With the next full moon arriving on August 1st, I interviewed wildlife biologist Mike Bottini, who clued me in on the joy of full moon kayaking here in the Hamptons. Bottini, who moved here in 1988 to pursue environmental work with the Group for the South Fork, currently works as a wildlife biologist for Seatuck Environmental Association. Bottini did his undergrad at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York and it was there that he was introduced to full moon activities. He recounts to me leaving campus on Friday evenings to drive to the Adirondacks recalling that those Friday night hikes were usually done in the dark, “but when [he] had even a sliver of moonlight against the snow, it was a magical experience.”
Bottini explains that full moon kayaking is as simple as day kayaking, stating, “the only thing you need to add to day tripping is a reliable flashlight.” Naturally I’m thinking it can’t be that easy, right? But he reassured me that his safety tips were just as simple: “Pick a paddling spot where it’s easy to stay clear of powerboats, and an area that you are familiar with (it can be easy to get disoriented even with the moonlight).. And check the weather forecast.”
Bottini was kind enough to share a few of his favorite places to launch his kayak here in the Hamptons. “Accabonac Harbor is beautiful and close to home; the Sebonac Creek-Bullhead Bay-Scallop Pond estuary is a gem; Goose Creek (at the north end of Three Mile Harbor) and Alewife Brook are fun short paddles; Big Fresh Pond is a nice early spring paddle.” If you want to experience the beauty of full moon kayaking, Bottini schedules one a summer with the Peconic Land Trust. After August 1st’s sturgeon moon (named after lake sturgeons, which historically were abundant and easy to catch in the Great Lakes in the month of August), there will be a blue moon on August 30th and a harvest moon on September 29th.
When he’s not out there on the water, you can find Mike Bottini “in the big white chair at Maidstone Club, watching the waves and the human and non-human swimmers.” In the off season, Bottini is out in the field observing the rest of Long Island’s beautiful species.