Port Washington, NY
Port Washington, NY
June 20, 2013
This is the first logical stop after a boat goes through the East River in NYC to get to the Long Island Sound. So the idea is to sail through the nation's largest city making sure to do it on the right tide and current and miss all the traffic attempting to turn on into chum and make some port to count one's blessings that we did not turn into an incident. Past Lady Liberty, Ellis Island, the Battery and Hells Gate and the nest thing is Riker's Island which is the largest jail in the country. OK, so we were impressed to that point. Next comes the entrance to Long Island Sound past a light house on some rock sure to sink one is too close. So, everyone stops in some place called Port Washington. What's all the hubbub? It can't be much, right? Wrong.
Just 15 miles from the City is a most remarkable place. John Philip Sousa lived here and became the Beatles of the day. He was America's bandsman and was a Marine (not necessarily a good thing in the mind of an Army officer) but none the less one great composer of the kind of music I like. The comes the fact that this place supplied a high grade of sand, yes sand, to build Manhattan. Then make it the place where world class racing sloops, the Star class, were built in the 30s. But perhaps the greatest thing that this place offered the world was in the aviation field. In the early 30s, this was where Pan American started service to many places. Aviation research was here to include a few notables such as Lindberg, Curtis, Earhart Douglas, Sikorsky, Republic. Grumman and even more of that caliber. This little sleepy place was way more than that. It remembers the four citizens who died in WWI and those who died since in service to our country. This is definitely one of the gems of our cruise thus far and a place that made a big ding in my hard drive.
Sandy Hook to Port Washington
06/19/2013, Port Washington, New York
Sandy Hook to Port Washington
June 19, 2013
The title is misleading. The real title should have been Through NYC Into Long Island Sound. I must have looked at the tide and current tables a dozen times. The guides would have one to believe that sailing up the East River of New York City was nothing short of running the gauntlet. We left Sandy Hook around 0900 to arrive at the Battery by one hour past low tide. That would guarantee a good assist current right through the heart of the City past Lady Liberty, Ellis Island and the Battery and the United Nations building. As it turned out we hit it right and at times saw over nine knots speed over ground. What a treat! Several things stood out as we passed through the City our first time: Lady Liberty was quite impressive; Ellis Island has beautiful restorations and the United Nations Building was underwhelming. It looked run down and way out of place. It is hard to believe that two West Texas types actually found and sailed through America's largest city. Another nice surprise was our destination, Port Washington. Once past some industrial areas east of Manhattan including La Guardia and Riker's Island (the largest jail in America), we sailed into Long Island Sound. From rusty, abandoned industrial sites into beautiful waters and an harbor that welcomes sailors. We are now in a long dreamed destination. We have many pictures of the passage but will need to have a good wi-fi before posting same.
Scurv has not been on land for two days although it did not keep him from his business. However, he really enjoyed shore leave a few minutes ago to the extent that he is now perfecting his napping skills again. He started the day with a subdued behavior and ended with real joy.
Will post more pics later.
Atlantic City to Sandy Hook
heavy rains and thunderstroms
Atlantic City to Sandy Hook
June 18, 2013
After way too much salt water taffy and a one pull win on the slot machines, we left Atlantic City at 0530 yesterday. We were the only vessel leaving at that time which caused me to wonder if they knew something we did not. The seas were big lumpy swells with very little wind to add to the mix. Initially, we hoisted the headsail to reduce the rolling but later deployed it fully to add to our motoring speed. The first part of the day was dealing with hip rollers that made the ride just plain weird. Then our course changed and that brought the swells dead astern, which added to the boat speed. Our highest on the back side of one was 9.5 knots. We reached Sandy Hook and some rough thunderstorms after twelve and a half hours. We were tired.
Instead of anchoring near the Coast Guard Station just around the corner at Sandy Hook, we took a mooring buoy at Atlantic Highlands. It is a pretty place but its harbor was devastated by Hurricane Sandy last year. We retired well before sunset since no one came to collect the mooring fee. Scurv and I went to shore this morning to pay and found out that the moorings are not for rent. Oops! Did not see that in the guides. Why Knot and her crew beat feet to the anchorage at the Coast Guard Station on the Hook to plan for the challenge of sailing through NYC on the East River to enter Long Island Sound. To those like us who have never done that before, the guides all strongly mention the need to plan the passage due to the big time currents in the River. They can be over four knots so this will be our first time to really plan based on current. While the trip of around 14 miles is spectacular, we will share it with perhaps the heaviest traffic in the US. One is cautioned not to be a nuisance and stay the heck out of the way. Homeland Security will not take ignorance as an excuse for breaking the rules. If you bother them or the locals, the first time fine can be $27 grand. OK, so this Texas crew, never having been here before and never dealing with currents this way will attempt to time it right and not get in the way. If there are no further blog entries after tomorrow, you will know we blew it.
Some rain but nice
06/16/2013, Atlantic City, NJ
Cape May to Atlantic City
June 15, 2013
We left Cape May early this morning and it was only 38 miles to an entirely different place. I would say that next to Merkel, Texas, Cape May is polar opposite to Atlantic City. A quiet coastal fishing village compared to a version of Las Vegas, only smaller. We sailed from 19 th century to the 21st century in essence. Maybe it seems most normal to the locals but in contrast to what we've seen lately this is a treat of a different horse. Bear has never been here and I came only once for a business meeting, so we had much to see. Farley State Marina is part of and managed by Golden Nugget Casino so once here, we were in the middle of the world of movers and shakers. Obviously, we are not really part of this scene but for a cruiser stop, this is fun. This marina is not on the boardwalk but the "Jitney" gets one to that area. The Boardwalk is impressive for its size and even more so for the fact, that hurricane Sandy attempted to remove it but the recovery is almost complete. Few signs remain of the damage.
Fast forward to Fathers Day: Jimmy Buffett did a concert last evening and few knew it ahead of time. We certainly did not. He whipped into town and did an hour freebie then left town. Wow. We stumbled into the Margaretville Café and learned about it this morning while strolling the Boardwalk. A sort of miracle took place today in that place: I did not pick up another tee shirt. Having acquired them along the way, we don't have room for any more tee shirts. I think we have enough for the remainder of our lives.
We will depart this place early in the morning for Sandy Hook, NJ and the New York City area. The others in our sailing fleet are already mixing it up in the Long Island Sound. We will meet them sometime in the next two weeks or so to sail through the Cape Cod Canal to the Boston Area. Until then, we hope to visit some of those places where we stood on shore long ago and said we hoped to sail these waters someday. Someday is here.
Picture is of Bear on the Boardwalk
06/14/2013, Cape May
June 14, 2013
It turns out that the decision to stay in port yesterday was a good one. The sail to Atlantic City, our next port of call, will be about six hours or so. That being the case, even if we left at first light, we would have experienced a major knarley squall line. We would have been able to deal with it but why rush it? We are still in Cape May and it is still raining. The temperature is in the 50s. It does look good for departure tomorrow. Since this is all new to us and we may never stop in the same place again, we are taking our time to snoop around each place. For instance, we are stopping for two nights in Atlantic City prior to our sail into the NYC area. Bear has never been in Atlantic City and I only made a brief stop many years ago on business, sort of. We will take the time to see the Board Walk. It is sort of nice that the marina is as State Park Marina but it is connected to the Gold Nugget Casino. It will be the second most expensive stop next to the Galleon Marina in Key West. We are told that marinas further up the way are even more expensive so we will definitely be anchoring more. Actually, we prefer that to being in a slip.
Scurv and I took our rabbit walk in the rain at first light. The rabbit was way smarter than we and was not out and about. As we passed the office, I noticed the older marina cat perched on a high shelf outside the office. Scurv never saw him but he had that look of really wanting Scurv to "make my day". All passed without incident but I was tempted to call Scurv's attention to the perched carnivore until I noticed he was missing part of an ear and was scarfaced.
The object in the picture is a wreck of a pre WWI experimental ship made of concrete. SS Atlantis. It was never operational but was made into a ferry dock until a hurricane sunk it.
06/12/2013, Cape May, NJ
June 12, 2013
Having never reached maturity, I still enjoy bubblegum. I have my preferences but all bubblegum may be used for a water quality test I have developed after countless hours staring at the water. The test came about after sailing into some, if not the clearest water we have ever seen, the Sea of Abaco. Our home water was the standard by which we judged water prior to that. I am speaking of water clarity. The test is simple. Take a medium sized wad of already- been-chewed bubblegum and drop it into the water. Watch it descend and the deeper it goes still visible determines the BT test number. If you can see it two feet down, it is a two on the scale. A foot down qualifies it as a one and so on. So, here are some of the results:
Sea of Abaco- fifteen but since the highest is ten, it gets a ten. One could see the gum on the bottom so I quit testing.
Port Aransas, Texas -2.5
Canyon Lake, Texas- 3
Gulf of Mexico, at least 50 miles out-8
Tampa, St. Pete-2.5
St. Augustine, Fl-4
Charleston on the Ashley River-0.6
New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain post Katrina--0
We return our rent cart today here in Cape May and become cruisers again. Weather permitting, we leave here early in the morning and sail to Atlantic City, NJ for two nights thence to Sandy Hook, NJ for a night. After that, we will spend a few days in the New York City area for some sightseeing.
Cape May has been a good stop to see the light house, the Victorian homes and the maritime history of this early settlement. There are such things here as a WWI expimental concrete ship that sunk just off Sunset Beach and a WWII naval gun-spotting tower used to protect the Delaware River and industry from here to Philadelphia.
The crew is well and ready to move on. Now if we can just avoid the rocks and bad weather, we continue the dream.
The picture is of Cape May Light