As I am starting the planning, once again, I find myself in need of Charts. The timing was good because I also found myself at my former home in lower Manhattan. Home to the most amazing chart store in the world. In the US the NOAA and the USGS make charts and maps available for free. Where this next adventure takes me there isn't that luxury. I ventured to NY Nautical because I hoped they would have what I needed, and if they didn't it was at least tradition that my expeditions begin there.
I walked in the door shortly after they opened on a quiet Friday morning. They were very helpful, as always and offered up a large chart table with a catalog of the location I would be heading to. Smitty - the guy who runs the place - folded the catalog, which is itself a large map with squares denoting specific charts that could be ordered. But when I saw where he was looking on the folded catalog I said, "I need to be further north than that." Smitty replied "I don't think they go further north than that?" We looked on the other side and sure enough there were a handful of charts for my chosen location. He left me with a pencil and a form so he could order the charts I selected.
NY Nautical is the kind of place that - I think - could really only exist in New York. While it offers many nautical navigation and time pieces, only a handful of GPS, it is really about paper charts. Stored in Drawers under the massive tables they have on hand most of the charts someone would need for the east coast of the United States. They can order anything else. Sailing your boat to the keys, they have the charts. Piloting a cargo ship to Africa? They have the charts. Kayaking the Inside Passage? They have the charts.
Unfortunately, this time they didn't have the charts. But I ordered them, and they will be sent to my home. It felt a little anti-climactic to not be walking out with charts in my hand, but soon enough they will be on my wall. Upon completion of this little chore I headed back towards my old neighborhood in the west village. I found place to get a cup of coffee, and I surfed the web on my iPad. I then loaded up Google Earth once more to 'fly' over the location. A thousand years ago - give or take - I taught a nephew that every adventure starts with a map. This one would be no different. Do you have a guess as to where I will be paddling next? Head over to my Facebook page to make a guess.