It didn't look too promising. In fact, the trip was officially cancelled. The forecast had never been great - "chance of thunderstorms" had been the running theme all week, and on Sunday morning it had deteriorated to "thunderstorms likely" for the afternoon. One person had bailed by the time I signed onto email to send the cancellation - he'd gone & done whitewater in the rain all day on Friday, then thrown a great barbecue on Saturday night, and just didn't feel like another day in the rain (especially with the potential dodging of lightning bolts). I called the one who had the longest commute, to make sure he got the message. The other 3 of us were still up for trying to get at least a short paddle in if we could, but at 1:00, it looked like this. M. called to cancel. I checked the radar. Hm. It looked a lot like we were in the middle of the worst of the day. I called John H. to see what he thought. "What do you think?" I said. "I'm still game", he said. Well...ok then! I hit the soggy road at 1:15.
John met me in his car at the McDonald's at the end of the Paerdegat & gave me a lift to the club. He was listening to the weather channel on his VHF when I got there & said they were saying something about clearing around 3. When we got to the clubhouse, we chatted with the gang who'd just gotten back from an Audubon paddle for a while, then started getting ready. We launched about 3:15. Sure enough, the rain had let up & it looked like there was nicer weather on the horizon. John wanted to find waves. I suggested Ruffle Bar as a destination - the wind was from that direction & I thought we could get a little surfing in coming back. But it kept clearing. As we approached Ruffle Bar, John said, "If you want to keep going to the Wharf", (a Rockaway Penisula bar & grill that had been part of the original plan for the day), "I have my wallet". Well, I happen to be in the habit of bringing my purse with me on paddles as it has everything I don't want stolen in it - and things were looking nicer and nicer...
So here's John, the Montauk & Trusty Romany at the Wharf Bar & Grill out on the Rockaway Peninsula! Mmm, CHEESEBURGERS!
And...jeeze...what happened to the forecast? There'd actually been one early in the day on Saturday that had thunderstorms being more likely earlier in the afternoon, then easing off by evening. Seemed like the day had decided to follow that forecast - at least where we were. VHF weather still had some very, very foul weather going out there, but none anywhere near our area & none heading our way. John looked over at the bridges from Broad Channel to the Rockaway Peninsula. "So - you want to go on around?" he asked.
I instantly upgraded my dinner plan from CHEESEBURGER to MARINATED STEAK PLATTER. Person needs FUEL for a 15-plus-mile trip. John thought so too, ordered a burger AND a shrimp basket. Our waitress asked if we'd like to substitute onion rings for the shrimp basket fries, since I was already getting fries. Yes please! John split the shrimp basket with me. It was a lot of food but we'd had a good hard paddle over against a headwind, and now, with John's great idea to do the loop after all, we still had 2/3rds of the trip to go. We demolished everything!
"Mine?" says the laughing gull.
We didn't give him any but he kept posing very nicely.
I call this "Laughing Gull, Jamaica Bay, and Manhattan Skyline". See the Empire State Building?
Fueled up, we re-launched & headed east.
And then a terrible thing happened -
JOHN GOT RUN OVER BY THE A-TRAIN! AAAAAAGH!!!! WHAT AM I GONNA TELL HIS WIFE? WHAT AM I GONNA TELL THE COMMODORE? WHAT AM I...oh...wait...
Phew! He survived!
And the afternoon just got nicer -
and nicer - and -
we even got a sunset
and when we paused to put our lights on, we saw that all the high clouds to the south had turned to rose -
and then the moon came out from behind them,
and sparkled on the quiet water...
As we made our way across the channel & back to the basin. And there you have it. The best trip I ever cancelled!