Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Saugatuck River
Westport, CT
by Betty Wiest

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sundays----oh, those lazy days of summer. The morning could not have been more beautiful for paddling.

Eight of us kayaked the Saugatuck River and the immediate water of the Long Island Sound: Lori B., Monica O., Hatice G., Manfred J., Lee R., Carolyn G., Rich B., and me.

We launched underneath the roadway of Interstate 95. The clickity-clack was constant. But it was a free launch whereas most of coastal CT has costly municipal boat launches.
The water was so calm and gentle. It was low tide and once we got out of the river and into the waters of the Sound, we could see the shallow sea floor with all its shells and plant life. It was a delight to paddle. We passed two Great White Egrets which posed for us as we rounded the point. They were doing a little fishing for their breakfast.

We saw more bird life at the free-standing, red and white striped lighthouse. Nested on top by the light was an osprey nest with a three birds hovering the nest. This was the Kodak moment of our group picture by the lighthouse.

The only troublesome spot on the paddle is crossing the channel which can be a challenge. We were hampered from crossing several times by fast-moving pleasure craft causing the only “fun” swells. As a group, we were finally able to make our way over to Cockenoe Island.

The island is home to a rookery of egrets and lots of cormorants and seagulls. In many places sea grass gently waved in the wind. We paddled into the cove where several boats were already anchored. We watched a sailboat (no wind) and paddle boarders trying their skill in the water. We beached our boats and stopped for lunch. There was a group of campers (family and friends) who graciously shared their “formal” area…a few planks around the stone campfire. A few of us actually took a dip in the water.

As with many trips across the water, knowing where you’ve come from is all important. As a leader, I knew what landmark to look for so we could aim for “the orange roof building, just to the right of half hidden mass of masts”. This was the entry point back into the river.

We made our way back to the launch. Although the water changed slightly, and the tide rose considerably, we still enjoyed relative calm. But there were so many more people making their way on the water.

…….and oh, those wonderful treats provided by Manfred and Marianna. A gal from the Connecticut DEP was in the parking lot handing our educational materials to the many boaters. We chatted with her and invited her to partake of cake, which she did. She passed on the adult beverage, but did not seem to be concerned with our enjoying our beverages.

All in all…..another wonderful day of paddling! If only the traffic weren’t so bad going home.


> Photos from Betty Wiest

> Photos from Monica Orso