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“Mike*, move your boat away from the edge”.

We were standing on the dock at the Inwood Canoe Club not long after low tide. At that point in the cycle there’s maybe a foot of depth there. On a spring tide cycle, the water between the dock and the shore is even more shallow. Dipping a paddle in always nicks mud on those days.

I’d spotted a large barge heading north under the George Washington Bridge. It was a beautiful day, the kind of spring day that starts cool but warms quickly. The barge was red and very pretty against the dull brown walls of the Palisades. There was some beautiful bow wake rolling away from it.

I knew it would take a few minutes, but that wake would reach us, and when it did, the dock would buck a bit. More than a bit, actually.

He did as I instructed, pulling his boat in about a foot from the dock and putting his paddle into the cockpit. We went up the ramp to the deck and talked with our friends about our outing.

A little less than ten minutes later, we saw the waves rolling in, gentle swells further out, curling and breaking as they hit the shallows. Pretty soon our dock was bobbing up and down like a carnival ride, and water washed up over the edges, wetting it about a foot in.

*Not his real name.

Published in 2014 Backpaddle Inwood Inwood Canoe Club New York


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