Tag Archives: Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook Paddle with Kayak Cowgirl

By Vladimir Brezina

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On Sunday, we were joined on our regular Sandy Hook paddle by our friend Julie, aka Kayak Cowgirl.

This was her first time to Sandy Hook!

Her writeup begins: “Every girl knows her first time should be special. The weather should be beautiful, rose petals should line the way, and someone more experienced should take her hand.”

And it gets better from there. Go and read her story!

We can’t possibly improve on it. So here, simply, are some photos:

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First Sandy Hook Paddle of the Year

By Vladimir Brezina

This past weekend, it suddenly felt like summer in NYC. How better to celebrate than with one of our favorite paddles? On Sunday, we paddled from Manhattan through the open waters of the Lower Bay

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down to Sandy Hook

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and back again to Manhattan…

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Here is a selection of photos from the trip.

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Ederle Swim 2013

By Vladimir Brezina

Under the Verrazano Narrows BridgeOn Sunday a week ago, August 18th, I found myself once more in my kayak accompanying a long-distance swimmer through New York Harbor.

It was the day of this year’s Ederle Swim, a 17.5 -mile open-water swim from Manhattan to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, organized by NYC Swim. This year’s swim was in fact the centennial swim, since the first successful swim over that course, after a number of failed attempts, occurred a hundred years ago almost to the day, on August 28th, 1913.

My swimmer this year was Barbara Held, from San Diego, California. Having completed her Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming—the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, the Catalina Channel, and the English Channel—Barbara was looking for new challenges!

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Yesterday’s Sandy Hook Paddle

By Vladimir Brezina

It’s our routine. Weekends, we paddle. And when the tidal currents say go south, we go south. And, unless we can think of something more ambitious, that means Sandy Hook.

But each trip is different. The sea and the sky have a different look and feel each time. We see different ships in the harbor. I can’t resist taking photos to capture it all. Here are a few from yesterday’s trip.

(click on any photo to start slideshow)

If It’s Summer, It’s Time for a Sandy Hook Paddle!

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

Across the Lower Bay

Yesterday was a perfect summer’s day.

Well, if your definition of  “perfect” includes placid weather, blue skies, and hot sunshine.  Mine does—if I’m on the water and can cool off with a roll or two. Vlad is not so happy in the heat—and prefers more exciting “conditions”. As you’ll see, we both got our preferences…

We decided to go for a long trip—”long” being anything more than 30 nautical miles—not something we’ve done much of lately. The currents dictated it would be to Sandy Hook and back, returning after dark—again, a pleasant change of pace.

And the conditions were calm—a light breeze from the south, which would be in our faces on the way down, cooling us down, then helping us along on the return.

Well, not “helping”, exactly. As you’ll hear…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says, Take Two

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is The Sign Says.

Kayaking out on open water, we meet few signs. But as soon as we come in to land, signs abound. Some of them do their best to be unavoidable. Nevertheless, we sometimes manage to avoid them—

Some years ago, Erik Baard and I paddled down from Manhattan and landed on the beach near the northwestern tip of Sandy Hook. We had a leisurely lunch, took a stroll along the beach, lazed about, and after a couple of hours were ready to paddle back to Manhattan. But just before we launched, we thought that we might, just out of curiosity, find out what those two big signs that stood there, facing away from us, said…

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And not far from that spot was another, complementary set of signs that helped complete the image of Sandy Hook, at least in those pre-Hurricane Sandy days…

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(Our first interpretation of “The Sign Says” was here.)

Beach Mysteries

By Vladimir Brezina

On the beach on the northwest tip of Sandy Hook, under the skeleton tower with the ospreys’ nest…

On our last kayak trip to Sandy Hook a couple of week ago, after lunch under the skeleton tower at the northwest tip of the Hook, we went for a walk along the beach. And we saw a number of strange sights! Can you help us identify these?

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1. Pirate treasure?

2. Crop circles, except in sand? A miniature bikers’ rally?

3. Pill organizer of the ancient inhabitants of Sandy Hook? (Their week—or month?—had 16 days, apparently…)

4. Tiny foxholes?

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Updates, May 26 and May 28, 2012: We have solid identifications for at least three of these mysteries!

#1. Jim W. says: “It is the top of a ‘breasting float’, its about 4 feet deep in the sand.  They are used between the ships and piers at the passenger ship terminals.  You used to be able to see them rafted together in the empty slips, before the elevated highway was torn down.” Can’t do any better than that—thanks, Jim!

#2. This actually is one we had a pretty good idea about as soon as we saw it. And a number of our readers have come to the same conclusion. These are classic horseshoe crab tracks. Part of that beach consists of shallow basins that obviously fill up with water at high tide (possibly only an usually high tide) and drain again at low tide. And in these basins the horseshoe crabs clearly had a killer party! Their tracks were all over the place, some with dead crabs lying at the ends of them…

#3. Marcus says: “Number 3 is a section of a composite piling (they probably sawed it off after driving the piling to refusal). The white bits are fiberglass tension elements and the rest is an epoxy / plastic resin. It resists marine borers and doesn’t spall like concrete: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/engineering/geotech/pubs/04107/chapt2.cfm.”

#4. These are clearly burrows or holes made by animals of some kind, most likely insects or crabs. Fiztrainer suggests sand crabs (see comments).

So crowdsourcing really works! Without our readers’ help, we were completely stumped by #1 and #3, and not really sure about #4…

… And Once More to Sandy Hook

By Vladimir Brezina

Last weekend, the currents in New York Harbor dictated a southbound kayak trip. So we paddled, once more, down to Sandy Hook. Here is a slideshow of the highlights.

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It was the weekend of the Supermoon. And the currents were strange. The flood on the way back to Manhattan was much stronger than usual, but the ebb on the way to Sandy Hook was paradoxically much weaker…

For Johna’s feelings toward the Staten Island Ferry, see her last post.

The individual photos are here.

Last Sandy Hook Kayak Trip of 2011

By Vladimir Brezina

Johna and I try to go out for a longish paddle every weekend. We don’t always succeed, but we succeed often enough that a backlog of trips that we have yet to post is accumulating.

Here’s one from early November. It’s strange now, in January, to see ourselves in these photos paddling without drysuits, and with leaves still on the trees…

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Where We Like to Land on Sandy Hook

By Vladimir Brezina

Sandy Hook, NJ, a long thin finger that reaches out across the Lower Bay toward New York City, is an irresistible destination for a kayak trip from the city. But once Sandy Hook is off the bow, where to land?  The perfect landing site can be elusive.  Landing is nowhere actually difficult on Sandy Hook—there is a broad sandy beach almost all the way around (although the ocean side can have significant surf).  But in most places it’s a featureless beach, offering no shade in the summer nor shelter from the wind in the winter. Parts of the beach may be off-limits for one reason or another.  And besides, we want to have lunch in a picturesque spot, rich both in local sights and sounds and views of the landscape.

There is such a spot on Sandy Hook. A mile and a half down the bay side, right on the beach, there is an overgrown hillock—almost a little island, no more than a few hundred feet across, that is cut off from the rest of Sandy Hook by a salt marsh that floods at high tide.  That’s where we like to land on Sandy Hook.

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