New York

posted Aug 25, 2011, 8:04 PM by Shane Austin

The last leg of todays paddle was from the northern end of Staten Island to Manhattan.  Torrential rail began to fall as we headed over and if it wasn't for the help of retired Fire Captain and local Boat owner Bill Schultz we wouldn't have known which way to go as we couldnt see more than 100m in front of the boat.  The rain cleared just in time as we passed the Statue of Liberty which allowed us to get some great photos.  We then headed over to meet up with Marine 1 and their new boat 343.  So after 22 days and nearly 1000km we had reached our destination.  But that isn't the end of this grand adventure tomorrow the World Police and Fire Games begin so stay tuned for more updates and dont forget you can donate to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation at any time by following the link on the right.


Elizabeth FD

posted Aug 25, 2011, 7:55 PM by Shane Austin

Before we left the Arthur Kill we stopped by to visit with the Elizabeth FD.  They had all turned up to welcome us thanks to Natalie, Bob, MIchael and Bernadine as we paddled past and it was such a great morning to spend time with the department that Gary Stephens had been a member of.  Even the Chief was there to greet us and we got to have a look at their rigs including the ladder truck which has the rear driver "caboose" which was a treat for me.  Check it out.

Elizabeth FD

Carteret FD

posted Aug 25, 2011, 7:50 PM by Shane Austin

A great night was had with the crew from Carteret FD.  After getting up and feeling very refreshed we were ready for the last leg of the paddle.  We made our way down to the boat to discover that the local police had detailed a squad car to stand by our boat as security during the evening.  Once again the support show by the people of the US was more than we could have hoped for.  Once our good byes had been said we set off for Manhattan attempting to outrun the approaching hurricane Irene.

Carteret FD

Perth Amboy/Carteret

posted Aug 24, 2011, 7:57 PM by Shane Austin

After a near perfect run up the coast we caught sight of the New York City skyline.  The skyscrapers grew larger and larger as we made our way up the coast with a good tail wind following us.  Once we reached Sandy Hook the city was in full sight and we were joined by a flotilla of vessels from Port Amboy.  What a great welcome as we near the end of the trip.  Only one day left and as we sit here with the Carteret FD after another great night of fine fire station food and company we contemplate the arrival into NY under escort of FDNY.  Tomorrow calls so off to bed we go, see you all soon.

Perth Amboy

Back out to Sea

posted Aug 24, 2011, 7:48 PM by Shane Austin

After the amazing reception and hospitality at Bayville we reluctantly continued on our way.  A brief run in with the law as we paddled through our last canal wasn't enough to slow us down and we headed back out to sea for the final leg onto NYC.  To help us on our way we were joined by Craig Impens who is a professional ski racer for Epic Kayaks and had a surprise visit from the Silverton Fire Departments Fireboat.


Natalie Stephens

posted Aug 23, 2011, 4:44 AM by Shane Austin   [ updated Aug 23, 2011, 5:02 AM ]

Thank you Natalie, from the bottom of our hearts.  The amazing arrival detailed in the last Blog was arranged by Natalie and who has been a constant source of inspiration for Ben and I.  Natalie's husband Gary V Stephens, a memeber of Elizabeth Fire Department, was tragically lost whist performing his duties on January 2, 2009.  Natalie has been supported by the NFFF and we undertake this journey in honor of his memory.

Bayville/Ocean Gate/Island Heights FD

posted Aug 23, 2011, 4:27 AM by Shane Austin   [ updated Aug 24, 2011, 8:19 PM ]

We left Barnegat Light into a raging head wind and headed for our rendezvous at Bayville.  After an hour or so we were joined by 2 fireboats from Island Heights and Ocean Gate Fire Departments which escorted us in.  The reception as we arrived was both overwhelming and humbling.  There were people everywhere, flags flying, fire trucks set up and the most hospitable people one could every want to be surrounded by.  We truly were blown away by the effort that everybody made to come and meet us and support our journey.  There were many people that have a connection to the NFFF which was a timely reminder of why we are undertaking this challenge as we are only a few days out from reaching our goal.


Barnegat Light

posted Aug 23, 2011, 4:20 AM by Shane Austin

We stayed with Boardo and his family at their beautiful home at Barnegat Light.  It was so nice to have the creature comforts of home and the Boardman family showed us such wonderful hospitality, thank you.  Great dinner, great friends and free coffee Mondays!  Only a short run in the morning after we picked up the boat from "The Marina at Barnegat Light" who offered us free berthing for our boat.

Barnegat Light

Long Beach Island

posted Aug 22, 2011, 6:06 PM by Shane Austin   [ updated Aug 23, 2011, 4:13 AM ]

After we departed Beach Haven we set sail for Barnegat Light but on the way we dropped into Ben's former workplace the "Long Beach Township Beach Patrol".  Josh was there to meet us and he and the guys had some great stories to share about the sausage and his early days of lifeguarding in NJ.  We even brought out an old yearbook and got to see Banga in all his Budgie smuggler glory!


Beach Haven

posted Aug 22, 2011, 5:57 PM by Shane Austin   [ updated Aug 23, 2011, 4:10 AM ]

Once again we decided to head out to sea for the next leg to Beach Haven.  Perfect conditions meant that we covered the ground quickly and reached our port with plenty of time to spare.  So we thought we better head down to the beach for a swim and just couldn't resist a couple of afternoon beverages at the "Sea Shell" which is this very cool Tiki Bar.  Our buddy Boardo came down and we ended up at the "Chicken or the Egg" which is know locally simply as the "Chegg"  wicked wings!

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