Nov 18, 2008

Idea for winter paddling...the Boat Sauna

For those who paddle in the winter..a Saunaboat...just motor the sauna to all your paddle locations... for more info click here

Nov 3, 2008

A Few Pictures from the Norwalk Islands

Sorry, haven't had time for a trip writeup, but here are a few of my pictures from Sunday's Norwalk Islands trip!

Launching from the Small Boat Shop's dock at Rex Marina on a stunning day.

Landing on Sheffield Island (idea of location for shot shamelessly stolen from Walter - he IS the Brain after all - or wait, is that Tony?)

Sheffield Island Island Lighthouse with a bunch of kayakers (there were a dozen of us, nice sized trip & as usual, a thoroughly nice bunch to paddle with).
Closeup of the bunch of kayakers. Please note garb! Yes, drat, it's starting to feel like winter paddling. Seemed like a number of us had packed either cool and cold-weather gear, or an outfit that could layer up as needed, and then most of us went for the colder end of the spectrum. Good move, the extra layers were a little warm as we first set out with the breeze at our backs, but as we rounded the tip of Sheffield Island, we found that the breeze had swung around to be in our faces, which (combined with a little splash from the 2-foot swell) had a highly cooling effect!
Sheffield Island Lighthouse
Launching from the Sheffield Island Lighthouse. Didn't take many more after this, as I mentioned, once we got past this point, the water got a little more "textured" (great description by one of our 3 guests) & I felt like I needed to pay a little more attention to what was going on - I was signed up to be one of the trip leaders, not "trip photographer"! Back in Norwalk Harbor. Swan Series!

Finished off the trip with a couple of pints, some good pub food (best beef & guiness pie I've had all year...ok, also the only such pie I've had all year, but it was great!) and the beginning of the game where the Giants creamed Dallas at a nearby pub. The swimming deer did not put in an appearance* but I think that a good time was had by all!

* TQ was one of the other guests & he vouched personally for their existence. he was teaching a rolling class on the Peach Island one time when a doe and her fawn swam past - the whole class stopped to ooh & aah, the deer did keep an eye on them as they went by at a steady 3 knots or so, but didn't seem too phased. Very cool, love to see that sometime!

Oct 19, 2008

Breaking news....NY Mayor's Cup - Aborted

NY Mayor's Cup - Aborted

Sunday, 19 October 2008

In a sad turn of events, the NY authorities stopped the NY Mayor's Cup about an hour into the race. It was cold and windy and choppy - and too much for some of the competitors.When kayakers started capsizing, the Coast Guard made the call to abandon the event.
for the full report and videos, click here

Oct 9, 2008

Canoeing and Kayaking New York

Hello. My name is Kevin Stiegelmaier and I am the author of Canoeing and Kayaking New York, a guidebook to rivers across New York State that is scheduled for release this coming spring. The book contains an appendix that lists paddling outfitters found in the state and includes your group in it.

I have a blog which details some of the trips I did while researching the book ( that you may be interested in. There is a link to a map on the blog that identifies which rivers are included in the book as well as updated information about the book's scheduled release.

Please feel free to contact me at if you have any questions about my book or would like more information about it.

Thank you very much,
Kevin Stiegelmaier

Oct 7, 2008

Cold Water Workshops & other upcoming events!

Oh, I will start by mentioning that we DID have a great paddle to the Graveyard of Ships on Sunday, and with 50% of the attendees being bloggers with cameras, it was well documented! See writeups & pix here and here.

From Cold Water Workshop at the Small Boat Shop

Working late tonight getting ready to go on vacation (Deception Pass! Saturday & Sunday! Woohoo! Can't WAIT!) but just thought I'd post a notice I'd put up on Sebago's email list on the Sebago blog & Frogma. Fall is upon us, it's cold-water workshop time!
I'm passing these on because I think that these formal workshops that you'll start seeing at the local outfitters starting around now are the absolute best way to learn about cold-water paddling safety. It's tons of fun going out all winter, and it can be done safely, butyou need to know the risks, and have the right skills; the right gear to mitigate those. Go to a workshop run by a reputable paddlesport dealer & you can walk out with 2 out of 3!
EVENT #1 - NY Kayak, 10/11/08I start this with Randy's email to New York Kayak:
We're offering our free Cold Water Immersion Clinic at 10AM onSaturday, October 11. Dr. Lili Banan from Bellevue ER will talk aboutthe physiology of cold water immersion and treatment for hypothermia,Tom Harsh from Kokatat will talk about kayak apparel and cold waterimmersion wear, and I'll do a short talk on risk management for offseason paddling. Tom will have all of the Kokatat Dry Suits and PaddleSuits to try on and water-test after the talk!
Hope to see you!
New York Kayak Co.40 N. River Piers (Pier 40)W. Houston & West St.New York, NY 10014212-924-1327 800-529-2599
EVENT #2: Sunday, October 12th at Empire Kayaks in Island Park:11:00am.. Join us for this free clinic and learn how to dress properly to safelyextend your paddling season. There will be drysuits to try on and demo in thewater. Big discounts on drysuits purchased the day of clinic. Call to reserve:
516 889 8300
*************************************EVENT #3: Saturday, November 8th, Chuck Sutherland will be leading a cold waterworkshop at the Annsville Creek Paddlesports Center.
Full details here.
And here's AKT's BCU Expert Center link - I'ma big fan of going, listening, asking questions; then trying the gear but reading's good too:
And of course Chuck maintains one of my favorite cold-water boating safety sites:*******************
And of course how can I leave out The Small Boat Shop's. It's not even scheduled yet but this one's particularly fun because they hold in in FEBRUARY. Fall ismore the usual time of year for these, because they are aimed at getting peopleready for off-season paddling - but the problem with trying out cold-water gear in October & even November is that the water just isn't that cold yet. I specifically went to the Small Boat Shop's last year because I wanted to try swimming in full winter gear in very cold water & see how that felt. It wasn't the coldest it's ever been for them - there was no actual ice - but it was 39 degrees and although the situation was completely controlled (warm shop & hot beverages steps away), it was interesting feeling that level of coldness pressing in all around. Gives a real sense of the inevitability of what would tohappen if you were to end up in that water without a way to get out, even with all the gear - that's just buying you time, but in the end, if you can't get back in your boat in a certain amount of time, you are in a kind of trouble thatyou are going to need more and more outside assistance to get back out of.

Nice to get that first-hand understanding and then jump out and run back into a nice warm shop!

So that was the Yahoo group post. BTW I'll also add that if you're up in the Cold Springs area, another one of my favorite outfitters, Hudson Valley Outfitters, is offering 20% off Kokatat cold-water. Even if you can't make a workshop, a reputable paddlesports dealer will steer you right.

A couple more local events that I'm sort of sorry I can't make (psyched though I am about Deception Pass):

Sunday, October 12th: If you happen to wander over to the Hudson, you may notice about a zillion kayakers out there - they'll all be out there for the Riverkeeper's Waterfest. Sounds like a fun day on the water. Weather looks good!

Oct 12 Sunday
Times of sun and clouds. Highs in the low 70s and lows in the upper 50s

And then of course of Sunday October 19th, all the big names in kayak racing descend upon the isle of Manhattan for the 3rd annual Mayor's Cup kayak race. (at least in the current form, 4th annual if you count the one I was involved in back in 2001 - that was not a race, though). Actually would've been a fun time to be in town; Oscar Chalupsky's giving a racing forward stroke clinic on Thursday the 16th at Manhattan Kayak, I've never met him personally but he sounds like someone who'd really be a lot of fun to take a class from. There was also a brief rumour about Freya doing something but life sort of happened, in the unfortunate way it sometimes does, to the person who was originally seeming to organize & I haven't heard much more.

Oh yeah, as long as I'm rattling on...on out in November, Marcus Demuth has organized the NY Premiere of This Is The Sea IV - again, that will be at Pier 66.

OK...that's all folks!

Sep 23, 2008

Trash Bash 2008

Trash Bash 2008 Flickr set here!

Sebago's Trash Bash was originally slated for the weekend of Tropical Storm Hannah & quite wisely moved to last Sunday, the 21st of September. We had a beautiful day for it, we were joined by the Boy Scouts (the same troupe that had come to Sebago before in preparation for a major canoe camping trip & had a very exciting windy day for their training) & picked up all sorts of things.

I think my strangest find of the day was a slightly melted wax figurine carefully bound in thread. Good thing I'm not superstitious (knock wood). I also found a large handbag and 2 shoes. Who needs Macy's? OK, so the shoes didn't match, whatevahs...

Mary was our organizer, and she sent the following stats & comments for the day:

"HEre are some stats (I just completed the report). John counted 57 bags of trash, and the first prize goes to : TADA -- plastic bags (936); Plastic beverage bottles a distant second with 513, but another 150 total for cans and glass.
I don't think I had the description of your goddess in my data, so I didn't report that (most likely from one of the ceremonies that leaves fruit and flowers all over the beaches). The skull got my vote (though I guess technically it's not trash, but who cares). It looked pretty great on the box of the kayak coming back, and I'm sure someone's parents were truly delighted to have allowed their son to collect garbage under our watchful eyes."

There was also a Little Tykes slide, a child's motorized toy jeep, and a lot of coconuts (but we didn't pick those up).

I do think the oddest find of the day went to Mary's friend David, who had this to say:

"I know that we expect to see everything during these events, but out team found a plastic commode from a boat (okay, call it a head). The whole team was flush with excitement!"

There was a sink involved in that head. That's right, we didn't find everything but the kitchen sink. We found everything.

The interesting part of this, to me (having never participated in an American Littoral Society Beach Cleanup Day), was that the focus wasn't so much on actually cleaning up Canarsie Pol as it was on gathering statistics. We had a big big crowd & if we'd just focused on picking up trash, we could've gathered two hundred bags, I bet. I also bet that you could come back in a week & not know that the place had been picked up. Think Sisyphus. Think Augean stables. However, as it turns out, these events are really just as much about gathering statistics - the Littoral Society sends the cleaning squads out with survey forms & we actually reported the items we picked up. There are events going on all over during the month of September, and the data they collect is all rolled up together. In the end, the Littoral Society ends up with some good statistics to support their environmental efforts.

Anyways - it made for a fun day. Thanks to "Prof M" for organizing, Joan for cooking & the Boy Scouts for helping out.

Cross-posted at Frogma

Sep 22, 2008

Clothing Optional

Some of our newer members have started wondering about what to wear as the weather and water are getting cooler. So far we haven't been in wetsuits, that that is coming soon, especially if the nights are as cool as they have been. One of the reasons it's confusing is there are is so much stuff out there, and many options. When looking at wetsuits, be sure you don't get the surfer model with sleeves. Too restrictive for paddling. Check out these sites below, for good deals and information about what you need.

And Stevie says: I especially want to encourage people to at least get a farmer Jane/John 3mm wetsuit and 3mm or thicker boots. These will add a few months to their paddling season, they are cheap at Campmor and should last a very long time. These should be the minimum for October and May paddling and they make Sept and June paddling more comfortable. Hypothermia is still a possibility in Sept and June as the water temp is borderline and if the air temp is cool, the combination of being wet with wind can really chill. I have seen it many times. I don't recommend wetsuits with sleeves as the sleeves add weight to the paddlers arms and can cause a rash in the armpit shoulder area. This is the website for NRS, and especially check whether they have any good sales on apparel for colder paddling. But first check out the "expert center" advice from Atlantic Kayak Tours. The two important links here are "Cold Water Safety" and "How to Dress." Another good source for reasonably priced cold weather gear is Campmor. There is one in NJ on Rte. 17 that often has really good prices on sale items.

I think some of the members also use Sierra Trading (or Traders, something like that). I haven't so I can't say whether it's a good choice.

Sep 18, 2008

Sewage Overflow Right to Know Act

Yesterday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed, by voice vote, the Sewage Overflow Right to Know Act (S. 2080). Thank you for all the calls that you’ve made to your Senators over the last year encouraging them to sponsor the bill and raising the awareness of the problem of sewage overflows. Your actions helped make sure that Congress placed a priority on protecting the public from dangerous sewer overflows by advancing this bill.

Here’s how it all went down:

Sen. Lautenberg offered an amendment to his bill to sync the language of the Senate bill with the House passed version of the bill. The committee voted to accept his amendment. Sen. Inhofe filed amendments with the committee on Tuesday that would’ve weakened the bill, and we were prepared to fight them. However, Sen. Inhofe was not present in the meeting to offer them when the bill was brought up by the Chair. Crisis averted and the bill passed by voice vote (no recorded vote). It is also worth noting that both Senators Hilary Clinton and Kit Bond made brief statements in support of the bill. Additionally, we found out during the Committee that EPW Chair, Senator Boxer had also signed on as a cosponsor.

If you are constituent of the following senators please take a few minutes to pass along your thanks to them for their support of S. 2080.

Chairwoman Barbara Boxer

Sen. Max Baucus (MT)

Sen. Tom Carper (DE)

Sen. Joe Lieberman (CT - wasn’t present for vote but staff informed AR of his support)

Sen. Hilary Clinton (NY)

Sen. Ben Cardin (MD)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)

Sen. Kit Bond (MO)

And of course Sen. Lautenberg (NJ) for his tremendous leadership in making sure that this bill continues to move forward.

Next stop - the Senate Floor. We don’t anticipate a floor fight. In fact we are hoping that the bill passes with unanimous consent and without much debate or fanfare. On that note, we don’t wish to draw any attention to the bill. Our strategy may change if the lay of the land changes but for now please hold back on calling Senators not already on this list to support the bill. How’s that for an action to take! I will of course be back in touch when the full senate takes up the bill.

We are now in the final stretch towards better protecting everyone from sewage spills and your involvement in this campaign is largely responsible for our success.

Thanks, as always, for your continued support.

Josh Klein
American Rivers
Stand up for healthy rivers: Join the eRiver Community to download music, wallpapers and more.

Sep 17, 2008

5 Years Around Long Island - 2nd Leg, Smith Point Marina to Georgica Beach

And while those guys were making paddles, here's where more of us were...

September 2008 - day 1 Photo Trip Report is up!
From 5 Years Around Long Island - 2nd Year Day 1!

Picking up right where we left off in September 2007 -
From 5 Years Around Long Island - Leg 1, Days 2 & 3

cross-posted at Frogma.

Sep 15, 2008

Paddlemaking Workshop - 9/14/2008

Chris Raab of Tuktu Paddles came to Sebago Canoe Club on Sunday, September 14 and conducted a greenland style paddle-making workshop for members. It started with a plain block of wood, prepared by Chris, and after taking measurements and much planing & sanding, the day ended with new paddles for everyone!

Posted on behalf of Elizabeth, who organized it. I didn't attend - I was elsewhere, but I did see a couple of very nice-looking paddles in the hands of some happy-looking paddlers when we got back!

Sep 3, 2008

Swamped Klepper, Team Rescue

And it really was a team effort. I don't know about everyone else but I not-so-secretly thought this was actually quite a bit of fun, working together to get this boat back up the Paerdegat to Sebago's dock. With a real puzzle of a retrieval, a lovely afternoon, and no one in any danger at all, it was like the wackiest scenario the most creative coach could have come up with.

I was officially the "Assistant Trip Leader" for Phil's Gerritson Creek paddle on Labor Day, where all this happened. We actually had a plethora of qualified trip leaders, and the few non-trip-leaders did fine on our trip to Gerritson Creek. Coming back was a bit of a slog, as we had a headwind & current against us, but everybody (including one of our seniorest senior members - I hope I'm still paddling at 83!!!) plugged away until we were (happily) turning into the shelter of the Paerdegat. Beautiful day, nice crowd, no trouble, couldn't ask for a much easier setup for being in the assistant's role. As we entered the basin, we saw the small sail of the Klepper. At first we thought it was Holly (Sailing Committee Co-Chair), but it wasn't moving right - Holly's tacks are snappy - this one, every time the boat tacked, the sail luffed for a loooong long few moments before it began to move again.

As we got closer, we realized it was a Klepper, being sailed by someone we didn't recognize. John & Mary & I were out in front, said hello & paddled on. A minute later, John H. suddenly looked back & quietly said, "That guy just capsized". Turned out he'd heard Phil yell "Capsize!" - my ears weren't quite as sharp.

The guy was already in good hands - he'd capsized right next to Commodore John & Commodore Emeritus Phil, and a couple of the paddlers in the group decided to keep going to the nearby club dock. John, Prof. M, me, and one of our newer paddlers went back to see what was going on & found the situation I described - a large sailing kayak, with full sailing rig including leeboards, turtled, mast tip in the mud, and half-sunk with no flotation. "Cleopatra's Needle" Deeeee-LUXE!

Phil, Commodore John, John H, Prof M & I all went to work while the less experienced paddler observed (and was eventually impressed into service as the photographer while the tow was underway, thanks M - he & John H took all of these with John's camera - and John, thanks for letting me play with these pictures!).

There's a pretty standard method for dealing with a sea kayak that's ended up in a partially-sunken Cleopatra's Needle position (so called because usually where there's no flotation, one end or the other will usually trap a little air & be sticking up in the air, while the other fills up & sinks down below the surface). You get hold of whatever decklines you can get to. You sloooowly begin to move your way along that deckline hand-over-hand, moving from the floating end of the boat, where you got the line, back toward the center of the boat & the cockpit. Sloooowly because a flotationless kayak full of water weighs - well, not literally a ton, but a good portion of a ton (more on that in a second). As you slowly walk your hands towards the center, the boat will slowly be resuming a more proper horizontal relationship with the surface. You get to the cockpit, get a good grip on the side of the coaming (cockpit rim), you roll the boat on it's side and then you slooooowly begin to curl the boat up out of the water. As the boat rises, the water pours out; you flip it rightside up when you can't raise it any higher, et voila, there you are with a floating kayak. This is a maneuver that can be done by a single person.

Didn't work so well in this case!

The Klepper was first of all very BIG. Here it is on the dock, with a person to give some scale.
The payload weight (the amount the boat, when properly assembled, can carry) of a Klepper Aerius II is 772 pounds. In gallons, the payload is given as 159. A gallon of seawater weighs approximately (VERY approximately!) eight and a half pounds. So I think we can safely say that this boat, full of salt water, weighs at least 1,351 lbs. Complicating the standard Cleo's-needle rescue even further are the leeboards, which are that assemblage sitting behind the person's legs. The plank joining the two larger, parallel, sort of teardrop-shaped boards is mounted across the cockpit & fastened with wing nuts; the leeboards extend into the water on either side of the boat & serve the same purpose as a centerboard or a keel.

They, and the mast, also make it completely impossible to get your own boat alongside & parallel to the sunken Klepper, in the position you need to get to to do the slow, water-draining curl.

'Nuff exposition. Here's the situation we found when we got back to the capsize scene. Leeboards sticking up at the back - owner in water near those.

He was fine, if a bit embarrassed. First things first - Commodore John took him over to the docks at the club adjacent to Sebago. One of our members (Tom of the Penguin Drive silliness day) is also a member there & fortunately was there, so that was no problem.

Phil decided to just follow them, towing the Klepper over to where Tom & the owner were now watching. He hooked onto the D-ring at the bow, started paddling, and the clip and the towline instantly parted ways. Wow.

Clearly the poor beast wasn't towable quite that way.

We all started moving around it, trying to figure out how we could get it at least partially righted & drained.

Here, Prof. M & Phil have actually succeeded in righting it. Prof. M. (yellow boat) is actually stabilizing Phil by leaning on his back deck - when one paddler is braced by another like that, it's an incredibly stable setup & the braced paddler can put all their effort into the whatever it is they need to do. Unfortunately, although they did get the boat rightside-up, the aft end of the coaming was a foot below the surface, so we couldn't do something like them steady while the rest of us grab our bilge pumps & get to work. That's where the sponsons would make all the difference - those would float the boat high enough that once you righted in, the boat would be stable, the coaming clear of the surface & you could start bailing. Leave those air tubes along the gunwales deflated, and it complicates things tremendously (I bet this guy never, ever makes that mistake again).

Here, I've moved in & am trying to figure out if I can get enough of a grip on the leeboard to at least drain a little of the water. It works a little tiny bit. Just enough to get the mast up to where Phil & Prof. M can reach it. As they pull the mast up towards the surface, a little more water drains. Aha! I continue to steady the boat by hauling on the leeboard while the other 2 wrestle the mast until it's lying securely across Phil's deck. John H moves in as this is going on & clips in to the d-ring. As Phil & Prof. M. get past the point where my steadying is useful, I clip in too, we check to see if Phil's set, he is,

And off we went!

It was something trying to get the whole assemblage moving. First few yards we were barely making headway, but we gradually picked up steam & started closing the distance to the dock.

And hey, look, we made it!

Closer view of the arrangement that finally let us clip in -

Once we were back at the dock, it was a lot easier to see how & where things were attached. We derigged with the boat still swamped & in the water; once the mast, sails & leeboards were out of the way, we were able to drain most of the water. There was still quite a bit in the boat, but a couple of the guys carefully wrestled the boat up onto the dock with no mishaps. All was indeed well that ended well, we handed the boat back over to it's owner to complete the dissassembly. And boy did the post-sail beer & cheese that the commodore had brought & the rest of us supplemented (somebody had crackers, somebody had sausage, there was wine, and I ran & raided my garden for cucumbers & tomatoes) taste extra extra good!

Unusual end to a Sebago paddle!

And if I have time later this week I'll try to post a few pictures of the more standard-issue first 95% of the trip.

Cross-posted at Frogma.

Aug 30, 2008

Small Reach Regatta

This photo of Hog Island courtesy of Douglas Oeller.

Sponsored by Wooden Boat Magazine, and organized by senior editor Tom Jackson, the third annual Small Reach (as it is affectionately known) was a huge success! Not really a regatta at all, but closer in spirit to the European raids, this year's event attracted over fifty traditionally inspired and mostly hand-built small craft. Attendance is by application only, and we (myself, my crab skiff Cricket, and crew Holly) were happy to have been included. Situated on a beautiful old former dairy farm in Maine, Wooden Boat's spectacular property includes a floating dock and several hundred feet of waterfront, plus a large mooring field on Eggemoggin Reach, approximately east of Deer Isle, and southwest of Mt. Desert Island. Camping was generously provided free of charge in the old pasture and apple orchard overlooking the reach.

A traditionally built Alfjords Faering owned by Ben Fuller.

Each morning in the pole barn, Tom Jackson would lay out the day's course and give us an idea of what sort of conditions we might expect. It is up to each skipper to familiarize him or herself with the course, and the prudent mariner will plot a few quick compass bearings and make a note of distances to be covered. Navigation is all line of sight... until the fog rolls in! It is amazing how quickly that can happen in Maine, and how short the field of view can become.

All boats were required to have a vhf radio, the appropriate charts, a compass, and a fog horn. We on Cricket were happy that we complied.

A typical course might take us around several islands, landing on one for a rendezvous and lunch (photo op), then to another location before turning home.

A beautiful Washington County (Maine) Peapod.

There were several outboard powered escort vessels in constant radio contact with the fleet, ready to lend a hand if the need should arise. In the evening, most of us chose to anchor our boats out in the mooring field to avoid having to haul and re-launch from the steep ramp. I learned several things about Cricket over the weekend. For one thing, she rows beautifully. I was afraid that all of those double-ended beachboats and peapods would leave us behind if we were forced to row, but not so! We rowed several miles all told, maintaining a very easy 2 mph speed, and stayed in position with the fleet.

Cricket, with Holly at the helm.

Also, she rode to her anchor quite well. She has been known to sail around it, but with plenty of scope, she sat happy as a duck. Some folks made fun of my extra heavy anchor and chain, but I slept well at night. Launch service was provided by the saltiest outboard semi-dory I've ever seen, complete with bow pudding and yard dog. John, the operator of Fetch, was an amazing boat handler, and atypically, not grumpy or taciturn at all (and neither was the dog)!

John, with Fetch and Yard Dog.

For a complete story and more pictures, visit my own blog here.

Aug 29, 2008

Water Quality Improves this Summer

This is the chart for last summer:
from May 26, 2007 till Sept.1,2007.
Note that on July 21 the Bacteria Count
was 123 parts per 100 mL, thus closing
Gerritsen Beach and other Beaches in Brooklyn
for that week.
Also look at Aug. 25. the count was 99 per 100 mL, also causing a beach closing. These are days that make the water quite ugly.

This is the chart for the water for Summer 2008.
Note that only once did the bacteria count go to 99,
May 31. That was a day the Brooklyn beaches
closed due to high bacteria count.
If the weather continues to be rain free, we can expect
clean water for the rest of the summer. Things are

What these numbers mean:

Enterococci levels determine beach water quality. Studies conducted by EPA demonstrate that for marine waters, enterococci are best suited for predicting the presence of pathogens that cause illness. Bathing beach water quality must be in accordance with the following water quality standard for marine water beaches: Enterococci geometric mean shall not exceed 35 per 100 ml for a series of five or more samples collected during a 30-day period. The geometric mean of 35 per 100 ml is used to determine the long-term safety of a recreational beach for swimming, with an associated risk level of 1.9% (e.g., 19 illnesses per 1000 swimmers). Single Day Enterococcus Results are obtained during one sampling day. A health risk may be present when Single Day Enterococcus Results are greater than 104 per 100ml.

(This information is from the NYC Dept. of Health and can be seen at the following website:click here)

Aug 27, 2008

Aug 20, 2008

Aug 18, 2008

American Pelecinid, and other North Fork highlights!

Just one of the interesting sights of a long weekend on Long Island's North Fork. If you ever see her or one like her, don't worry, she's harmless (unless you're a grub)!

Other highlights - the Bug Lighthouse (sorry, no pix!), a Shelter Island circumnavigation, breakfast at that notorious Harley hangout, Bruce's Cheese Emporium just enough time playing in the standing waves at Orient Point to make me reallyreallyreally want to go back for a longer session. And farm stands. I have to congratulate the farm stand operators of the North Fork on their perfection of reverse-ATM force field technology - it is amazing the way the money magically flies from urban pockets when confronted with all that lucious produce!

Oh, and great company. Photo trip report in process - this is but a teaser!

Aug 4, 2008

Trip Report, Mid-July open paddle with Don Riepe

Here are some more pictures from my Sebago weekend a couple of weekends ago. These were from one of our Open Paddles – I mostly don’t lead these because I work hard, I can get insomnia when I’m stressed (and this has been a stressful year in a couple of ways), and I’m generally not a morning person. Absence of alarm clock noise is a key feature in my personal concept of “relaxing weekend”. However, Sebago does 2 of these every week, and we’ve got a stalwart member who does the thankless task of making sure each & every one has a sufficient number of qualified leaders. This particular weekend, we were getting pretty close to the day, B’s pleas were getting more plaintive, and for once I had no excuse other than pure laziness so I finally said I’d do it – but I also mentioned that I’d need some good help because I haven’t done this this year.

Who I got was Minh (our fleet captain, knows the boats better than just about anybody, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when he volunteered, a big part of making a beginner trip go well is getting the right people in the right boats, and when you’ve got the fleet captain on your team, well, that’s suddenly not such a worry!) and Prof. M. – a very nice team & a good one to work with, I may have been the official trip leader but it felt like a cooperating team of equals.

This was a fun one, we had Don Riepe, the founder of our regional branch of the American Littoral Society & the society’s official Jamaica Bay Guardian as our guest speaker. He knows an amazing amount about the ecology of the bay.

We had calm conditions & a pretty evenly-matched group & I think everyone had a pleasant day. We took the group to the nearby salt marsh, a nice destination for a beginner group & a good spot for a talk about salt marshes, shellfish, bird life & any number of other items.

Don told us lots (here, he’s talking about oysters & clams).

Birder Prof. M identified a number of birds for us, as well. That's her behind the field glasses. I think she's looking for the marsh wren she heard singing.

Entertaining moment in the salt marsh – Prof M. & I were standing next to the little outlet channel of the marsh, looking at the clear flowing water. She said “If I were a kid, I’d have to jump in & float that”. I, of course, had been looking at the water & thinking “Gee, it’s hot, I want to jump in & float that”, so that was just the extra impetus I needed. In I went, classic feet-first moving water float down ‘til I ran aground. Felt GOOD. A number of people followed my lead!

This went on for a little while. Nice activity for a hot day!

We call this area the "Horse Beach" because it's frequented by people out of a nearby stable. I would love to do this sometime (it is open to the public), but I've heard the people there aren't very nice, and they have, in the past, tried to tell kayakers they aren't allowed to land here. But it still looks like fun.

The leader told the group "Keep their heads up, don't let them roll!" Wonder if they ever bring them out bareback when it's hot & let them have a good cool-down...

All in all, an awfully nice way to spend a hot morning, even if it did involve an alarm clock going off.

The nap in the hammock made up for that, too

Like to join one of these open paddles? No experience required, just check out the basic instructions on the Sebago Canoe Club website!

Oh, hey, and for those for whom Canarsie is a trek - how about free paddling in the Brooklyn Bridge Park? Not through Sebago, this was one of those random reroutes of a train of thought, but seems like a spectacular location to try things out (just don't go chasing waterfalls, OK ;D).

cross-posted at Frogma