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.

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