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Photos from the annual kayak circumnavigation of Manhattan

Photos and text by Dom J Manalo Photography

On August 22, a record 160 sea kayakers enjoyed perfect paddling weather for the 30-mile Manhattan Kayak Circumnavigation, which is organized each year to help raise awareness for clean water and the environment.

The kayakers, representing numerous states as well as several foreign countries, came to enjoy Nu’Yawk-sized chops, squirrelly waves, and fun ferry-boat wakes along the Hudson River, East River and Harlem River.

Members from several kayaking clubs from the mid-Atlantic region also participated, a group dubbed the ‘Chesapeake Bay Flotilla’, bringing together paddlers from the Chesapeake Paddlers Association, Washington Kayak Club, Watersedge Kayak Club and Chesapeake Kayak Adventures.

Here are some photos from the day:

Manhattan Circumnavigation by Sea Kayak

Manhattan Kayak Circumnavigation co-founder Steve Blumling (Tag No. 1) leads a safety briefing for kayak guides who serve as safety sweeps to the nearly 160 kayakers. Kayak safety guides are issued bright yellow caps for visibility.

Manhattan Circumnavigation by Sea Kayak

Blumling leads a kayakers’ briefing as they prepare to get underway.

Manhattan Circumnavigation by Sea Kayak

The adventure begins as paddlers take off for the George Washington Bridge between 8 and 9 AM.

Manhattan Circumnavigation by Sea Kayak

Sea kayaking down the Hudson River includes scenic citiscapes of the Big Apple and Jersey City skylines.

Manhattan Circumnavigation by Sea Kayak

After paddling 11 miles, kayakers take their first reststop at Pier 40, which is located just upriver of Freedom Tower.

Manhattan Circumnavigation by Sea Kayak

Perhaps the most dramatic image for each participant is paddling past the newly constructed Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center.

Manhattan Circumnavigation by Sea Kayak

MKC 2015 organizers and safety vessel crews closely coordinate crossing the busy Battery Park Ferry Terminals with ferryboat captains, as kayakers regroup to cross the East River in unison.

Manhattan Circumnavigation by Sea Kayak

Sea kayakers paddle upstream through moderate chop and waves on the East River towards the Brooklyn Bridge.

Manhattan Circumnavigation by Sea Kayak

Sea kayakers paddle upstream through moderate chop and waves on the East River towards the Queensboro Bridge and Roosevelt Island.

Manhattan Circumnavigation by Sea Kayak

160 sea kayakers arrive at Hallets Cove for a 90 minute lunch break to rest, socialize and enjoy the live acts and artwork at the Socrates Sculpture Gardens, as well as to await the arrival of high tide.

Manhattan Circumnavigation by Sea Kayak

Volunteers from several kayaking clubs in the NYC area offer assistance to the tired paddlers as they transport kayaks from Hallets Cove to the Socrates Sculpture Gardens.

Special Acknowledgements: Big thanks to Margrethe Horlyck-Romanovsky & The ‘Circ Team’ Board, Lee Riser of ACA, Alex Arevalo at Inwood Canoe Club and Phil Giller and Bill Dennison who provided ground support with Long Island Community Boathouse, as well as each of their member volunteers. I know it took A LOT of planning. In particular, special thanks to the founders, Steve Blumling and Jerry Blackstone, who paddle each year and who likely never dreamed that their idea would gain this much popularity.

The Circ Team also employed a terrific team for its Safety Fleet. Several large motorboats with the USCG-Aux, plus jet-skiers Rich Krantz (Lead Group) and Arnold C. Riley (Main Group), who provided an effective safety surveillance and perimeter around each group from approaching vessels. In addition, they maintained cordial communications with the ferryboat operators to ensure our crossings along their routes.