Full Moon Rises Over Manhattan
20 May 2013 | Chipman Point Marina, Orwell, Vermont
While waiting for the offshore weather to calm, on Thursday, April 25th, we rode the public buses around Atlantic City, for our first time. Grace was joined by another boat in the anchorage during our shore excursion.
At 6 AM on Friday, both anchored boats had a sunrise departure from Atlantic City. We experienced our final glimpse of dolphins for this voyage during the mostly motorsailing passage with both sails raised until after concluding the offshore run. At sunset as we approached the Verrazano Narrows Bridge the sails were dropped. Enjoying a boost in speed from the favorable incoming current, we decided to ride it for a while into the darkness. As the natural light from the sky faded and the city lights illuminated, we were treated most courteously by the commercial boat traffic that was in motion, including one tugboat with a barge "on the hip" whose navigation lights were camouflaged with the backdrop of Manhattan from our vantage point; as we made VHF radio contact with the tugboat captain to confirm his knowledge of our location (directly off his bow), it became obvious that he was graciously awaiting our passage beyond his course before proceeding past Governors Island. That night's huge, bright, full moon rose over Manhattan as we travelled by the island's straight rows of high-rise buildings; the moonlight reflected off the surface of the Hudson River as we went by each east-west city street with the moon rising slightly higher every few city blocks until we passed under the George Washington Bridge when the full moon had risen above the rooftops and its sparkle on the water was unobstructed. That amazing experience was the preamble to unforecast wind on the nose, which when opposing the rising tide created quite a chop for us to pound into. Our speed over ground dropped to around 2 knots in those conditions for the next few hours until we found shallow enough water to drop the anchor at midnight-thirty, for our first time as the only boat just south of the Tappan Zee Bridge.
Saturday's 8 AM departure allowed us to ride a favorable current for most of the passage, as well as motorsail. At West Point Military Academy we got to experience another first - we got to see their sailing fleet underway, pictured above. Shortly after 7:30 PM we dropped the hook as the only boat for our first time anchoring in Duck Cove.
At first visible light, 5:45 AM on Sunday, we hauled anchor, and picked up a mooring ball at Castleton Boat Club at Castleton-on-Hudson shortly before 11 AM.
Thank you to fellow Chipman Point sailors Andy and Cheryl, and to Debbie's Mom and Alan for driving to Castleton Boat Club!
On Friday, May 3rd after awaiting some fog clearing, at 6:20 AM we were underway, with Grace's mast unstepped in order to clear the low bridges. We transited the Troy Federal Lock and the Champlain Canal Locks 1 through 6. We had the lock chamber to ourselves each time, except one at which a motor yacht caught up to us; the motor yacht could not clear the next bridge until the water level was lower, so our solo lockings continued after that. Eventually after running for a while the engine idle faltered; the only other glitch in the day was when Kevin leaned over the lifeline to grab a line in one of the locks and the pelican hook attachment on the lifeline gate broke; timing is everything...with the lock wall nearby there was no man overboard drill required. At 5:45 PM we tied up to the free municipal wall at Ft Edward, and moments later received a friendly greeting from a local couple who live nearby.
Kevin bled the air from the fuel supply lines on Saturday before our departure shortly after 9 AM. Eventually the engine falter surfaced again. We completed the transit of the Champlain Canal System, locks 7 through 12, pulling up to our home port at Chipman Point Marina at 4:45 PM, concluding Snowbird Voyage #4 with greetings from many of our marina friends.
During these passages we got to see ducks, geese (including one pair with four tiny youngsters), two bald eagles, and oh so many fresh water turtles (including one about the size of a quarter next to Grace in a lock chamber; it climbed the lock wall, landing upside down when it fell into the water; after a few minutes Debbie flipped it over with a boat hook).
Grace's mast is now stepped once again. Kevin has replaced the lifeline pelican hook, made new spreaders, confirmed the original fuel tank has clean fuel, and replaced the engine oil pressure spring.