It was early. 7-something in the morning. And it was cold. How cold? So cold we almost couldn't get the padlocks on the containers to work! We did finally get our boats, though. We needed them for Proxigean Paddle 2010.
Proxigean tides are the tides that happen when the new or full moon (spring tide) coincides with the point in the moon's orbit that brings it the closest to the Earth. BIG tides. The last big one was in Dec '08 - the high water happened on a Friday when nobody was there to see it, but there was a high water mark left on the path to our dock - the basin clearly burst its banks. We were paddling during the low & it was pretty spectacular too. This year, the high was at 7:58 am today, Saturday the 30th, and our commodore called for a breakfast to coincide. Well, the high wasn't all that high, apparently the low after midnight was the notable one (got mentioned in the marine forecast). The Paerdegat stayed well within it's banks - I took this picture right around high & I've seen it higher on a non-proxigean spring tide. We were a little disappointed but it was still a fun morning.
I think I mentioned it was cold?
Happiness is a warm stove. The big oil-drum Vogelsang was working hard today.
So was the Paddling Chef! He actually couldn't join us on the water today, but he, John, and a couple of other clubmates joined forces to make a wonderful breakfast. Bagels & cream cheese, bacon, fruit, and this yummy creation...
Egg in a Hole! You butter up your griddle; you cut holes out of bread & drop the eggs into the holes. Quite delicious!
Properly fueled up, the Proxigean Paddlers headed for the dock.
Pretty morning! Although did I mention it was cold? Oh yeah, I did. Bears repeating. It was COLD.
Group shot! Everbody say "FREEZE"!
Prof. M thinks we're crazy. She's heading back in for more coffee (Adele the Gardening Chair was a coffee wizard this morning, made some really good brew). She's a fantastic birder & the non-paddlers joined her for a birding walk. I was sooooo tempted to do that instead of the paddle - it was so cold & I was of half a mind to not get in my boat. That happens a lot in the wintertime, I just don't like cold -- but no matter how reluctant I an to get in my boat, I know that once I'm out there, I'll be glad that I did. No exception today, but what a tempting alternative that was - and what a nice way for some of the non-winterized paddlers to get in a morning by the water!
It was below twenty degrees. Splashes & drips began to freeze the minute they landed on deck!
John & Phil. We were waiting for Pete. The key to paddling in this kind of weather is the right gear - not too much, not too little, layers appropriate to what you're dealing with. Sometimes you're not sure what you need until you start paddling. Pete realized he needed a different hat from the one he's worn, went back to get it.
Pete & Phil heading on down the Paerdegat.
Minh (in a very nice new drysuit).
Icicles! I always have a Greenland paddle as a spare (except when I'm using the Greenland paddle and the euro becomes the spare). It sits a bit off the deck & as water dripped & splashed on it, these resulted!
Out on the bay.
Seal-shaped piling. There are also seal-shaped rocks, seal-shaped lobster pot markers, seal-shaped Clorox bottles. All sorts of flotsam, jetsam & permanent features can masquerade as a seal when you're really hoping to see one. There was a verified sighting of an actual seal-shaped seal near Ruffle Bar last weekend, so we were in that hopeful frame of mind where everything looks like a seal! I was particularly taken in by this piling - it was just the right size, and the gray barnacles are just the right color for a light-colored harbor seal!
Our destination was the marsh in Ruffle Bar. This goes quite far into the island. At the far end, it's a matter of yards to the beach. The hope had been that the proxigean high might actually overflow those last few yards & we might actually be able to paddle clear through. Since the high wasn't all that high, our expectations weren't all that high either.
Good thing, too - there was not going to be any paddling into that marsh today! :D Here's Pete after a little icebreaking.
Looking into the marsh. Note the ice-glazed deck!
Same shot for anybody who prefers their scenery without a kayak bow (ice-glazed or not).
More icy marsh.
Rhyme not mine for once, blogging friend Bowsprite had recently told me to "dazzle in the frazil", which left me singing, "give 'em the old frazil-dazzle, frazil-dazzle 'em" all week, so here's a little frazil-dazzle for you! Oh - what's frazil? Frazil is the first stage in the formation of sea ice, random crystals floating around loose, forming a substance like a salty Slurpee. You see it in the foreground here.
Heading back to the club. Manhattan in the distance.
It was very windy & choppy coming back. Going out, the deck got a nice coating of ice. Coming back, I started noticing that I was picking up a pretty good coating myself. Deck went from ice-glazed to ice-armored - had to be at least half an inch on everything from the cockpit forward. I actually popped my sprayskirt loose of the coaming at one point just to make sure I could if I needed to!
Full winter riot gear! I don't break out the balaclava very often, but today it went on over the heavy neoprene hood & I was really glad I'd thought to bring it. Thanks to clubmate Stevie for this & the next 2 pictures!
ice ice bonnie! BTW, I am pretty sure today was the coldest day I've ever gone paddling. I am positive that I've never collected quite as much ice before! Usually I just start shying off when temperatures dip to the teens. With the special event today I decided to tough it out.
The wild thing about all this ice is that this is a brand-new suit (3rd use today) - sheds water like the proverbial duck's back. I guess each time a bead froze in place instead of shaking off, it would then form a nucleus & grow into one of these blobs.
The icicle collection at the end of the paddle. OK, this is actually the middle of the paddle, but the paddle is over.
Romany's heavy enough without extra pounds of accreted ice. Broke it loose before we put it away.
The Paerdegat, well on the way to a very low low! And that's it for this year's Proxigean Paddle (and breakfast and birding). Next big one? March 19th, 2011. Check out the Astronomy Cafe for more!
And want a good laugh? Remember how I said I got the frazil-dazzle rhyme from Bowsprite?
Well, howsabouta nice-a slice-a frazil pizza? http://bowsprite.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/tallships-toile-frazil-pizza-print/