is that you go, and you put in what feels like a full day's work, and then you realize it's ten o'clock in the morning! My original original plan had been to pack up and leave for Albany immediately after the swim, and that would have worked ok, but I'd re-thought that plan long before the trip - Ithaca is a lovely area, the reason I wanted to come back and do it again the first place, before I even added the Hudson River spin, was because I had such a nice time last year, so why rush off? Besides, with having gotten up at 4:30 a.m. I realized that I might be better off NOT hitting the road again so soon - spend the day in Ithaca, get a good night's sleep and then head out on Sunday morning seemed like a much better plan. My hosts said it would be fine if I stayed a second night, although they had a family event to attend, and Louise was going to be a free bird as soon as the event wrapped. Originally she suggested blueberry picking and a hike and/or a swim, but there was a group who'd come from Rochester to help out, and it turned out that one of them had a friend with a lakefront home a couple of miles away from the yacht club, and Louise and I were invited to paddle there with them for a picnic on the friend's dock. Lovely! 

Started out with a little rolling, of course - wouldn't have wanted to earlier but now, with the sun properly up, the water was irresistable!

More rolling - 

Then it was time to Ease on down,

Ease on down

Ease on down the lake!

Lovely day on Lake Cayuga

 Unfortunately, just as we got there, Louise realized that she'd left a basket of safety team gear on the dock. She decided to paddle back, just to make sure it was OK - I offered to go back with her but she said she'd go back, get the stuff, load her boat on her car and then come back to get me. I didn't fight that too hard!

C., the gentleman who owned the place brought out a feast - fruit salad, pasta salad, cheese and crackers and fresh-grilled shish kebabs - eek, if I'd known I wouldn't have stuffed myself quite so much at the Women Swimmin' breakfast spread! - and we had a great time playing with C's tenant's dog Leo the Leapin' Lab (C. was very lucky in being able to buy the place after renting for a while; the lakeshore is so steep that instead of one big home, there are 3 small structures - a shared cabana, a smaller house, which he rents out, and a larger one, which is his home). Eventually C. couldn't resist the water himself anymore went in with the dog and the minute he'd gone in the rest of us did too. Sorry, no pix there but it was wonderful! 

Mama and baby duck went swimming by - C. had a great story about being adopted by a baby duck who'd lost its family - he said the duck was sort of rejected by the other ducks, and he felt bad for it, so first he started feeding the baby bread, then went and got proper duck food - baby got quite attached, grew up to healthy adulthood, then disappeared - he was afraid she'd gotten shot by one of the duck hunters but then the next spring, he and a friend were out in a boat when a duck came flying towards them, quacking loudly, and landed on their boat, and turned out to be C's orphan duckling (she had a certain pattern on her feathers that he recognized). He didn't think this was her but he likes to think she's still out there. 

Louise joined us after a while. After a few runs up and down the stairs that connected the buildings on the property, we realized that getting our kayaks up to the road was going to be awful, so D., the Rochester guy who was staying with C. on the lake, and I were told to paddle on down to the boat launch in Ithaca where Louise would meet us, we would load my boat, and drive D. back to get his car. 
Entrance to the Ithaca Inlet
That made for a very nice finish to the on-water part of the day. After that there was time for local ice cream, a nap in a hammock, and a little dinner (very little, the ice cream had been delicious), and then we went to a concert at Taughannock State Park, featuring the Sim Redmond Band, an Ithaca band that's very popular in Japan and Europe. They draw a good crowd in their hometown and with the full moon rising over Lake Cayuga...ahhh, summer just doesn't get much better.

The next morning, well rested and very relaxed, it was time to hit the road for Albany!