Friday, January 30, 2009

Leaving New York Astern

Today was one of those banner days that only cruisers get to experience - the sun was shining, the seas were calm and after 3 1/2 hours of navigational prep work the night before, the Gypsies crew conquered the ripping currents and commercial traffic that make up the East River, Hell Gate, the Battery and New York Harbor!

Tammy here by the way...

We moored last night in Little Neck Bay which sits at the very western tip of Long Island Sound - not much to see in terms of a town, but the sunset over the Throgs Neck Bridge was unbelievable!
The Bay provides the perfect jumping off point for what can be a treacherous run through New York. The currents and conditions in the East River and down into New York Harbor are legendary - more than one guidebook and fellow cruiser had warned us to make sure we took Hell Gate at slack tide (of course that gave us all of 4 minutes - yes there is only 4 minutes of slack tide at Hell Gate - that should tell you something!) We plotted our course working back from Hell Gate and tried to make the rest of the trip, which is no piece of cake, work with the tides and currents. On paper we looked good to go...

We threw off our mooring lines exactly at 10:35 a.m. - we were taking no chances at missing slack tide! As we went under the Throgs Neck Bridge, we fell in behind 6 or 7 other boats (obviously we all had the same idea and we were either all geniuses or all going down together). The trip up the East River was like a convoy. We're a little faster than most sailboats (not much but some) so we had to weave our way through - it felt like we were playing Frogger (come on, you all remember the old Atari game - guess I'm dating myself). Luckily there wasn't much commercial traffic coming our way - just a couple tankers, some tugs and about 50 ferries!

What a different way to see New York City - when we were working, it seemed that all we saw of the city was LaGuardia, conference rooms at midtown office buildings and the cabs rushing us from one to the other. Of course there was the occasional closing dinner where we went out on the town but we don't talk about those...largely because we don't remember them. Today we got to see New York in all its splendor - maybe that's just my rose colored sunglasses speaking but it sure seemed to rise up and greet us. Gypsies passed Rikers Island, Hell Gate, the Harlem River, and Roosevelt Island almost close enough to touch; we cruised under the Williamsburg, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Verrazano Narrows Bridges;'brooklyn-bridge-2.jpg' we got to see downtown, ground zero and Ellis and Liberty Islands. Can I just say how majestic lady liberty looks from the water?? 'statue-of-liberty.jpg'
OK so we had the Staten Island Ferry breathing down our stern when we passed her, but it somehow all added to the ambiance of the day. 'staten-island-ferry.jpg' We waved to John's daughter Jen, who works for Merrill Lynch (interesting times), as we passed her office building, all the while thanking the powers that be that we were in boat shoes and teeshirts not suits, ties or heels!

We then entered the Narrows, which is really the lower end of New York Harbor, named such because it is where all the water from the upper bay and rivers funnels down to a point under the Verrazano Narrows bridge causing some amazing currents. Gypsies normally rides at about 8 knots but today she hit 10+ - she was kicking up her heels. The Gypsies crew looked back at a city that so many of us New Englanders love to hate (we're at the top of the list when it comes to their sports teams) and even we had to admit the skyline was pretty spectacular.

Leaving New York astern was another milestone the Gypsies crew has accomplished - one more state on our trip south ticked off the list meaning we are closer to reaching those little latitudes on which this dream is based. 'ny-astern.jpg'
We are now sitting at anchor in Sandy Hook, New Jersey just outside New York Harbor in a very protected anchorage watching yet another amazing sunset.'sunset-in-sandy-hook.jpg'
I know they happen every day but they are each so spectacular in their own right. The Gypsies crew can't wait to get to the islands to see the green flash! Tomorrow's plan is to rise with the sun and put as much of New Jersey behind us as we possibly can. Even the charts identify New Jersey's shore as one sewer or drain after another - not exactly what we had in mind on this journey! While that MAY be selling NJ short (have you ever driven the turnpike?), there aren't many good anchorages along the NJ coast. We had been hoping to reach Cape May but that's a long trip for one day (about 14 1/2 hours), so we'll just have to make due with Absecon, a/k/a Atlantic City. I'm sure the crew of Gypsies will find something fun to do in the east coast version of sin city.

OK I'm back - Colleen just caught a flounder (or at least what we think is a flounder - we're still figuring the whole fishing thing out)!! Too small to keep but she's working on it, determined we'll have fish for dinner tonight. Luckily we've got back-up plans in case the fish don't cooperate! Cruising after all is all about being flexible and rolling with the waves that are thrown at you! Hopefully tomorrow's waves will be nice and calm!

For additional pictures click here to see our Flickr set.

No comments:

Post a Comment