Archive for Trip Reports

-Well, not that the last season ever “ended”, but just here to say that our official ‘opening day’ of 2016 was an incredibly calm (& warm !) mid-January one. Three of us met over at the Jones Beach kayak launch @Short Beach; & after a little pre-launch discussion decided to do our trip in the opposite direction than was initially planned. This last-minute change gave us a variety of new scenery than the usual, got us to see the seals sooner, and made timing perfect for us to take out at Field 10 for a civilized sit-down picnic table break (instead of eating granola bars & soup in our boats way, way back in the marsh islands.)

So thanks here to backup trip leader Troy for the great suggestion, and even more so for bringing along some clearly detailed NOAA charts printed out on some awesome waterproof copy paper. Never knew it was even a thing. (Made my grainy google map printouts in ziplock bags look sad by comparison !) This reverse course also would’ve provided us with the best protection for the paddle home, had any of those 15 mph S. wind gusts forecast for early afternoon ever materialized.

another day, another boat

(“another day, another boat”)

As for the rest of the trip, seals were a little standoffish yesterday with a whole herd of them scattering off from their sunbathing activities & into the water about 200 yards away. We could just barely make out their presence in the distance before they bailed out on us (well beyond the 150’ safe viewing distance recommended to not stress them out)

Although the seals were cautious yet curious, the super-calm conditions did let me be comfortable enough to take my non-waterproof digicam out from the dry bag for a better zoom in on these little (250lb) mermaids.

 

 

 

 

 

Besides the seals, & the sunny and serene waters, we were also treated with favorable currents throughout. Four of the five bridge crossings we made were with a nice positive flow helping us along, making for a very enjoyable outing. Even going against the little bit of incoming at the last Wantagh bridge was more fun than burdensome slog.

middle Wantagh bridge -plenty of clearance & helpful current !

-plenty of clearance here & a helpful current !

And after our takeout for snacks at Fld.10 (& those warm, year-round bathroom facilities),  the tide had changed & was once again in our favor for a smooth, easy paddle back to our cars.

Following Lynne out past the Meadowbrook on our last leg back was a lone seal, just checking to be sure these day tripping intruders were really leaving his seasonally claimed turf!

The wind never built up, & water at the floating dock that we used for a sand-free takeout actually seemed calmer than our launch, if that was even possible. Was a real good day on the water. And a good day out is better than the best day in a pool!

So, don’t let your drysuit get dry-rot. Get some 303 spray on those gasket seals & come out & see some harbor seals !

More combined pictures here from Lynne B. & myself .    -Alan

Categories : Trip Reports
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Jan
04

A Winter Waterfall

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A winter waterfall that was tucked way, way in the back of Conscience Bay was the highlight of a short notice paddle we did last Monday out of Setauket. Just three of us were able to make it & luckily Lynne was one of those who said yes despite the forecast of heavy winds (as she was only one who knew about the ‘secret’  waterfall).

test

hats

As for the rest of our 8-1/2mile trip, air temps were definitely feeling seasonal for late December, especially that northbound into-the-wind leg, coming back across Conscience.

Definitely made a note-to-self to some keep regular winter gloves on board for the next outing. I find the pogies are great while you’re on the move; what was not so great was them still attached to the paddle while we were standing around in the cold & wind taking our snack break & walking over the narrow strip peninsula to see the whitecaps & waves on the Sound breaking ashore. Luckily Debbie had an extra disposable heat pack with some life left in it to get my hands back circulating again

But aside from that, it was really, really nice for the other 80% of the trip. Bright sun always helps, though towards the trip’s end it was really only providing a psychological warmth.

reeds

With the far-off PJ ferry being the only boat ‘traffic’ in sight we definitely had the whole day & place to ourselves. Still amazes me on an island of over 3 million people how often we paddlers are the only ones around out on the water.

It really is so nice paddling around in this off season without all the powerboat yahoos out there. Even the VHF radio was dead silent all day, in stark contrast with some of the inane radio chatter you have to put up with ‘in-season’.

So, a big thank you to our club Trip Coordinator Debbie for putting this nice last minute year-ender together for us. (& congrats to her on joining the point-n-shoot photo team.)

ferry

Submission from Alan Mayors

Categories : Trip Reports
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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!

Pt. Jefferson (11)

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.

Pt. Jefferson (15)

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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