by Bruce Taterka
Low Tide at The Battery: 7:20 am +0.3'
High Tide at The Battery: 1:34 pm + 5.4'
9:55 am: 10 of us pushed off from the Englewood Boat Basin, heading south down the Hudson. There was a strong south wind in our face and a strong current pushing us south. Our progress was slow.
10:20 am: George Washington Bridge. Big waves were rolling straight up the river, probably generated by the opposing wind and current. The water came deep over our skirts as we splashed down from crest to trough.
10:55 am: Grant's Tomb, 123rd St.
11:25 am: Soldiers' & Sailors' Monument, 89th St.
11:55 am: 59th St.
12:25 pm: 34th St.
12:55 pm: 14th St. The wind was still in our face from the south and by now the current had changed, pushing us back upriver. Progress was getting slower by the minute, with no realistic prospect of making it to The Battery without an hour or two of strenuous paddling. At this rate, there was no way we could catch the favorable currents in the East River, and we would probably never get past Roosevelt Island. Having paddled 10 miles down the Hudson, we decided to turn around and paddle back up the Hudson with the wind and the current.
On our way north we made one stop at Pier 96, run by the Downtown Boathouse organization. The staff there was great, offering us water and bathroom, hosing the goose poop off the dock for us, and not minding that our 10 kayaks were taking up space for their very cool free kayaking program. After a quick lunch and bathroom stop we headed back out, taking advantage of the Hudson River currents to make it back to Englewood by 4pm.
It was our first-ever failed circumnavigation, but a nice 6-hour, 20-mile paddle nonetheless.