Our new neighbor in New Rochelle
Sometimes nature comes to us! This peregrine falcon perches outside of our bedroom window—and, as we suspected, is the newest avian resident of our building, evidenced by all the pigeon heads, pigeon feet, and bloody stumps of pigeon wings outside the front door. We’re thrilled that they’re nesting here, of course. (The local pigeons, not so much.) For more about this amazing endangered species, see video here:
Geeks can’t resist a good acronym. Or challenge. So when our friend Michele encouraged us to dip our blades into our first real race, the 2012 L2L (Lightouse to Lighthouse) in Norwalk, CT, we plunked down our entry fee and hit the road Saturday morning, 9/15, at sunrise. (EST, of course.)
The description: “Paddle or row 14 or 7 miles around the beautiful Norwalk Islands starting at Shady Beach, past Pecks Ledge Light, around Greens Ledge Light and back. Great location, competition, and after party. Open to all sea-worthy, human-powered craft!” The REALITY: “Paddle or row 14 miles around the beautiful Norwalk Islands starting at Shady Beach, and as you approach Pecks Ledge Light, the steady offshore NE wind will start gusting to 20 or 25 F***ING KTS at which point you’ll realize you’re in for one HELLUVA long slog, especially if your *&#*% skeg refuses to budge and you stupidly left your scopolamine patch (best seasick prevention ever!) at home.” So Jean turned back, earning yet another acronym, DNF (Did Not Finish) and spent a perfectly nice afternoon contemplating the Six Degrees of Freedom (6DoF): the freedom of movement of a rigid body (like, a Cetus LV with grumpy skeg) in three dimensional space (like, the Long Island Sound). Specifically, the body being free to move forward/backward, up/down, left/right (in 3 perpendicular axes) combined with rotation about 3 perpendicular axes, often termed pitch, yaw, and roll. BRILLIANTLY and HILARIOUSLY illustrated by genius Christina Sun (aka, bowsprite), six degrees of freedom and the drunken sailor. Do yourself a favor and check it out!
Defying (and working with) the 6DoF, Alex was a champ and finished the 14 miles in a very respectable 3:11:18!!! WTG, A! We were delighted to catch up with kayak friends at the after party, and look forward to installing skeg retro-kits ASAP and participating next year 🙂 BIG shout -outs to superb sea kayaking friends Marshall Seddon (2:26:05), Michele Sorenson (3:38:00), David McPherson and Al Golabek (2:32:40) and Henrietta Parsons (3:31:04). Slideshow for your viewing pleasure…
Paddlers. Motorboaters. The Flume riders at Rye Playland. EVERYBODY’s out on the water in some way today, determined to squeeze the last drops of summer from this Last Official Weekend. Including North America’s smallest marathoners—monarch butterflies. We counted 166 of them on our paddle from Larchmont to Rye (a couple of hours). Where are they coming from? Where are they going? How the hell do they DO THAT, flitting miles across the Sound, without getting blown into the drink? We couldn’t wait to get home and learn more (thanks, Monarch-Butterfly.com, for the info copied below.) Turns out these little guys are even more remarkable than we ever imagined. Another miracle…we got a picture.
Monarch #164 likes our kayaks’ colors. Orange rocks!
Monarch butterflies go through four stages during one life cycle, and through four generations in one year. The four stages of the monarch butterfly life cycle are the egg, the larvae (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult butterfly. The four generations are actually four different butterflies going through these four stages during one year until it is time to start over again with stage one and generation one.
In February and March, the final generation of hibernating monarch butterflies comes out of hibernation to find a mate. They then migrate north and east in order to find a place to lay their eggs. This starts stage one and generation one of the new year for the monarch butterfly.
In March and April the eggs are laid on milkweed plants. They hatch into baby caterpillars, also called the larvae. It takes about four days for the eggs to hatch. Then the baby caterpillar doesn’t do much more than eat the milkweed in order to grow. After about two weeks, the caterpillar will be fully-grown and find a place to attach itself so that it can start the process of metamorphosis. It will attach itself to a stem or a leaf using silk and transform into a chrysalis. Although, from the outside, the 10 days of the chrysalis phase seems to be a time when nothing is happening, it is really a time of rapid change. Within the chrysalis the old body parts of the caterpillar are undergoing a remarkable transformation, called metamorphosis, to become the beautiful parts that make up the butterfly that will emerge. The monarch butterfly will emerge from the pupa and fly away, feeding on flowers and just enjoying the short life it has left, which is only about two to six weeks. This first generation monarch butterfly will then die after laying eggs for generation number two.
The second generation of monarch butterflies is born in May and June, and then the third generation will be born in July and August. These monarch butterflies will go through exactly the same four stage life cycle as the first generation did, dying two to six weeks after it becomes a beautiful monarch butterfly.
The fourth generation of monarch butterflies is a little bit different than the first three generations. The fourth generation is born in September and October and goes through exactly the same process as the first, second and third generations except for one part. The fourth generation of monarch butterflies does not die after two to six weeks. Instead, this generation of monarch butterflies migrates to warmer climates like Mexico and California and will live for six to eight months until it is time to start the whole process over again.
Labor Day Weekend
The last days of summer
Stalking butterflies near the Marshlands Conservancy. Aside from being poisonous (but not to humans), monarchs are NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE to photograph when you’re trying (and floating).
If you zoom in enough, to that area above and behind Jean, you’ll see this monarch butterfly laughing his little antennae off.