As we last left you we had anchored just outside of the quaint town of Kingston, New York. It felt as though we had anchored in the middle of the Hudson, but we certainly weren’t. We were in a sort of a bay and far outside of the green buoy which was the shipping lanes. It was beautiful at night being at anchor and watching the tugs and barges go by, all the while watching the lights of the commuter train whizzing by on the east shore of the river.
We intended to stay two nights around Kingston, so on Thursday, Aug. 23, we loaded up the dinghy and went ashore. We got the lay of the land and after visiting the Visitor’s Center for maps we stopped for coffee and pastries before we headed off to the Stockade District about two miles away. It was already hot at this point, being mid-morning already, but we reached the Stockade District which boasted many old buildings and much history of the area. One of the oldest buildings was the Reformed Church with its surrounding cemetery. Many of the graves dated back to the late 1600’s, and the church’s last construction period was in the 1770’s. On the way back to the dinghy we stopped for a beer and mozzarella sticks to celebrate the day and returned to the boat. Definitely a fun place to have visited and act like tourists.
Friday, Aug. 24, we pulled up anchor and headed south again. Along the river we saw many amazing homes and passed the Vander Bilt Mansion and the US Culinary School. Lots of history along the river! We anchored just south of Newburgh in a small bend/bay which had a wonderful little park we could pull up to for Max to go ashore. What we don’t do for this dog!
Saturday was a great day as we continued south. Pretty much right away, and around the bend from where we anchored, was the West Point Military Academy. It was very impressive with both more modern looking buildings, but also the old fortress keeping sentry on the enemies.
Just prior to anchoring for the night in Haverstraw Bay, we stopped for fuel and to top off our water tanks at the Haverstraw Marina. Unfortunately it was early afternoon on a Saturday and there were many, many boats vying for a spot on the fuel dock. It was very hectic and hurried, but we managed it. Another reason to stop there was to pick up a new navigation card for our chartplotter. I had searched high and low to find a place to get the Navionics+ charts and Samalot Marine, located in the Haverstraw Marina, had one saved for us. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay at the fuel dock to walk way around the marina to get it, so we had to take off and tie up to the dock at the restaurant which was right on the other side of the peninsula where the Samalot Marine store was. It was very shallow at the dock and we had a wind pushing us away from it, not to mention a strange current, but we somehow got tied up. There may have been a “discussion” or two between Sharon and I as we pulled to the dock, but the important part is we made it, and worked through the issue later. (Let’s just say Sharon is a saint to put up with me!) Also at Samalot Marine was a package for me with my repaired glasses. I had broken them a couple of weeks earlier and mailed them home to my daughter. She brought them to RX Optical where they replaced the frames and my son-in-law 2-day shipped them to Samalot, where we knew we would be. I have spare glasses I used, but it’s good to have a couple of pair just in case. I also picked up some other filters and things I wanted to keep in stock on the boat. (Can you really have too many filters?!)
Somehow we got away from that crazy dock, in only 6 – 7 feet of water, and headed to the east side of the river there and anchored at a very popular place in Haverstraw Bay just north of Croton Point. There was a great park we could dinghy to, and it was a fun place to watch the many, many weekend boaters come and go. That evening we did pull our dinghy in to the Half Moon Marina docks to let Max off easier and we met a family, the Mueller’s, on their 50’ Beneteau, Lady Rae, from Milwaukee, WI, who were also headed down to the Bahamas. We saw their boat at Hop O Nose, where they also had their mast stepped, so it was cool to meet them.
We stayed two nights in Haverstraw Bay and on Monday, Aug. 27, once again headed south to New York City! We had heard about the 79th Street Boat Basin where boats 40’ and under could tie onto a mooring ball for only $30 a night. It was on the New York side of the Hudson, so we sort of convinced them we were just a tad over 40’ and they let us stay there. We had intended to anchor in the Liberty Park anchorage area just past the Statue of Liberty, but it was on the New Jersey side and getting to the New York side would have been a pain. So about 12:30 pm already we were safely tied up to the mooring ball and set to go. Only later on did we realize how fortunate we were to get on the mooring ball earlier rather than around 4:30 pm! The current running through there at that time was absolutely incredible! You’ll hear about it in the next paragraph or two. Sheesh!
We stayed on the mooring ball for three nights in order to spend time in New York. There was a rickety dingy dock we tied up to within a locked setting so all was good when we went ashore. They also had a shower and bathroom and free laundry machines! There was nothing fancy or new about this place, but it worked fine.
For brevity’s sake, and because you all know all about New York City, we spend two days walking around and seeing sights. Unfortunately it was 92+ and extremely humid each day, but it wasn’t raining and cold. We tried to keep as hydrated as possible and just took it easy as much as possible. We ended up walking just over 12 miles on Tuesday and just under 12 miles on Wednesday, but we saw a lot. We saw the 9/11 Memorial, Statue of Liberty, Battery Park, Financial District and even spent some time in Central Park. As our washdown pump stopped working as we lifted anchor in Haverstraw Bay we found the West Marine store and picked up a new one. Interestingly, the warranty on the old one would expire the next day, so yes, I did walk back, 3.5 miles one way, on Wednesday morning to return the old one to get the refund. The new one only took a few minutes to replace on Tuesday evening and is working great. Wednesday morning Sharon did laundry as I went to West Marine and in the afternoon we walked back to Central Park where Sharon then toured the Metropolitan Museum of Art while Max and snoozed in the park.
Oh, on both days we returned to our boat on the dinghy about 4:30 – 5:00 pm. This was the time when the current was ridiculous, almost 2 knots, from the north but both times there was a big wind coming from the south. We had to head north from the dinghy dock to the boat, and because of the wind we had waves coming from behind us. The current was going the opposite direction and was strong! It took us two attempts on Tuesday to even grab the boat – not to mention hanging on to it for dear life! – and Wednesday it took three attempts. I had to almost go into “ramming speed” to approach the boat but yet time the waves where were with us so we didn’t pummel into the boat. I don’t even know how to explain what it was like as it was so crazy! It was all we could do to even hang onto the dinghy sideways to offload, and sort of fall onto the boat. Don’t know how we did it, especially with laundry, groceries and Max!
Because of the extreme heat, and because we wanted to move on, we left the 79th Street Boat Basin about 8:45 am on Thursday, Aug. 30, and headed south to the Sandy Hook point area to anchor. For the first 6 – 8 miles we passed the bulk of New York City, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. How amazing to do this! There were a lot of ferries and barges and other boats all going back and forth, but with a watchful eye, and thankfully with our AIS, we made it through and south of the City. At 12:15 pm, and only 23.6 nautical miles, we anchored in Horseshoe Bay just south of the Sandy Hook point, by the Atlantic Highlands, NJ, area in a protected cove. Just prior to reaching the Sandy Hook point we could look east and see we were just entering the Atlantic Ocean! This little ol’ boat from Muskegon, MI, out on the Atlantic! Wow!
We hope to stay here now for a couple of days and find a good weather window to head south along the New Jersey Coast. We had originally thought about turning north and head to Boston, but after re-assessing this and feeling like we were on the go so much, we decided to slow it down a bit and skip Boston. Our daughter, Kristi, is actually returning this weekend to live in Boston again after a year in Grand Rapids, so it would have been so cool to visit her, but it’s just better that we not attempt that at this point. When we leave this area we are somewhat limited in where we can pull in before Cape May. It sounds like there are three spots we could pull in if need be, Manasquan, Barnegat and Atlantic City, but the first two sound like pretty narrow inlets and very few possibilities for anchoring. We’ll see!