Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 22:39:34 -0500


I never told you about our trip. It was last October. We shoved off from Liberty State Park before sunrise on a Sunday morning. It was still dark when we passed beneath the Statue of Liberty. There were five of us in four kayaks. All of us employees of The Star-Ledger. Myself, Arnie Braeske and Sharon Russell in our own kayaks and Ellen Simon and Linda Grinbergs in a double. We crossed the Hudson from Ellis Island after a large cruise ship had just made its way up the river to its berth. We almost didn't spot it, because its lights blended in with Brooklyn. Luckily we saw it before we crossed because it was a bit too tall to be part of Brooklyn.

Once on the other side we looked back at the Statue of Liberty and a giant, complete rainbow made its way from Staten Island to Jersey City with the statue at its center. We nearly shit ourselves. The sun was rising behind Manhattan and a little drizzle was enough to give us one of the greates natural spectacles we'd ever seen. One of these days I'll send you a couple of photos. Mind blowing. We knew we were running a little behind schedule so we pushed up the East River. No major problems, although I was a little nervous about a tanker coming up behind us with a tug leading the way. We made it into Hell's Gate (which was like a pond) just at slack tide. We missed the lunch spot you told us about and ended up lunching next to the hospital for the criminally insane (quite apropos considering our mission).

Going up the Harlem River was a joy. No wind, very little traffic. We made a quick stop before heading down the Hudson. Then coasted down to the Marina where we used the facilities.

We returned to Liberty State Park after about 10 hours. Very uneventful. Considering everyone in my family said I was nuts, it was more like a walk in the park.

We're planning to do it again this summer with a larger crew. I'll try to be better about sending you news then.

Pim Van Hemmen.

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