Seals & Submarine
By Vladimir Brezina
Last Saturday: Air temperature in the twenties (Fahrenheit) in the morning, struggling up into the thirties during the afternoon. Colder on the water, of course. Water temperature around forty-five degrees Fahrenheit. Definitely drysuit weather, with gloves or pogies a requirement (and hot tea!). Partly sunny, with increasing clouds. Moderate northerly wind, becoming southeasterly in the afternoon. Current indicating a trip to points south. A perfect day to visit, once again, the seals of Swinburne Island, with maybe the Yellow Submarine of Brooklyn thrown in!
In the event, we saw only two, perhaps three, seals (which kept their distance, so no good photos) at Swinburne Island—a similar low number as on our last trip a month ago, and as reported by other kayakers so far this winter. In previous years, we’ve always seen ten or more seals at Swinburne by this time in the season. A little worrying…
And, bizarrely, the Yellow Submarine seems to have gotten a fresh coat of yellow paint (and some fresh graffiti) recently! Compare
Yellow Submarine, November 2010
Yellow Submarine, November 2013
Here are all the photos (click on any photo to start slideshow).
We leave the Pier 40 embayment
… and paddle down to Hudson
Across the river, Jersey City
Past North Cove
… and Battery Park City
Looking back at Manhattan
We paddle south through the harbor
Through the Bay Ridge anchorage
Manhattan is now small behind
Toward the Verrazano Narrows
A stray wake
Hazy sun sparkling on the water
Heavy container ship traffic today!
Under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
We wait for the container ship to pass before crossing over
Here comes the wake!
An unusual view from the crest of the wake
Across the channel, Coney Island—our destination after we’ve seen the seals
Swinburne Island dead ahead
We creep up on the Island
Off Swinburne Island
… we sit and scan for seals
Sitting off Swinburne, we are getting cold—time to cross to Coney Island!
… just barely ahead of another container ship passing up Ambrose Channel
… in fact, two container ships that pass each other at the exact spot where we were just minutes ago
We see the yellow of the Yellow Submarine from far off
A fresh (well, sort of fresh) coat of yellow paint!
… with some fresh graffiti
Submarine silhouette against the declining sun
The submarine is only two kayak lengths long
Johna poses with the submarine
Later, hot tea in the lee of a seawall
This is pretty much all the sunset we get today
We paddle back to the Narrows
At the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge again
The gulls wheel about the sky
We pass under the bridge into the Upper Bay
… and see home ahead in the twilight…
Love the post – really different :)
Just a bit different… ;-)
Your photos always look like you’re enjoying yourself, in spite of the temperatures. :)
Oh, we do! And keeping snug and warm in the boat is not a problem. The problem comes once we get out—another reason to never get out unless absolutely necessary…
I love your photo’s….
buongiorno dall’Italia :-)
Thank you so much!! :-)
What a different perspective you get of a place taken from a kayak. Even the buildings take on a beauty. Love going on your trips with you.
Great to have you along! Plenty more to come, we hope :-)
Vlad, Thanks again for transporting me to the water’s surface with my morning coffee. Dreaming of our next paddle on the lower Hudson.
In 2014, I hope! Thanks, George!! :-)
No doubt! I watch the webcam of the harbor from time to time trying to gauge the size of breaking, intersecting wakes. Ha! G
Bring a kayak next time and you won’t have any trouble with those ;-)
A chilly but beautiful paddle. Do you think the vandals would have painted the yellow so the graffiti showed up more?
Interesting thought… but I doubt it. For one thing, there was just that one graffito…
Thank you for your continuing blog posts and for this report on cold weather paddling in and out of NY harbor.Your pictures of Johna’s boat are excellent. There are very few of you and your new Heron boat. Your commentary is most helpful in my own cold water paddling here in PA. You both inspire every kayak photographer to better shots and reports.
Thanks, Gerald! I am glad these posts are useful, as well as enjoyable. There are many pictures of Johna, and few of me, simply because I have the camera ;-)
And I will work on the Heron-K1 comparison… :-)
Reading and looking at your beautiful pictures of the chilly paddle while I sip morning coffee on the boat with 80 degrees in the cabin, quite a contrast! I love your travelogue, so glad I found your blog. Maybe today I will have time to post about our trip down here to Barra de Navidad after we go to town and visit the port captain to check in.
It is quite a contrast—that’s why we have to go to paddle in Florida every now and then ;-)
And do post—I look forward to reading about your trip!
Love the yellow sub and I love humming along. Great pictures, but brr. I get very cold looking at them!
And winter hasn’t even started yet. It’s going to get colder still… :-)
It does look a bit chilly…
But we were quite cozy all day, except for a time after our lunch / tea stop during which we had to unwrap our hands…
great photos as always and enjoyable ride!
It was for us, anyway ;-) Thanks!!
Hey! Looks like a nice calm day. Love the pewter light, the yellow submarine, the violet twilight. See you soon :)
Yes, we need to go for another paddle sometime soon!!
Absolutely! We’ll discuss it over a nice glass of bourbon :)
Sounds like a fine plan :-)