Twelve NACK paddlers set out recently on a perfect fall day to paddle the 20 miles around Shelter Island. Shelter Island is situated between the forks of Long Island’s east end just south of Greenport. To the north and south of the island are fairly narrow passages that funnel water between Peconic Bay on the west and Gardiners Bay and the Atlantic Ocean on the east.
Besides the 20 miles of paddling, kayaking around the island requires dealing some very strong currents. On each tide cycle vast quantities of moving water create currents that at some times exceed 3 knots. You’ll need careful planning and exact timing in addition to skillful paddling. For their efforts paddlers are rewarded with crystal clear water and beautiful surroundings. There are pristine beaches, magnificent homes and a couple of lighthouses.
DIY Project By Colin Mullen
Last season we spent a few days kayak and canoe camping on Adirondack’s, Middle Saranac Lake with a few friends. Dara and I went by canoe since we were taking our cocker spaniel puppy Finley with us. After last season’s camping trip, I decided I would make some bear resistant food containers. I did not say bear “proof” food containers because I have not tested them using a bear.
Having nothing planned for today, I made my bear/animal resistant food containers. I started by purchasing most of the items at Lowe’s. There I purchased a four inch by two-foot piece of PVC pipe, two female threaded adapters and since I did not want the clean-out plugs with the square external wrench fitting I purchased two flush clean-out plugs.
My thought was an animal could conceivably place its teeth on the square clean-out plug and turn it. Since Lowe’s did not stock flat-bottomed end plugs I went to Riverhead Building Supply and there purchased two of them. Once home I used my band saw to cut two sections off the PVC pipe one section measuring 5 ¾ inches and the other 6 ¾ inches.
To be honest I did not measure either one I just placed them on the band saw and cut them. I then glued and assembled my hopefully bear/animal proof food containers. Once assembled the completed food containers measurements came out to be 7 ½ inches on one and 8 ¾ inches on the other.
Now before I start to receive comments I am fully aware that my food containers do not meet the National Parks Services requirements for “approved bear proof food containers” in the National Parks or other locations, which require their usage. My intention in building bear/animal resistant food containers was not so much to keep bears from being able to open them and eat the contents as is was to store Finley’s dog food in a safe, waterproof container when we take him canoe camping. My intention was also to build a container that Finley could not open, for when it comes to food; Finley is much more of a threat of breaking into a bear proof food container and eating its contents then the most ravenous bear.
What’s a “Pumpkin Paddle” you might ask? Well, the folks at Belmont Lake State Park came up with an idea for a unique fall festival just before Halloween. Besides lots of activities for the youngsters there was a pumpkin carving contest with a twist. Once darkness fell 50 of the best pumpkins were lighted, loaded on floats, and towed around the lake.
That’s where paddlers from North Atlantic Canoe& Kayak were enlisted to tow the rafts of pumpkins. To be honest it was pretty difficult towing a dozen big pumpkins each on its own individual 2 foot square float. But it was all worth it when we saw the crowds of kids and their parents lining the shoreline as we passed back and forth.
On Saturday, November 16, four paddlers and I launched our kayaks from Oak Beach at 10:30 AM and headed out on the bay for five hours. The day started out being a bit overcast, but the skies gradually gave way to a fair amount of sun with puffs of clouds scattered around here and there. We started by paddling west a short distance, crossed over to Fire Island and then headed east toward Robert Moses Causeway. I was lagging a short way behind, because you know me–I am out there taking pictures! Within the first hour and to my total disbelief, I came across my first harbor seal of the season about 60 feet off the bow of my boat and all alone!
Actually, this was the first time I have ever seen a harbor seal around Long Island. It was truly an exciting moment. The seal seemed to be as curious about me as I was of it. We stared at each other for several seconds as it stretched its neck high above the waterline and then down under it went, only to pop up over on my right. We went through the same ritual several more times until it finally completed a full 360 around my kayak. Not wanting to scare away the seal I remained frozen in my seat, but during one of its vanishing acts under the water, I quickly grabbed my camera and was able to snap a picture as it resurfaced. Lucky that I snapped the picture when I did, as it went below the surface once more and disappeared into the chop, not to be seen again. Thoughts of seeing the harbor seal remained with me throughout the rest of my day on the water! It didn’t get any better than that!
The Draft South Shore Blueway Plan establishes a water trail along Nassau County’s south shore and is the result of a community-wide trail planning process that identified access points and gaps where further water access is needed to complete the trail.
The South Shore Blueway Trail Draft Plan has been released to the public with a 30-day comment period. During the comment period, which concludes on November 21, people can submit their questions and comments
The public is invited to share their comments both online and during a community discussion November 14, 6:00 pm at Freeport Village Hall Conference Room, located at 46 N. Ocean Avenue, Freeport, New York 11520. Paddlers are invited to help shape the future South Shore Blueway Trail by commenting on the Draft Plan.
Designed by Going Coastal, Inc. and Cameron Engineering & Associates, LLP to be a blueprint to cover the development, implementation, maintenance and use of the South Shore Blueway Trail, the plan is a collaborative effort of New York State, Nassau County, Village of Freeport, Town of Hempstead and the Town of Oyster Bay. A key element of the new South Shore Blueway Trail Plan is sustainable, American Disability Act compliant access. The plan also proposes developing a branding strategy and provides for interpretive and educational opportunities that will encourage understanding of the south shore ecosystem and maritime heritage.
Hal comes up with another great Newsletter including a personal story from a recent solo paddle on Little Neck Bay. Click the image to go to the Fall issue.
From Paul V
While visiting Vermont, less than a year after the devastation of the tropical storm Irene, I witnessed the aftermath of that devastating storm which literally wiped out the town of Waterbury, VT.
In speaking to a local real estate agent who lost her home, that had been in her family for over 100 years; sat next to a tiny little stream that ran along the roadway just outside her front door; which typically dried up after the spring snow melt; turned into a raging 100 foot wide river that swept away her house.
Where once was her living room, now sat a bolder the size of a compact car. Pointing to the opposite bank of the now placid stream, she said, that was all trees up there on the hill side that got washed away. Where she was pointing looked to be some 25 to 30 feet in height.
At a detour in the road she remarked that this closed section of the road, which once connected all the communities, still required air lifts of food and water to the stranded families.
Listening to the weather channel while trying to decide what days were best this week to paddle, they showed a clip of Vice President Joe Biden in Colorado evaluating their recent flood damage. Aside from the 30 plus who lost their lives, Biden was shocked by the power of the water to change the shape of the land so much so that communities were now isolated and could only be reached by helicopter. This story was followed by interviews of people who for 30 years lived next to a quite little stream that turned into a raging monster that wiped out their home and their town.
In college I took a series of geology courses, the most interesting of which was titled the Geology of our National Parks. A lecture on how the Snake River Canyon in Idaho (photo below) was formed some 14,000 years ago, in less than a week, was a true awakening for me as to the power of water. Normally, it takes millions of years for a river to cut through the bedrock in order to form the high, sheer cliffs of a river canyon; the Colorado River is a prime example of that slow, erosion process.
Lake Bonneville once covered the entire state of Utah and part of Idaho that was 1,000 feet deep and some 20,000 square miles wide! There was a natural dam across Red Rock Pass, Idaho that suddenly collapsed and lowered the lake by some 300 plus feet of water. Over 1,000 cubic miles of water was released over several days to form the Snake River Canyon as we know it today.
The destructive power of water is due to its weight; just over 64 lbs per cubic foot. But weight alone is only half the story. Put that weight into motion and you have a destructive force second to none. Tidal waves have been recorded at over 300 miles per hour, although the maximum theoretical speed of a tidal wave is 600 miles per hour.
Two thirds of the planet is covered by water. Plants and animals, our selves included, are made up of 98% water. Water claims more lives than any other natural disaster. Water at high pressure is used industrially to cut through steel.
One would need a super computer to calculate the force needed to move a bolder or pick up a car or to knock a house off its foundation. But, you don’t need a computer to see the destructive power of water after a storm.
As kayakers we view the water as something to play in and on, but we need to be mindful of just how powerful and dangerous a force it can be.
When: Saturday, October 5, 2013 (10 am to noon)
Where: Visitor’s Center at the Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge
340 Smith Rd Shirley, NY 11967 (Registration Required – limited seating)
The NACK membership might be interested in this photography workshop – considering almost all the photos have been snapped from a kayak. If you have a passion for photography, or just enjoy taking pictures and like the outdoors, the scenic nature of LI, and wildlife, – then, you’ll like this photography workshop. Local author and photographer, John P. Cardone conducts this 2 hour workshop based on his book Waterviews: A Collection of Photographs, Thoughts, and Experiences. The workshop is interactive as John brings up topics to get you involved. So, bring your camera equipment, a favorite outdoor photo or two and come prepared to discuss your photo work while learning from others. John reviews his experiences from over 10 years of picture taking – almost all of his shots are taken from the unusual perspective of a kayak floating on the water. While the Carman’s River is his favorite picture-taking location, he’ll share photos from the Connetquot River, the Setauket Harbor, and Orient Harbor featuring the wetlands of Long Beach Bay.
Check out the Waterviews website.