Sunday, February 03, 2019

Marine Park Bridge OOPS I mean Gerritsen Creek Paddle Feb. 3 2019 (with ice and a seal)

OK, gotta interrupt the Florida flow again because after an entire week with the vexing vortex (the polar one, that is), we had an absolute gift of a warm winter day right here in NYC and a friend and I actually made it out for what ended up being a spectacular paddle. I'd actually tried to make this a club paddle but for some reason it wasn't popular - it's almost like there was some big culturally significant event going on today that had people too preoccupied to come out and carpe this glorious diem with me*....hmmm. Go figure.

Fortunately the one person who could make it is somebody I have enjoyed paddling with for years, we go back to my Pier 63 days and she's a very good paddler, and we enjoyed a pleasant 13 miles on this warm and quiet day. This was great, because the trip I'd suggested was more like 8.5 miles, I'd said we would go out to the Marine Park Bridge and back. I had thrown in a hint about keeping going if folks were feeling energetic but with a larger group chances of that being an option were a bit less, a trip leader can't tell people that the trip is going to be a certain distance and then drag them along if they aren't really up for going farther, there's got to be a genuine consensus.

With the weather having been SO cold last week, it had dawned on me as I was getting ready in the morning that there was some chance that the dock would be frozen in. People had been at the club on Saturday for a potluck/informal planning session and I was hoping that if the dock had been icebound, somebody would've warned me, but I still had my fingers crossed as we went to the club, and I ran down to the dock to check before I did anything else. It was fine, there was ice on the land side of the dock, but open water on the side facing into the channel and all the way out into the bay, and then just enough ice out in the bay to be fun. 

Ilene and I launched at 11:00, as planned. With the ebb running until 1:20 and both of us moving at a good cruising pace, we got to the bridge a little before noon and there wasn't a lot of discussion about keeping going - we are both believers in the idea that in winter paddling, the paddle should take longer than getting ready for the paddle (oh the gear, the geaaaarrrrrr) so we needed to keep going for that to work. In the end we paddled up Gerritson Creek towards the nature center, turning around when we came to a section of the creek that was iced over. That made for a very good paddle.

We watched a seal and the seal watched us for quite some time at Dead Horse Bay. The beachcombers were out in force (Dead Horse Bay is the location of a landfill where people's abandoned belongings were trucked when neighborhoods were being razed for the Belt Parkway - really a sad story that I just learned recently - so there's just a seemingly endless supply of old bottles and broken china and other household bric-a-brac to pick through), but we only one saw one other recreational vessel outside of the Paerdegat, a small sailboat that came motoring out of Gerritson Creek. That's always one of the wonders of winter paddling in Jamaica Bay for me - having so much space all to oneself in NYC (not in the middle of NYC, to be sure, Jamaica Bay is out on the edge, but still in the city) is just such a remarkable thing.

We did run into one of our club racers out for a spin on his stand-up paddleboard when we got back to the basin, and two other racers had also turned up to do some training.

Tough putting on the drysuit after Florida, but it was worth it, it was great out there. Would've been fun to have a few more people, but having the flexibility to up the mileage the way we did was definitely a plus. I'll be watching the forecast for the next chance to get out there. 60 on Tuesday? Awww heck, it's month end close, can't play hooky.

All pix after this - click for a slideshow view, as usual, and see if you can spot the Manhattan skyline in the 2nd to last photo.

*Note for readers who aren't reading this right when it was written: It was Super Bowl Sunday so I'm guessing people may not have wanted to work in a paddle before their evening plans. 


Alana said...

I love seeing New York from angles I’m not familiar with. I’ve been to th Marine Park Nature Center twice-wasn’t open either time. Too bad you didn’t have much of a crowd- but your companion sounded perfect.

Haralee said...

You are hardy and dedicated Bonnie! Ice on the water would send me home for sure. I like to bike every day and this winter with a constant cough and cold I have been absent from my rides and the energy to winterize with all the clothing is so time consuming. I understand the time with your gear!

bonnie said...

Ice is fun!

I tried to go to the Nature Center once but they're closed in the winter. I think you can paddle up in the summertime, have to do that sometime!

bonnie said...

Crunchy water!

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