Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Saugatuck River
Westport, CT
by Betty Wiest

Sunday, August 4, 2013

What a positively beautiful day! Easy breezy, lazy Sunday. Ten paddlers including Janet, Betsy, Lori, Cory, Stephen, Crea, Hatice, Manfred, Ken and me, experienced the beauty and richness (the houses along the river were million dollar exquisite) of the river and the Long Island Sound.

The day began when eight of us met at the Palisades Center, repositioned a boat, handed out directions and got underway at 8 a.m. We met our other two kayakers at the free launch site right under Route 95 (Exit 17) next to the Saugatuck River.

Equipment in order and on board, we launched about 9:15 a.m. or so and headed the mile length of river into the Sound, passing a few stand up paddlers in the calm of the water.

Morning is a delightful time to kayak. There were relatively few other boats out and a sense of “freedom of the open water” seemed to permeate the mood of the group.

Our furthest destination was a stand-alone lighthouse to the west of the river. The water was somewhat typical of open water....a few swells created by several pleasure craft passing by. Everyone went around the lighthouse, then rafted up to take our perennial picture. Then we were off to circumnavigate a nearby island with thoughts of lunch in our minds and stomachs.

Things were going pretty smoothly. Several paddlers including myself were in the lead, having just past the channel markers when we heard shouts of distress. Someone had tipped their boat. I blew my whistle to get everyone’s attention. We all turned around and paddled as fast as we could to rescue....Manfred. After a few frantic minutes of assessing the situation, he decided to hang tough and hung on the bow of Lori’s boat, then my boat, the Stephen’s boat. Janet towed Manfred’s boat. The shore didn’t seem so far, but Manfred decided to tough it out and soon they were close enough for him to “walk on water”.

We all had a pleasant, relaxing break, enjoying the cove on the island where many pleasure craft drop anchor and take time to relax, swim and lunch.

Circling the island, we found that the island is also home to hundreds of birds--egrets, cormorants, sea gulls and more...lunch for them was only seconds of flight away.

The paddle back was quite different than earlier. The Sunday morning sleepers were out by the dozens. Lots of pleasure boats, lots of sailboats, lots of stand up paddlers were now out in force. The paddle back to our launch seemed to take forever--the tide was still coming out.

Here are some comments from a few kayakers: Crea commented, “Paddling around the lighthouse, the osprey that flew right over us a the launch, and just paddling out in the Sound....and rescuing Ken’s hat.” Cory said, “This was the best trip of the season for me; enjoyed the peaceful start on the river along some very beautiful homes. Especially enjoyed the mix of calm and more interesting waters (the cove).”

A final “party”. Manfred’s marvelous cake and beverages again topped off our outing.


> Photos