Paddling Long Island

Several folks at Sebago decided a couple years ago to paddle all the way around Long Island, but to do it one weekend a year over five years.  I missed year one, but I talked my way into joining the group for year two, and boy and I glad I did!   We loaded up boats on Thursday night, and then on Friday, we got up WAY too early (I am not a morning person!) and drove out to Smith Point, near Shirley, Long Island.  We paddled through a series of bays and canals, and were hoping to shoot out through the notorious Shinnecock Inlet out into the ocean for a few miles.  However, the tide, which had assisted us in the morning, had turned around, and we had an enormous current coming in.  It was so strong that we were able to sit in an eddy behind a buoy and fool around on the eddy line:

So, with the current and the rain, we decided to call it a day, and that night, we stayed at a very nice house arranged by Steve, the trip organizer, who also cooked up an amazing lobster dinner!

Saturday morning, we were on the water at 8:30 and had a beautiful morning and an amazing tidal assist through the inlet.  

However, this also meant that we had something like 6-8' waves in the inlet to contend with!  I shot a couple of pictures of the massive waves in the middle of the inlet, and then I put my camera down to concentrate on paddling for a while and a wave washed my camera off my deck!  Fortunately, I had a float on it which Steve had made, but to get it meant that I was now back-paddling down pretty massive waves and drawing the boat across the inlet to rescue my camera. That was all very nerve wracking (mostly because of all the fishing boats looking for massive fish who were drawn to the intense currents in the inlet) but I made it out into the ocean without incident.  We had a nice paddle down the beach, including a couple breaks which required surf landings and launches.  Here's a you tube video of one of my launches (the wave knocks the camera back but I fixed it once I got out through the last wave):

We made it to East Hampton (where I used to live in the late 1980's) and called it a day.  We camped up on the northern part of the south fork, and had a nice dinner in Sag Harbor, and then I collapsed in my tent.  At about 4am, it started pouring rain, and when we awoke the forecast was for 15-25 MPH winds out of the south (when Bonnie and I paddled Tropical Storm Hanna it was only 20MPH winds).  Being exposed with a group in the ocean presents a whole set of risks, so we decided to call it a trip.  Some of us went out to Montauk to scout out put in and take out locations for next year (and looking at the ocean, I was convinced we made the right decision, although it would have been nice to have 1/2 a day to play in that surf at Ditch Plains!).  We finished scouting, had lunch, and then headed home to try and get everything dried out, but not before I found the most awesome beach towel ever created:

I have geotagged photos and GPS track and speed data here, and and Bonnie has a write up here. And thanks especially to our ground support crew of John, Linda, and Cody!

OK, that should be about it for kayak stories for this year, I have a backlog of actually related stuff to write up when I get caught up on my sleep!