Is Execution Rocks lighthouse haunted? Definitely. By cormorants, gulls, peregrine falcons, seals (see arrow at :52) and us paddlers. Despite the unholy stench of bird guano, it’s one of our favorite haunts. Click for video—an impromptu “family reunion” on 1/16/17—courtesy of the mega-talented Luke (aka kayakhipster) and his new drone. 🙂 🙂
The last paddle of the year. Jerry and Luke (aka, kayakhipster) joined us on the Sound, 12.28.16, a windy Wednesday. Paddling into the sunset (argh, only 4:36 p.m.!), Luke stops to take a snap of NYC on the horizon.
The sun’s last “hurrah.” May your 2017 be bright. Best wishes, 🙂 🙂
For some reason, people assume we’ve hung up our paddles by now. Or trade them for skis (not gonna happen!). In fact, winter is the most magical time to paddle—as gal pal and fellow blogger, Julie, aka Kayak Cowgirl, demonstrates here: Hudson River, near Spuyten Duyvil. (Click for video)
This week’s photo challenge is new horizons. Perhaps wintertime kayaking belongs on yours? 🙂 🙂
Not exactly the most kayak-friendly weekend: high of 20 degrees F, starting out around 4 this morning. But a fantastic opportunity to sit all comfy and warm at home, editing your winter kayak footage… Hats off! to our dear friend, Luke, at kayakhipster.com, aka, the man of many GoPros. His music-video reminiscence of our post-pool paddle to Calf Island, CT, is here: Enjoy 🙂
Last Sunday marked the maiden voyage of Jim’s new kit-built wherry. “It floats!” we cheered. And indeed it did—fast, too.
However, ¾ of the way to Davids Island (2.5 NM from HHYC), one of the oarlock things suddenly snapped off—a design flaw—leaving Jim paddling in a big circle… Geeks to the rescue! We set up an in-line tow and ferried the wherry back to HHYC, where Jim swapped it for his proven kit-built kayak.
Undeterred, we relaunched and paddled around Davids and Huckleberry Islands, our next area snowstorm looming overhead. Air in the mid-30s, water similar.
A gull took flight near New Rochelle…
…as a big “bird” took off from LaGuardia Airport.
Jean’s tuilik also made its first on-Sound voyage.
We did a little mollusk-hopping (?), as the extra-low Spring tide exposed mussels…
…and got back to the boathouse just as the meager daylight gave way to a pale moon.
We geeks are happy paddlers this time of year, having LI Sound all to ourselves. Sort of. In fact, we have lots of company (mostly Canadians, sans drysuits). What’s up with that? we’ve always wondered. Why don’t the feet of waterfowl freeze? For the answer, we asked a naturalist. Here’s what we learned:
It’s all about heat exchange, and the smaller the temperature difference between two objects, the more slowly heat will be exchanged. Ducks, as well as many other birds, have a counter-current heat exchange system between the arteries and veins in their legs. Warm arterial blood flowing to the feet passes close to cold venous blood returning from the feet. The arterial blood warms up the venous blood, dropping in temperature as it does so. This means that the blood that flows through the feet is relatively cool. This keeps the feet supplied with just enough blood to provide tissues with food and oxygen, and just warm enough to avoid frostbite. But by limiting the temperature difference between the feet and the ice, heat loss is greatly reduced.
Cool, huh? Literally! More interesting stuff:
Bird’s legs and feet are relatively free of soft tissue and even the muscles that operate the foot are mostly located higher up in the leg and connected to the bones of the feet with long tendons. Because there isn’t much soft tissue in the lower legs and feet, there is less need for warm blood.
By the way, birds aren’t the only animals to have evolved this counter-current blood flow trick. It can also be found in the flippers of whales and sea turtles, some reptiles, and some have even suggested that the proximity of the veins and arteries that supply human arms is a simple counter-current heat exchanger.
Stupid human trick: Hang out in the kayak storage room! It’s always at least 10 degrees warmer in there.
Another human trick: Pogies! Video of our discovery last January is here. Thanks to this week’s photo challenge, warmth. Pull on your big wool socks, snuggle up and stay toasty! 🙂