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This Is How We Do It…

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Just checking in to let you know that although this website hasn’t seen much activity lately, the same is hardly true for NACK the CLUB itself. We just finished up another solid & successful six session winter pool season & are all ready now for the ’18 paddling season. 

Last Saturday Paul V. & eight others officially kicked off the new season with a nice trip out on the Carmans River in Brookhaven. The pics looked really great. I’m sorry i had to miss this traditional Bald Eagle season-opening event. 

But our weekly peer practice sessions are starting up next week already, so count me in!

The season truly is upon us even though Mother Nature has been seriously slacking in providing us with some appropriate Spring weather!

Although for many NACK members the previous season never came to an end & as the Trips Coordinator for the club I was very pleased at the great turnouts we were getting for our late Fall & dead of Winter outings, both official & ‘unofficial’ non-ACA-sanctioned trips.

Getting 14 paddlers to actually turn up & head out into the Atlantic Ocean the week after Thanksgiving was very exciting, though as it turned out we were about a week late for any Humpback whale sightings.  But talking to my fishing buddies @ work this week who tell me the bunker & stripers are heavily back into Raritan Bay it won’t be very long before we can arrange for a Springtime welcome back whales paddle. 🙂

Four March ‘noreasters & this seemingly unending string of 38° mornings have left our waters behind their usual warming schedule but it also gave us some later than usual opportunity for some harbor seal watching. Not sure how the gang out at Moriches a while back did but the four of us who launched @Field 10 while a dozen other NACKers were carving their Greenland paddles at John’s shop saw plenty of seals both in the water & hauled out in all their flabby glory in Haunts Creek.

I also saw a bunch of City seals  when Troy accompanied me out to Staten Island in late January for a paddle off of the Verrazano & into Lower NY Bay past Hoffman & Swinburne Islands out to West Bank Lighthouse

As for the more adventurous among us there were icy coldwater blue moon nite paddles in January & March. And our resident “Small Craft Advisory” ended their surf & tiderace season  late & started up earlier than ever in February at Democrat Point christening their 2018 off road beach passes for a 50° day in the 40° waters off of Fire Island.

All in all, I’d say this season is shaping up to be one our best yet. New faces, new skills to test & improve & plenty of unpaddled waters to explore. Debbie has a pair of kayak camping trips (one in CT, one in Maine) already planned out so keep an eye out for them upcoming on our NACK Meetup page. 

If you are currently a NACK member I urge you to sign up right away to our Meetup to get all the info about where & when we are going this season. If you are just visiting & are interested in finding out more, you can find us next Sat & Sun (May 5-6) at the Dinghy Shop in Amityville as we help them out with their ‘demo weekend’ there . if you are new to the sport or are looking to get into a new boat then its a great opportunity to try on the water before you buy.

My apologies to all who worked hard & didn’t make it into the ‘final cut’ pool video above,  but I drew most of the material from the ‘Troy cam” in the diving pool. Though there were plenty of improvers populating the adjacent shallow pool & that low pool is where most all of our personal breakthroughs occur. (will have to talk to troy about switching it up next year!)

OK thats all I have for now but keep an eye on this space as we will have a lot to share this year…   !

“Life’s Short. Start Paddling”  -Alan M.

Democrat Point 2.24.18    photo credit: Jorge Guillot



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NACK, We have liftoff !!!

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Things are looking up & moving along. After being greenlighted by substantial unanimity with a vote taken at last November’s general membership meeting, the ‘NACK drone’ has moved from a mere board meeting proposal to becoming a rock-solid (in up to 15mph winds so far) reality.

Definitely a quantum leap ahead of that camera-on-a-pool-skimmer-pole ‘drone simulator’ we played with on Paul’s Gilgo trip last April 30th! Our new ‘DJI Mavic Pro’ landed stateside in early February & shortly thereafter was christened @Sunken Meadow on the 11th of that month with its inaugural flight.

A week later on the 18th Chris K, Chris F & I returned there for a nice paddle up the Nissequoge followed by our first drone filming of an actual kayak.

We’ve made some substantial progress I feel, starting out as raw, absolute beginners & steadily have built up to the point where we now have one pilot (not me) who is comfortable enough behind the controller to fly out over open water.

Nice work Chris. Hopefully as the season progresses we can flesh out the piloting ranks with some more interested folk.





I just want to extend thanks here on behalf of our club to the many members who generously contributed to & topped off our ‘drone fund’ in record time. A few were extraordinarily generous & that extra boost bought us some invaluable pre-season time to navigate the intricacies of quadcoptering. There are a LOT of features to absorb. The blurry focus issues from 2 weeks ago in the screenshot examples above have been decidedly improved as can be seen in the latest video below.  

credits here to our Drone pilot/4K Camera control -Chris K., with opening handheld video footage provided by Ron S. 


Should be a very exciting 2017 season for NACK.   Let’s Paddle !

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Our Winter Pool

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Has just passed its hallway point & we are down to just two remaining sessions. I understand a lot of folks who aren’t snowbirds or year round cold water diehards kind of just pack their boats & gear away & don’t look back until the azaleas start to bloom.

So if you find yourself in that category you may want to consider getting that kayak off the garage rack a little early this year & hosing out the spiders & joining us on March 25th or April 1st.

Like Steve has mentioned in previous emails, there is always at least one extra spot open at every session by default & additionally you will find at least one or two members will invariably have scheduling conflicts where they can’t make it & generously donate their spots to the first taker.

You would be surprised at how fast you can learn a new skill or overcome bad form with someone right there beside you to coach you out of those ingrained bad habits or show you a new technique.

Also the clear pool water makes it way less intimidating to dunk your head while practicing things like wet exits/self rescues, doing a high brace or learning to roll, re-enter/roll, or even handroll ! Pair of swim goggles & you’ll be instantly more comfortable seeing all your surroundings, paddle position, etc as opposed to the less than optimal <cough> river or bay waters here in Summer.  (& no jellyfish or algae blooms to consider). Can even bring a friend & share the session as two hours straight is pretty tiring if you haven’t been in your boat since october or november.

Below here is a quick click ‘n play video of Mike G coming up on both sides & some assorted pics of the preseason sessions so far.Oh, & Mike, Tom & Troy here playing in the deep end




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A Tale of Two Weekends

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From “It was the worst of winds”, to “There wasn’t a wisp of wind!”  You couldn’t plan two more opposite paddles from one weekend to the next if you wanted. But the first two December weekends of 2016 gave us exactly that.

On Saturday the 3rd I found myself over at Oak Beach with 6 other NACK paddlers plus a friend & his guest down from CT for the day. Plan was to find some mild surf to try out Chris K’s new boat & get in one last hurrah at Democrat Pt. before resigning ourselves to more tame winter paddling interspersed with some warm, soul renewing pool sessions.

 Mother Nature scoffed at our plans.

Instead of surf, we ended up with 25-27kn crosswinds (gusting 30-33) & a flood current in the inlet to add to the challenge of getting over to Sore Thumb Beach. For a few spots there it really just seemed like being on a treadmill to nowhere.

Season’s not over yet !

Finally tucking around & in the cove @Sore Thumb we beached it & went up on dunes to look across at Demo. Absolutely nothing was happening on the outside so we chose not to waste any effort crossing the inlet & then having to fight a crazy headwind back. We took what meager lemons the conditions gave us & played the best as we could in them. Chris in the latest addition to the NACK fleet managed to squeeze out the ‘run of the day’ on a barely perceptible wave. Rest of us had our moments too but there really wasn’t much to pick from. The new Sterling Progression got a try out from about half of us & really performed well in conditions. (just that these weren’t the conditions we came out for!) Our lunch break was a battle just trying to find a somewhat protected spot away from the horizontal head to toe sandblasting. It really was relentlessly unforgiving.

A few of the group had seen enough & headed back together, watching them paddle back into the wind it seemed like they were never going to ever get back across the bay! The remaining 6 decided to just go explore further south & west around the point. We were rewarded with much bigger & better wind waves but the EXTREMELY difficult turns at the end of our runs coupled with a headlong slog dead into the 25+ knots kind of tipped that work-to-reward ratio into negative territory in short order.

After about a half dozen (or less) goes at it we all grouped up tightly again & headed back to our launch point. Once there, some of us practiced rolling & were surprised at how fast the ice cream headaches came after just a few dousings in the 51°degree waters. All in all was a good time. Getting nine paddlers out in December was satisfying all in itself after struggling some times to even get a half dozen of us together ‘in season’!








Here’s a nice video compilation our visiting friend Luke put together to give you a little flavor of what it was like out there.  Good times 🙂 (& here’s my video offering)


Article here is getting longer than I thought so let me just quickly say this past Sunday, the 11th was a totally different experience. Water in bay was now 41° with launch time air at 33° (up from an overnight 24° that left three of us with a bit of an ice covering at the boat ramp to paddle thru).

But once out onto the bay we had a bright sun & incredibly calm flat water. I mean we could literally see the reflection of the Robt. Moses Bridge in the waters below from 3 miles away.

The flocks of shorebirds taking off right in front of us were also very cool. & having no annoying power boaters polluting the vhf airwaves with their “5-by-5 captain!” gibberish gave a nice peaceful feeling to the day.

Paddling west past Indian island we met up with Mike, a friend of the club from the dinghy shop who now made it a foursome.



Though the calm was increasingly disturbed & now was regularly punctuated by the pop-pop-pop of a surprising number of duck hunters out in the marsh islands! (& one group off in the distance hunting off the bow of their boat at anchor).  Was a little unnerving I’ll say. ‘Specially one spot as we left Gilgo & were passing the last island before the final long diagonal crossing home.  A whole flock of decoys was set up right there off the east side of the island. We managed to get the hunter’s attention to alert him to our presence (he seemed more concerned about us possibly paddling through his decoy field !).

So we went extra far east to give a wide berth & let him get back to business. Trip ended up being a respectable 10 miles.

I will say even though it was great outing,  I DO miss those Summer paddling days that are just mere memories now. Especially so when I arrived home to that frozen garden hose that I was hoping would be ready for a quick washdown of my boat & winter gear!  (more pics here)  and a short video here

Thanks here to Paul for planning & leading us Sunday & to Troy for showing up (& providing plenty of post-paddle hot chocolate) & as I’m not a solo paddler in any season I’m glad you guys aren’t hibernating. 🙂  Happy Holidays to all & see you’s back on water 1.1.17 or the week later in the pool.  -Alan

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…Over in Huntington Bay was just held this past weekend.  Only three of us turned up Friday nite for the kickoff ‘Go to Bed With The Dead’ themed evening.  With a live Grateful Dead cover band taking the stage on the lighthouse after a DJ set the sun down for us, it was a real treat. (that was actual video btw, no soundtrack added/enhanced) An amazingly perfect summer nite. With neither hide nor hair of Hermine to be found we were awed by an unbelievably spectacular sunset & an incredibly tranquil & relaxing scene to kick off the 3 day holiday weekend.

Photo credit: Ron Scall

Power boats were mostly all safe & secured at anchor & the only boat ‘traffic’ was the official lighthouse launch boat ferrying people back & forth from the dock back at Goldstar Beach. With a good amount of stars out over our heads & a cool lightshow illuminating the entire lighthouse, this was a once a year opportunity.  So all I can say is don’t miss out next year! This one was truly a beautiful calm-before-the-storm evening that we enjoyed ‘til like 10pm

So after all the hype & weekend storm-tastropy warnings, what passed for ‘a storm’actually did show up 12 hours later as we combined forces with the LIKE Meetup group with high hopes of a full day of music, bbq-ing & just general agenda-free paddling around on the bay.

Unfortunately the trip was pretty short lived & our BBQ plans were scuttled & eventually shuttled over to a Western Suffolk cul-de-sac inland.

Strong & steady winds out of the East had created conditions out in the bay that were beyond the skills of some in the group. There were even good sized sailboats & powerboats coming back in cautioning us about the 2foot+ swell out at the lighthouse.

So, between the nonstop boat traffic in & out of the harbor and the string of rocks we would have had to navigate around to get to the old lighthouse ruins (only to then have to paddle back straight into the wind, waves & powerboat gauntlet to return back later), the trip pretty much came to an abrupt halt as we tried to figure on a plan ‘B’

We ended up paddling to the end of the channel inlet, just past the osprey pair living atop the day marker.  Took a look around & tried to hear some little bit of music just to say we were there & then doubled back & headed west to the harbor end at Puppy Cove & the millpond beyond.

As we had an incoming tide it was interesting to see the water overfalling into the pond. As every time I’ve ever been here it’s always been flowing out the other way

We didn’t really do too much here besides introduce some of the new folks to this end of the harbor. Chris tried a few rolls and then just as we were about to leave I ended up temporarily surrendering my all-important point & shoot camera to the murky 10 foot depths!  (lanyard on camera end had come loose & as I was pulling it out of my PFD I felt myself holding onto an empty ended camera strap just as I heard a distinctive ‘plunk’ from the water to my right. Ugh.






With water completely over my head there was no way to even attempt a retrieval. So we all headed back to our respective launches at Goldstar or Mill Dam & regrouped for that private suburban BBQ. I’m pretty sure the marshmallows we toasted over the propane grill turned out way better than any we might have made in the wind & sand had we stayed & tried to charcoal a hibachi in a 20mph crosswind!

Was sure nice sitting around & socializing like civilized folk around a real table for a change instead of the usual makeshift driftwood seating we invariably end up on while paddling. I’m looking forward to our picnic on the 25th for more of that actual sit-down dining!

Oh. & PS:  I slept through Sunday’s low tide but an early morning Labor Day low tide salvage mission turned out to be a great success. With swim fins & goggles & a sit on top Hobie anchored nearby I came up big, -miraculously finding that camera in the black muddy bottom of Puppy Cove. So a thank you here to Chris for the moral support in that effort!



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Pizza Pizza

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…More than just a Little Caesars’ catchphrase, it’s quickly becoming a recurring theme in this summer of club paddles. Our first ‘Pizza Paddle’ was a few weeks back when we reached out to the nice folks over at the new ‘Easy East kayak/skate shop in Huntington, (right ON the Harbor) to organize a meet, greet, paddle & eat evening on the water. Tide was low that night, so it wasn’t the easiest of launches but we all made it off their floater without incident.  Though the water at this end of the harbor was just so teeming & boiling with bunker. I thought they were going to jump right into our boats!

Huntington Harbor

Our group paddle out to the lighthouse was nice. We ended up cutting into & paddling through numerous mooring fields in order to stay out of the channel where the powerboats out sharing this beautiful evening were regularly coming & going.

We then split into two groups with John staying back to keep pace with some of the newer folks while the rest of us headed out for a once-around the lighthouse & back.

(click on any pic to enlarge)
click for original sizeclick to enlargeIt was here that I got to ‘christen’ the gelcoat of my new boat on a barely submerged rock on the way there. I know the area pretty well, and was well aware of the string of rocks on the west side of the harbor entrance that curve pretty far out towards the light but I was watching Steve out ahead & a little to my right & wasn’t looking at what was straight in front of me. Ran right up on the sucker. Well, now I know firsthand the reason for those keel strips!

Don't get any ideas, Deb !





Paddling back to the shop was just as nice as the 2-1/2 miles we did on the way out. With barely a breeze & a nice setting sun behind us on this return leg, we eased our way back to ‘Easy East’. Breaking bread (well, pizza dough) & talking shop with the young but very knowledgeable new proprietors was great. Nice outside picnic tables with tiki torches all along the fence was a perfect setting for our NACK pizza & sodas. And a big, bright full moon rising up over the neighboring hills of Halesite just capped off this wonderful outing.


Now fast forward one month to this past Friday night (8.19) over in Lindenhurst where nine of us met on the beach with the live band already in full swing. Paul introduced himself as our trip leader & gave us a quick plan for the evening & we all got in our boats (or onto a paddleboard) & set off into the bay for just a short bit.


Then took a quick left into the first canal along Venetian Blvd. Lazily paddling along & socializing, we made it way, way into the back as far as the low tide would allow,

(Could’ve jumped out onto Montauk Hwy for some Taco Bell we were so close!)

If the tide was higher & you didn’t look too closely at the background it was a pretty idyllic spot there.

Plenty of ubiquitous Canada geese along the way & an unexpected lone Blue Heron tucked away off to the side were the wildlife highlights

Once at the literal end of the road, we made our turnaround & started back. And as we neared the opening back into the bay Mike was eager to test his recently revived rolling skills. & came away successful & satisfied.

Few of us also similarly tested the quickly darkening waters once we got a little closer to our landing spot. Recent heatwave has left the bays warmer than the evening air!!

By this time Paul’s wife had arrived & set up a nice spot for us on the beach; still within earshot of the band, but not so close to the sizable crowd that had turned out for the sultry evening. We had plenty of pizza & beverages of choice and were able to actually relax & socialize instead of the usual hurry up & load your boats & say goodbyes-until-the-next-time paddle routine.  & all this on a beautiful, soft, sandy beach with a big day-after full moon hanging low over the water.

Was really nice. Big, big thanks to Paul & Goldene for making it happen. Great job.  (More pics here)

I didn’t bring my calendar & clipboard as promised but got some great trip ideas from new member Jahzeel. So stay tuned. Plenty of great paddling season still to come.

-Alan M.

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What happened to Spring??

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Thought March was supposed to ‘come in like a lion’, not MAY !  Oh well. Just a short trip summary to report here to you  that neither snow nor sleet nor gloomy, cold, rain-threatening May days will keep us from getting our boats, blades & bodies into the water. The 54° degree water at the Northport boat ramp was only about 2 degrees colder than the air yesterday but eight of us still managed to make an enjoyable outing over past Eatons Neck light & back.

Though I will say Lynne definitely came up WAY, way short with her promise of bringing us some FL sunshine for our trip!


It still was a nice, scenic paddle. (even with that completely cloud-covered sky.  & when I say completely covered I mean we could barely make out the bottom half of the powerplant stacks on our way back).


Coming 'round the point into boat basin -photo by Ron S.

Coming ’round the point into boat basin -photo by Ron S.

It was a good exploratory day, mostly finding out that the entire peninsula surrounding the Eatons Neck basin is CoastGuard-controlled land with no private boat landings allowed.

We did find a nice spot nearby right on the South side to take our break. & once we checked out that there were no shorebird nests in the area we might be disturbing we spread out & stretched out for an enjoyable snack time

Another osprey notch in ron's belt (-gonna need a bigger belt soon !)

Another Osprey notch in Ron’s belt -gonna need a bigger belt soon !

Egrets are waiting for Spring too

Egrets are waiting for Spring too  -photo credit Ron S.

(we finally found some flatwater)

& While our trip over had some steady broadside swells with occasional breaking whitecaps, the paddle back Eastward was pretty smooth going, with no adverse winds/ currents. Maybe just the lightest mist of rain, if that.

We must’ve made good time there & back cause once outside the launch channel entrance we still had plenty of pre-K.Derby time to play & practice rolls & rescues, both self & assisted.


Troy being a little camera-shy here

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERArare picture of chris (being the only one upright in his boat)

Glad we made it out yesterday as time is dwindling quickly for these Huntington Town launch locations. Only two more weekends left for us ‘outsiders’ before the resident-only rules clamp down hard on us.

Then again, in these days of $5 cups of coffee, even a $20 parking fee (while somewhat excessive, imo), is still worth it to me for access to some of Long Islands nicest paddling waters.

More pictures here:

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Massapequa ‘Mini-Moon’

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Well, it may have been the smallest moon we will be seeing in 2016, but the same can’t be said for the turnout for last nite’s sunset/fullmoon outing.  We had eight paddlers show up at the ramp at J.J.Burns & launch right on time @7pm.

(Mike G. testing the waters in background, Rhonda here testing her new Zephyr)

Expectations were understandably low due to concerns about the North wind that had been blowing steadily all day but Mother Nature came through for us yet again & kept those waters flat for a very memorable & enjoyable paddle.  Though the wind was still a presence, by altering our planned course & staying  pretty close to the shoreline we were only exposed for very small portion of the trip.

Afternoon clouds had long cleared away giving us an absolutely beautiful sunset.  & whether fledgling night-timer or a ‘seasoned’ sunset paddler, it never gets old as there is nothing like watching that whole horizon change colors right in front of you as you float peacefully, just inches above the water.

April 23rd, 2016

taking the beach @alhambra

-taking the beach @alhambra


After the sun had finally dropped from sight we decided instead of heading over to the Wantagh bridges, we would play it safe & paddle around over to Alhambra, the site of many previous NACK peer practices. We were able to land on the sandy beach there & stretch our legs for a bit (& make note of the current “NO Parking 9pm-2am” signs in the lot there.)  Another reason why J.Burns & the 11pm closing time over there makes it a perfect starting point for these kinds of trips.)

With the air temp dropping to the low 50º’s it got cold pretty quickly just standing around so it was just a short break & back into our boats we went. As we headed south, the light pollution from the neighboring houses was pretty minimal, giving us a great view of all the stars on this completely clear night. Just awesome to lay back on your back deck & take in the 360° view above.

trip map (6.5mi.)

the pointy part of the parenthesis shape was our raft-up drifting

Back out in the bay heading East again, the wind/water still weren’t bad. Timing wasn’t bad either although we did have a few extra minutes waiting time for that moon to finally show up.  But once it made its way over the lingering East end clouds that obscured the horizon line it was all worthwhile. Just a great moonlit night.
We were having so much fun all rafted up together laughing & joking we didn’t realize the time going by or the fact that the wind had moved us a half mile away!
It was time to get those paddles back in the water & get back to the launch before that 11pm gate closing, Lol.

-But it all worked out great. Had plenty of time to pack up & say our goodbyes ‘til the next time. Some of us didn’t want the evening to end just then, so 1/2 of the group ended up meeting at a nearby restaurant (aptly named “GoodLife”) for some great food and even more laughs.  We’re solidly two-for-two now with these full moon outings.  So, here’s hoping you can join us next month as we try to extend this winning streak into a May hat trick.

(Though sharing our entire evening with exactly zero powerboaters, is something that most definitely won’t be duplicated come May. That is a memory that the eight of us alone will be able to look
back on. So thanks to those ‘magnificent 7’ who came out & made it possible)

-See you on the water…  Alan   (Oh. More pictures here.)



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