[NYCkayaker] Kayaking in Constitution Marsh, Cold Spring NY 12/30/12 by Ron Klieman

Lee Reiser/Leona Fontaine lee060@earthlink.net
Fri Jan 4 07:05:45 EST 2013

Kayaking in Constitution Marsh, Cold Spring NY 12/30/12 by Ron Klieman
All sorts of great family stuff has kept me off the water since early fall so last week I called my friend Lee and asked if he wanted to go paddling this weekend.  Being off the water for so long is detrimental to my health, causing symptoms similar to oxygen deprivation in the non-paddling community.  We decided on Sunday and on Cold Spring NY as our launch.  We posted our intent on several kayaking boards to see if anyone wanted to join us. None others did so.
Paddling in sub- freezing weather is not dangerous, given the right skill set and equipment, otherwise it can be suicidal. With this in mind we listed requirements to scare off any neophytes.  
We launched at 10:00. As soon as we left the protected cove we were hit with 50 mph wind gusts and decided to alter our float plan to a more protected area. Always good to have "plan B".
Though the marsh in which we were paddling offered more protection from the wind than the more open waters of the Hudson River, the gusts were still quite strong. At every turn we encountered geese and ducks paddling about, preferring the water to the windy sky. Around one bend we spotted a large white swan swimming in the same direction we traveled. He led us around the winding paths for 10 or 15 minutes, undisturbed by our 40 or 50 yard following distance. The silence of the marsh was punctuated, now and then, by the crack of the patches if thin ice that we paddled through. 
I was paddling just behind Lee, on his left, in his blind spot, as he made a quick right turn through a narrow channel. Passing the channel before I could react I attempted to turn around but the wind and current pushed me farther downstream. By the time I got back 15 to 20 minutes had elapsed. Lee had noticed that I was no longer behind him and waited 10 or 15 minutes for me to catch up then decided to proceed to our destination and join me there. He knew that I was familiar with these waters and that I would probably head in that direction if we got separated. He attempted to call me on his marine radio, as I did him, however we had omitted a standard safety procedure and not agreed on a marine channel to contact each other on. Lee had mentioned channel 68 but in the wind I had not heard. A radio check before launch could have saved much grief. Note to self, remember to practice what you teach others. 
Long story short, we never did succeed in finding each other until we got back to our launch. On comparing notes we realized that neither of us was very concerned about our own safety, but both of us had visions of having to call the others wife to tell her he was missing. Over lunch and a few beers we recounted our individual adventures, each reveling in the safety of the other. 

Ron Kleiman 

-----Original Message-----
From: Lee Reiser/Leona Fontaine <lee060@earthlink.net>
To: Ron Kleiman <Torahron@aol.com>
Sent: Thu, Jan 3, 2013 10:57 pm
Subject: Fw: [NYCkayaker] Sunday Paddle From Cold Spring, NY - Dec 30

-----Forwarded Message-----
>From: Rick Langer <farreach@optonline.net>
>Sent: Jan 3, 2013 3:36 PM
>To: nyckayaker@rockandwater.net
>Subject: [NYCkayaker] Sunday Paddle From Cold Spring, NY - Dec 30
>I'd very much like to hear a report on what must have been a very windy 
>Thanks, rick

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