1999 Delaware & Hudson Canoe & Kayak Club Manhattan Island Circumnavigation

Saturday, June 19, 1999

Low water at the Battery: 7:52 a.m
High water at the Battery: 2:10 p.m.

9:10aThirteen paddlers start south down the Hudson from the Englewood Boat Basin. Ben Venator from Pittsburgh and Stan Suggs from North Carolina in a 2-man folding kayak, equipped with VHF radio and various satellite communications gear; Bruce T. solo kayaking in the Extreme 19'; and the 10-man Bill Curran Crew hailing from the NY-NJ area from the Adirondacks to Hoboken. Questions immediately arise as to whether the Bill Curran Crew's boats will make it as far south as the George Washington Bridge, let alone Randall's Island. The B.C. Crew has 5 canoes: two little fiberglass jobs, one red and one tan, both better suited for fishing in a small, quiet, upstate pond than battling swells in the Hudson; two more-or-less seaworthy aluminum boats readily identifiable by the spray-painted graffiti across their bows; and the GREEN BEAST, a fat, ugly, plastic craft made by Coleman, apparently manufactured from scrap cooler parts and recycled aluminum. Nevertheless, in the spirit of Shackeleton, the B.C. Crew pushes off, oblivious to the hardship their equipment will inflict on them downriver. We are blessed with a strong S current and stiff N wind blowing us down the River, and nice, calm river conditions. Temps are in the 70s, headed for a high of 80. PERFECT weather.
10:10aGrant's Tomb. The Bill Curran Crew is struggling mightily with the Green Beast, making frequent floating crew changes to provide fresh muscle to push the fat, slogging hulk through the water.
11:10a14th Street. Making good time, currents still swift. Major swells in the Hudson around the World Trade Center.
NoonBattery Park. Easy transition from the Hudson into N.Y. Bay into the East River. Had to wait for a minute to avoid getting run over by the Staten Island Ferry.
12:10pSouth St. Seaport. Swift N current in the East River. The wind has miraculously from N to S to follow our backs.
12:15pPull into beach under the W pier of the Brooklyn Bridge for a quick piss stop and sandwiches. Passersby gawk.
12:30pRest stop over; resume heading N up the East River. Big chop in the bay between the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges
1:00p23rd Street. Major chop at the U.N.; strong N current and swells along Roosevelt Island.
1:30p79th St.
1:45pKayaks make it to Mill Rock; strong N and E current and wild chop on the SW corner of Mill Rock, with flatter water along the shore of Manhattan. Canoes are lagging far back. Nevertheless, the Bill Curran Crew was thoroughly enjoying the day. Somewhere around 65th St., Spike and Tucker of the Bill Curran Crew were paddling the red fiberglass canoe through the current and chop of the East River when Tucker, giving a hearty hello-wave to some kids along the Roosevelt Island promenade, lost his balance and capsized the red canoe, treating Spike and Tucker to an exciting swim/float down the East River along the length of Roosevelt Island. Alerted to potential danger, an NYPD helicopter swooped down for a look and the police boat arrived soon after, but Spike and Tucker pulled onto the rocky shore of Roosevelt and emptied their boat on their own and continued on.
2:00pCanoes make to Mill Rock. Mike and Greg, paddling the tan fiberglass canoe, get caught in the chop off the corner of Mill Rock and somehow dump the tan canoe, but quickly wade onto the rocky shore of Mill Rock to right themselves and the group continues northward.
2:15pSlack water W of Wards Island. The Bill Curran Crew is wet from the river and tired from toiling like galley slaves to power the Green Beast around the Island.
2:30pRandall's Island. Lunch, rest, and showtunes from Bill Curran & Ben Strader.
3:40pSet out N from Randall's. Mild N current in the Harlem River and a S wind at our backs. Water calm.
4:00pMetro-North Bridge/135th St. Strong N current in Harlem R.
4:30pHigh Bridge/175th St.
5:00p207th St.
5:10pSpuyten Duyvel - current still pushing us upriver; water flat. Crossing the Hudson is easy; water is more or less slack.
5:40pReturn to the Boat Basin.

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