Hackensack River Canoe &
Saugatuck River/Long Island Sound
by Betty Wiest
Sunday, July 1, 2012
We were a relatively small group (Janet, Melody, Lee, Ted, Bob and me). I just love this group—we met at the Palisades Center in Nyack and actually left on time! It’s not always easy being the lead car in a caravan, especially on major highways when traffic can be a bit tedious but we all made it to the free launch site right under Route 95 in Westport, CT. Room for plenty of cars, truck and trailers, the only negative was the constant rat-a-tat-tat from the vehicles traveling overhead!
We arrived and were in the water by 9:15 when the tide was high. It made for an easy entry. We paddled down the river passing extraordinary homes along the riverbank, large and small powerboats, stand up paddlers, and individuals powering shells. Once in the Sound, we saw an amazing long train of powerboats being brought eastbound, destination unknown.
It was an absolutely lovely paddle with fairly calm waters. Our first stop was the western side of Cockenoe Island. We were enthralled by the multitude of exquisite common white egrets (Egretta alba) safely perched in trees inland. Poison ivy abounded stopping us from any thoughts of trying to get close. Back in our boats we rounded the far side of the island only to encounter a mass of cormorants, sea gulls, and egrets—hundreds of them! We decided to paddle out to a free-standing lighthouse, making our way across a channel en mass. Now abandoned, it would have been tough climbing the ladder from our boats, so we headed back to the island for a well-deserved respite. The cove on this island was peppered with lots of people and their power craft just like us. A relaxing lunch, a swim in the calm water and a short hike provided us with all the entertainment we needed.
Back in our boats, we made our way across to a point on the mainland, passing some people trying to get their powerboat back in the water. Funny thing—the tide had gone out and it was stranded on the beach. They finally got it underway, not needing our assistance. The river had gotten a bit choppy and busy with all kinds of boats, and adding to the trip was fighting the outgoing tide and the incredible amount of boats back at the launch site—utter chaos.
All in all a great day! . .