Tag Archives: Long Island Sound

Trip 14: Combined Circumnavigation of Manhattan and City Island

By Vladimir Brezina

The iconic Manhattan view

Saturday, 25 March, 2000

(Note: The prosaic title does not do this trip justice! City Island is a small island in Long Island Sound; just getting there and back from Manhattan is considered an achievement by most New York-area paddlers. A Manhattan circumnavigation is a little more common—most of us have done quite a few—but still a non-trivial paddle.

But combining them both…? I wonder, from this vantage point of almost 20 years, what inspired Vlad to take this trip, after the previous runs up and down the Hudson. If I were able to go back in time and ask him, how would he have answered?) 

Combined Manhattan and City Island circumnavigation

Launched at Dyckman St. around 6:45 a.m. Low tide: wading through horrible mud, careful launch between pilings under pier. Sunshine already lighting up Palisades, but sun dimmed periodically by thin clouds. Quite warm: later, high around 60° F.

Paddled south with ebb current, against slight head wind from the southwest. Under George Washington Bridge, past 79th St. Boat Basin, Chelsea Piers; Downtown Boathouse in about 1 1/2 hours. (Note: This is very fast). Very few boats. Round the Battery; tourists already waiting for Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island boats; in a few minutes saw three of them emerging from their dock in East River.

Up the East River; waves from two of the tourist boats and a tug bounced around and built to about 3 ft. in the triable between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. Under the Williamsburg Bridge; hazy sunshine. Now going with the wind and strong current. Out of the muddy Hudson, water now very clear. Just south of the United Nations narrowly avoided seaplane taking off, and later, almost at Roosevelt Island, landing. (Note: That seaplane will appear later in our writeups; nearly two decades on, I still encounter it regularly on the East River!)

Air traffic in the East River

Took the east channel past Roosevelt Island. Current dramatically speeding up. Through Hell Gate: water quite flat (no boat wakes) but heavy swirls. Still with the current and wind, past Rikers Island, under the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge and the Throgs Neck Bridge. Reached Throgs Neck at around 11:15 a.m.: 4 1/2 hours for about 25 (?) nm. (Note: That’s a blistering pace, 5.6 knots, or 6.4 miles per hour!)

Past Throgs Neck lost favorable current, in fact now some contrary current. Good view of Stepping Stones lighthouse. Crossed Eastchester Bay over to City Island and around the east side. Water beautifully clear, blue and green. Some intermittent sun, but increasing clouds. Strong contrary current flowing south between islands. Lunch on small island with tall transmitter just off City Island. Two huge white swans looking at me suspiciously. Beach littered with oyster shells. Inviting view east among the islands, past the Execution Rocks lighthouse, out on to the open Long Island Sound.

After lunch, round the northern tip of City Island, under bridge connecting it to mainland, and south through Eastchester Bay. Now paddling with some tail current, but opposed by head wind, now building up to 10-15 knots. Whitecaps everywhere in main channel. Slow going. Back to Throgs Neck again at about 2 p. m. Turning toward manhattan, beam to the wind. Severe weathercocking: boat not balanced. Crossed over to the south shore and landed to take on water ballast (not much, but perhaps some, effect). Starting to rain; misty views of Manhattan. Back under Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, past LaGuardia and Rikers Island. Still slow going, partly against, and still weathercockng into, the wind. Speeding up with favorable current toward Hell Gate. Sun coming out again. Through Hell Gate easily around 4 p.m.

Orange sun setting into Palisades

Through Harlem River, sun low in the sky, wind dying down, water smooth. Rapid smooth progress with good tail current. Emerged into Hudson again just as the orange sun was disappearing behind Palisades. Hudson hazy and calm. Back at Dyckman St. just after 6 p.m.

Paddling time around 11 hours; about 50 nm.

(Vlad’s humorous, gentle sensibility emerges so clearly from this entry: The “huge” swans look at him “suspiciously”; the “inviting view” looking out across Long Island Sound; and the “orange sun disappearing behind the Palisades”.

Perhaps I’ve answered my own question: Vlad was forever in search of new beauty to delight his eye and heart.)

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.

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What a Difference Just a Few Miles Make…

By Vladimir Brezina

Same paddle, same day, morning—

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and evening—

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More photos coming as soon as I can process them…

Easter Sunday Paddle

By Vladimir Brezina

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The weather is finally getting warmer, and the days longer. Time for one of our favorite paddles!

In yesterday’s variant of the trip, we paddled up the East River, through Hell Gate, and past Throgs Neck out into Long Island Sound, just in time for lunch at Sugar and Spice on City Island. Then back down the East River to Hell Gate, up the Harlem River, and finally down the Hudson River home.

Here are a few photos…

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Exploring Long Island Sound with 2 Geeks @ 3 Knots

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

IMGP6776 cropped smallA couple of weekends ago, we set out to visit our friends and fellow kayakers Alex and Jean, who are also fellow bloggers at 2 Geeks @ 3 Knots (check out their lovely blog!). They live in New Rochelle, just outside New York City, and just off Long Island Sound.

Heading out to the Sound on a summer weekend is pretty typical for New Yorkers.

IMGP6852 cropped smallWhat’s a little less typical is getting there by kayak.

But hey—we’d been there quite a few times before and knew the route pretty well. And this time we’d have the luxury of spending the night with our friends—so we’d have the chance to explore more than we usually can on an out-and-back trip. We’d been eagerly anticipating this trip for several weeks.

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Paddle to Long Island Sound

By Vladimir Brezina

Last weekend, the currents took us on another of our favorite paddles—from Pier 40 in Manhattan round the Battery, up the East River, through Hell Gate, and round Throgs Neck into Long Island Sound.

Rounding Throgs Neck is like entering another world. The towers of Manhattan are still visible—all this is still within the borders of New York City!—but they are tiny in the distance. The broad blue Sound opens up. Shoals of white sailboats cruise past. Rocks are crowded with cormorants. We paddle past lighthouses and round islands—City Island, Hart Island, Pea Island…

Here are a few photos (click on any photo to start slideshow).

More photos are here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Home, Take Two

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Home. We’ve already posted one response, but here’s another.

Our home away from home—

IMGP2138 cropped small—on a beach at Lloyds Neck, Long Island, NY

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—on the banks of the Hudson River at Stockport Middle Ground

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IMGP0645 cropped small—on Magdalen Island, near Saugerties, NY

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IMGP2543 cropped small—on the Hudson River at Denning Point, Beacon, NY

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—in Nickerson State Park, Cape Cod, MA

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IMGP4656 cropped small—at Jones Inlet, South Shore of Long Island, NY

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—on Fire Island, NY

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IMGP5854 cropped small—at Montauk Point, NY

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IMGP6691 cropped small—in Sunken Meadow State Park, on the North Shore of Long Island, NY

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And now, our home away from home awaits in its bag, ready for this year’s adventures!