New York State and the Hudson River were impressive. Such a grand entrance as we approached New York passing the Statue of Liberty. We were with several other boats and spun around in circles getting pictures of each other. This is a huge day for loopers, getting the 'Money Shot'. I mean who gets a Pic of themselves in their own boat in front of Lady Liberty? And to make it even better to anchor right behind her? Pictures do not do justice to the view we had but there are plenty of them in the gallery if you want a look.
When we started to loop and read all the loop posts on Facebook and the forum, we were a bit envious of those that had gone before us and had bragging rights to what I consider one of the two biggest days of the journey. The other biggie is crossing your wake, where you started, and earning the GOLD burgee.
Toward dusk we moved to a better protected area and met Jayne and Jonathan on Bella Gatto, a trawler cat that travels the same speed and style as us. We have been buddy boating almost continually since and our dogs have become buddies as well.
I have had the opportunity to visit NYC a few times and Steve had no desire to step foot in Manhattan so we passed by in the early morning light on our way up river. Ferry and ship traffic gets really hectic and so we took advantage of the 5 am dawn and was able to get past the heaviest area before most started their day.
The entire length of the Hudson that we traveled was marvelous, over 3 miles wide in areas and a steady current, this river has been used for commerce since man inhabited the area. At first we viewed the impressive skyline of The Big Apple and later a winding river with high folidge covered cliffs. We hadn't expected to be so impressed by this mighty river but then again we have been so impressed with most everything we have seen on this journey of a lifetime.
I have dear friends from my days working at Supercomputer Systems Inc in Wisconsin that live near Kingston so we spent four lovely days there. One can't beat snagging a free dock in front of a great BBQ restaurant in exchange for eating there daily! A historic riverfront district with bustling weekend activity that we had visited once before when we motorhomed through the area. At that time Brenda and Gary took us to the Rhinebeck Aerodome where we saw this part of the river from the cockpit of an old biplane. This visit they were our hosts for a grocery run, haircut and lunch stops. We hated to move on but knew they were coming to visit us again in a few days up river.
Our next stop, Shady Harbor Marina, put on a three day party and pig roast complete with bonfires and music. Several loopers made a point of planning their stop here accordingly, we just happened to be at the right place at the right time. Last year we left Florida a bit late in the season to meet many other loopers and would see posts about big Looper gathering. This year we are right in the thick of things, it's getting hard to remember everyone we've met and the Boat Card file is filling up.
The next stop was Waterford. The wall docks here are maintained by the city and the only small fee is for electric. Boaters are a major boon for this small town and at this time of year every inch of dock is utilized. High water due to spring flooding had many locks behind schedule for opening and just days before our arrival the traffic started flowing.
This is where loopers decide if they are turning west and taking the traditional Erie Canal route or if they are going north toward Lake Champlain and Quebec Province. If they choose the Erie route they will have another decision as to whether they want to follow the Erie to the end near Niagara or cut up the Oswego Canal and come out on the east portion of Lake Ontario. This later route is the most popular and was our original plan. That plan changed and we were headed farther up the Hudson River towards points north.
Taking advantage of more free city docks, we spent three days covering the 60 miles of the Champlain Canal. With short days we could arrive in time to find a lunch spot and walk small town USA. Most docks were at the city parks and the dogs enjoyed playing on land during docktails. Everyone was friendly and was interested in our journey, asking questions and offering assistance of we needed it.
Lake Champlain is 107 miles long, 14 miles wide and 400 feet deep. Surrounded by the Adirondack Mountains of New York and the Green Mountains of Vermont, it is a gunkholers paradise. Anchorages abound and many spend weeks or even months here exploring. Canada was calling us so we continued north after only a week and only once enjoying the local Ben and Jerry's ice cream.
Next stop is Canada customs and immigration....