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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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Broken Throttle... to be repaired
Cool, cloudy
09/16/2008, Bannerman's Island aka Pollepel Isl. to Haverstraw Marina

Well, after coffee Wayne had the wheel off, engine open and we were trying to figure out if the cable had come undone or had broken somewhere along the way. After following it from the engine to the steering - the conclusion was - a broken cable somewhere. We managed to get it loose from above but the casing stayed attached from below. The metal was definitely broken clean.

At low tide, surrounded by shallows and a current running 3 times faster than our idle speed, we decided that it wasn't smart to try to up anchor and motor out at idle. One option was to manually control it from below - adjusting the throttle from near the engine (set it at 1000 to 2000 rpms - need almost 2000 to counter the currents) but once the engine compartment was open and running it seemed like one of us had to remain below also not an option for the windlass and steering or we needed to do it at a high speed.
Sailing to get out at low tide, high current and the wind against us - not an option. Option? Do our cell phones work out here? YES! Call Boat US... We have unlimited towing. Undignified for a sailboat - but one way of getting out of the shallows near the castle ruins. Boat US had nobody in our area (gave them our position with Longitude and Latitude) but put us in touch with SeaTow and said that they'd reimburse us, send them a fax of the bill. Sea Tow called us back and they were out on a run but would get back to us ASAP. They called us back and we had about an hour and half wait for them so I made a scrambled concoction of egg, potatoes, peppers, ham, onion, and whatever else for breakfast while we waited.

When he showed up (Walter) he was most cordial and explained the process of the tow. The cost - cough, cough... $275/hour and we were looking at 3 hours plus to get to a place that could work on sailboats. He asked which way we were going - north or south so of course we chose south (why go back from where we came, specially if there was nowhere to get the parts and labor). We got hooked up and the tow was on.

Not exactly the way I wanted to see West Point from the water but - yikes - I didn't know this boat could move so fast... Mike was right - West Point looks like Hogwart's from the water - quite impressive. We wouldn't have been able to anchor here or dock at West Point though - since security measures in place now forbid it.

Probably some of the best scenery on the Hudson River was along this stretch. The narrow section of the river we passed through is designated as "The Worlds End." It is the deepest section of the entire river (around 175 ft). Storm King Mountain - 1355 ft peak - spectacular, Bear Mountain (had the longest suspension bridge in 1924 - Big Mack has it beat all to hell now), Dunderberg Mountain (a legendary 1,000 ft legendary dwelling of the Dutch Goblin held responsible for summer storms) all magnificent old remnants of ancient mountains. I guess that during the Revolutionary War, we stretched a huge chain across the Hudson north of Bear Mountain Bridge to prevent the British warships from passing. But they seized the chain, sent it to Gibralter (to protect their harbor) then went on to Kingstorn and burned the town down. Anyhow the Appalachian Mountain chain that we passed through was gorgeous. The old granite remnants of the mountain roots visible under layers of twisted rock and capped with tall trees in the distance were a delight for my eyes.

We passed by a nuclear power plant that had no cooling towers... I asked Walter about it - he said they cool it by the river water which was a bone of contention for many because of the amount of fish it destroys (wow, I thought they couldn't do that - it must be grand fathered in). I'm not familiar with it but I guess striped bass is a very popular fish here that gets sucked up into the cooling water. We got to the Haverstraw Bay and the Marina about 3pm and they charge you from the time they leave their port so we were looking at a 3 hour 40 minute bill. Ouch...Boat US better come through... One note of history here - Haverstraw Bay (the widest part of the Hudson at 3 miles across) is the place in 1780 where Benedict Arnold schemed to betray and surrender West Point with British Major John Andre. The tree where they hanged Andre still stands in the town square of Tappan.

Once we were tied up at the T Dock, the mechanic got here pretty quickly, but none of us could figure out what was holding the cable from coming loose near the column. Turns out it was a screw that locked the cable to the column that wasn't easily accessible. Pretty tricky these Bayfield People... Finally got it out and the part ordered. We were told it'd be here in the morning.

It looks like things get more expensive the closer we get to NY. Here it costs $2.50 a foot for berthing plus another $7 for power. This is one expensive day...

This is one of many photos I shot going past West Point at 9.0 knots... (who say's a Bayfield can't go fast...)

Esopus Creek to Pollepel Island
Sunny 80s, winds 10-25
09/15/2008, Bannerman's Island/Castle Ruins

Beautiful Day - Sunny, lots of gorgeous scenery and structure for me. These are some old mountains here. The remnants of the ancient ones. Synclines, anticlines, plunging folds and beds. Slate, and other metamorphic rocks (phyllite?) that I can't really tell from my perspective on the boat.

We passed by some mammoth buildings, mansions, old churches, etc... one huge one that wasn't on the chart before we reached Poughkeepsie looked like it should have been part of West Point or another military academy.

We crossed a Caravel Ship going upstream as we were going down stream. What an oldy or a wonderful replica of one. Very cool. Saw many freighters and barges today too.

One place called the "Pirate Canoe Club" cracked us up. As we went by we envisioned beating off pirates in canoes with oars.

We finally reached pollepel Island - it has the ruins of a castle on it. You're not allowed on the island (I guess the ruins are dangerous at this point - the state let it fall into disrepair) but can anchor behind the island if you follow the charts carefully. Our draft is about 6 ft and the island is surrounded by 3-4 ft of water except for a very narrow channel if you hug the eastern shoreline of the Hudson. While following the narrow channel, we were slowing our speed to nose closer up to behind the island to anchor and when I went to throttle up a bit in reverse, I was still in idle... Oh no... I told Wayne to drop the anchor because I could go nowhere fast. We were stuck in idle speed (650rpms) whether forward, reverse or neutral. So it looks like we have our first problem. Luckily we seem to be out of harms way (not in the channel) for now but we're surrounded by very shallow water with rocks. Hopefully we're in a good position to swing when the current runs the opposite direction and the tides change. I think we're on a rising tide.

I put together a salad earlier and defrosted steaks for dinner. The Amtrak seems to use the tracks that go right next to the island and where we're anchored. It's a very cool looking castle - wish we could explore it while we're stuck here. The throttle either came loose from the engine or we broke a cable somewhere.

So, anchored at 41o27.140 x 73o59.065 for tonight and...tomorrow? West Point is right down the river from us I think about 5 miles away. Unfortunately I've heard that you can no longer anchor there - no transients due to security concerns .

I looked up the poop on Bannerman's Castle. I guess he was some kind of munitions dealer that built this castle and used it as a summer home and storage place from 1900 to 1918. The State took it over and ran tours to it - then it burned down. They continued running tours to it for a while but now nobody is allowed in the ruins because it's in a treacherous state.

We wanted to see it, so deftly followed the only way in for us along a narrow slot in the current along the eastern shoreline (8-10 ft). We got closer and closer to our destination, when all the sudden, my throttle stopped working. The only speed I could achieve was idle and with the currents running 3 knots, idle was not enough! It was like some force wanted to stop us from approaching any closer to the island. I had Wayne throw out the anchor to prevent us from drifting into the rocky shore or running aground on the southern tip of the eerie island. Once anchored twilight approached very fast.! I heard a cat pitifully meeeeeowing off the starboard side of the ship and went to investigate. I could see nothing in the water. I called - kitty, kitty, kitty, and heard a pathetic mewling off the port side of the ship and raced over to that side to search the water. Nothing... Was it a trick to get me into the treacherous currents? A train came roaring along beside us blowing its horn - long, hard... It seemed to last forever. It was so close and so loud it made my teeth rattle. It was a dark, cold night... dark... cold... you could see your breath hanging in the air under the light of the full moon as the clouds periodically covered it casting gray tones to the mountains surrounding us. The train of lost souls from New York City keeps coming by and blowing his horn at us (actually most the night and in the morning - strange because there's no crossing here...I think he wants us to join him). Nothing to do - but tell ghost stories. We actually had fun putting spook stories to the castle - it really did look eerie in the glow of the setting sun and in the dark. It would be a terrific place to host some sort of Halloween bash... It WAS a COLD, DARK (albeit the bright full moon) night...and I was very scary on the videos we were making - not... LOL Good to have fun in a bad situation though...

Catskill Creek to Esopus Creek, Saugerties, NY
Dreary looking morning but cleared, 90 degrees
09/14/2008, N42o 72.659 x W73o51.408

Do we stay or do we go... After looking at the charts, and listening to the weather I made a sausgage and eggs breakfast and we decided that we could move down the river a bit more (~11 miles) and knock off some miles the following day. It looks like we'll be going against the currents and tides. We anchored up Esopus Creek around 3:30pm on the western side of the Hudson River. There's a shallow sandbar on the southern part coming in, but past that there's a small cove on the south side between a fuel dock (Getty's) and Lynch's marina. Three power boats were jockeying for position where we were trying to anchor and they ended up rafting together for their Sunday swim and dinner 12 feet from us. We figured they weren't staying long because they had kids enjoying the water (school tomorrow). It turned into a beautiful evening. We saw a car drive by us in the water and the cutest little day sailor came by with more shear than most of the modern boats (guess I'm a traditionalist). It's quite warm and muggy but this is a beautiful, peaceful little hamlet here. Anchored: N42o 72.659 x W73o51.408

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