A Paddle to the Norwalk Islands

By Vladimir Brezina

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Last weekend was sunny and warm: It could already have been early summer. It turned out to be the perfect weekend for our long-planned paddle to the Norwalk Islands with our kayaking friends Alex and Jean, who are also fellow bloggers at 2 Geeks @ 3 Knots (check out their lovely blog!).

Johna and I left, early on Saturday morning, from Manhattan’s Pier 40 as usual.  We joined up with Alex and Jean at their base in Horseshoe Harbor in Larchmont, about half-way into the trip. We made it to the Norwalk Islands comfortably before sunset, and camped on Shea Island. On Sunday, we retraced, more or less, our route. Altogether, over the two days, we paddled about 84 nautical miles (97 land miles).

Here’s the story in photos.

Our route

Our route

Saturday

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(click on any photo to start slideshow)

Sunday

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(click on any photo to start slideshow)

More photos as here. And here are Jean and Alex’s photos and story of the trip!

42 responses to “A Paddle to the Norwalk Islands

  1. I’ve paddled to Norwalk islands several times but never turned around and paddled back the next day! You guys are tough!

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    • Johna Till Johnson

      Or crazy :-). I had to be up at 3 AM the following Monday to catch a flight, so coming home the next day was pretty much the only option. But as Vlad says, “It was actually quite a smooth trip.” In retrospect, the only thing I’d have done differently would have been to have dressed more warmly Sunday night–it got COLD on the Hudson!!

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  2. Hey there! Looking at this post was THRILLING, but not nearly as much as paddling and camping and hanging out with you two… Really fun to see your extra legs of the trip. Vlad, the photos are gorgeous. Thanks for a memorable weekend :)

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    • Johna Till Johnson

      You guys are the best camping companions EVER! Thanks for making it memorable.

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    • Memorable indeed! Thanks for paddling and camping with us!! :-)

      One of these days, we’ll have to do the reverse trip. We could meet you at Throgs Neck and paddle down the East River and through the harbor, ending at Pier 40. Then back the next day. The only difficulty would be where to put your boats overnight…

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  3. Verynice gallery. I especially liked the sunrise picks from the camp site.Beautiful!

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  4. I am really impressed you made the distance each way in a day. When I’ve looked at it it always seems like a multi-day. I can’t figure getting much past Davids Island in a day’s paddle.

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    • Well, it’s easy to get to Throgs Neck. From the Battery to Throgs Neck, with the current, doesn’t have to take more than 2.5 hours. (And the same in reverse. From Inwood down the Harlem River it might be a bit longer, but not much longer.)

      But once in Long Island Sound, the current dissipates dramatically. That’s when the work begins. If you persevere, though, you will start picking up the ebb current down the Sound, from west to east. It’s nowhere as strong as the currents around the city, but it’s a noticeable help.

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    • Just to give you a concrete idea: on Saturday we left Pier 40 around 7:30 AM, or a bit later. And we arrived at Horseshoe Harbor in Larchmont—a few miles beyond Davids Island—at exactly 1 PM. That left us the whole afternoon to paddle to the Norwalk Islands.

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  5. Amazing photos once again Vlad! Love the bridges.

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  6. vastlycurious.com

    FABULOUS VLAD!!

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  7. A splendid morning to wake up to so much excellent photography, filled with surprises, some encouraging further study. For one thing nice to know where Caitlin Ann is these days, a while since last seen hauling scrap from Albany, glad she’s still in service. For another a long perusal of the two lovely Xplores gave way to a sense of looking too hard, finding relief in the saw of might.
    And one especially do we affect
    Of two gold ingots, like in each respect:
    The reason no man knows; let it suffice
    What we behold is censured by our eyes.
    Where both deliberate, the love is slight:
    Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight?
    Different colors, though. I’m partial to red, but Jean’s boat looks very sleek, can’t take my eyes off it both here and at 2 Geeks.

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  8. enjoyed your story in photos! thanks for the ride! beautiful pictures as always! :)

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  9. Sweet as a Picture

    Love these photos. I enjoy following you on your kayaking journeys. You know the best part for me? I stay dry. Heh heh! :-D

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  10. Sweet as a Picture

    By the way, I was watching T.V. show Sharks and these guys came to ask for money to help their kayak business. They designed a kayak, which you can fold and unfold into about the size of a laptop, but it was very sturdy and kayak-worthy. I wrote the name of their company down but can’t find it. Wanted to ask if you’d heard of them. I don’t remember whether they got what they asked for, because I was distracted. Never got to see the rest of the show. Oh well.

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  11. Here is a Kayaking question do you guys often capsize? If you do do roll out of trouble or release in to the water and then use fellow canoes to get back in?

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    • Well, we try not to capsize too often, at least not unintentionally… ;-)

      But it depends on what kind of paddling you do. When you practice in rough conditions, among rocks or in surf (we’ve just returned from Maine where Johna did just that—post forthcoming!), capsizes become more likely. And similarly, the rescue techniques will vary. If you can roll back up, great. But if you push the envelope, sooner or later you will fail to roll and then you’d better have a way of getting back into your boat, alone or with the help of others…

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      • Cheers Vladimir – thinking of getting canoe again and test paddles a sea kayak – I was surprised how stable it was – my only real experience is in an Open Canadian and a GP which was very stable apart from getting in and out of on the river ha ha.

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        • There’s a whole range of kayaks, from the very stable to the very unstable. A stable kayak is safer up to a point, but as the conditions become more challenging it eventually becomes less safe than an initially less stable kayak paddled by a skilled kayaker…

          But if you want to do any kind of photography from your kayak, you need a boat that is at least reasonably stable. You need to be able to let the boat look after itself to some extent while you take your pictures. For the same reason a rudder can be helpful, so you can point the boat with your feet if your hands are otherwise occupied…

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  12. Thank you for taking me on such a lovely trip. Great slide show, Vlad.

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  13. Bravo, once again! It was excellent, watching your trip in my armchair. :-)
    Great photography, Vladimir.
    Best regards, Dina

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