Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Inwood Invitational, July 21 - now with writeup

Race day at Inwood! 

Note - I'd uploaded some photos and meant to save them as a draft until I could copy in the writeup I posted in FB - accidentally posted though! Same pix here, but with the report. Lots more photos on Flickr.  

A couple of years ago, Yonkers, Inwood, and Sebago, three of the oldest paddling clubs in the area, started having a really fun and friendly inter-club competition. Three days of racing are held, with each club hosting the others for one. The days generally start out with a couple of group paddles, one short, one longer, then the races are held (100 yards, 400 yards, and 800 yards, men and women competing separately), then grilling, refreshing beverages, watermelon and much talking story ensue. So much fun! Points are awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each race, with the winner at the end of the season taking home the Glickman Cup, named after Joe Glickman, a remarkable Sebago member, a racer, adventurer, writer, and devoted husband and father. He passed away from cancer a few years back - far too young to go but when people talk about living every day to its fullest? Well, that was Joe. We all miss him very much.

I missed Inwood last year, and the year before I was actually recovering from my own bout with cancer, so went to enjoy the cameraderie without really getting on the water (although I did get drafted for the war canoe race, and I was delighted to at least get out that way). This year I got to participate much more fully, joining the longer paddle in the morning and then representing Sebago in the races. We usually have a really good woman from our racing committee, but she was injured and couldn't race today and so I volunteered/got volunteered. I do think I'm making progress on getting back in shape, but the other women who were racing today are very serious paddlers and I didn't really stand a chance against them. However, the field was small and for 2 of the 3 races, last place meant 3rd, so all I had to do was negotiate the course as instructed to get points for Sebago. I still paddled like I meant it - Yossi (our racing committee chair) loaned me a good wing paddle and I did not futz around out there!

 And the morning paddle was wonderful. The current was at full ebb when we launched, so we headed north and then hung a right into the Harlem River, paddling nearly down to the Peter Jay Sharp boathouse. This is a beautifully scenic stretch of the waterways around Manhattan and was always one of my favorite parts of a Manhattan circumnavigation back when I was at Manhattan Kayak and doing those regularly - you've just spent a couple of hours on a pretty industrial stretch of the Harlem River and then all the sudden everything starts turning green and lush, and then you turn the corner and there's the Hudson ready to take you home. Glorious. Absolutely a delight to re-visit this area with our hosts, and extra fun because one of them actually knew a whole lot of history about the area. A beautiful, beautiful day on the Hudson and Harlem rivers. Thanks a million to our wonderful hosts at the Inwood Canoe Club. Looking forward to Yonkers in September!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Friday, July 20, 2018

Friday night paddle - around Ruffle Bar

Beautiful post-work paddle tonight, nothing fancy, just out and around Ruffle Bar with a couple of clubmates. 7 miles and change at a good steady clip, a solid workout paddling into about a 14 mph headwind going out and then of course the reward for that is a great downwind run going home. I didn't take too many pictures but of course there were a couple. Note about the osprey photo I usually try not to get too close to osprey nests because they get worried about kayaks, but I didn't realize there was one on the daymark until we were flying past it on the way back to the club. By the time I realized it was there I was right next to it and the wind and the waves were carrying me on past at a pretty good clip, so I went ahead and grabbed a shot as one of the parents circled the nest with a fish for the kids. Felt bad about disturbing them but I was happy with the photo!

Only other shots were back in the basin with one of the folks I'd paddled with making a nice silhouette against the late-afternoon sun (turned into a nice sunset a little later, sorry I didn't get that but I got offered a ride back to my neighborhood) and then the little half-moon. Great to get in a nice simple paddle on a beautiful evening like this. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Still trying to keep the plastic use down...

Not the actual beverage in question - Chowhound's version looked fine! 

Just copying an update from Facebook. There was a period in 2015 when I did a few reports on my efforts to achieve a "Zero Net Plastic" day - I did eventually manage one but it's not an easy thing to do! I don't write about these much but I came SO close yesterday without really trying, if I'd just thought to ask for no straws. Next time!  

Very annoyed with myself - could've had a Zero Net Plastic day yesterday if I'd just thought to request no straw in my cocktail when I went to the Slainte session last night. I usually have a pint (they have a fantastic rotating selection of draft beers there, and if I'm not feeling adventurous, they almost always have Fat Tire) but I went with Dark n' Stormies in honor of the weather.

"Zero Net Plastic Days" are a personal thing I like to try doing that date back to the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokule'a's visit to NYC during their Malama Honua worldwide voyage. In honor of her visit and the voyage, I started working harder on cutting down on plastic where I could - there were a few items where I knew I could do better if I was just a little more disciplined, like using my own containers instead of single-use clamshells, and carrying a bag for unplanned purchases of groceries and sundries (and not buying stuff if I didn't have a bag). As I got better with those things, I started looking for opportunities for "zero net plastic" days, where I was able to make it through a whole day without either acquiring or disposing of any plastic.

I don't really write about this much any more but I never stopped doing it, once I'd made the habit, I kept it. This is harder than you might think - there's always the Chinese food oyster pail that you thought was cardboard but turns out to be lined with plastic, or the decorative toothpick stuck in your sandwich, or the straw in your Dark n' Stormy.

I'll close with a link to an excellent article by Robert Haynes-Peterson, a Whitman College classmate of mine who has built himself a career writing about cocktails and bars - it's wild reading his Facebook page because he's always attending these spectacular events hosted by high-end distilleries and such. His friends from college would all be incredibly jealous if we didn't all know that he's a really good guy who worked his lemu off to get there - that being the case, I just thoroughly enjoy experiencing these things vicariously through his writing. He's been having some discussions about the no-straw movement in the hospitality industry with his friends in the business, and I shared his article in the comments on my post - I think it's really worth a read. Click here to read it

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Storm over NY Harbor

Just having a little fun with EarthCam's New York Harbor cam as a big storm line moved into the area. Images downloaded from 2:38 to 3:04. Click on any photo for a slideshow view. Glad I am not in a small boat out there! 

Friday, July 13, 2018

City of Water Day is here again! Saturday, July 14th

Sorry for the late notice - City of Water Day is TOMORROW, Saturday July 14th! The main event this year is at the South Street Seaport, and there are ancillary "In Your Neighborhood" events happening at parks and boating clubs all over New York City (and at the Hoboken Cove Boathouse, home of Ke Aloha Outrigger, too). We'll be offering kayak and canoe trips and sailboat rides from 9:30 to 4:30 (last trips launch at 3:15) at the Sebago Canoe Club in Canarsie; for other locations and activities, visit the Waterfront Alliance's City of Water Day page.  Always a fun day, and with temperatures forecast to be near 90 tomorrow, on the water will be the best place to be outside.  

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Fourth of July Swim at Coney Island

Oh, I sort of forgot I had these photos from the morning of the 4th of July all loaded up here and ready to go! The symposium was FABULOUS and I'll try to write about that soon, but in the meantime, here are these!

Some of the CIBBOWS folks like to get together on Friday mornings for Friday early morning sunrise swims (FEMSS for short) during these long days of summer, and although I'm absolutely not an early-morning person I've always thought that sounded like a pretty cool way to start the day. I was never quite sure how the timing was going to work out with getting home, getting showered, and getting to work, so when a July 4th edition was announced, I decided that would be the perfect chance to give it a test run.

Unfortunately, surprise, surprise, I overslept my alarm and was finally rousting myself out of bed at 5:30, which was the exact time swimmers were supposed to be gathering for the swim. I thought about just turning off the alarm and sleeping in, but part of the appeal was that the weather had looked just perfect, so I ended up deciding that I could still check out the early-morning travel timing and maybe still get in at least a little bit of a swim.

As it worked out, I got there just as the swimmers were heading for breakfast. They invited me along for breakfast at the classic Parkview Diner, suggesting that I could do that and still go get my swim in with the CIBBOWS crew that was bound to start forming up at Grimaldo's Chair down at Brighton Beach. That sounded like a great idea, so that's exactly what I did, and it worked out really nicely.

Breakfast was delicious, and so was the water temperature as I set off on my swim an hour or so later. I'd gone swimming the weekend before, too, and was a little annoyed at myself when I measured out my distance afterwards and found I'd swum 9/10ths of a mile - if I'd just kept going a little longer! - so this time I set out thinking I'd do a mile. However, plans changed when I got to the same jetty as I'd swum to on Sunday and found a miniature version of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch had collected in the eddy behind it. Blech! There was a plastic bag there, of course, so I just grabbed that and started swimming around stuffing bits of plastic into it until I had a bagful, which I took up to one of the garbage cans on the beach.

That didn't take all that long, but when I finished that project I decided to bail on the mile, since I had plans for later in the day and needed to get home to shower and maybe grab a little short nap. Current whooshed me back to the chair and I gathered up my stuff and said goodbye. Perfect morning!

And the afternoon was fun too. Remember the Mummenschanz? I loved them on the Muppet Show lo those many years ago, never would've guessed that they were still around, couldn't believe it when my friend Mandy asked me if I wanted to go see them! We'd been planning on getting together for dinner and something on the Fourth, we decided to catch a Mummenschanz matinee for the and-something. They're still absolutely charming.

No fireworks, but really can't imagine a much better 4th of July!

All pix after this, click on any photo for a slideshow view. 

Friday, July 06, 2018


WOW, I'm so excited. I haven't done this in WAY TOO LONG. All packed up for the Hudson River Paddlesports Symposium, had to take a picture to share before I left for work this morning.  This is how a paddler without a car gets to some good coaching - I'm renting a boat but bringing my own stuffs. Can't wait!

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Families Belong Together NYC March 6/30/2018

The picture above was one of my favorites from the day - click here for a Flickr album with more. 

I didn't manage to get out in a boat last weekend, but I did join some friends and thousands of like-minded New York City folks for a great stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge. It actually would've been a really nice day for paddling, but one of my paddling friends suggested meeting up for the Families Belong Together march instead, and I thought that sounded like a good idea.

I've made some donations to groups that are working to give legal assistance to the immigrants who've been caught in this mess created by the Reality Show White House. I'm figuring that's a good practical response, since I'm sure there's a nightmare bureaucratic maze to negotiate for any child to be reunited with their parents and, for all people joke about lawyers and sharks, lawyers with good hearts are going to be best equipped to help. My largest donation went to Kid Lit Says No Kids In Cages, I work for Scholastic so I'm in that business, and when the company offered to match employee donations, I jumped on that. I also like the fact that they are splitting the donations among several organizations, that seems like an effective way to do things.

But these marches do make statements that I want to be part of - I'm not sure how much difference is made by those statements being made, but it's at least a satisfying way to express my frustration with the current administration.

It was hot, but we were able to find a shady place to stand while we waited in Foley Square for the march to start, and once we were on the Brooklyn Bridge there was a nice breeze and the crowd kept moving nicely. Marching across the bridge was great, that's a walk I always enjoy anyways, and there was such a good positive spirit among the marching crowd as we made our way to Brooklyn. Drivers in cars were tooting their horns and giving thumbs up and fist pumps as they drove by, and the crowds on the walkway whooped and cheered in response. Yes, New Yorkers really do care!

I did manage to get some good water time into the weekend too - I had an unplanned day on Sunday (hooray) and it actually ended up being too hot for pretty much anything but a swim (actually a falling-out-of-boats practice day would've been fun but that would've required organizing, plus after the heavy rains during the week I was a little suspicious of the water quality in Jamaica Bay, which is much more closed-off than Coney Island and Brighton Beach) so I ended up going out to Brighton Beach and found the CIBBOWS gang at Grimaldo's Chair. The water temperature was just beautiful and I ended up swimming almost a mile, really slowly, with frequent stops to just enjoy the coolness - then I just hung out at the beach for a couple more hours. An excellent place to be in a heat wave. 

Monday, July 02, 2018

6/28/2018 Full Moon Paddle at Sebago Canoe Club

I'm doing pretty well so far on the execution of my big Statement of Purpose post of the 20th, the one where I said I was going to pick up my activity level this summer. The day before I wrote that I'd gone for a 4.5 mile post-work walk, the day after that good solo paddle to the Cross Bay Bridge and back, last Sunday was sailing...oops skipped dance class on Monday night, can't do everything, right?

Thursday the 28th I got in another post-work paddle. This one had a nice surprise in that I got to the club around 8 PM, which was a full hour after the full moon paddle that was planned for the evening was supposed to have launched, but when I got there they were all still there! We'd had a pretty strong squall line pass through the area a little earlier; the rain just came bucketing down in Manhattan a little bit before I left work at around 6:30. I walked out of the office into an evening that was a bit on the warm side but had that sort of fresh-washed glow you'll sometimes get after a good NYC downpour. I followed the storm out into Brooklyn and that's what all of the other paddlers had waited for. When I got to the club things had mostly cleared up there, too, we were coming up on a beautiful sunset and there was one last storm cloud that trip leaders Vicky and Laurie were watching before they launched. That gave me just enough time to throw on paddling clothes and put lights on my boat (doesn't take me long to prep to paddle in the summertime), so I was able to launch with the crew, where I'd originally expected to launch solo - I figured that if I saw them out there, great, and if I missed them that would be ok too.

That did mean a shorter paddle than I might have done left to my own devices, due to the weather delay the full moon paddle was trimmed down to basically paddling out into the bay, watching for the moonrise, howling (full moon paddles require howling, of course), and then heading back to the club for snacks and refreshing beverages and socializing. I compromised and instead of going for the longer paddle I'd originally planned, stayed with the group, just doing loops when folks stopped to drift and chat. Good chance to work on boat control through edging and strokes, looking forward to more of work on the skills at the Hudson Valley Paddlesports Symposium this coming weekend. Edging on the right was feeling really mushy at the start but improved - this is the stuff I haven't been working on enough since my medical woes and I think it's going to be great to spend a couple of days tuning things up with some good instructors.

The evening on the bay was absolutely gorgeous - same washed-fresh feeling as I'd walked out into in Manhattan, beautiful sunset, beautiful big red moon rising up out of the haze over the Rockaway Peninsula, and early 4th of July fireworks here and there. Back in the basin, I caught my first firefly of the summer - poor firefly was actually swimming, I passed by this little green flash in the water as I was heading past the boat club just to our south, went back to see what it was, and fished it out and put it on my sprayskirt for a ride back to the club.  A beautiful, beautiful evening.

Here's photos - click any one for a slideshow (and don't miss the first one, that was my favorite shot of the evening!). 2nd to the last photo is the firefly!