Recreational kayaks at Rye Municipal Marina are a row of lollipops against a vivid blue sky. We paddled there with Gary and Ivy on Memorial Day weekend (5/24), when The World’s Orangest Hat (Gary’s, from the Yonkers dollar store) got into the same shot with The World’s Most Visible Paddle (Alex’s, covered in reflective tape from reflectivelyyours.com, tagline: Be Seen Better… a case of truth in advertising):
Gary’s new Stellar S18S surf ski is a vivid yellow. But that’s now why he (and others) are scooping them up…
At less than 30 lbs., the kayakski (not a real term, just our take) is literally easy to scoop up. (Below, Gary dares the rest of us to try this at home.)
See more vivid photos here 🙂
Let’s talk about two key pieces of gear: 1) the contact tow and 2) the scopolamine patch. The former is a rather short towline (3x the distance between your boat’s decklines) with a clip on each end. The latter is a small Band-Aid-like thing that, stuck behind the ear, keeps Jean from throwing up! (She gets seasick in lumpy water when not paddling vigorously…Her motto: To bob is to gurk. We’ll cross-stitch it on a pillow someday.) On Sunday, we were batting 500…
Luke shows Step #1: Looping a North Water contact tow between front decklines
Step #2: Crossing the contact tow for versatility.
All is revealed in this video of Gordon Brown’s contact tow technique:
On Sunday morning, we launched into perfectly calm waters. But 11 NMs and one circumnav of City Island later, conditions got pretty bouncy (or as some people say, “gurky”…). Close to HHYC, scopolamine-patchless Jean turned green. Thanks to Luke’s contact towing and Alex’s tow of both parties in the wind, we happily covered the last few yards to shore. What are friends for? 🙂
Someday soon, we’re going to polish up our French/Algonquin dialects and explore Lake Champlain, the sixth largest body of fresh water in the U.S. (the Great Lakes are Numbers 1 through 5.) Champlain is 120 miles long, contains 70+ impossible-to-pronounce islands, and lies in a valley with Vermont’s Green Mountains to the east and New York’s Adirondacks to the west.
A big thank you to Michael and Julie—our paddling friends in Albany and today’s guest bloggers—for the suggestion. TBD = To Be Done!
Toward the end of 2013 paddle season, weary of beautiful Lake George’s almost unrelenting upscale tenement architecture and rude powerboat operators, we looked for better water to the north and found it.
We were not strangers to Lake Champlain, (we were introduced to Valcour Island by the Lake Champlain Sea Kayak Institute in 2011), but we’d explored very little of its expanse until September 2013. The best part starts about two hours from Albany, an easy drive up the Northway once Saratoga County is left behind. Highlights were a launch from Port Douglas and 450 million-year-old fossils in Bulwagga Bay (an endless refrain of “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”).
Last year, we stayed for a week just after Labor Day, planning to explore the Otter Creek marshes, circumnavigate Carleton Prize (a small rock with an extraordinary history), lead a club paddle at Valcour Island, and penetrate the Inland Sea via The Gut from Point Au Roche. Unusually obliging weather allowed us to accomplish everything, barely getting a taste of what this lake has to offer.
This lake is bigger than the rest of my paddling life!
Parking lot after a wintertime indoor pool session. We’re like a motorcycle gang, only geeky.
This week, our “TBD” (To Be Done!) task is to buy one of those GoPro action video cameras that all the kids have. Our friend, Luke—aka the multi-talented blogger kayakhipster—has two GoPros, which he mounted ingeniously above- and below-water at the Greenwich YWCA swimming pool a couple of Sunday mornings ago, to document a kayak “pool session.”
A pool session is where one goes to practice rescues and rolling when the waters you normally paddle are #^@#& freezing (or just plain frozen). It’s nice and relaxing—like this video Luke shot with his pair of GoPros, then edited to a mellow track from his band, aver the mono. (Told you he was talented!)
Watching it is like gazing at fish in an aquarium… Jean (white kayak) = angelfish. Felix (green yak and whitewater boat) = the happy guppy. Luke (red kayak) = tigerfish doing storm rolls! John (yellow kayak) = lanky seahorse. Jorge’s the little plastic diver, and Dave’s one of those round snails that are always attaching themselves to things… You’ll see. Click to play 🙂
We couldn’t be more thrilled about this week’s photo challenge: orange. There’s no word that rhymes with it. No color quite like it, either. It’s happy. Practical. Visible. And at times, serene. Orange is at the top of our list—on the water and off.
Alex circumnavigating Manhattan
The World’s Orangest Hat! Alex at Sands Point, NY
Almost home. Larchmont Harbor
Alex frees an orange-clawed crab from a scrap of net we found. Edisto, South Carolina
Jean’s new drysuit. Penobscot Bay, Maine
Sunrise at Horseshoe Harbor
Rainy day on Long Island Sound near New Rochelle, NY
Ancient rock and crab. Huckleberry Island, Long Island Sound
Sunrise over the Atlantic. Cumberland Island, Georgia
Bea paddling between the raindrops. Long Island Sound
Rick and Andrew (R to L), Manhattan circumnavigation
Campfire glow. Penobscot Bay, Maine
Geeky selfie with Storm Whistle. Edisto, South Carolina
Sunset over the Folly River, South Carolina
Gulf of Mexico, Florida (Sweetwater Kayak Symposium)
The crack of dawn on Long Island Sound, March 2014
Sunrise over the Atlantic. Cumberland Island, Georgia
Alex suits up
Orange boats stand out in New York Harbor
Jellyfish. Cumberland Island, Georgia
3/8/2015 Early morning light hints at Spring thaw
Stamford Lighthouse. Stamford, Connecticut
Rust and bricks on Hart Island, NYC’s potters field
Lichens. Penobscot Bay, Maine
A curious gull. Lake Otesaga. Cooperstown, NY
Taking a break at Peter Sharpe Boathouse, NYC
Penobscot Bay, Maine
Water dog retrieving her tennis ball at Horseshoe Harbor
This week’s TBD (“To Be Done!”) is a maneuver Jean actually tried last summer, under the watchful eye of coach David of Sea Kayak Connecticut. (Un)fortunately, there’s no video of that event…and Dave is wonderfully discreet! So it’s a good thing the folks at Body Boat Blade have created this charming video about how to launch your kayak ASAP. Totally TBD 🙂
You might find this topic less than exciting, but that’s the point: avoiding the excitement of getting your iPhone all wet! Friends recently had a lengthy back-and-forth email discussion about their smartphone “dry” bags (lots of fails), but we think we may have found the holy grail: the Clutch Smartphone Case from Watershed. We plan to buy and try…to be done.
Here’s the product description:
This brand new, versatile case protects all your important stuff from water, moisture, dust, sand and greasy fingers. A clear, usable window encases your smartphone, while an adjacent window allows you to have your ID handy. Pockets for cash and cards allow for quick access when fully open, yet secure once the Clutch is snapped closed. The main zippered compartment protects any documents or other small items you want to keep dry and on hand. The fully waterproof, submersible closure is made in Germany, and is hidden and protected when you fold and snap the Clutch closed.
- Window for your smartphone still enables you to use it
- Main compartment fits standard sized documents 8.5 in X 11 in
- German designed TiZip technology provides submersion up to 16ft or 5m
- Colors: Orange, Blue, Coyote, Black, & Clear
It comes in orange too? Now you’re talking. BTW, if this case proves to be anywhere near as good as the company’s duffels and kayak drybags, our intrepid friends Johna and Vlad (aka, Wind Against Current) will be thrilled. See how their horizontally-closing Watershed bags held up during the 300-mile Everglades Challenge 2014.
We’re not endorsing anything here (remember, we haven’t even bought the thing yet!). Just wanted to show you how this gear made our TBD “to be done” list. The video (below) may inspire you to put it on yours, too.