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A Foggy Paddle

I paddled this afternoon with two members of the Inwood Canoe Club. One is one of my regular paddling buddies, and the other was up an an ACA assessment. The air temperature was in the high 60s, low 70s, very humid, with dense fog most of the day. Unlike yesterday, it never burned off, leaving our area – northern Manhattan and the Palisades – shrouded in moor-like tendrils.

This was one of those days where I did not bring my camera, but at several points wished I had. It was in the boathouse, and I had just put a fresh battery in it. I just figured I’d be too busy to take photos.

We paddled north a bit, to Spuyten Duyvil, and considered going in. Along the way, we saw a soccer ball fly into the water, followed shortly by a young man climbing down to retrieve it, though it was clearly too far out. I paddled over to the ball, scooped it up, then tossed it back.

We’d seen a large ship coming up the river earlier. As she grew closer we realized just how big she was – and right down the middle of the river. We typically see barges far to the New Jersey side, which is technically an anchorage. I looked up our behemoth visitor; she’s a Bahamas-flagged oil tanker, the Afrodite:

Later, we over heard radio traffic warning her skipper that “about a hundred” kayakers were near the Tappan Zee Bridge. I’ll be asking what that was about.

Rather than go into the Duyvil, we waited for a south-bound barge to pass and crossed the river to an area just north of Bloomers Beach. There we tried a couple of rescues, then landed on the beach for a snack lunch.

I had a little distance from my friends as I checked the chart, and when I looked up I saw some them perfectly framed against the Palisades, with just enough fog to look mysterious. Color really pops in humidity, and our always-beautiful playground was all the more pretty in the mist.

We saw three outriggers set out from Englewood Marina, just south of Bloomers Beach. As they set out across the river, I overheard radio comms warning the Spuyten Duyvil bridge operator of human-powered watercraft heading their way. One of the outriggers came towards us, and we recognized them from their visit earlier this summer.

We proceeded south a bit. By now the ebb current had picked up. We looked both ways, then set out across the river, heading straight across, knowing the current would take us south a bit.

So that’s at least three photos I missed: the ship, my friends, and the outriggers. Who knew such a short paddle, in our neighborhood, could be so interesting? I have got to stop taking out area for granted.

Published in 2013 Backpaddle ICC Inwood Canoe Club New York New York City

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