Approximately a 12-mile paddle from Northport to Oyster Bay on Long Island's north shore. We put in at Scudders (NYS) Park in Northport, paddling north through Northport Harbor into Northport Bay, then west into Huntington Bay. There is a nice lighthouse at the entrance to Huntington Harbor. We then paddled northwest into Lloyd Harbor with the intention of portaging across the short isthmus leading to Lloyd Neck. Unfortunately, we arrived at the portage at low tide and had to manhandle our boats (14.5 Carolina and 13.5 America) through a knee deep soup of mud and mussel shells, then through tall grass, across the road, and down a boulder erosion barrier to the beach. I thought removing my dive booties was a good idea so as not to ruin them in the mud - it was NOT a good idea. After the nightmare of the portage and a little lunch, we launched into Cold Spring Harbor and then across into Oyster Bay. We took out at our target, Beekman (sic) Park, where my buddy's wife and kids were on hand to pick us up, having been on call should we fall short of our goal.
Paddling in the bays was great, as they are protected but still offered some decent swells and a bit of excitement. I would not recommend the portage we took but the alternative would detour one into the L.I. Sound and rougher waters. We may attempt it again in the spring during high tide to see if the portage is any easier. We recommend that you bring a map and compass or GPS as the overlapping spits of land out in the bays can disorient a paddler and cause unnecessary detours.
This trip should only be considered by experienced paddlers with proper gear and a well-defined float plan. The bays can be rough depending on the weather and boat traffic consists of, well, New Yorkers. Be careful.
Northport Harbor, Huntington Harbor, and Cold Spring Harbor all offer locations to take out and the towns/commercial districts are not too far off from the water.
Put-in: Turn north off of Route 25A in Northport onto Woodbine Ave. (just east of Glacier Bay Sports - a good place to re-supply your gear before going out). Make a left onto Beach Ave. and another left onto Ketchum Place. Follow signs for Scudder Park and then head toward the beach.
Glacier Bay Sports (631-262-9116) is located right on Northport Harbor and can offer info about the area and paddling conditions (it's also where I bought my boat).
We used color copies from a Hagstrom Atlas sealed in a ziplock freezer bag held down on deck by the rigging and an Orca deck compass to navigate.