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I missed the cinco already . . .  so this  seis will finish up the the graveyard report of the trip of the segundo to the barcas muertas (?).  Indulge a foto of tugster aka the floater here,  feeling very light.  You could say . . . a lightweight, a light-hearted one, buoyed by the unbearable lightness of being, even.  Actually, the water temperature requires the wetsuit even though the air temperature was in the 80s, making a periodic “float” refreshing.  Cape Tallin exchanges fluids over on the Jersey shore.

Behold the other merry paddlers.

Sebago, on Paerdegat Basin, in Brooklyn

repurposes these shipping containers as colorful kayak storage.

Here’s the liverymobile.

Another highlight of the trip was seeing ABC-1, seen here in a post from 2008,  high and dry.

Here’s a full frontal of an NYPD launch, with New York Central No. 13 in the background.

Parting shot:  the 1930 W. O. Decker awaits . .  a haul?  Craves, maybe a light-headedness?  Needs, perhaps a shave and a waxing?  What I noticed was that headed past the graveyard, Decker stayed way on the opposite side of the Kill.  Probably she was thinking: “and I alone have escaped to tell …[of sixth boro life in the 1930s and 1940s].”

First foto by frogma;  all others by Will Van Dorp.

The past 24 hours has seemed the right time to reread parts of Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez. Not that I’ve ever visited the Arctic.  And ice is part of the bargain living at our latitude.

Ice is habitat, among many other things.  We see some, but if it was 20 in the sixth boro this morning, it was at least 10 degrees colder a single latitude farther north, and that means crossings like this, less than 50 miles north of New York City.

We catch a glimmer of the Arctic here in winter, as birds from the North migrate in and travel around in formations like the one beyond Comet.

The goose in the middle came in for a landing, over-extending forward, and needed to use the underside of its neck as a skid plate.

Buffleheads are the first migratory birds I notice each fall.

Gulls–most sorts are here all the time, although occasionally unusual gulls appear.  Stowaways?  Torm Margarethe and Doris Moran await clearance to enter.

Egrets fish, undeterred by having their feet in freezing water, although

a few weeks back in Chincoteague, a sole pony offered rides to a flock of birds.  Tender-footed ones, perhaps?  Really . ..  not a single bird rested on any other pony.  What was the social contract?

Watching these Brant geese swim out  (I thought of them  as surfers headed out beyond the breakers) through the wake of Comet, I recalled Lopez writing about snow geese:  “what absorbs me in these birds, beyond their beautiful whiteness, their astounding numbers, the great vigor of their lives, is how adroitly each bird joins the larger flock or departs from it.  And how each bird while it is part of the flock seems part of something larger than itself.  Another animal.  Never did I see a single goose move to accommodate one that was taking off, no matter how closely  bunched they seemed to be.  I never saw two birds so much as brush wingtips in the air, though surely they must.  They roll up into a headwind together in a seamless movement that brings thousands of them gently to the ground like falling leaves in but a few seconds.  Their movements are endlessly attractive to the eye because of a tension they create between the extended parabolic lines of their flight  and their abrupt but adroit movements, all of it in three dimensions.”

That “part of something larger than itself” makes itself visible as a flock of starlings moves through a tree with berries, a fruit crop reaped by an insatiable harvesting machine.

Without this cold season, I’d never have time to reread the books I savored before.  Nor would I find new ones.

The top foto comes from Paul Strubeck, crew on Cornell, who took the foto near Kingston.  I’ve seen eagles but never gotten a good foto.  Thanks, Paul. The next foto–kayaker passing eagle–comes from the flickr stream of ninjaracecar.  Thanks for putting these on flickr, ninjaracecar.  All other fotos here are mine, including the one below of my 28-year-old boss.  The green one.   For some really exotic bird fotos, see the ODock.

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.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

Click on image below to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.

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