Sunday, December 21, 2008

Release Date 12/20/2008

It was a bitterly cold day. Air temperature in the 20's, and a 15knot wind from the North.

We paddled from Pier 96 down to Morris Canal for lunch. It was pretty because it had snowed the night before, but so cold that we didn't play around on the dock doing seal launches like I did the last time I was out in the snow. I also didn't want to tear my boat up.

We left Pier 96 at 10:15, and had a very fast trip down the river with the wind, and a strong tide, probably helped by the snowmelt up the river.

We totally explored Morris Canal, I had never been all the way up to the very end where we couldn't paddle any further. I found some cool lobster floats and a PFD for the Boathouse.

I had trouble keeping my hands warm. I was wearing gloves and poggies, and the gloves got wet. The gloves also made it hard to get a good grip on the paddle.

We left the restaurant, and started heading back about 14:00. We crossed the river, and had a long slow slog back up the river into the wind. We didn't get back to Pier 96 until 17:00, and were pretty tired. Our boats, and equipment were covered in ice by the water that splashed on them.

Truth: If it gets cold enough salt-water freezes.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Release Date 11/22/2008

I released the message in Jamaica Bay while kayaking.

It was a bitterly cold day, below freezing with 25kt wind. Originally we were going to paddle from Plumb Beach to a party for the new Gateway Bike and Boathouse East of the Riis Beach in Rockaway, but we modified the plans due to the high winds.

We first went to the new Boathouse site on Rockaway, but we couldn't agree to launch there, so we launched in a more protected area under the Marine Park Bridge.

It was really unpleasant to paddle with gloves and poggies, but it was so cold that I had to, and even then my hands got cold.

We paddled along the Floyd Bennett Field for an hour or so, then turned around as we got cold and drove to the party.

It is great to see that a new Boathouse is starting-up for the Rockaways, and it was fun to meet them, as well as some old friends:

Sometimes you have to change your plans.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Release Date 11/9/2008

Message released in the H
udson River off of Hoboken. I was testing my kayak after patching a LOT of holes in it. The repairs were fairly successful, (it still seems to leak almost everywhere, but it is a lot better)

There was a big Navy ship at the cruise ship terminal, so I had to cross to Jersey and then paddled South against an fairly strong current. I found some cool stuff: 1) A life jacket for the DTBH.

(What's up with name of a ship of "stag hound", Is it owned by bimbos???)
2) A 5 gal industrial gas tank, partially full of gas that I "donated" to Stevens Institute. 3) Some nice lobster floats for my collection. It got dark in Jersey City, and I had a quick trip back. Truth: It gets dark fast in the winter.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

release Date 11/2/2008

I released this message on the Hudson River near the marina in Alpine NJ. We had paddled up there to check out the leaves and enjoy a really nice November day.
It was warm high 50's low 60's and I was only a little hot in trilaminate wetsuit.

We had a good ride up on the current and a slowly building current for the return trip.
I left Pier 96 at 11:00, and we arrived in Alpine around 13:45, and left around 14:45, returned to pier 96 around 17:00.

I then towed a double that was left at Pier 96 during the Mayor's cup back to Pier 66, and finally returned our "Pirates of the Hudson" kayak from Halloween to Pier 40, and paddled back against the current in the dark.

Truth: You can get away with a lot when you dress-up like a pirate.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Release Date 10/29/2008

Released this message near the entrance to the Suwannee River in Florida.

I was on a hunting trip for wild hogs and deer. It was muzzleloader season, and I was using my new gun. It was cold and windy, which made hearing the hogs difficult, but we did get on small hog on the first day.

This is a beautiful part of the Florida, and most of it, even outside the refuge is still undeveloped.

Truth: wearing a hat will make you warmer.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Release date 10/19/2008

This was the second time I was doing the Mayor’s Cup Kayak race.

I decided to do something different and paddle help the Achilies Track Club by paddling with some handicapped people in a double.

I did the training the day before and met my fellow paddler, a very determined woman who had MS and really really wanted to win. During the practice we check out the other paddlers, and we looked pretty good up against them. There was one injured veteran who looked very strong, said he knew how to kayak, but wasn’t practicing.

Race day it was very windy directly from the North, I knew it would be pretty choppy, especially when the current picked up around noon. We started very early at 10:30, well ahead of the other, classes.

Once we got out of the harbor, it was indeed pretty rough, and the big plastic boat was indeed a piece of crap and really slow. The Marine I was worried about was paired with a very fast looking paddle with a wing, in a seda double. They basically disappeared as soon was started, in an hour I couldn’t even see their safety boat.

I had trouble paddling at “full speed” because the boat was so heavy I couldn’t paddle at my usual racing stroke rate, and felt like I was muscling it too much with my arms and big slow heavy strokes, not what I wanted to do. The rudder pedals also killed me because my stroke has a huge amount of foot pressure to it, and I basically couldn’t use any or the boat would turn because I moved the rudder.

My boat mate was a real trooper, and just kept paddling throughout the whole thing. At times she really got dumped on by the water.

We were neck and neck with one other boat in our class, who I found out later had a world class whitewater paddler in the stern, but she was a very small woman, and the problems I had with the boat must have been 10 times worse for her. They edged ahead of us for a while, but then I got further out in the current, and we left them behind.

At the GW bridge people began to pass us, first a few OC2s then a friend from the DTBH.

I was getting really cold. I wasn’t wearing my pfd, and just a very light shirt and paddling jacket. I couldn’t generate enough heat from paddling because I couldn’t move fast enough in the big boat.

Just as we were about to enter the Harlem River, something I was really looking forward to since the wind would be close to with us, and it would be warm, they cancelled the race, and we had to paddle all the way back. The first bit of the return trip was against the current, and we almost capsized in the following seas until I got over near the shore.

There was a big accident at the start, and the cops forced them to stop the race. See:

It would have been a very long race, because we were so slow going up the Hudson we would have had the current against us in the Harlem, and the boat was indeed a piece of junk.

The race organizers had a really cool interactive GPS based chip system to track the race, It’s a flash application, and not perfect, but once you get it to work its really neat:

The system is a little confusing because we all started at different times, and I think the chips were all activated at different times.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Release Date 8/17/2008

I released this msg off of Breezy Pt. in Queens.

We spent the morning providing safety support for the CIBBOWs swim race. The race went well and we were on time. I got to the boathouse at 4, everyone else @ 5, and we were on the beach by 6:40.

After the race we paddled over to try some surfing, but there wasn't much surf. We then had lunch and a few drinks. I was really tired, so I took a nap.

Release Date 8/16/2008

I released this msg in the Buttermilk channel in Brooklyn.

We spent the day up in Dumbo in what will be the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Running a demonstration program for free kayaking. The program was very popular with over 100 waivers signed in 3.5 hours.

We paddled up from Red Hook, and we missed the current. Most of the group had to climb out just before the Brooklyn Bridge, and walk the last little bit. The ebb is very strong right under the bridge, and the public art waterfall means we have to paddle well out into the river to get around it. Using the big SOT boats most of the group couldn't make it.

I managed to tow an empty double around it, and I came very very close to giving up. It took forever paddling as hard as I could.
On the way back we stopped in at Governor's Island and lent our boats to their program. I was happy to see it was going well, and fairly busy.

Truth: The sun can tire you out.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Release Date 8/10/2008

I released this message on 8/10/2008 in the Hudson River.

I was doing the morning trip for the Downtown Boathouse. We were going to paddle to Governor's Island, but the weather forecast was very bad, so we just did a short trip over to Hoboken.

I released the bottle on the way back the wind was picking up from the South, and going against an ebbing current so it started to get a bit choppy, and the skies turned gray, but it never actually rained. It didn't start raining until 4:00 PM. So we could have made it there and back, but I was too nervous because of all the public people, and the long distance.

Truth: Sometimes the forecast is wrong.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Release Date 7/28/08

Paddled out from Plum Beach to Breezy Point for surfing.

We got up, and going as early as we could, but we still missed most the waves. The ebb was pretty much over, and the waves quickly getting smaller by the time we got out to the sandbar.

It was very very foggy when we paddled out, and for a short time we couldn't see land in any direction, just the occasional channel marker, but the fog lifted as the day got warmer.

We did a bit of fishing, but didn't catch anything.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Release Date 7/22/2008

I released this message in the Buttermilk Channel, off of Governor's Island.

We took radio host Soterios Johnson, out for a ride to promote the City of Water day.

See for a web story. The radio story is supposed to be broadcast on 7/25/2008 between 7:00 and 8:00.

Truth: The shade is cool

Release Date 7/13/2008

I released this message in the Gulf Stream half way between Bimini and Ft. Lauderdale.

We were coming back from Bimni after spending a week there diving and hanging out.

It was a great vacation spot. A little funky because of it's destination as a yacht landing point close to the US. There were lots of people there in small boats.

The diving is nice, great visibility, and interesting reefs.

The picture of my fin is from near the surface, but I am at 50ft looking in a crevice for a rather shy grouper.

Some fish, but not a whole lot. The spearfishing regulations don't allow spearing with scuba, or the use of real spearguns, so the only thing I caught was a little squid, which I ate sushi style on the boat.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Release Date 7/7/2008

I released this message off of Breezy Pt. I came out to do some kayak surfing on the tide-race/sandbar.
Low water at the Battery was 18:45.

We were on the water by 16:00. There was very little swell, but there was a bit of surf because of the tide against the swell and the sandbar. It was difficult to get good rides because the sweet spot of the surf breaks moved around a lot, depending on the size of the waves, and they didn't break for very long. I played in the waves for an hour or so, then went off to do a bit of fishing.

I got a few strikes, and caught a small fluke and sea robin. I had one bluefish up near the boat, but it got off.
We saw a great sunset.

Truth: Sometimes the fish aren't biting.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Release Date 6/30/08

I released this message off of Breezy point while kayak surfing and fishing.

Low tide at the Battery was 12:30. We launched around 11:00 and the current was still running out fairly well.

Air was about 80 degrees light breeze from the south, water was 72 degrees when we started surfing, but got colder as the tide turned.

The surf was pretty good. The waves didn't always break in the same spot, the big ones further out, the smaller ones closer in. This made it tricky to get good rides, and not get destroyed by the breaking waves. We got some good rides, and some good thrashings. I hit the bottom with my head at least once. Best surfing seemed to be to catch the waves on the edge where they didn't break so steeply and violently.

I got tired and cold after about an hour, and did a bit of fishing. I had 3 bluefish up to the boat, but each one slipped away. One of them got away while I was holding him, trying to get him on the contact-tow/stringer. I also broke my pliers, he bit it right in half!!!

I caught a small fluke as well, but way too small to keep. The minimum size is 20.5 inches!! Yikes that's one big fish.

I have been using the handline, and I am now officially a fan. It is so much easier than messing around with a pole.

I forgot to photograph the Truth, so I am afraid it is lost...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Relase Date 6/15/2008

I released this message while running the morning trip for the Downtown Boathouse. The Boathouse trips started the day before. It was still a little overcast and funky looking after the previous night's blow-out but the weather held for the whole trip.

There were only about 10 or 12 members of the public who turned-up for the trip so we didn't have to run a lottery, and we got on the water quickly.

There was a 6:45 high tide, so we made good progress on the slowly decreasing flood after an 8:30 AM start. We crossed the river up near 90th St, and continued up the Jersey side. We made it all the way to the Mitswa Grocery Store, where everyone could go to the bathroom and grab a snack. I got some tasty cookies and snacks which I shared with the public paddlers.

I liked the funny image of weeds growing out of rotting timbers from an old pier, just in front of a new housing development.

We got started about 11:00AM for the trip home, and finished around 12:00PM under still cloudy, but not raining skies.

Truth: Cookies Taste Good.

Release Date 6/14/2008

I released this message while attempting to do a circumnavigation of Manhattan with Bryan and Lise-Anne for the Eastern Horizons film they are working on. The plan was to do a circumnavigation with a stop at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

We got on the water at 14:30 with cloudy skies. There was still a bit of current after at 12:00PM Low tide.

We got down to the Statue fine, and they did a bit of filming, while we watched the sky start to darken.

We could hear thunder far off in the distance so we quickly headed to Governor's Island for our 1st stop. We arrived just as the sky was looking pretty threatening and had a snack at the snack bar by the kayak launch, then watched the rain storm come in.

We didn't get back on the water until about 17:45 and headed North. We had decent current, but by the time we got near 23rd street it looked like it might dump again so we took shelter at the sea plane marina.

We ended up watching a pretty intense storm there. I kept looking at the current notations I had made, and the rain, and finally we gave-up and took cabs to collect the boats. It continued to dump rain all night.

It wasn't the spectacular Manhattan paddling experience we had promised, but at least nobody got electrocuted!!

I would hate to be the person that cut Bryan's career short, I would never pass my 5-star after a blunder like that!!

Truth: light travels faster than sound.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Release Date 6/9/2008

I tried to go surfing at Breezy Pt, but there wasn't enough swell to make decent waves, so I did some fishing with my handline. We launched about 3:30PM on an ebbing tide.

I caught the fish by trolling from my kayak. I am finding more and more I like fishing this way, since it involves less screwing around with the pole and reel, and just trying to use the boat to manipulate the lure.

I caught the bluefish out off the end of the jetty. I used the boat to alternately put slack in the line, then tighten it up to give the lure some life.

I filleted the fish and packed it in ice. I grilled it later the same night with a light coating of mayonaise (I learned the recipe from a former fish store owner in Florida) it was very tasty and made for a fun day of paddling, even without the surf.

Truth: Beer smells good.

Release Date 6/7/2008

I released this message off of the mouth of the Gowanus canal late on Saturday night 6/7/08. I paddled down to some abandoned piers to have a picnic with some friends after spending the day doing volunteer work for the Red Hook Boaters in Red Hook. It was brutally hot all day, but cooled off after it rained later in the evening.

We made a charcoal fire and grilled some sausages, corn, and then ate a Key Lime Pie from Steve's Key Lime pie. This is a neat forgotten spot in the Harbor, and hopefully we can enjoy it for a few more years until they build high-priced housing on it. We often find old bottles and pottery here from the pier's previous use in the late 1800s, and early 1900s.

There is a lot of trees and plant life growing in the cracks in the pavement, and even on topsoil that is forming on the cement. Sections of it are lined with honey suckle plants, see the picture above over my left shoulder.

Just after sunset we saw a big storm blowing in. We huddled down in the crevices while it blew over and cooled us off, then finished up the bourbon and headed home. I didn't get back to the pier until almost midnight.

It's cooler at night.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Release Date 6/2/2008

I went paddling on 6/1/2008, but it was in the river and I was too busy doing dtbh stuff to do a message in a bottle....
Today 6/2 I went surfing out on Breezy Point. I rode my bike over to my friend's house and he drove. This was a very long bike ride from Greenpoint to Park Slope with a very heavy bag on my back. I was pooped by the time I got there. We launched from Plum Beach around 11:30, and got out to the sandbar around 12:15. The water was very low, but low water for the Battery wasn't until 13:40. The low water there must be about 1 hour ahead of the Battery. There were sea gulls standing on the spot where we usually surf about 500 yards from the beach off the breakwater.

For Surfing it seems like the best on a medium to light day is a bit earlier, say 2 to 3 hours before low water at the Battery.
Truth: Vacation Houses are a state of mind.

There wasn't much swell, but the current was still running out so it caused some decent waves to build up. We caught a number of them, and surfed for over an hour before the water got too high and the waves got too irregular to catch easily.

I only got knocked over once, and that was because I was screwing around trying to ride a wave to the absolute end, and I tripped over the paddle.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Release Date 5/2/2008

Whitewater Kayaking on the Famington River in Ct.
First at Collinsville, then at Tariffville Gorge close to the Hartford Airport.

It took 2 hours 15 minutes to drive there from Brooklyn.

This was a basic whitewater class on Class 2 River. With Atlantic Kayak Tours.

My first time whitewater paddling in over a year. Air and Water temperature were both in the 50's.

The morning session went well and we practiced surfing and eddy hopping along the river for a few hours.

In the afternoon we went over the Gorge where the rapids were larger and harder to handle. The picture at the end is of a large broken dam. I did not go over it.

If you have never been there it's hard to know how long it will take to get there.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Release Date 4/14/2008

Released this message off of Breezy Pt. in Brooklyn.
It was a beautiful spring day. A bit cold with light West wind that shifted to the South as the day progressed.

We launched around 9:45, and got off the water around 13:00. Air and water temp in the high 40s.
We wanted to go surfing, but there was almost no surf on the sandbar. We did chase some waves around, but there was nothing to speak of.

There had been some storms that exposed more of the rocks on the jetty, and made a huge sand cliff. If you get close to it, and look you would think you are in the desert, not Brooklyn. See the picture.

I borrowed a friends Romany since I still don't have access to my boat. Truth: Something about spring...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Release Date 3/29/2008

Photo Elizabeth Powers.

Today as we were paddling right in front of the DTBH 72nd Street dock we spotted a small seal in the water.

It was very curious and followed us popping up, first behind, then in front again. It seemed very interested and was getting closer and closer.

So I made the classic keetch keetch noise and held my hand out like I had some food. It always works with dogs, so I figured it might work with a seal too.

The seal swam closer and closer, and then put it's paws up on my front hatch. It looked at me once more, then hauled itself up ONTO MY FRONT HATCH COVER.

It sat up there for about 30 seconds while I carefully balanced, then it jumped back in the water on the other side of my boat.

Really incredible!!!
A friend from the DTBH got a picture of it a few hours earlier on the DTBH dock at 72nd St.

Truth: It's important to get along with your neighbors.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Release Date 3/22/2008

Released this message while paddling in the Hudson River.

Air started just above freezing, but warmed-up into the forties. Very light wind from the NW, bright bright sun. The flood was slightly diminished, from snow-melt, but still significant.

It was a cool spring morning, but the sun came out, and it really warmed up. We went North up to the GW Bridge, then back to the Mitswa complex for a Japanese lunch.

Lunch was great.

We then did a bit of shopping, and I got the idea to finish my weekly shopping at Trader Joe's to the North, and then Fairway on NY side.

Trader Joe's was very nice compared to the branch in the city. Wide aisles, fresh produce, and NO CROWDS. I loaded-up with staples, then went over to Fairway for some fresh bread and cheese.