Jun 29, 2009

Bird on a Rope

I went by the club Monday morning to mow grass. The club grounds were serene and quiet. As I was getting ready to open the garden shed, #16, to bring out the mower I saw this bird (photo right) perched on the rope of a nearby boat holder. A young robin perhaps?

Even as I was opening the shed and was bringing out the mower this feathered friend did not move. At first I thought it might be a precariously balanced decoy, a finely crafted replica meant to deceive. As I approached closer, however, I could see its chest rising and falling as it breathed. There was no eye movement. No feathers were ruffled. Just the chest rising and falling. This bird remained perched stone cold on the rope of the boat holder even as I approached as close as two feet.

If my memory serves me right, the only other wild birds I have approached closer to were injured and not able to fly.

For a few minutes in the midst of an otherwise busy Monday I was transfixed by this extraordinary encounter.

Jun 9, 2009

Jamaica Bay 55th Annual Blessing of the Fleet, Saturday, 6/5/09

Two Blessing of the Fleet ceremonies for me last week!

Um, does that make me a holy roller?


Yep, despite the drizzle, I'd gone to the New York Harbor blessing of the fleet on Friday night (flickr set here), then to the more low-key feeling but long-running Jamaica Bay Blessing of the Fleet on Saturday. This was the 55th; it's run by the United Inter-Yacht Club, which was founded when the boating clubs that lined the bay in the day of Robert Moses found their treasured bay access directly in the line of fire of some of the "Master Builder's" big plans for the bay*. He'd thought it would make a wonderful Marine Transfer Station, I believe it was. Fortunately the Bay was at least partially spared, although I was looking at an antique map of the bay recently & was amazed at how completely the shoreline has been altered - but then, that's true of a lot of the NYC shoreline.

For this one, I was actually in a boat!

Much nicer day than Friday, I thought we'd have a whole troop, but it seems like an unusually small group for this - I hear that usually there's a whole crew that turns up, and they bring out the war canoe & all. Not enough this year, just this set.

We got there a bit early - there were a few of the officials who were in attendance.

Special message for the audience...

the Optio has a screen that you have to use instead of a viewfinder & is really hard to see in broad daylight, but you get the general idea.

We were sort of the warm-up act - they had us go first, the priest wasn't ready so we had to do it again. We'd kinda forgotten to warn the CG auxiliary folks who were on the water that we were going to roll - they were a bit freaked out but "Sebago" (Phil Giller, former commodore & still one of the leaders of the club) knows 'em & managed to talk them into letting us do it again.

After that, the yacht clubs start through. I referred to this event as "low key", and from the canoe-club member's point of view, it was - no tall ships or marching band or governor making a speech - but I'm told this is a pretty serious event for them, the presentation of each club is actually judged based on even spacing, proper attire, proper demeanor (no waving, and the folks on the pier try to mess with the boaters by calling out names of people they know to try to get them to look) - the winner gets to lead next year's blessing. Sebago got a special award one year when almost everyone in the club turned out - that sure didn't happen this year!

A couple of people went back to the club; the rest of us decided to paddle on to the Mill Basin Basin Bridge.

Paerdegat to Canarsie Pier & back just doesn't count as a paddle!

Lots of people & animals out enjoying the day.

Canada goose family:

A fortunate horse with a kind rider - earlier, I'd enjoyed watching them doing some nice dressage-y exercises on the beach, figure 8's & serpentines at a collected canter, quite graceful, horse & rider nicely balanced & looking happy to be out there on the beach on a beautiful day. The workout ended & the rider slipped from the horse's back & then proceeded to just take her horse for a walk on the the beach. The horse wasn't lame or anything - it just looked like he'd done a good job & it was time for a nice long cool-down walk by the bay. So rare to see horses on that beach without people on their backs. Big day for trail rides, Saturday, I think at one point I counted about 20 horses on the beach.

A bunch of kids doing a beach clean-up at Floyd Bennett Field. Hooray for the kids!

I'll just close with a few more shots of our "club banner" & the participants -

Thanks Minh -

And Phil -

for being game enough (Minh was "Canoe") -

to take me up on my silly idea (I was "Club")!

*I never did find a website for the United Inter-Yacht Club, but the nutshell history I offered here was gleaned from a very interesting article I found on the Gotham Gazette".

cross-posted at Frogma.

Jun 5, 2009

Annual Blessing Of The Fleet Held At Canarsie Pier 2005

Photos by Anthony Wihlborg

More than 50 boats and other vessels, under sunny, almost cloudless skies, sailed past Canarsie Pier Sunday during the 51st Annual Blessing of the Fleet.

Hosted by the United Inter-Yacht Clubs, the procession of boats from the metropolitan area included vessels from the Midget Squadron, Riley’s, Brooklyn and Hudson River Yacht Clubs and the Howard Beach Motor Club.
After the ceremonial cannon boom, dozens of pleasure craft, plus Coast Guard Auxiliary, National Park Police, NYC Fire Department and NYPD ma-rine patrol boats, passed the pier in review at six knots as a wreath of flowers was tossed into the sea and a special commemorative prayer was in-toned in memory of all those who had lost their lives at sea.

Rev. Mike Tedone of the Shrine of St. Jude Church and Rabbi Rister of Temple Hillel of Flatlands gave the traditional blessings as the flotilla passed in review.

Pictured (clockwise from top): procession of boats on Jamaica Bay pass Canarsie Pier; yacht club commanders salute passing vessels; Rabbi Rister and Father Tedone; canoers paddle by; Fr. Tedone, City Councilman Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., event organizer Ray Pagano, Vice Commander Tom Polito, Commander Richard Brew, John Coon-ery, Jr., and Rabbi Rister; two of the many boats that were blessed.

Text by Neil S. Friedman

Jun 4, 2009

New Satellite image of Sebago

Here is a new satellite image of Carnarsie, and you can see our new path
from space, just click here and zoom
to see our new path...

Jun 3, 2009

Snowstorm at Sebago's Open House, 5/30/09

Incredible but true!

Drifts piling up in the lee of the containers -

The Vice-Commodore left his windows open & look what happened!

OK, OK, as most of you easterners have probably already guessed -

It was a cottonwood snowstorm we had on Saturday. Not an H20-snow-storm. Aside from a little fluff in noses & eyes, it didn't slow things down a bit.

Funny thing - I don't think I'd ever seen this spectacle until after I'd moved to New York, and the first time I saw it, I was so confused! It was a fine, sunny, early-summer day, and yet there they were, big fluffy snowflakes, dancing lightly in the air in a perfectly natural snowflakey way. I'm serious, my first thought was "Snow? But how could it possibly be snowing?".

I don't think they had cottonwood in the two mainland states we lived in that I remember clearly (California and Washington). We certainly didn't have it in Hawaii.

Special thank-you to John for playing Director of Photography - the only video that came out was the one from the spot where he told me it would work! :D

cross-posted at the Frogma