Sunday, May 28, 2006

Jamaica Bay


Jamaica Bay is the body of water that separates the southwestern points of Brooklyn and Queens from the Rockaways. Part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, Jamaica Bay, which the Brooklyn Bird Club states is "one of the most important wildlife refuges in the United States" where thousands of birds routinely stop during migration. Its marsh-like waters dotted with little islands, with the JFK Airport and Cross Bay Bridge in the distance to the East and the Marine Parkway Bridge the West are part of the fabric to this uniquely picturesque place in New York City. That is where we headed today.

The temperature was in the mid-80s, sky was blue with a few billowing clouds above and there was a nice, steady sea breeze. I also had the pleasure of being joined by three lovely ladies for today's sail.
I followed the Pearson Ensign Topaz out of Sheepshead Bay toward the Marine Parkway Bridge (aka Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge). The winds were out of the south, which kept us on starboard tack all the way to the Jamaica Bay.

As we headed under the Marine Parkway Bridge two things happened: the noise from the bridge traffic increaesed and the wind died. Its also pretty cool to see a bridge from the water. Once you pass through you are in another world, Jamaica Bay.

The first thing you notice about Jamaica Bay is the landscape, which looks like an elegant, swaply-like backwater. There are a few little islands that poke out above the water and in the distance. From above, there is a consistent stream of jumbo jets arriving from all points across the globe headed toward JFK airport, which is visible in the distance. Today, in addition to the commercial traffic, a very large, grey, two propeller Army helicopter flew very close to the water. It was so close, that we got an additional puff of wind because of it. It was interesting to see, because you don't see things like this every day. But what was it doing up there?

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