Statue of Liberty, Liberty State Park
by Betty Wiest
Sunday, August 23, 2020
"The Statue of Liberty Stands Tall in the USA"
The Statue of Liberty stands tall
Upon her pedestal greeting one and all
As they come forth from distant lands across the sea
In their hopeful quest for freedom and opportunity
by Asher A. Hetrick Jr.
After a rainy original date of August 16th, the forecast for this Sunday, August 23rd proved to be the ideal day--warm and overcast, with calm seas and little wind.
We had a great group of paddlers: Phil B., Ulla Z., Manfred J., Janet L., Joan B., Jason K., George and Christine M., Laine McD., Herta D., David B. and me.
For some, it may have been difficult to get up so early in the morning so that we could launch at 8 a.m. To my delight, as a group leader, everyone arrived with time to spare enabling us to be in the water promptly at 8 a.m.! Before we actually launched, we all introduced ourselves. I gave a short, little message reminding everyone to stay on the outside of the white buoys that circle the Statue. Most of us recalled a certain episode of years gone by where the Harbor Police approached us.....and, well.....
So this time.....as we made our way over to the Statue, we were all surprised to find the buoys gone! Put in place after 9-11, it was startling, but pleasant to see the waters around the harbor secure....basically because the waters are heavily patrolled by helicopters frequently buzzing by. We all grouped up for a picture in front of Lady Liberty.
We made our way around the Statue and headed up to Ellis Island. There were a number of scenic tour boats beginning to make their way between landmarks; patrons were only allowed to roam the grounds to this date. Making our way up river, we passed the railroad station which is part of Liberty State Park and New Jersey's tribute/monument to the victims of 9-11...twin walls inscribed with the names of all New Jersey victims. Paddling further north, we found ourselves in front of the famous Colgate clock...a great spot for pictures and also seeing lots of guys on jet skis shredding river waters. It was a good point to turn around and head back. This time we headed toward the narrow bridge that spans Ellis Island and the mainland of NJ. As before, we were amazed to realize that we could paddle under it without recriminations. Manfred paddled over to read a red-colored sign which caught our attention. It validated our right to pass under the bridge as craft powered by humans rather than motorized craft.
As we made the right turn back into Liberty State Park waters and the launch, I got caught up in a very turbulent series of waves which made it difficult to maneuver out of. Whew! With a lot of effort and concentration I made it to gentler waters and back to our beach launch area. Everyone was accounted for....and as trip leader that is always a great feeling!
As with many of our trips, when Manfred participates, we all enjoy his and his wife, Marianne's, homemade rum cake and various beverages. It's always a lovely way to end our paddles. Manfred has provided many photographs (separate email) for which I am grateful because the memory card from my camera somehow disappeared from my kitchen counter.