Dec 28, 2007

Kayak Gang Invades Howard Beach!

Have You Seen These Kayakers?

Last seen pillaging the pasta & pizza of Gino's Pizza in Howard Beach, the paddlers should be considered stuffed and extremely somnolent.

Yes, the hoped-for Pasta Paddle mentioned in the last post went off very very nicely! We had a group of 7, which made it fun. The 10:30 on a nearly full-moon day with a 3:30 low water did mean, as I'd posted in the Yahoo invitation, a good appetite-building workout on the way there; we still had a pretty rockin' ebb for the ride back, which was good since some of us were totally stuffed.

The day started with the sun peeking out in a little blue sky - but that foolishness was shortlived. Still a good day out of the water (and in the restaurant, and around the nice warm woodstove chatting over the pros & cons of canoes & other random topics afterwards).

So nice when it's just us and the brants.

Only sad part of the day was -

I found Nemo...

cross posted at Frogma

Dec 23, 2007

Solstice Paddle, Saturday, 12/23/2007

Friday night, it being the holidays, I had to make a quick trip to this tower in search of a couple of gifts (plus just seeing the tree & all).

Saturday found me in the vicinity of a less imposing tower - but still a nice view -

and the crowds were a lot more manageable!

Stevie & Minh & I celebrated Solstice, the shortest day of the year, with an unusually short (for a weekend paddle) paddle - just a circumnavigation of Ruffle Bar.

And look, we found a tiny Stonehenge. Too bad there was no sun!

No, no, that's not really a small observatory. However Ruffle Bar is an interesting destination for those who enjoy a little amateur archaeology (aka "checking out junk on the beach") -

Back before the Bay became a wildlife preserve, there were squatter's shacks, probably rather nice ones like the ones that still exist in Hempstead Bay, on many of the little islands. According to Stevie and others at the club, Ruffle Bar had also been the site of a tavern for many years. Lots of interesting bits & pieces to find -

although you do want to watch your step.

We didn't beachcomb for too long as the wind was rather biting & it was more comfortable to be buttoned into a boat & paddling. The only "artifact" we collected this time was a large slab of stone that Minh took on as ballast - his boat was weathercocking a bit on the way out. He figured a little weight in the rear would help matters. Off we went. We found a much more recent relic on the way back...

Of course we had to do solstice rolls...there's Stevie...

and there I go..
Brrr! We haven't had any serious cold snaps yet, but the water seems to be cooling a lot faster than it did last year. The Coney Island Polar Bear may be more exciting this year than it was last year - not that it's ever boring, but the water feels a lot winterier than it did this time last year. Stevie backed me up on this, he thought so too.

Rolling silliness done, we hustled back past the daymark - have the cormorants budged?

We made good time getting back. Stevie ran up to light the fire I'd left laid in the stove - we've taken to doing that, setting up the stove so there's no need to mess around doing that if you get back really cold, just throw a match in the fire you built carefully at the start of the day when you were nice & warm. Minh & I stayed down on the dock, unloading our boats. He opened his rear hatch, took out the rock he'd put in as ballast - and started laughing. Turned out that rock had some hitchhikers!

He caught & released as many as he could. They tried to pinch him but when you're a half-inch across, your pinch just doesn't pack a lot of punch!

Wildlife returned to the wild, boats put away, it felt so good to go warm up by the stove.

And when Stevie suggested we round out the day with some good Jamaican food, nobody turned him down. Unfortunately we lost Minh en route & his cellphone was on vibrate so he missed dinner. Stevie & I stood on the corner watching hopefully for a while, then decided to go on in. Boy did the goat curry at Nicky's Jamaican Restaurant taste good. I may vote to add that to the occasional non-meal trip. HIGHLY warming! Nicky's quite a bit bolder with the peppers in her curry than I am when I make mine. Good stuff though.

Weather permitting, I'm hoping to squeeze One Last Paddle into 2007. Howard Beach, Italian food, and TQ gets to come this time - we haven't paddled together in ages, so that'll be a great way to wrap up the paddling year. So far it's looking pretty good for Wednesday boating!

See folks at the Frostbite Regatta!

cross-posted at Frogma

Dec 20, 2007

CT AMC Pool Sessions

Sebago CC members will be joining the AMC for pool paddle fun.

For info: CT AMC Pool Sessions 2008

Dec 16, 2007

Steve Heinzerling's tools

Steve showed us his reworking of Skin On Frame hull. He has a few tools; bending jibs. A cool setup of steaming and bending with old leather belt to apply uniform pressure.

Real cool and ingenious set up...

Dec 10, 2007

Sheepshead Bay Lunch Paddle - 12/08/2007

More photos here. Don't miss Chalu modelling the accessories that came with his sharp new ORANGE drysuit! Lookin' good!

Dec 2, 2007

Kayaker resurfaces after missing for 5 years...

South Gare, looking over Tees Bay to Hartlepool
Police deployed aircraft with heat-seeking equipment in the search
A kayaker who went missing, presumed drowned, more than five years ago, has walked into a London police station.

The shattered remains of John Darwin's red kayak were found washed up on a beach in Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool, in March 2002.

An extensive search was launched but no trace was ever found of Mr Darwin, who was then aged 51.

"It is not known at this time where he has spent the last five-and-a-half years," said a police spokesman.

Cleveland Police said that Mr Darwin, a married father-of-two, walked into the West End Central Police Station in London at 17.30 GMT last night.

The spokesman added: "Mr Darwin is fit and well and relatives have been informed of his whereabouts."


Mr Darwin's disappearance sparked agony for his family.

John Darwin, 51, was seen entering the sea in the Seaton Carew area with his kayak at 0800 GMT on Thursday 21 March 2002.

At the time Mr Darwin was working as a prison officer, and the alarm was not raised until 21.30 when it was reported he had failed to arrive for a night shift.

Police and coastguard officers searched the coastline from Hartlepool down to Staithes, North Yorkshire, deploying five RNLI lifeboats, two coastguard rescue teams and a police fixed-wing aircraft with heat-seeking equipment - to no avail.

His wife Anne, a doctor's receptionist, said six months after her husband vanished: "People die, have a funeral, they have a headstone, there is something to mark the fact they existed on this earth.

"But without a body, I don't know how we can mark John's life.

"All I want is to bury his body. It would enable me to move on. It's difficult to grieve without bringing things to a close, but as it is I'm in limbo and there's nothing I can do."