More of Long Island Sound then Goodbye New York 9.14.2017

After Huntington, we went to Oyster Bay and anchored for two nights. I LOVED IT. I loved the setting as we saw beautiful sunsets. I loved the quiet – I got out the air-chair and sat and read my book and also watched a group of rowers going back and forth in the bay. We put down the kayak for the first time and kayaked over to a small beach where some others sailors and a local mom and her daughter were enjoying the water. We could see hundreds of minnows and small crabs and the little girl was catching snails, which fascinated me.

On our way back to the boat, we stopped to talk to a couple on a sail boat that was anchored behind us – of course that depends on wind direction and your frame of reference. In Cleveland or in the Lake Erie Islands if we met another couple sailing, we assumed (and were usually correct in our assumption) that they would not be Jewish. Here in New York, we have met many other Jewish sailors – and this couple was no exception. In fact they had a Cleveland connection – Jewish geography is a wonderful thing. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised – but I was.

We dinghied into town with Karen and Hugh and had a beer at this brewery that had just opened in a new location. Our dinghy is much slower than theirs – a recurring theme. They allowed dogs in the brewery and so could not have a kitchen. I think this is a weird choice. You can bring in food from other establishments however. We played Jenga – which made me think of Karen and Brian and our huge Jenga set that they are babysitting for us. I hope you are using and enjoying it. We are a competitive group – it adds to the pleasure.

After Oyster Bay we tried out a few other ports on long island sound– Stamford, Conn. and Mamaroneck, NY, waiting for Hurricane Irma to clarify her position and the weather forecast to become more predictable. Thankfully, everyone that we needed to check in with seems to have weathered the storm with only minor incidences. We walked around the towns and searched out good spots to enjoy a late afternoon brew. What a great sailing tradition.

Stamford was particularly challenging as we tried to find a moderately priced place to have dinner and meet my friend Andy and his wife Leslie. Andy and I were Israel war volunteers together in 1973. We have kept up contact all these years and every few years have the pleasure of getting together and catching up. We finally settled on a place call Sign of the Whale, which was recommended to us by two women who happened down our dock and appeared to be crew on a 100ft pleasure craft that was tied up at the end of the dock in Stamford. We started on the roof top bar where Bob got our drinks at happy hour prices and Hugh did not! Then on to the restaurant where the food was pretty good except for my dish which I found very salty – but we were the only ones in the restaurant and it took over an hour and a half for us to get our main dishes. The company was great – which helped pass the time – and they did comp the appetizers. Needless to say I would not recommend the place.

I would recommend Brewers Marina in Mamaroneck both for the service provided by Jackie, the office administrator, and the excellent showers – We have become connoisseurs of marina facilities and I can tell you that a clean shower and maybe some sample size shampoo bottles left for travelers makes a big impression.

This morning, despite rain in the forecast, we left Long Island Sound for Sandy Hook NJ. When we came up the East river into the sound I laughed about an area they call “Hell Gate” (has a reputation for being very dangerous) because we cruised through at slack current without even noticing we were there. Today, going down river was a different story. The guide book said to try and plan arrival at Throgs Neck Bridge two hours after High tide. This would have necessitated our getting up at 4:00 AM and leaving the dock in the dark – which we did not feel comfortable doing. So we left at 6:20 am, not knowing exactly what the delay would mean for our arrival at Hell Gate. Well we found out! Right before we got to Hell Gate we were going 11 knots!!

Knot meter showing 11 knots - this is no fish tale.

Our normal cruising speed is 5-6 knots. That meant the current provided up to 5 knots of added speed. We cruised through with no problem and continued down the East River, passing numerous ferries, barges and tugs that ply the New York harbor. So now we can say “we’ve been to hell and back” (LOL). The harbor was noticeably noisy and boucy after the relative quiet of the Sound. We said hello and goodbye to Lady Liberty and proceeded under the Verrazano Bridge into the lower bay of New York Harbor. Once we passed the bridge the water got calmer with far fewer commercial vessels.

Commercial traffic in New York Harbor.

We are now sitting on a mooring ball at Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club near Sandy Hook New Jersey. The mooring field is full, calm, peaceful and gives us a nice view of the bay. Tomorrow we will proceed south to Manasquan. Hugh had suggested that because we got to Sandy Hook early in the day we might proceed south today and skip Sandy Hook altogether. This was a reasonable option – but we passed. We promised ourselves that we would not proceed until we felt comfortable with our knowledge about where we were going, the tides, current and any navigational hazards. The winds were not expected to be favorable this afternoon and we did not feel comfortable with our knowledge of the next stop. That is our homework for tonight.

A few observations:

  • It can be exhausting making plans each day.This includes, where to dock, anchor, moor, checking the navigational hazards, menu planning and restaurant selection in cities where you have no idea about anything.I am getting better at it but am thankful that Karen and Hugh help shoulder some of this.

  • I like mooring and anchoring much better that being at a dock.The catch here is that I like the amenities that a dock gives you – unlimited water and electric service.It seems that the best mix for me is one day in a dock for every two moored or anchored.Our boat is under served with water and the holding tank.We only carry 60 gallons of water.Hugh and Karen have 120 gallons.We don’t have room to carry more water if Bob is to keep his space for his tools.60 gallons is fine for 2-3 days including short showers.It will not be enough for a week without either refilling or using a water maker.Of course this is my estimate as we have never actually run out of water. The holding tank is only 12 gallons. No need for description.

  • Bob and I both participate when we are motoring or sailing.This means that we help each other with navigating or just being another set of eyes.As a result, I don’t usually read or write the blog while we are underway.The time goes by so quickly and sometimes I wonder what I have done – but the answer is boating!

  • I miss family and friends.Spending time on the phone catching up is very important.

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