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The East River is a helluva strait, literally, if you head east through Hell Gate and between South and North Brother Islands.  The Brothers were not only the site of infectious diseases hospitals (ruins of which are visible on the SoBro pix here and more on this in a later post)  but also of the 1904 maritime tragedy that cost over a thousand lives, i.e., the burning of the General Slocum.

Continuing east of the Brothers, Rikers lies south of the channel and beyond the DEP facility and north of the channel, “rikers annex,” prison barge Vernon C. Bain provides a model for the ultimate in waterfront living?  The mystery lies below:  what is the name/story of the wreck in the cove leading to Westchester Creek?

That’s the Whitestone in the background.

My estimate is  . . . at least 125′ loa.

That’s Ferry Point Park in the background.

Again looking toward Ferry Point Park.

Maybe it’s an old ferry?  Maybe it’s a cheap but dramatic way to mark shoals?  Maybe it’s art?

Unrelated:  see Sea Fever’s 9/22 post featuring a crew riding Hurricane Ike out off Galveston.  Lord have mercy!!!!!

Tugster reverts to kayakster to participate with LIC Community Boathouse on behalf of American Littoral Society to clean plastic and plastic and plastic from the beach up to the high tide mark on …

South Brother Island.  We paddled from Long Island City to land on this otherwise off-limits bird sanctuary.  Besides all the plastic and styrofoam we tallied up-debris that’ll linger for at least the next few centuries-

the beach was strewn broken glass, coal chunks, shells . . .  Bag it all, and then you see more.

A motorboat served as garbage scow to haul off the 20 garbage bags of debris-two trips-

and we paddled on to Ferry Point Park, swam and picnicked with coastal cleanup folks there . . .

before riding the tide eight miles back to Long Island City

avoiding differently maneuverable traffic.

All we lacked was an expedition illustator.

All photos, WVD.

Meadow Lake flows into Flushing Bay, an area on the East River in Queens.  Scientists sampling the fish in Meadow Lake in 2005 caught some northern snakeheads.  Today dragons appeared there.

Excuse the foto, but–yes– Meadow Lake is part of World’s Fair Park, and that’s the Unisphere along the right.

With dragons in the sky, the water, and

and in the park, check out this about the origin of DB racing in Queens and ancient Chinese dissident Qu Yuan.

Dozens of heats took place today.  Each heat (that I saw) featured three boats.  At the start line, the drummer in each boat began to beat the paddling rhythm as soon as the official (in the small yellow motor boat) brought the white flag down.

White flag down,and

twenty forward facing paddlers, the drummer, and a standing steerer move as one:

The drum is the dragon’s heartbeat, the paddlers– its claws, and the steerer–its tail.

Crews resemble the population of Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the US.  Races continue tomorrow.  I love human-powered racing.  Race is free;  bring an umbrella to protect from sun and intermittent rains.

Photos, WVD.

Stan Rogers has a song “White Squall” with a line “In a sultry summer calm, there comes a blow from nowhere, and it goes off like a bomb” about a green deckhand who gets washed off a lake freighter. He’d been lying on the hatches heedless of weather change.

I’m amazed by some people’s hubris when they continue to under-estimate “greater powers” like tide and wind after warnings are given,

forcing intervention by professionals who put themselves at risk to deal with possible consequences.

Sixth boro waters (and lots of other things) can be sweet at their mildest

and then quickly deteriorate. The challenges of wind and tide are formidable.

By the way, if you don’t know Stan Rogers, check him out here. Oh, love the name of the pilot boat “shepherding” kayakers here: Phantom.

Photos, WVD.

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May 2020