Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club

paddling for over a third of a century

Liberty State Park
by Betty Wiest

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sometimes life hands you lemons and sometimes life hands you lemonade. This trip was pure lemonade….or, for me, maybe an ice cream sundae.

When I posted this trip, I had no idea how the weather would play such an important part of our paddle. I knew that an early morning launch would be good since we would not have to deal with so much river traffic….especially sightseeing boats. What was so exceptional was the calmness of the water and the lack of a strong current.

Our eight stalwart paddlers were: Janet L., Manfred J., Hatice G., Skip H., George and Christine M., Lori B. and myself.

We launched a little after 7 a.m. to sunny skies and calm water. As we left the coziness of the channel, we saw a fisherman casting from the rocks then holding up a very large fish he had just caught….I hope he threw it back!

Soon after we left the protectiveness of the park and into the harbor with our sights set for Liberty Island when a fast-moving patrol boat screamed toward us and then managed to slow down considerably; they got pretty close to our group. Over the loud speaker came the words: “Are you aware of the boundaries? And do you know you can’t go under the bridge connecting Ellis Island?” We all shouted “Yes”. And then gave a thumbs up sign. The patrol boat left as fast as it arrived. I breathed a sigh of relief. And we weren’t even asked for I.D. We clearly would stay on the far side of each restricted buoy.

Shortly after this incident, we saw seven people on jet skis buzzing nearby. I guess they found the early morning to be a good time to be out in the harbor as well. Fortunately they did not buzz us! There were a few boats we encountered during our paddle which created some wave action but we recognized them and positioned our boats to cut through the troughs in time.

We paddled toward the Statue of Liberty….so majestic in the harbor. It’s always the ideal place for a group photo. Then we paddled toward Ellis Island. I remember the last time we paddled this section the current was very strong. Today we were blessed with a soft current. Once past Ellis Island, we paddled toward the dock at the train terminal, a beautiful building with tremendous history and still closed for repairs from Hurricane Sandy. We hung around the pier for a while waiting for the Statue Cruise Line to leave its pier and then we doubled back to Liberty State Park.

We had our traditional beverage and coffee and cake compliments of Manfred….it was a little early for rum cake, but we celebrated our successful morning outing in style.


> Photos from Betty Wiest

> Photos from Manfred Janowski