June 25, 2001
It has obviously been a while since we have run across a library to send an e-mail. Ill see if I can capture the highlights since our last e-mail.
1. While in Port Washington, NY, we said a brief hello to a sailboat from St. Marys, Maryland! The boat was named Marvel, approximately 36. It was just pulling into the anchorage as a storm was hitting so we did not have the opportunity to talk to them that evening nor before we headed out early on Thursday morning. (Note for potential cruisers: we would recommend Port Washington over City Island as a place to stop outside of New York City either on the way to or back from Long Island Sound. Not only was the anchorage more pleasant, but the options on land were more extensive.)
2. The northbound Hudson River phase of our trip is over already! We had originally planned to run up the Harlem River to the Hudson River (versus going around Manhattan). However, after countless tries on both the VHF radio and via cell phone, we were unable to contact the bridge tender of the last railroad swing bridge nor to obtain local knowledge on the bridges opening schedule. The bridge only has a clearance of 5 closed so there was no way we could get to the Hudson if for some reason it would not open (we require 21 with the mast up). So rather than risk going all the way up the river to find the bridge would not open (and therefore having to turn back), we opted to go around Manhattan. This added an extra 2 hours to the trip and, wouldnt you know it, when we went by the entrance to the Harlem River on the Hudson, the bridge was open. Oh well - - we are flexible! But I tell you, the west side of Manhattan is a zoo - - ferries and tugs all over, a mess of confused seas from the boat wakes, helicopters overhead, etc. It was an interesting experience, but we were glad for the relative quiet further up the river.
3. Although all of our Hudson River travel days were rainy, we enjoyed the scenery immensely. On the southern end of the river, we were impressed by the Palisades. They are very majestic and we would love to see them on a clearer day. As you get mid-way up the river, the landscape changes to beautiful raw, high cliffs on both sides. Both freight and passenger trains are running almost constantly on both sides of the river with the freight trains carrying over 100 cars each. Then, as you got closer to Albany and Troy, there are more rolling hills as the river became less wide. All aspects of the land surrounding the river were lovely in their own way and we thoroughly enjoyed the river travel.
4. We stayed at Tarrytown Marina in Tarrytown, NY on Thursday night, 21 June. The marina and the town were very nice; we would recommend it as a stop-over. The second night we stayed at Hyde Park Marina near Poughkeepsie. Although the marina was nothing special, the restaurant was rather large, packed with locals, and the jazz band playing very good (and the chicken wings were outstanding!). We anchored on Schodack Creek, north of Coxsackle, NY, on the third night. The creek was extremely quiet with only a few hidden homes on each side - - and we must have spent two hours watching a set of three bald eagles after we anchored. Way cool. The last night was spent at the Albany Yacht Club so that we could stock up on provisions before heading into the New York Canal System, put the mast down in preparation for the canal and low bridges, and wash the last of the salt water from the boat. Although the yacht club is smaller than we expected, it is nice.
5. One story on the Hudson River and West Point (which the boaters might appreciate). Here is the situation: the wind is blowing 15 20 knots. It is threatening to rain. And the dock at West Point is uneven and looks as if it is not long from breaking apart - - not a pretty sight. But what the heck, it is a free dock for the night (which we confirmed with the West Point dockmaster). So we dock into the wind with minimal effort. However, because of the odd configuration of the dock, we found that we had to more/less balance the boat on a single group of pilings standing out from the dock with nothing but 2 fenders struggling to hold the boat off. Well, we couldnt see worrying about this all afternoon and night so we decide to bypass walking around West Point (which is still VERY impressive from the water, by the way), and push on up the Hudson. Now comes the tough part - - we are a single engine boat that only backs to starboard (no matter what you do!). We, unfortunately, are tied on the starboard side with a strong wind pushing us into the dock. In other words, there is no good way out without either forcing the bow or stern into the dock. After much strategizing, we maneuvered her off the dock with no damage to the boat or injuries to the crew (and there was no way we could have hurt the dock any more than it was!) and we were on our way.
As a side note, we had our first engine situation this past week. On Friday, Brian noticed a bit of transmission fluid leaking when we were underway; nothing major but enough to bother him. But, with a new minor adjustments, all seems well again. Overall, Brian is extremely happy with the way the engine is performing; in fact he thinks that it is running better than ever. I believe it - - he did a lot of work on it before we left.
We will be staying in Albany tonight because we heard this morning that locks 8 - 13 are closed due to all of the recent rain. Therefore, the first 7 locks are backed up. So we and three four other trawlers also staying here are planning a BBQ for this evening. We'll make the most of no-problem delay to wax, do some maintenance, etc.