Offshore to New York, 10 June 2015
Good Morning and ready for the next offshore trip
On the 10th of June, a 0800 departure would allow us to catch the ebb tide out to Hampton Roads, but would put us in New York City around midnight the following day. Not an ideal time to arrive in a busy harbor, but it looked like the seas on the north end of our journey would be deteriorating after that. Our voyage had an inauspicious start. On the way to Norfolk, we had to wait over an hour for 2 railroad bridges to open-very frustrating. In addition to the exclusion zones surrounding all the Navy vessels docked along the Elizabeth River; work on the underwater highway tunnel created a virtual slalom course down to the ocean. Security boats were constantly on their radios, forcefully reminding boaters to “alter course” to stay out of these zones. Soooooo……some yahoo gets on the VHF with “Praise Allah, Death to Americans”. The cool reply, presumably from one of the Navy patrol boats is “…..Really?”. Moments later, a gray gunboat and a helo race by….I’m guessin’ they’re gonna ruin some bigmouth’s day. For the next 20 hours, the seas and winds are benign, and the only company that we have is “Mosey On”, ½ mile off our starboard quarter. The only wildlife seen is the occasional flying fish and playful dolphins. I figured I would give the fish a break on this trip. Rods takin’ a rest. At 0500, M.O. peels off and heads into Cape May, where Jim and Coleen will get some sleep and rest up before heading home to Block Island. At our last bail-out point off Atlantic City, the seas are building, and the wind is coming up, but we decide to push on to NYC, 12 hours away. Over the remaining miles, the seas only built to 2’-4’ on a 5 second interval, with winds peaking at 20 knots before subsiding after dark. Passing Sandy Hook, NJ, we entered the New York traffic area. The radar and chart plotter were covered with targets, most commercial vessels at this time of night. Running a course perpendicular to the outgoing channel, I got a call from a captain on an outgoing freighter a few miles away. I assured her that we were not interested in a close-quarters situation, and would hold until she passed by. After our brief conversation, the freighter captain a mile behind her called her and asked her to repeat our conversation. She said “He sees us and will wait”. It’s just amazing how different things look at night without perspective or depth perception-I love my AIS and radar.
As we glided in to Gravesend anchorage around midnight, we spotted “Spirit Journey”, another 48’ Krogen laying at anchor just off the Toys Are Us store. Captained by Ron and Michele Hall, she is heading up the Hudson River, through the Erie Canal, the Trent Severn and the Great Lakes on her way to the Mississippi. Since we had to delay our morning departure to wait for the flood tide, we were able to sleep in. Unfortunately, Ron and Michele’s vessel was a speck under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge when we woke up at 0800, so we had to make do on the “catching up quotient” with a phone call. Their goal is Chicago by September, then on down the rivers to the Gulf of Mexico-good stuff. We were underway by 1200, with the Coast Guard’s tall ship on our port quarter, accompanied by two RIBS’ (rigid inflatable boats (Zodiacs)) with 50 cal. machine guns on their bows. One of the RIBs raced up in front of us, turned, and put its’ bow on the Girl about 20 yards out. The Captain got on the VHF and hailed me to remind me of the 500 yard separation zone around military vessels. Message received, I informed her of our intentions. She seemed satisfied, and the situation provided us with some good pics. Later, passing Lady Liberty stirred the emotions, but didn’t yield much of a photo op due to the hazy skies. Up the East River and through Hell Gate, we’re happy that we waited for the flood tide as we have a 3 ½ knot current pushing us along instead of fighting us. It is impressive going through NYC on your own bottom. East River side the historic Brooklyn (1883), Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges welcome you. Wonderful views of the Empire State, Chrysler and United Nations buildings. Pretty impressive. The island in the East River have colorful pasts. Roosevelt Island, home to the defunct NYC Lunatic Asylum, North Brother Island home to the Smallpox hospital and place where Typhoid Mary was held. Of course Rikers Island which still remains a prison. Travelling on the East River we hear an alert that Hilary Clinton will be “throwing her hat in the ring” for President on Roosevelt Island on Saturday. Whew, made it through the East River before the security mayhem. At 1615, we arrive at Manhassett Bay, where the city of Port Washington has free mooring balls available. We grab a ball, and drop our dinghy, “White Star” for the first time in nearly a month, to head ashore to provision with fresh produce. (These towns that have free docks or mooring balls have it figured out. Boaters mean revenue for local merchants. We spent $170 at the grocery store and $100 at the wine shop, while using none of the infrastructure but the mooring ball). End of editorial. Early to bed, as we have decided to push on to the East end of Long Island, a 13 hour journey tomorrow.