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Solo circumnavigation around Shelter Island
18th August, 2014
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At 6:45 a.m., dressed in a bathing suit, T-Shirt and cap, he walked down the beach pulling his kayak on a trailer to the water’s edge just south of Hay Beach Point.

It was windier than he would have preferred, more like a late September morning than the middle of August. But as someone told him once, “Make the tide your friend,” and his friend was telling him that now was the time to disembark for a circumnavigation of Shelter Island.

Hay Beach was still in shadows but bright light was striking houses across Greenport Harbor. The water was a deeper blue than the lightening sky with a half moon directly overhead fading with the morning.

He checked a bag holding two bottles of water, two apples and his cellphone. In just minutes he was off, paddling his bright yellow kayak north toward the point, the blades catching the sun each time they rose rhythmically from the water.

This was Jeff van der Eeems, 51, third solo circumnavigation of Shelter Island on Friday, August 15. He’d slept well, which was unlike his first go round, when worries about tides, boat traffic and his own stamina gave him a restless night.

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