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A Double Day

I did two fun things today – paddled in some chop, and then did some messing about in boats with a friend.

For a few days now, I’ve been able to see some large white tents across the river at Ross Dock. Ross Dock is more or less directly across the river from where I live, and as I’ve gone about my regular commute, it was clear that something was going on over there.

Now, a sensible person might look it up on the internet. I decided to paddle over there.

This seemed like a better idea than it probably was. In fact it was a great idea. I got a later start than I wanted so there was some flood tide to contend with, but a steady southerly wind made for some chop! I took it abeam about halfway across the river, at which point I turned to do a bit of ferrying as the chop got rougher. Eventually, I landed on the little beach at Ross Dock, even littler than usual considering it was coming up on high tide.

I popped out, said high to some tourists from central New Jersey, made sure my boat was as high above the tide as I could get it, and walked over to the tents. Turns out there was a bicycle race (wheeling, as they called it in the old days), from the George Washington Bridge to Bear Mountain and back – a considerable distance.

With that, I paddled back, this time with the current – and into the waves! It was so much fun, though I did have to wait for a slow-moving southbound barge to pass. I wonder about these contra-current barges – someone is paying a lot of money to move things slowly.

I had lunch, then met with KM, one of the Inwood Canoe Club senior members (and officers). We paddled up to my “classroom” area by Spuyten Duyvil, and did a little messing about. It’s how I try out ideas.

We did some balance exercises – sitting out on the back deck, paddling about. Also some rescues. I find that while most people get taught the basic X rescues, they don’t know what to do if a victim can’t pull themselves over the back deck, or is unresponsive. The heel-hook, scoop, and Hand of God rescues are a nice progression, and give a paddler more options.

I also demonstrated contact tows, which are useful in our club because of a dearth of tow ropes. Contact tows, and “human contact” tows, holding on to deck lines, are very useful.

When we finished up, we paddled under the Spuyten Duyvil railroad bridge. When I turned around to check KM had gotten through, I saw a fleet of kayaks! Turns out there was a group of about a dozen who had paddled up from Red Hook and were circumnavigating Manhattan together, led by PG from the Yonkers club. I saw some other people I know, and we chatted as we paddled back.

Published in 2014 Backpaddle ICC Inwood Inwood Canoe Club Kayaking New York Sea

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