Tag Archives: Sandy Hook

Travel Theme: Inviting

By Vladimir Brezina

Landed on Sandy HookPaddling out from Manhattan for the day, we often find ourselves heading south to Sandy Hook, NJ. Our favorite spot to land there, about half-way down the bay side, is a picturesque little “island” of wooded high ground that rather improbably rises above the otherwise flat Sandy Hook View over the salt marshlandscape. (Indeed, it is man-made, being the overgrown concrete ruins of an early 20th-century military installation, Battery Arrowsmith.) Separating the “island” from the “mainland” of Sandy Hook is a salt marsh.

Whenever we land at the “island”, we always take a few minutes to walk round to the back, to the edge of the salt marsh.  We go there to observe a mass display of invitation.

The marsh is fringed by a zone of bare, or sometimes sparsely overgrown, ground. Looking down closely, we see that the ground is studded with holes, large and small.

Field of holes

At first, standing there, we see nothing remarkable.

But within a minute or two, we glimpse, here and there, a furtive movement. Then more and more, and soon there is movement all around—movement of a curiously stereotyped sort.

Each hole is occupied by a fiddler crab.

Two fiddler crabs
Fiddler crab emerging

There are both male and female crabs. They are easy to distinguish—the males have one greatly enlarged claw. And they use this claw in a characteristic courtship display. They stand next to their holes and repeatedly raise their large claws, inviting the females to enter.

It is quite a sight to see the whole area come alive with hundreds of crabs all raising their claws simultaneously in their inviting gesture…

(A contribution to Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge, Inviting.)

A Picture-Perfect Ederle Swim

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

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Maybe the magic was in the pasta.

This year, Vlad and I signed up to provide kayak support for the Ederle Swim, a 17.5-mile open-water swim from Manhattan to Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Vlad has done it several times, but this was my first time accompanying swimmers to Sandy Hook (though we’ve paddled there many times).

We’d each been assigned a swimmer, and the day before the swim, the organizers, NYC Swim, sent us the swimmers’ email addresses. So I reached out to “my” swimmer, Andrea Varalli, mentioned that I’d done the paddle many times, and offered what advice I could, including the detailed blogs Vlad has posted on Wind Against Current about his previous Ederle Swims (here, here, here, and here).

Next thing I knew, Vlad and I agreed to meet Andrea and his support team for dinner at a “real Italian restaurant” (as Andrea called it), Piacere. (Pleasure, in Italian.) We had guessed (correctly as it turned out) that Andrea was “real Italian”—not merely of Italian descent. So the “real Italian” restaurant was sure to be a treat!

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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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