Subject: GLORY

Date: Mon, 1 Sep 1997 13:07:54 -0400
From: "Joshua Spitzer"

I am proud to report that on Sunday August 1,1997, I kayaked around Manhattan.

Before I give you the highlights, let me tell you one important thing: none of the three of us who made the trip had ever kayaked before. I didn't want to tell you before we went because I didn't want you to feel at all responsible for our potential folly.

We arrived at Liberty State Park at around five, to find the gates closed and the parking lots blocked. There is a very good chance that we were not in the right part of the park, as we had to drive our cars over a few curbs to park them and because we put in at a disgusting, trash-strewn, oil-slicked "beach" in a long channel just to the north of the park.

At 5:30am we were underway (we left early because we had no idea how much longer we would take, given our utter inexperience). After we became acclimated to the boats we made pretty good time up the East River. Some where around midtown, one of my companions used his bilge pump to cover me in East River water. (Some friend, eh?) By 7:45 we at Wards Island, where we ate and taped up our hands, which were in the early raw-meat stages. We couldn't sit still so we left the cove on Wards at about ten minutes before nine. We probably wasted a good bit of energy paddling against the Harlem currents.

Just after 11 we reached the Spuyten Duyval, where we rested and ate for about a half-hour. The paddle from the Spuyten Duyval to the GWB to the 130s was probably the hardest, most discouraging part of the trip. By around 125th Street the current finally picked up to counteract the wind--which, of course, created rather choppy conditions. At midtown we cut across to the Jersey side, where we horsed around in the chop for about 45 minutes until the current pushed us into the NY Waterway Ferry traffic. After nearly being eaten by a hell-bent ferry, we put our skirts back on and paddled back toward our nasty little beach. We finally landed at 3pm, when we were really able to gauge the full toxicity of our point of departure & arrival.

By the time we got out of the boats, our bodies were not working very well so that loading the kayaks on the cars was quite a challenge.

All in all, the trip was an unmitigated success. The weather was perfect. The boat traffic was minimal. We had no calamities and beyond a little sunburn, a few hand blisters, and a fair amount of filth, we and our kayaks are no worse for wear. Without your advice & charts, we would not have come close to making it. Thanks again!

Take care,

Delaware & Hudson Canoe & Kayak Home