Friday, October 08, 2010

Kayaking on Lake Lillanonah

Joyce had yesterday off from work, so we decided to take advantage of the perfect autumn weather and go kayaking on Lake Lillanonah.

Joyce readies her kayak at the West Street marina launch ramp, just below the New Milford dam.

The marina is located in a quiet inlet. We took a few minutes to explore it before heading out into the river.

This is one of three boats that zoomed by us within seconds of each other near the marina. It was the only motor boat traffic we saw all day.

Me at the railroad bridge near New Milford. This is the track that crosses the main road in New Milford center.

Joyce passes under the same RR about 1 mile downriver, near an inlet by the abandoned silex works by Lover's Leap State Park.

Joyce in the Lover's Leap gorge, under the historic bridge.

In the gorge, Joyce pauses beside the high sheer wall.

The requisite self-portrait. Just because.

After passing through, the lake opened up and became very picturesque. In another two weeks or so the forest will be blazing with colors.

We saw several crew teams practicing on the river. That, and a couple kayakers was the extent of all the traffic we saw the entire way.

Joyce pauses to view some of the wildlife around the lake.

We saw a number of big blue herons. One was sitting on someone's dock, and it was so big and still, we thought it was carved out of wood. It startled the hell out of us when it took flight as we got near. The bird must have been five feet tall!

Joyce shot this photo with the sun completely washing out the LCD screen. She just pointed the camera and clicked it. Turned out OK, dontcha think?

Late in the day we kept expecting to see the bridge near our haul-out spot every time we rounded a corner. The sun was getting low and the shadows long when we finally spotted the RT 133 bridge in Bridgewater.

We hauled out where we left my car, at the public launch ramp right near the bridge. After tying the kayaks onto the rack, we had to go back to New Milford to pick up Joyce's car.

It was a very good day.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The post-race Party

The results are in, we won 1st place in our division by roughly 9 minutes. In a five hour race that isn't necessarily a huge margin.

Joyce, Janel and me, with the eminently practical "trophy".

Close-up of the engraved mug. The beer tasted sweeter than 2nd place!

View from the deck. The weather was decent, but not nearly as nice as race day was.

The big raffle. Joyce won a harvest flower arrangement, but Mike snagged the Pentax digital camera, and his gal Nancy won the giant wine cache! It was a good day for them!

Janel with the perfunctory "Dark 'n Stormy", which described the weather when I brought the boat over on Friday.

Did I mention how good the beer tastes out of a 1st Place mug?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Wellness Cup regatta

Saturday was our last scheduled race for this season, in the 3rd annual Wellness Cup. Here's a few photos:

"Wild Eyes" leaving the harbor for the start.

The crew on leeward rail, trying to get the boat over to the magic 15 degree mark!

Me, steering and not barking orders for once.

Derek at Faulkner's Island, where our first mark was located.

Post-race you can see Janel jackassing her way into my self-portrait.

Derek steering us home. The longer distance course has Pond Pt. as a mark, so we got to see some of them rounding as we headed back to Milford.

Mike Gardocki joined us for the race.

Janel, Joyce and Derek relaxing after the 5+ hour long race.

Two boats near the Pond Point mark.

These guys on "Evil Monkey" had a bit of a problem with their chute, and ended up redeploying it. UPDATE: They still won!

Results will be known later today at the party. We were first across the line but we don't know how we did on corrected time against the other four boats in our class. It definitely isn't a sure win like the last two years were.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Thursday 9/30

Wind and rain lashed the area today, and the club decided to cancel the final race of the season. All told, we only missed the two races that were canceled for weather, two races while we were on vacation, and one while I was involved in shooting a student film.

Other than that, we've made every single race this year, probably our best season yet. There were 20 scheduled races, 18 actually started, and we did 15 of them.

Last Friday we went over to PJ for an overnighter. The weather was perfect, near 80 degrees both days. We took our kayaks out of the harbor to the beach just east of the entrance, then walked about a mile down the beach towards Mt. Sinai. It was awesome.

Coming back Saturday morning, we crossed a big race heading west to east just off of Long Island. And we got a nice shot of Middle Ground Light, too.

Friday if the storm clears I'll transport the boat over the Branford in advance of Saturday's Wellness Cup Regatta. The weather for Saturday looks perfect, especially for October!