Gowanus Rowfari 5-14-11

We left Pier 40 at 9:00 AM for the Gowanus with 11 rowers in two boats. Will Van Dorp, of Tugster:a water blog, came along for the ride.
We went around the battery across the east side of Governor’s Island and up Buttermilk Channel on the ebb. Our first stop was Valentino Pier in Red Hook where we pulled the boats up on the little beach for a quick tour of the facilities at Fairway. Then we continued south and explored a former cement/dry bulk cargo ship named Loujaine, now utilized as a non-mobile floating storage hulk for cement products. She is docked next to the Gowanus grain elevator, now abandoned.
We continued on south to the Gowanus Canal, stopping off at a dock on 2nd Street for a visit with the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club. The boats were rafted up and we headed to Smith Street in Carrol Gardens to poke around a little and to find a cup of coffee. The Dredgers gave us a nice send off and we continued up the oil-slicked canal.
We headed back to pier 40 under cloudy skies with a stiff SE wind passing to the west of Governor’s Island. Our boat chose a more western route to avoid Buttermilk Channel and we headed to the statue and the NJ side of the river. We hit huge rolling waves and river traffic, mostly sailboats. The wind had shifted to the east making for a slow row and for a time our progress seemed to be more vertical than horizontal. Eventually, we crossed to the Manhattan side of the Hudson to get out of the wind.
We returned to Pier 40 at 4:15 PM, washed the Gowanus off the boats, and went to eat chocolate at Jacques Torres on Hudson Street before proceeding to the Ear Inn for mussels and a beer.

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