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The Beginning and the End

Today was meant to be an “off” day – a day for chores, rest, and catching up on little things around the house. It was all that, but the cowgirl managed to start and end her day with some paddling.

First came an invite from KM at the Inwood Canoe Club. KM often heads in early on Saturday mornings and invites others to come along, and today I joined him. We paddled north, with a bit of a headwind against incoming current, but once past Spuyten Duyvil and into the Harlem, we had a pleasant, quiet paddle over to Peter Sharp Boathouse. Along the way, we observed some sort of Crew event being run by Fordham out of Peter Sharp, and on the way back we saw some Columbia Crew boats out practicing. For those who want to know, we were both in plastic boats, KM in a Necky Manitou, and I was in a Necky Looksha IV.

After that, I came home and did chores, watched telly . . .and then my inbox brought an email from RH, a good paddling friend from the Downtown Boathouse. She’s leaving for graduate school next week and wanted to squeeze one more paddle in. I said yes and got my gear together to head on down to Pier 96.

Conditions – primarily the wind – were worrisome. It was blowing something fierce as I walked down the hill to the waterfront, and changed direction to come mostly from the north. We almost called it off, but then the wind dropped a bit, and five of us went out – RH, myself, CL, LA, and DW, paddling a variety of boats – I was back in the Argonaut. The wind picked up a bit, and weathercocked us some, but we managed to make it up to about 96th street (about 40 blocks) before deciding to turn around. The tide was coming in, so the farther we went, it would be even more difficult to go back.

Because the wind was blowing against the current, we got what I’ve come to call “cartoon waves” or “tom and jerry waves”, which I’ve described before. Basically, a wave comes up behind you, and is moving faster than you. It’s like in a cartoon where a cat snaps a rug to bounce a fleeing mouse. We kept close to shore, and managed to avoid the effect near things that block current, but did have to deal with it in the channel.

The sunset was beautiful. As we came back, we saw huge plumes of clouds fanning out over the harbor, with clear skies to our right. The sun set and backlit the skyline, while too our left the Manhattan skyline faded to an indigo blue. The Empire State Building lit up in green and white

We landed and brought in our boats, and said our goodbyes to RH. She’ll be back, but she’s been integral to the functioning of the boathouse this season; she will be missed while she’s away.

Published in 2012 Backpaddle Downtown Boathouse Inwood Canoe Club NYC

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