Monday, August 22, 2005
Goodbye NYC...Hello Long Island Sound
Good bye NYC. Hello Long Island Sound
It’s mid August and the only thing on my calendar is to be around Norfolk VI around November 1st to begin the trek south to Florida. Looking at an atlas I see that in rough numbers NYC to Norfolk direct is about the same as the length of Lake Michigan. ( I refer all distances back to how far things are on Lake Michigan!) Of course we are going to go up Delaware Bay and then down the Chesapeake which makes it longer. Still I have two and a half months. Simmer down NOW! On one hand this means that we could have definitely explored the North Channel of Lake Huron rather than ripping of 50 – 70 miles day like our stern was on fire. On the other hand this adventure was never really about exploring the Great Lakes. That’s where we’re from and we’ve both seen the Canadian wilderness more than once. Now we have the freedom to say, “yeah, let’s explore Long Island Sound before we head for the Chesapeake. So we are. But first…
Final thoughts on NYC… It’s wonderful. My daughter wants to live there which I totally understand and I think she and her husband will make that happen. I hope so…I want to visit! Central Park was immaculate. Riverside Park was too. We only barely scratched the surface of this wonderful town.
On Friday I saw that a particularly ugly yellow Catalina 27 had come in. It was clearly rigged for cruising so I hailed the guy and asked if he had any info on anchoring in the Sound. He did! We talked and poured over charts for a half and hour or more. Admitting that I didn’t have detailed charts of harbors or anchorages, just the big overview chart of the entire Sound, he loaned me his entire chart book! Cruisers are like this. Like when I gave away my guide to the Erie Canal to a couple heading the other way. We made arrangements as to how to give it back to him at the yacht club where he lives on his boat. Yeah, he’s been living aboard that 27 since ’93 . . . or ’83 he couldn’t remember. Odd lot that we are joining!
We waited for high tide on Saturday to make it through the opening to the 79th street Boat Basin. We’re actually heading for Long Island Sound now via the East River but checking the tides and currents table showed there was no way for me to go through a place called Hell Gate off the north end of Roosevelt Island where the current would be 5 knots against me. That’s called being at rest and burning diesel! So, thanks to some cruisers I met while in Castleton (remember that?) I learned that you can anchor off the state park behind the Statue of Liberty. We sailed south down the Hudson amongst LOTS of boat traffic. Huge tankers, barges, power boats, sailboats, ferry boats, Circle Line tour boats, huge cruise ships, and in the distance the big orange Staten Island Ferry. Fun and a little nerve wracking. Nice view of Ellis Island and its old architecture followed by lady liberty. She looks taller on TV. We found the buoys that lead you back to the state park and the launch ramp there. If friends hadn’t said that this was ok I would have never gone back there. The buoys are very close together and it just looks wrong. No other sailboats which always worries me. We got back to a little wider area and dropped the hook. No problem. Nobody kicked us out and it was an ok anchorage. Can’t actually see liberty from here but nice view of the Verazanno Narrows Bridge and all the huge boat traffic in New York Harbor.
In the morning we waited for 10:00 to get going. This would mean that we could go up the East River on the flood tide and get to Hell Gate around slack water. This worked. If you thought, “Wow, isn’t the East River ugly and dirty?” You’d be wrong. It is ugly and dirty with giant boards floating in it! You have to be sharp at the helm. Sue steered.
Around Hell Gate you curve to the east and pass under the Tribourough bridge, go between north and south brother island (abandoned house on the north…looks like an old orphanage or something.) and across the northern shore of Rikers Island of police drama fame. La Guardia Field is right there as well. Two more bridges to pass under and then you are more or less in the sound: Bronx-Whitestone and Throgs Neck. We found a little wind and sailed some finding our way to Manhassat bay
Manhassat bay is bordered on the west by Great Neck and the homes along there are right out of the God Father. No, not homes. Estates! There must be 500 sailboats down in this bay on mooring balls or anchored out. We found fuel and directions to town and the town dock where you can pick up a mooring ball. Unfortunately all were taken due to a race so we anchored beyond the fleet behind another sailboat doing the same. Hey wait a minute! That’s the boat we saw in Castleton. It’s Dan and Judy who live on their 33’ sailboat, Tortuga! We hailed them and had a nice chat. Turns out they were at 79th street the same time we were but were on a mooring ball…for free. How? Take the ball and keep your mouth shut! Who knew?
We’ll spend a day here looking around and taking it easy. Tomorrow we’ll go…someplace else!