15 September 2012 Port Washington, Long Island
We commuted into New York again. Our first stop was a walk along the High Line, which is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It gives an interesting view of this part of Manhattan.
We walked along the side of the Hudson River and visited the 9-11 memorial park. The queues were very long, but the memorial park is peaceful with two huge reflecting pools and cascading waterfalls. Each of the pools is roughly an acre in size, set within the footprints of the original twin towers with bronze parapets containing the names of the 2,753 people who lost their lives. To me the most chilling and sad statistic was that 343 New York fire fighters lost their lives in the attack.
We walked down Wall Street to the South Street Sea Port and ended up having lunch in a shopping centre, but at least it had a very good view of the Brooklyn Bridge soaring over the East River. After a quick walk around Battery Park to get our first view of the Statue of Liberty, we took the subway back to the railway station and eventually collapsed back on the boat.
16 September 2012 Port Washington, Long Island
We commuted into New York again and, after a second breakfast, made our way slowly to the New York Yankees Stadium in the Bronx. It’s a fairly new stadium and caters for 50,000 fans. We arrived two hours before the start of the game and had plenty of time to wander around the various levels each packed with merchandise and food vendors. We had a couple of hot dogs, but neither of us was impressed.
It was a nice sunny day, so it was pretty hot high up in our nose-bleed seats, but we had a fabulous view down on the game. I understand the basics of baseball – it’s like a complicated form of rounders, but some of the things that happened were incomprehensible. Even when I asked people around me, I was still mildly baffled. Still, it was all great fun and a worthwhile experience.
It took us three hours to get back to the boat – I’ve had enough of being a tourist now.
17 September 2012 Port Washington, Long Island
There’s a big depression coming towards us which is forecast to arrive tomorrow with 35-40 knot winds, so we decided to stay here in the fairly well protected bay. We chilled out in the morning and then went to fill up with fuel and water. The sea water in this bay is a horrible sludge brown colour and I don’t want to run my watermaker. Once we’d returned to the mooring, we called up the pump out boat and emptied our holding tank.
I chatted with the boat driver and asked him who I should pay for the mooring. We’ve been on a mooring here for five nights and ought to be paying for three of them. He just shrugged and said that payment was nothing to do with him and didn’t volunteer any more information. I get the impression that there’s some politics going on about who can collect the money because I asked the same question of the harbour master when we arrived and he only shrugged. I’ll keep my mouth shut and maybe we’ll not have to pay.
It was our son Craig’s birthday today and it was good to chat to him on Skype, he seems to be doing well at work and he and Kristen are excited about moving into their first house in a few weeks’ time.
Over the past year, every time that we've had to turn on the engine in light winds, we’ve said “Cruising Chute” to each other. It’s got to be over twenty times now and we’ve prevaricated enough, so I bit the bullet and ordered a new cruising chute from Doyles – that’s another big chunk out of our credit card. I’ll be glad to leave the USA, so that I can’t spend any more money.
18 September 2012 Port Washington, Long Island
It was overcast and windy when we woke up. After we’d had a few 25 knot gusts, I became nervous about hanging off a single rope on the mooring because if the rope chafed through then we’d be blown backwards at a rate of knots and be on the shore very quickly. I jumped in the dinghy and put a backup rope on the mooring after which I felt much happier.
We spent the day mooching about down below and keeping an eye on the weather. The wind and waves gradually picked up during the day and we had 40 knot gusts in the late afternoon, which gave us breaking waves in the anchorage.
We shut the hatches and watched a movie while we had our dinner. The wind dropped off at some point during the film and it was fairly peaceful when we went to bed at ten o’clock.
19 September 2012 Port Washington to Cape May, New Jersey (Day 1)
We were up early to get ready to move on. Our first stop was at the harbour office to collect the repair kit for the outboard which was finally delivered yesterday. We then went to the supermarket to stock up before preparing the boat for an overnight passage. It was midday before we’d sorted it all out which was perfect timing to go through the centre of New York with a favourable tide.
We meandered our way down the East River and through a place on the river called Hell Gate. The tidal current really rips through this area with speeds of up to five knots and if you get strong winds against the current it turns to hell. Fortunately, we timed it perfectly and it was very calm.
It was interesting to be motoring past the huge skyscrapers of Upper Manhattan including the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. There’s then a long gap of smaller buildings until you go under the Manhattan Bridge where Lower Manhattan starts with the very tall World Trade building and the skyscrapers of Wall Street. Once past that we motored into the New York Bay and across to the Statue of Liberty.
This is an impressive and iconic sight, especially when seen from our own yacht. We took lots of pictures and then turned south west, heading out towards the open sea. The view of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan as we slowly left New York behind us was memorable.
We rounded Sandy Hook in the late afternoon and, having no wind, motored south towards Delaware Bay. The wind picked up at 10 o’clock and we started a pleasant downwind sail.
20 September 2012 Port Washington to Cape May, New Jersey (Day 2)
It was a lovely sail all night. There are a large number of barges being towed up and down this section of the coast. It was interesting to see their multitudinous lights, if a little scary at first.
We anchored off the coast guard station in Cape May around noon. It’s pretty shallow at 2.5 metres, but good holding. The anchorage is just off the fairway to the Cape May Canal, but it was surprisingly quiet even though we were surrounded by marinas with loads of power boats. We had a very quiet afternoon, catching up on sleep and chilling out.
We’re getting into the iPad – the navigation app is brilliant for planning – it’s so easy to get tide information and the interface is brilliant for moving around the chart and zooming in and out. We’ve also become addicted to Sudoku and are having a bit of a competition on who can complete the grid in the quickest time.
21 September 2012 Cape May to Reedy Island, New Jersey
The alarm went off at half past six, we tidied up and left to go around Cape May. I decided to cut the corner and through some shoal banks on a route that took us very close to the shore by the lighthouse. It was a bit nerve-wracking in the very shallow water especially as we approached a line of water at the west end of the shoals where the waves were breaking and sea birds were fishing. The depth dropped below 4 metres and I was ready to slam the engine into reverse, but all was okay – the waves were caused by the strong current hitting a steep drop-off on the sea bed and we were soon in 12 metres of water.
A bit later, we chatted to “Eye Candy” who was a few miles behind us and Andrew said that he’d been told not to attempt to go through the shoals – nobody told us that it was dodgy…
We had a pleasant sail for four hours until the wind dropped and we had to motor the rest of the way arriving at Reedy Island at three o’clock. The tidal current was still pushing us north at two knots, so it was a bit tricky going through the very small gap in the breakwater - we had to point more than 30 degrees up-current to track through the entrance.
Once in, we anchored in six metres of water, fifty metres from the shore. It’s a surprisingly peaceful place with sweeping reed beds although the Salem Nuclear Power station is a bit of an eye sore a mile or so across the estuary.
The wind picked up from the south in the evening and the tide turned, which put the wind behind us making it cold in the cockpit and forcing us down below.