Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Canoes, Kayaks and a Submarine
by Stan Laser

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Where would you go to have a nice day of paddling and visit a submarine? The Hackensack River of course.

A joint trip between the HRCKC and the Wanda Canoe Club began at River Edge and ended in Ridgefield Park. The put in River Edge was timed for a high tide to avoid a mucky launch. There were about 12 boats, about evenly divided among canoes and kayaks including one tandem kayak. The weather was about 60 degrees and sunny, a little breeze and the Hackensack River was calm but murky. The first section near River Edge was bucolic, with trees insulating us from civilization.

As we approached historic New Bridge Landing and crossed under a highway we started to see more signs of human activity. We passed behind the Shops at Riverside which has set aside a few spots on the river for fishermen to drop their lines while their partners shopped.

We paddled by the Bergen Academy and Fairleigh Dickenson University and then approached the USS Ling which is docked (or actually sitting in the mud near the shore) behind The Record building near Costco. After docking our boats next to the USS Ling, we were treated to a tour by a volunteer guide to the inside of the submarine. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Ling). Some of the interesting facts we learned about the submarine:
- this vessel never saw active duty since the war ended right before it was ready to go to battle
- the bunk beds were called "hot beds" because there was always someone sleeping in them 24 hours a day as shifts rotated
- showers were scarce and living space was tight but the food was good, including their own ice cream maker
- noise levels in the engine room were like standing next to a jet engine and many engine crew members were issued hearing aids after leaving the service

After making pit stops and a snack we put in again and headed for the take out at the Wanda Canoe & Club, which has their own boat storage and nearby launch area which is accessible by crossing the railroad tracks and going behind the Ridgefield Park DPW. We had launched at about 10:30 am and arrived at the take out around 3:30. We then had a late lunch on a grassy area overlooking the river.

The trip was relaxing and a bit different and provided many of us a view from the water of sights we normally only see from land.

Thanks to Jim McLoone for organizing and leading the trip.