Saturday, December 8th 2007 - Chalu & Stevie & I met at the club & launched around 10. The day's plan - paddle the 7 miles from the Paerdegat Basin to Sheepshead Bay, have lunch, and paddle home again. We had a less than smooth start - there was a new cell phone number nobody had, a little phone tag while Stevie (who was picking up me & Chalu) tracked down Chalu, who'd gone to another club member's house to pick up a sharp new drysuit, and then Pete was supposed to come with us but his glasses broke & he needed to get them repaired to work today, so had to bail from the paddle there. Think we finally hit the water at 10:15 - but I'd called for a 9:30 launch figuring that as long as we left by around 10, that would be fine. And it was. Very fine. It was overcast when we launched, but the sky began to clear as we came out from under the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge.
LOOK! it's the MAGIC LEVITATING BOAT!
Naaah, just kidding. Didn't take a lot of pictures en route because we were all enjoying moving out, but the camera came out when we got into Sheepshead Bay & I spotted the poor Peapod sitting up on her keel in the mud (it was close to low water the day before new moon, so very very low). "Wait, guys, I have to take a picture!"
If I had more free time, I think I'd start an open blog called "The Blog of Unloved Boats". The Peapod would be the first entry, and I'd invite people to send me pictures of interestingly sad-looking boats and post them.
Unfortunately, nicht haben sie free time. Or at least enough to start another blog.
Here's just a neat-looking ketch-y sort of boat that caught my eye. Looks like a stout little craft, doesn't it?
Voyageur, from da Bronx!
Paddling on down to check out the fishing fleet. I'd hoped to get a picture of this gorgeous 1920's yawl, the Leilani, that I've seen on a mooring ball at the Miramar Yacht Club - no sign of her, though, maybe she was out, or maybe she was out of the the water for the winter, or I know she was for sale. Plenty of other boats to look at, though. Also, at this point we were scouting for takeouts.
Did I mention it was very low water? Think this tug/fishing boat may've hit bottom! See the steps over there? That's the sort of thing we were initially looking at, but I was nervous about leaving the kayaks tied up under one of these docks in case the fishing boat got back & we were in the way. Also Stevie had been out here before & said that at the lowest water, the base of those stairs would be about 4 feet above the water. I voted we look for someplace better...
There's a proper beach near the mouth of Sheepshead Bay, so if worse came to worse we knew we could go back, but Stevie had landed by this little park before. Looked like an interesting access point but I said sure, let's try it - for starters, I knew that this was right near a couple of the restaurants we were thinking about for lunch.
Chalu is strangling on the gasket of that new drysuit. It's a military survival suit issued to pilots. Comes with fun accessories which you'll see shortly. Stevie's tying up the boats with his towrope...
Mountain-climber Chalu goes first...
Then Stevie, no problem...
Then me. OK, I'm a little shorter than the guys. 1st try going the way Stevie & Chalu went didn't seem to work well.
hmmm...nope. not working too well...
Thought another section of the wall might offer a midpoint toehold. Went & tried. Nope, would've been a toehold if I'd been wearing pointy little climbing shoes, but not in round-toed booties. Went back to the first approach. Stevie explaining that he'd hooked a knee on the concrete lip.
Made it! Yay! OK, here's a funny thing, though. See the big black flotation boxes?
The flotation boxes are attached to a camel, that's attached to a dock. When it was time to leave, there was a police helicopter doing tight circles overhead. Turned out not to have anything to do with us but I got all self-concious about going over the fence & down the wall. So I went the less dodgy-looking way, out to the dock & down the steps instead. Why didn't we go up that way? Dunno, but I think it had something to do with the fact that climbing was more fun. Sheepshead Bay could do with a nice kayak access dock, though.
Kayak Stars take Sheepshead Bay!
Chalu had just picked up his new drysuit (a military pilots' survival suit which he got dirt cheap on ebay) that morning. It came with nifty coordinated accessories - an ORANGE neoprene hood --
and some ORANGE neoprene gloves (attached to the sleeves of the drysuit, just like kindergarten!)
The strings sort of gave the drysuit a marionette-like quality & Chalu had to have a little fun with that. The waiter was laughing. Fortunately nobody else was in the restaurant, they lunch late in Sheepshead Bay!
Back on Sheepshead Bay, Chalu looking far more elegant now.
In the meantime, the Vice-Commodore had gotten his glasses fixed, and then his wife had given him and his kayak a lift to Sheepshead Bay, and he met us there. Worked out to give us just enough time for dessert & Turkish coffee! Perfect! We had a good paddle home, I did a few rolls, and we were at the dock at sunset. Perfect day. I think we'll be back!