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Published: June 12th 2009
This is Bisous' "I don't like the engine!" look
June 10, 2009
We have been enjoying an easy slow cruise North this Spring and marveling at the mostly GREAT weather -- not too hot or humid, no big storms, hardly any bugs, cool for great sleeping... just what we like. Still, you keep your eye on the forecast and try to get your weather from more than one source. When our time in the Chesapeake was winding down I began to download weather for the Delaware Bay and the New Jersey Coast and beyond to get a "feel" for conditions and how they might evolve. We check the tides and current tables to see how those will affect the Delaware Bay and New York City passages. Had the patterns been the steady predictable weather we had been having we would have opted for short hops to check out stops in the Delaware Bay we have always by-passed. We were anchored in the almost fresh water of the Sassafrass River-- a safe anchorage, 75 degree water swims, good phone, TV and WiFi... It made no sense to move unless the weather was settled because we could end up getting caught in a less desirable spot. A front had been stalled
Welcome to Delaware Bay
This is the only landscape feature you see as you make your way down the Delasware Bay
over us and it looked like after it finally moved off we would have 3-4 great days with better sailing by waiting a day or so. You want to see consistency in the forecasts: day after day reporting the same outlook. Still when we put the dinghy on deck the night before the departure we both agreed that a non-stop run to NYC was fine if we had to do that. Sure enough the next morning's report showed the window closing much more quickly so we were off non stop to Atlantic Highlands. During the day we both keep watch and then go on 2-3 hour watches over night, taking turns sleeping. Spring passages are much less stressful because the nights are short and the weather usually milder than in the fall months. As we passed through Cape May around 5 pm (we have a short enough mast to make it under the bridge over the canal) we chatted with Mitch (formerly Hetty Brace) and agreed to try and meet up in the fall. Cruisers understand that weather rules!
The New Jersey Coast can be stressful but not on this passage. I was able to test our new AIS
You often see clammers working their forks or rakes. This one is in Atlantic Highlands, NJ-- the "high lands" are behind.
system to track large ships and some pleasure craft. The computer navigation program tracks ships that emit data about their heading, speed, destination and closest point of impact with US. With calm conditions and a full moon we could see how things work without really needing to know. That way when things get yukky we will know how it use the system. It DOES get foggy in Maine :^) Interesting note: the system is blocked as soon as you enter New York Harbor. In addition to the full moon we had the Atlantic City aid to navigation-- you can see it for miles at night and amuse yourself looking at the sky-scrapper sized neon light shows. During the daytime you need to keep a much closer watch as a gazillion sport fishermen zoom out every inlet and then SWARM around spots they consider the best for whatever poor fish they are stalking. They stop right in front of you and pay no attention to boats around them. The channel around Sandy Hook was like a washing machine with strong current, a brisk wind, large ships entering the harbor, the ever present sport fishermen, AND since it was Sunday add the
West Bank Light
This light house is in New York's outter harbor before you arrive at the Bridge.
weekend sailors with all their sails up barreling along without paying too much attention to where they were going. You know the type: "I am under sail so I have the right-of-way..." This entrance runs only feet from the shore so it can be exciting.
Atlantic Highlands is a good stop for cruisers: fair fuel prices, a dinghy dock dedicated to transients, a large laundromat close to the dock, a movie theater with first run shows and fresh bagels! To that we can now add a REALLY nice post office, also close to the dock. We had a mail bag to pick up and wanted it first thing in the morning so we could catch a favorable tide into the City. At around 0730 we were disappointed to read on the door that they were to open for business at 0930... too late for the tide. When we saw a couple of mail carriers nearby Christian went to say hello and to verify that it would be a two hour wait to get an envelope. They soon knew we were boaters and one carrier said "Wait a minute..." and went inside. Two minutes later we had our mail and
In fair weather this majestic bridge frame the Manhattan skyline. In the morning fog it was less dramatic.
were on our way-- but not before picking up a bag of those bagels with "schmear" to drop off to our new post office buddies.
It is hard to describe the thrill of entering New York harbor on your own boat. An ocean liner arrival is a thrill too: you see the Verrazano Bridge framing the Manhattan skyline and then the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island appear on the New Jersey side (actually IN New Jersey but don't try and convince a New Yorker of that). On your own boat you can choose your path and even sail and it is always a thrill. We carried on past our Lady Liberty and stayed to the New Jersey side, weaving around dozens of anchored ships. New York harbor is to commercial ships what Norfolk is to the Navy. Then there are the ferries. LOTS of ferries with the most colorful ones serving Staten Island. It USED to be you could ride the orange monster for a nickel... then it went up to a quarter. I have no idea how much it is today but probably still the cheapest harbor tour you will ever find. The moorings at the 79th
One of the many ships anchored in New York Harbor was Dockwise-- I wanda shipped from Toulon, France to Newport on a ship just like this.
Street Boat Basin were $5 a night when we started in 1993 and today they remain a bargain at $30. Since our last visit it has been cleaned up a lot and there are bathrooms, showers and FREE laundry available. Only one washer and one dryer so you might have to wait, but free is free!
One of the beauties of stoping at 79th Street is the short walk into REAL Manhattan. The boat basin is in lovely Riverside Park. In lots of movies and TV shows you will see the tunnel passages there which I prefer during daylight! A short walk on 79th Street (which has a bus stop right at the boat basin) brings you to Broadway and subway stop. A couple of blocks more and you are in Central Park. At 80th and Broadway we always stop at Zabars which is one of our favorite stores anywhere (right up there with Trader Joes). The upper floor is all kitchen equipment with an amazing selection of EVERY type of gear you could imagine for a kitchen. We picked up a foldable cart to tote our laundry and groceries and other supplies when we are schleping them to
Staten Island Ferry
These orange ferries scoot across New York Harbor providing the best value for harbor tours anywhere.
the boat. The main floor has an enormous cheese department and goodies from all over the world at reasonable prices. We picked up prepared dishes for a tasty picnic back on the boat. Also in this neighborhood is Nick's Big Burger Joint that seems to have every comfort food imaginable, serving all of it 24/7. While the city has a reputation for being expensive (and it CAN be) we have found an endless supply of interesting and fairly priced eatteries representing the cuisine of the entire world.
As we were returning to I Wanda with our loot we ambled down narrow streets leading to Riverside Park and marveled at the lovely architecture of the REAL town houses. One was under renovation and you could see through into the center courtyard. While the exterior facade has no breaks or alleyways, all of those town houses appear to have beautiful gardens and large trees in the center courtyard. One huge building, the Apthorp, covers an entire city block between Broadway and West End. It has a very majestic arched entrance. Its courtyard appears to be a formal European style garden.
Since the Hudson River can be rough and you hear
We are sure that it was for us that the fireboat was spraying red white and blue streams on our arrival-- not practice for the 4th surely?
city noise from the moorings we chose to move on to Long Island Sound the very next day. It appeared that if we got underway by 0600 we could have favorable current in BOTH the Hudson and the East Rivers (not obvious since they both ebb out the harbor). We averaged over 8 knots for the 20 miles to Throgs Neck Bridge but then had to duck into Little Neck Bay to anchor for a thunderstorm. We got soaked, missing a dry maneuver by only moments. We had seen a sailboat going the opposite direction shortly before and had wondered why anyone would want to go through Hell Gate with the current full against them! Now adding the blinding thunderstorm it must have been a real treat. Manhasset Bay was our destination, right around the corner. There are moorings provided by the town at Port Jefferson free for three days. You can take the train into the City for about $7 so this is a good choice for those not wanting to experience the City up close at 79th street. Weather has definitely not improved since our last days in the Chesapeake: cloudy, cool and rainy. After our nice day
The cloudy weather allowed us to see the flame for the first time in a daytime passage.
on the passage we have had non stop miserable caused by another frontal boundary stalled on top of us. The weekend is supposed to be nice but that will mean swarms of weekend warriors out in every corner. Sigh.
More soon... Mary & Christian / I Wanda
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