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Mitsuwa Easter 2024

Hey there buckaroos. Did you miss me? I missed you. Well, I missed writing about my adventures to share with you all.

It’s not like I’ve not been paddling. If anything, I’ve been doing a lot more: leading a paddlesport club, pursuing instructor and coach provider awards, teaching in winter pool sessions, and managing my own courses. That’s on top of having a regular, non-paddlesport job, because believe it or not, making a living wage in paddlesport is kinda unusual.

Well, spring has sprung, a couple of times perhaps, and on Easter Sunday, I paddled with a clubmate down to Mitsuwa market, in New Jersey. Easter this year was on the last day of March, which feels like a sort of holiday version of daylight savings time.

Mitswa is a pretty typical destination trip for our club. It’s about four nautical miles away, including crossing the Hudson River, more or less directly across from 125th street in Harlem. It’s not for beginners, and this time of year the water is cold enough to warrant drysuits, but it’s a good half-day trip with bathrooms, a food court, and a grocery store. People regularly paddle there with shopping lists.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures heading out. The wind was reasonable with occasionally unreasonable gusts. We crossed the river and paddled down the New Jersey side on the very last of the ebb current, landing at a little beach near the parking lot. We pulled our boats up since the tide would be coming in, then went in to get some food.

FH had a list, not just for herself but some friends. I considered being adventurous but ultimately just went with a salmon-avocado roll and some hot tea. It was a bit chilly in the breeze, though quite warm in the sun.

While I lunched, I spotted a ship making its way up the river. Clearly it’s meant to look like a paddle-wheeler of old, but since it had no blades, I decided to call it the faux-wheeler.

Faux-Wheeler on the Hudson
Faux-wheeler, Upper West Side

Closer to shore, a heartbreaking sight.

Shopping cart near Mitsuwa.

After we’d lunched and taken care of necessities, we launched into a sunnier day. We could see the faux-wheeler had tied up in Harlem, so we decided to cross and check it out.

We always look both ways when crossing the Hudson. Even this far north from the working harbor, barge and ship traffic is common. We didn’t see anything, but I heard a low rumble, like a big diesel truck, and it maintained its pitch and distance quite a while – either it was idling, or it wasn’t a truck.

Then I spotted the barge, rather a set of barges, all being pushed by the tug Nathan G. We had plenty of distance, but decided to wait for her to pass, then continued our crossing, passing astern.

Crossing astern.
Crossing astern of a barge.

As we approached, we heard music – a children’s song – emanating from the faux-wheeler. She was tied up at a small pier shared with the Baylander, an old military vessel pressed into service as a floating restaurant at the end of 125th street.

Approaching Faux-wheeler.
Approaching the faux-wheeler.

As we came around in the area between piers, we saw a line of children waiting to board. We surmised it was an Easter activity.

Holiday in Harlem.
Near the Baylander, 125th Street, Harlem.

We watched, and waved, enjoying the afternoon.

Sunny Day.
Sun Shiny Day!

On the way back, we checked out some possible paddling venues on the shore south of the George Washington Bridge, as part of possible community outreach events, then north under the bridge at about the height of the flood current, drift-paddling back to the boathouse.

Cleaned up, put away, we started on our real tasks – fixing boats! Topic for another post.

Published in ICC Inwood Canoe Club Kayaking Sea


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