… And Once More Round Staten Island

By Vladimir Brezina

Last Saturday, we kayaked around Staten Island. I’ve already posted photos of a couple of the highlights of the trip. But the entire trip was memorable. Here it is:

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The individual photos are also in this Picasa Web Album, where they are much bigger—it might be best to play the slideshow there!

31 responses to “… And Once More Round Staten Island

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  2. It isn’t always beautiful, but I can see that it’s always interesting, to say the least!


  3. Wow! Amazing shots and what a journey! How long was the total trip?


    • It’s 40 nautical miles = 46 land miles.

      And optimally, making best use of the tidal currents, it will take about 12 hours (including a stop for lunch), although if there are any glitches it can take quite a bit longer.


  4. Captions with photos in a slideshow is a wonderful way to tell the story of this journey – I was spellbound! Thank you again for sharing these unique excursions :-)


  5. What a wonderful tour you take us on here. You must have been exhausted – it’s a pretty long trip you went on. I particularly like the photos of the container ship at the dock – they are so vibrant.


  6. You gave me a view of Staten Island I’ve never seen before. I’ve never seen it except from being on land or on the Staten Island Ferry.


    • It’s the same things but seen from the other side. Complementary figure and ground… Just like land maps show the details of the land but leave the water sketchy, whereas marine charts show the details of the water but leave the land sketchy… :-)


  7. Another great album, thanks !

    What do you use for a camera? How do you keep the lens clear from salt spray?

    Where do you keep your boats?


    • Thanks, Steve!

      All these photos were taken with a Pentax Optio W90. Actually I have two of them just in case one goes wrong, and also because the battery doesn’t last all day on a long trip, especially in winter. The W90 has now been superseded by the Optio WG-2, which I also now have but have not started using yet.

      How to keep the lens clear of salt spray and water drops? The perennial, often-asked question. Different people have different answers—there doesn’t seem to be one definitive answer. And most people cobble together several lines of defense.

      I do, too. First, I keep the camera in a pocket of my deck bag, where it is immediately available but where it can lie face down, so flying spray doesn’t reach the lens all that often.

      Sooner or later, of course, it does. Then—since it is a waterproof camera—I dip the camera momentarily in the water. This forms a film over the entire lens that then almost always withdraws into the corners, leaving the central lens area clear. It may be that pretreatment with some kind of water repellent, or just spit, will help this process and make it more reliable. I tried it but didn’t get a clear idea whether that helps or not. Beware treatments that might damage the lens, however, or leave an opaque film.

      Finally, when all else fails, I keep paper towels in my deck bag (which is dry) and now and again take one out and wipe the lens thoroughly.

      If you have any better ideas, let me know! :-)

      We keep our boats at the New York Kayak Company at Pier 40 on the Hudson in Lower Manhattan. However, there are other options


  8. I am now getting numerous inquiries such as the following:

    “How long did / does it take to paddle around Staten Island at a leisurely pace, and are tides a major consideration?”

    I’ll post a “how-to” for the Staten Island circumnavigation at some point, but in the meantime here is an abbreviated answer.

    First, on this trip, as on all our Staten Island circumnavigations, we started and ended at Pier 40 in Manhattan. That makes the trip significantly different from the “simple” circumnavigation, starting and ending somewhere on Staten Island itself, especially with regard to the tidal currents. Although the currents in the Arthur Kill and the Kill van Kull will significantly help (or, if you get them wrong, hinder) the simple circumnavigation, it’s even more important to get the currents right for getting from Manhattan to Staten Island and then from Staten Island back to Manhattan. So we timed our trip so at to get those currents right in the first instance. If we were doing just the simple circumnavigation we might have timed the trip entirely differently.

    Having said that, the entire trip starting and ending in Manhattan takes optimally about 12 hours, although it can take significantly longer if you miss the current from Staten Island to Manhattan at the end (which is easy to do). It could be done faster, but trying to do it much faster becomes counterproductive because you will not get optimal current assistance during all stages of the trip. The 12 hours allows time for lunch, even :-) Apart from that, however, you do have to keep on paddling at a pace that some people might not consider “leisurely”.

    From this, I would think that the simple circumnavigation would take 8 hours or so, timed optimally. It’s a significantly longer circumnavigation than the Manhattan one and the currents are weaker. Although they are weaker, however, the currents around Staten Island are just as complicated as those around Manhattan—a subject for a future post!


  9. Oh God I just saw your write up on your new kayak. Faster, really now I have to work even harder just to stay with you! Vlad the Machine…


    • We’ll see about faster… the K1 was not all that much faster than the K-Light, at least averaged over an all-day trip, so I am not expecting the Heron to be all that much faster than the K1. But it does have the look of a significantly bigger boat…

      We’ll have to get our act together and paddle together at least once this summer!


  10. fantastic slideshow, an incredible trip and wonderful photos, i enjoyed every one, especially the setting sun scenes and bridges!


  11. transplantednorth

    Loved this, now I’m really homesick! I never knew one could kayak from Manhattan to SI, I wouldn’t think this was … legal! I grew up near New Dorp Beach. You make the shores of SI look like a lost paradise island, how very deceiving! Thanks for posting about Staten Island, most know it just because of the infamous dump.


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