Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Howling Full Moon Paddle

"On Jamaica Bay"
Photo taken by Joan during the Full Moon Paddle
Ably led by John W., ten paddlers in nine boats departed from the Sebago dock just after last Saturday’s sunset. The rest of the group included, in addition to myself, Joan, Vicki, Jay, Minh, Frank, Sandy, Dennis, and Paul.

With deck lights and a few headlights, we paddled under the Belt Parkway Bridge and into Jamaica Bay proper. After a short break near buoy 13, our small flotilla crossed the channel to Canarsie Pol.

Once we reched the Pol we paddled around most of the island, paddling counter clockwise and pausing for a break on the southeast side. From that vantage point, it was hard to believe we were in New York City. Few artificial lights were in sight and no jets we overhead. Surrounded by nothing other than water, islands, marshes, quiet and darkness, the glassy smooth surface of Jamaica Bay offered us a special moment.

Once around the Pol the skyline of Manhattan and lights of Brooklyn, especially the floodlights of Canarsie Pier, offered us a more urban setting for our trek. As we paddled across the channel from Canarsie Pol to southern Brooklyn, we were starting to think that we would never see the full moon, thick cloud cover having hidden it all evening. As we were passing near Canarsie Pier, however, Vicki spotted a brightening spot behind us in the clouds.

As we all turned around to look, the 99% full lunar disk appeared through a small hole in the cloud cover. Howls immediately erupted, loud and primal enough to make Allen Ginsberg proud. After a few moments, we could hear similar howls erupting from the pedestrians on Canarsie Pier.

As soon as the moon appeared, it disappeared, only to reappear moments later before disappearing for the rest of our paddle. While it would have been nice to paddle all evening under a full moon, a few moments of a full moon was better than none and enough to satisfy us, especially after the excellent paddling conditions we had already enjoyed.

Eventually we made our way into and up Paerdegat Basin and back to the Sebago Dock, about two hours after originally departing from it. After rinsing and storing gear, and changing out of paddling clothes into street clothes, we enjoyed macaroni and cheese, potato salad, beer, wine and various munchies as we sat around the tables in the clubhouse.

According to my GPS, the total distance paddle was about 5.9 miles.

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