Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Thimble Islands
by Betty Wiest

Sunday, August 10, 2014

This trip was postponed from July 27th when thunderstorms were predicted. Today we had absolutely beautiful weather.

Fifteen boats and sixteen people (one tandem) threaded through islands large and small, rock crevices, open water and protected wetlands. We partnered with some members of the Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club which proved to be beneficial.

It was shocking to find so many people at the town dock when we arrived at 8:30 in the morning. Parking was a zoo! And as we arrived, another large group of kayakers had just taken off! Whew! I had never encountered so many people so early in the morning….but then again it was a beautiful day.

We paddled 2 miles out to Outer Island, part of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. We were able to explore most of the island one home to Elizabeth Hird who donated the island to perpetuate bird habitat.

A number of the islands have just one house, some have several houses and a few have more than ten with a few roads. It’s fascinating to see one house positioned above a monstrous rock.

We paddled out to our lunch spot on a big rock….except the dock that has been there on precious trips was no longer attached to the rock. We found it nearby nestled in some reeds but we could not use it to get to my favorite resting spot.

On our trip one of our paddlers capsized as he made his way under a low pedestrian bridge. Lee came to his rescue and talked him thru the process of re-entry. While we were in a fairly protected area, it only proved that if you intend to paddle especially in open water (most of my trips are in the Long Island Sound or Hudson River), you must know how to do a wet exit, get back in your boat and also familiarize with performing an assisted rescue. Future trips will have this requirement.

If it weren’t chaotic enough when we launched our boats, the return was even more so. We all found a spot to have our lunch sitting on the rock wall overlooking the water. Manfred’s brought his delightful treats with him but we were so disjointed by the crowd. The town dock was extraordinarily busy and those of us who were fortunate enough to have parked close by were very lucky to load their boats quickly and head out of town.

Monica has some technical gadget that told us we went 5.97 miles, average speed was 1.79 mph and our max speed was 4.03 mph. Pretty cool info.