The Loop III

Journey around America’s Great Loop

Dawn breaks – geeze did I really write that?  Anyway, an early start today, we’re going outside!  The next leg of the trip is to head out into the Atlantic Ocean and make our way up the New Jersey coast to New York.  It’s a long  trip for us so we have two choices – run into the night, making the turn into the Hudson to our chosen anchorage at Sandy Hook, or stop at Atlantic City.  Duh, we all know how that turned out.  Across from the casinos is a quiet bay where we can anchor.  The channel into the anchorage is so narrow, the fishermen pull their lines so we can pass.  Once again we are treated to a serene evening, the lights of Atlantic City, about a mile away and us, hovering over the hook enjoying another tranquil evening.

Day 2 OUTSIDE.  It didn’t get rough and it didn’t get ugly.  We had a beautiful run up the coast.  It was easy to understand the term ‘down to the shore’ when we’ve heard it from folks in NY City.  Beautiful sand beaches the entire way up the New Jersey coastline.  Making the turn into Sandy Hook, we dropped our hook in a lovely bay – the only boat in sight.

During dinner, I caught something out of the corner of my eye passing in front of our windscreen.  A massive tug and barge used for dredging was literally running over our anchor line.  Leaping up, I got on the radio and asked if the captain was lost.  “Nope, just looking for a place to spend the night.”  He anchored out several hundred yards away – but that first look as he passed so close pretty much finished off the few hairs I had that were lacking grey.

And now the fun.  Hudson river oh la la!! We’re going to New York City by boat!!  Sounds like fun don’t it?  We thought with an early start we could avoid the rush of ferry’s hustling between NJ and NY.  Well that was a dumb assumption.  They must start at 0’dark ugly because by the time we got near Manhattan they were EVERYWHERE.  So, we have a falling tide, the river running to the sea against us, 1,300 ferries jetting about, ships and barges who don’t care a hoot about a pleasure boat (nor should they, it’s our job to stay out of their way.)  But the sun is out and as we make a bend in the river, we see Lady Liberty standing tall in the distance.

Statue of Liberty

The First Mate exclaims “Pictures, we need pictures!!”  So weaving through the barges and ships and ferries we make our way across the river towards the lady in green.  Now ferries in NY are an interesting breed.  Back home in NC, they slowly pull away from the dock and lumber across the sound la-de-da.  Here?  Ferries are obviously mounted on recycled aircraft carrier decks and launched out of cubby holes in the shorline like F-14 Tomcats trying to break the sound barrier before their wheels are tucked in.  One minute I’m aiming for a ‘clear area’ to allow Jan to get some shots of the statue, 7 seconds later there’s a ferry bearing down on us like a PT boat escaping a strafing run from enemy aircraft.  Apparently there is no throttle on a NY ferry.  There’s an On and an Off switch.  On is throttle to the firewall, Off is for docking.

Add into the mix, the current is running to sea at an incredible rate, the wakes are 3 feet high and Shangri-La is dancing about as if she’s auditioning for the Ed Sullivan Show.  Meanwhile, down on the deck, Jan is hanging over the rail trying to get that perfect shot.  Fearless as usual, she’s all over the boat, running here and there mashing the shutter and giggling like a little girl.  Up on the bridge I’m wiping sweat out of my eyes, swinging back and forth hanging on for dear life.  I glance to my right and WHAT?? There’s two charter boats anchored in the midst of all this chaos with a half dozen souls on each, drowning menhaden hoping to catch fish.  Yes, they are fishing.  In the middle of the Hudson River.  In downtown New York City.  Pretty cool.

The trip north is scenic and actually very relaxing.  We find a slough out of the channel with enough depth and anchor out for the night.  One other boat is a quarter mile ahead, also tucked in for the evening.  What a day!

A stop highly recommended along the way, north of New York City is Half Moon Bay Marina.  Steve the dock master is actually a droid powered by quarter pound adrenaline tablets he breaks up and dissolves in his coffee.  We are the first looper boat in this season and he is so excited I’m afraid he’s going to have a stroke or piss himself before we get fully tied in.

For the next 3 weeks Steve did everything in his power to make our stay an exceptional event.  “Oh, and by the way, we turned our water on too soon and all the pipes are wrecked.”  The man went out and bought 600′ of garden hose and ran it out to our boat from the shore.  He took us shopping, he took us to the train station, he took our laundry to the laundromat and argued with me when I insisted on paying him.

Our next part of the journey is detailed in the First Mates blog, including more on our trip through New York.  You can find that here.  I’ll be skipping ahead (since we’re so far behind here) to our trip up the coast of Michigan.

This has been a wonderful trip and as we say each and every day. . .

Eat Life.


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