Archive for Trip Reports

Jul
30

Setauket Harbor to Flax Pond

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July 14, a day with a mixture of spotty sunshine, various blankets of clouds and a delightful temperature in the mid 80s, NACK members Lynne Basileo, Bob Horchler, Troy Siegel and Matt Ferrizz. launched their kayaks from the sandy beach on Shore Road and began their outing paddling the protected waters of scenic Setauket Harbor.

Bob and Troy heading out.

Bob and Troy heading out.

The harbor’s edge is lined with a combination of historic homes and those of modern times. As we paddled around to the west, we viewed various estates, including a breath-taking horse farm sitting on seemingly endless acres of historic land. Proceeding across the harbor, we leisurely paddled east along the shore of Old Field Beach, while being entertained by seagulls, cormorants, herons and terns, and to where Setauket and Port Jefferson harbors merge, making our exit out of the harbor and into the Long Island Sound.

Cormorants and their friends.

Cormorants and their friends.

Heading west along the coastline, we were delighted to have a close up view and photo opportunity of the Old Field Lighthouse. Another mile and a quarter from the lighthouse brought us to our first rest area and trip destination—Flax Pond.

Flax Pond

Flax Pond

Flax Pond is a tidal estuary of natural beauty, located on the north shore in Old Field. It is 146 acres of salt marsh owned by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Paddling inside Flax Pond, one could only hear the sound of chirping birds at the water’s edge, small bait fish breaking the surface, the clattering of the reeds caused by the soft breezes and the water dripping off one’s paddle into the salty body of water. On the return trip back, we picked a spot where we could portage across to the harbor side to a section called The Narrows, which leads into Conscience Bay, to enjoy a second break and relaxing lunch. Our lunch was soon to be cut short as we noticed the thick, dark clouds appearing from the south over the treetops. Back in our boats, we paddled as if we were in a race attempting to reach the finish line of our 12-mile trip in record time. Within minutes of approaching our put-in, the skies opened and warm summer rain came pouring down.

Here comes the rain.

Here comes the rain.

Landing on shore, we unloaded our kayaks and proceeded to secure them on our cars. While attaching the tie downs, the sky started to clear, with patchy sun poking through. All enjoyed a good day on the water!

Additional Pictures

Lynne Basileo

 

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Jul
23

Oak Beach to East & West Fire Islands

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Everything about the kayak trip was perfect:

The weather was spectacular. Although we all know that you should dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature, the water was mostly near 80°, the air temperature about 85°, with a mild southwesterly wind topping out at about 10 MPH.

Heading out from Oak Beach

Heading out from Oak Beach

Lynne, Paul, Troy and Bob completed a 13-mile round trip from Oak Beach parking lot, to the island of East Fire Island, and back.

Lynne’s maiden voyage as an ACA Level 3 Trip Leader showed she was ready for the task. Along the the way, she was announcing the island names and markers from her chart as we were passing or approaching, and kept an eye on the weather, conditions and her paddlers.

Paul, who was the Trip Leading Back-up in Training, was assigned to be the navigator, as we were paddling in his “Stomping-Grounds,” and it showed. He also was the historian.

We stopped along the way at Sexton Island for a quick snack, and then continued around the north and east sides of West Fire Island, stopping along the southwest side of East Fire Island for lunch.

Taking a Break

Taking a Break

There, Paul found laying in the sand an old friend named “Wilson” (remember the volleyball that Tom Hanks had befriended in the movie Cast Away)? “Wilson” made the voyage back to Oak Beach on the deck of Lynne’s boat.

"Wilson" on the way home

“Wilson” on the way home

On the way back, Paul showed us the location of some of the oyster beds and fish trapping areas, both along a section of the bay called Wing Inlet.

Troy, a Licensed Master Boat Captain, who operates a water taxi in the summer right in the area where we were paddling, also offered lots of local knowledge, and made “SECURITE” calls on his VHS radio, advising powerboats to be aware of four kayakers crossing the busy channel and asking them to minimize their wakes.

Bob added some amusement to the end of the trip when we were loading our kayaks back on the car. Bob had his end of the kayak in one hand, and the beautiful “snail-shell” he just plucked from the bay, in his other hand.

Collecting sea shells

Collecting sea shells

Well on the way to the car, Bob had the escargot scared out of him, when the critter, acting like a fish out of water, was slithering out of its shell onto Bob’s hand. The animal was returned to the water immediately. Bob never knew he was supposed to be wary of shells.

Additional Pictures by Lynne, trip planning and navigation by Paul,  on water communication by Troy, Map and narrative by Bob.

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Apr
20

Eagles on the Carmans River 4/18/15

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We weren’t disappointed on our return trip to the Carmans River.

This just in from Ron Scall.

This past Saturday I had my first opportunity to go on a group paddle with NACK.  Up until now my interaction with the group was limited to pool sessions.

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Nine of us, led by Debbie and Paul launched from Carmans River Canoe & Kayak shop and headed onto the river in search of two pairs of nesting Eagles.  The weather was spectacular; mid 70’s and just enough of a breeze to allow our dry suits to be bearable.
 We were immediately treated to the sight of dozens of turtles sunbathing on exposed logs and branches.
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As we continued we were entertained by Ospreys flying overhead and then came the main event; the Eagle nest with its residents.
From a not too distant vantage point we were able to view the huge nest and the impressive birds.
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Then, as if on cue the Eagle soared from the nest and we were able to take in its beauty and majesty.  It was quite a show and we were able to watch an encore performance on our return trip.  We made a stop for lunch at the at the Wertheim Reserve before heading back to the launch site, but not before we were treated to the spectacle of watching an Osprey dive into the river with a huge splash and emerging with a fish.
Look closely and you can see the fish in the Osprey's talons

Look closely and you can see the fish in the Osprey’s talons

Many thanks to Paul for arranging all of the entertainment from the Eagles & Ospreys.
All in all this was a nice way to open up the paddling season with a great bunch of people.
Here’s a link to some additional pictures.
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Mar
19

Goodbye to Winter

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Goodbye to Winter…

Alan just sent in a quick report and pix from last week’s paddle in Port Jefferson.

The last Sunday of Winter found three NACK paddlers having to change their original plans of paddling out on the Sound to Rocky Point. Small craft advisories for the Sound , (30+mph winds with 3’-5’ waves of barely thawed 35°F water)  made the decision to change course & stay inside Port Jefferson Harbor/Conscience Bay an easy one.

Pt. Jefferson (10)

The news of a South shore tugboat captain drowning on the previous day after succumbing to the frigid waters off Fire Island was a sobering reminder of the dangers of paddling this time of year when air & water temps are both in the low-mid 30’s. The weather forecast for partly/mostly sunny skies was as far off the mark as Staten Island Chuck’s forecast for an early Spring!

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With overcast skies and a strong headwind we launched from Centennial Park on the East side of Port Jefferson Harbor and crossed over,  hoping the Western shore would provide us some relief from the W-NW winds but we found nothing there but a long, hard slog every stroke of the way until we stopped outside Conscience Bay for a snack/hydration break. I kept my head bone dry throughout the trip but Debbie & Chris chose to test their neck seals & neoprene hoodies with some balance bracing (& even one synchronized balance brace!) in the calm, dead low tide waters in the channel leading into Conscience.

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We then got under way again, with the wind now at our back and small, wind-driven waves to surf on; it definitely made the return leg a much more enjoyable paddle. And the Sun did eventually come out.

– It just waited until the last one of us had landed back on the beach &  pulled our boat out of the water! Then came the clear blue skies.

Only covered 7 miles but sure felt like WAY more.

Additional Pictures

 

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Aug
12

Super Moon Paddle

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The “Super Moon” of August 10, 2014 sure was big! This full moon was not only the closest and largest full moon of the year. It also presents the moon’s closest encounter with Earth for all of 2014. The moon will not be so close again until the full moon of September 28, 2015. In other words, it’s not just a supermoon. It’s the closest supermoon of 2014. More on the “Super Moon” at EarthSky.

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Buddy, Steve, Bob and Paul took advantage of the perfect weather and temperature last night to view this phenomena. We left John Burns Park in Massapequa at 7 pm to catch the setting sun.  With light wind and a clear sky it looked like we would have optimal conditions for our trip out into South Oyster Bay.

super moon sunset

After viewing the glorious sunset over the water we turned our kayaks about 180 degrees and viewed the moon come up over the horizon.  We drifted along in shallow water as darkness closed in and the moon rose to reach its maximum intensity.

Paddling the bay in the darkness is a matter not to be taken lightly.  Everyone was lit up with multiple lights and reflectorization and we all carried VHF radios. While most of the bay is very shallow we knew we had to cross two boat channels.  We did so in a tight formation and a quickly as possible. It was here, in the deeper water that we encountered the strongest current.  In spite of Jones Inlet being miles away, the water rushing in from the ocean was still moving us to the east.

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The full moon always creates unusually high tides and strong currents but the Super Moon effect creates really high tides and strong currents which we experienced on our return paddle.  Islands in the bay were partially submerged and extensive mats of eel grass filled our path, clung to our paddles and covered our kayaks.  Having had the opportunity to view the Super Moon over the water was truly a unique experience.

 

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Jul
26

Sailors Haven Fire Island National Seashore

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North Atlantic Canoe & Kayak members recently paddled across the Great South Bay to Sailors Haven on Fire Island. Situated on the barrier beach, Sailors Haven is considered “The Jewel in the Crown” of the Fire Island National Seashore, combining the Sunken Forest with a magnificent, wide ocean beach.

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The ancient history of Fire Island is alive at the Sunken Forest, an enchanting 300 year old primeval holly forest, which is the only one of its kind on the East Coast.

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Under a diverse canopy of leaves, a 1.5 mile board walk meanders through freshwater bogs filled with a variety of trees and shrubs, such as blueberry and red maples; the maritime forest with its American holly and catbrier; and the swale between the dunes, with its grasses and low growing evergreens.

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From Lynne: “Thanks, Steve, for planning such a fun-filled day paddling to Sailor’s Haven and walking through Sunken Forest. John–thanks for the laminated CHARTS! They certainly came in handy! Great group of paddlers! Great day!”

Lynne shared these pics using Dropbox. Enjoy! Click here to view NACK_7-22-14_Sailor’s_Haven

 

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Jul
13

Moonlight on Mt Sinai Harbor/Port Jefferson 7.11.2014

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I just had the great experience of going on two different NACK paddles in less than 12 hours! (See below for the Fire Island Light paddle) And they certainly couldn’t have been any more different. Friday night’s Sunset/ Moonrise/ Fullmoon paddle from Mt Sinai Harbor over to Port Jeff harbor was literally picture perfect. Totally clear skies, warm water, warm air with just slightest Summer breeze made for an incredible evening on the water. Add in some wildlife sightings (mute swans at the launch, three deer on shore next to the cabanas at Shack Beach & an Osprey at home for the evening right at the PJ Harbor entrance) and all I can say is wow, just Wow. So enjoy the photos but don’t get caught sitting it out again and the miss out on the next one!

by Alan M.

 More pics are linked here.

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Jul
13

Fire Island Light 7.12.2014

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The view from atop the Fire Island Light

The view from atop the Fire Island Light

On Saturday morning 6 of us met over at Oak Beach for a 9:00am set off. An easy channel crossing, with all the powerboaters seemingly sleeping in & favorable currents going our way, got us over to our destination at Fire Island Light ahead of schedule. Plenty of time to take a nice tour to the top of the lighthouse, getting a history lesson every step of the way up the winding 156 year old staircase. Just amazing.

Built in 1858 in less than a year for just $40,000!! Double walled and constructed from the inside out using the steel stairs as scaffolding, the 11’ base walls tapered off to 2½’ wide up at the top (167’ high). Once we had reached the top, the incredible 360˚ views were just awesome. We couldn’t have asked for a better day… After some photo-opping on the balcony we made our descent back down the 17 story structure & spend a little time & money at the gift shop.

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A nice little lunch break back by our boats and we were on our way again. An easygoing leisurely pace back (with the current once again in our favor) made it a totally enjoyable 2nd half of the trip. With a little wave riding off of the boat wakes, a little dipping off a neighboring bow for some instant cooldown and a few squirrelly tidal swirls to go through made this anything BUT some boring flatwater bay paddle.

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So, to wrap it up let me just say good luck to Bob with his brand new boat, congrats to MaryAnne on her first ever bay crossing and special thanks to Steve for planning and leading us on such a wonderful outing. Thanks also to John, who as our backup tripleader was tasked with keeping an eye out for rogue powerboaters heading our way. (there were plenty of them!) The TripPics are all linked here. –Alan M.

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