Somebody might say it should be illegal to have as much fun as I've had the last few days. It all started with a trip back into Manhattan on my birthday last Wednesday and flowed right on through the weekend while I was with loads of friends at the Northeast Rough Water Kayak Symposium in Rhode Island. As you may know I've been so busy having fun that I haven't had time to post. Right now I'm on a ferry heading back to Long Island and finally have a chance to get caught up. I've posted here for day 189 and 190 and also finally got a chance to put up the post I had written up for my birthday on Day 186 so you can scroll down the blog list and check that one out too.
Yesterday (day 189) I joined a group that was headed out to train on a local tide race. [For the uninitiated, a tide race is a place where tidal water flow is constricted by either a narrow or shallow spot to form a series of standing waves that result from the flowing water bouncing off the bottom. One could think of it much like the rapids in a white water river.] By the time we loaded our boats and trailered over to the put in we still had a few hours before the peak flow that would give us the best play waves. We used the build up time to warm up on the little eddies and such that we could find in the slower moving water. Right on schedule the tide flowing out of all of Long Island Sound through a relatively narrow and shallow gap on the east end kicked up three to four foot standing waves and it was playtime.
Plenty tired after a few hours of hard but fun paddling our group re-loaded the trailer and returned to the symposium headquarters. With everyone else distracted by another great dinner I grabbed a plate of food and my computer and found a quiet corner where I could work on a quick “opening act” slide show for the nights entertainment. This presentation would be different than others I’ve done because I was joined by Glenn Charles who happens to be the gentleman I’ve been chasing up the coast for the last two months. When I was still back in South Florida I had heard about a guy that was paddling up the coast in front of me. Right before I flew out to San Diego for my March break I got an introductory e-mail from this mysterious man that was then in Tybee Island Georgia. After taking a quick look at his website (http://oneoceanproject.com) I learned that he had paddled much of the coast of Alaska last summer and was in route (on the outer coast) from Key West Florida all the way up the eastern coast of the US and on up to the St. Lawrence with plans to finish up in Quebec.
With me taking so much time off I thought there was no chance to ever cross paths with Glenn. However, by the time I reached my friend Lamar’s place in North Carolina, I learned that he had passed through there only a couple weeks earlier. Apparently the weather and conditions I was able to avoid by primarily traveling the intercostal had slowed his progress up the outside. With a carrot to chase only a couple weeks ahead of me, the race was on. Well… sort of anyway, I just thought it’d be neat to cross paths with Glenn if the chance should come. Over the following month, my somewhat faster pace closed the gap between us to about seven days. Yet I was just not destined to see him because at that point Glenn had reached New York and had just turned east to continue further up the coast. Our paths were due to diverge when I began to follow a different course north up the Hudson River then west further across New York State on the Erie Canal. That was before we both learned about the Northeast Rough Water Symposium which we were both lucky enough to attend. In the end I needed a ride on a ferry and a friends truck but I finally did catch up with Glenn. When I met him last Thursday we were instant friends and talked for hours comparing our experiences on our travels up the coast.
With both of us at the event Tom Burg (one of the organizers) asked if we could put together a quick slide show to talk about our trips. Of course to make things interesting he waited until the night before to ask. Hence after a full day of paddling we found ourselves organizing our pictures over heaping plates of food with show time only a few minutes away. In the end we were able to put together a great presentation that everyone seemed to enjoy highlighting the different experiences Glen had on the open coast verses what I experienced on the intracostal.
Today (Day 190) was a short day of paddling for me as I had a ride to catch back to the ferry that would take me back to Long Island. Before the busy day started I had a chance to say good by to Jen before she set of on her full day class. This was the fourth time since I left San Diego last November that I‘ve had to part ways with Jen since I left San Diego last November. Having these opportunities to see her has been fantastic but each time I have to say farewell to her, or any of my friends, it hurts… thankfully just a little less each time.
On the water today, I joined Sherry Perry and Turner Wilson on their Greenland Rolling class. It was another opportunity to learn (both skills and teaching styles) from a pair of excellent coaches. Thankfully it was just a half day because helping out with rolling instruction involves wading next to the student so you can support them while they work on the technique. After two and a half hours in waste deep water I was plenty cold and ready to get back to the truck and into warm clothes.
After riding back to the symposium headquarters with the rest of the half day folks, I quickly gathered up by gear and clothes and caught up with a gentleman named Jeff who was gracious enough to drop me off at the ferry on his way home further south. As I write this I’m sitting at a table on the ferry which is chock full of weekend travelers returning home from a soggy stay on the Connecticut shore. Steve and Kristen are due to pick me up at the ferry terminal on the Long Island side and to take me home for my last night with them. Tomorrow I will bid farewell to another pair of great friends as I launch back into the water at Pier 40 in Manhattan and start my way north up the Hudson River and on toward home.