These photos were taken on 22 and 23 September 2012 while my best friend Rich and I moved his boat from Kingston, N.Y. to Toms River, N.J. Rich has little experience on the open ocean and asked me to come along, just in case.
A team of two makes the whole thing self-contained. On Friday we drove to the boat. We drove two cars, dropping mine off at the Marina in Toms River on the way up, consolidated into one car, then drove the other to Kingston, NY. That took care of transportation logistics. Friday involved about 6 hours of driving.
These photos are from Rich's camera since I left mine sitting by where I keep my car keys (doh!). I tried getting a few using my mobile phone but it's a dumb phone with a low resolution, crappy camera and they aren't worth keeping. I like my dumb phone otherwise. I can go a week without charging it. That's a nice thing when you are cruising and won't tie to 110V A/C for several days.
We got underway Saturday about 0730, roughly a half hour after sunrise. We travelled south on the Hudson at about 17 kts, except in the no wake zones. It is amazing how much faster a transit goes when you can do that! We covered more than twice as many miles as I do with a day of motoring. we actually stayed slightly ahead of our PIM points since I had assumed a 15 kt SOA.
The countryside is truly beautiful in the Hudson Highlands. Every time I turned around, there was another big, old mansion or a beautiful building nestled in the woods on the bluffs. There was a fair amount of boating activity. I saw some sculling teams out practicing on Saturday near Poughkeepsie NY. I don't know if they were from Vassar or from Marist College. It was clearly practice, not a race. They were not wearing team a jersey, and in one case there was a coach in a fishing skiff shouting instructions as they were moving slowly and practicing technique.
We saw a number of sailboats on the way too. With a 15 kt true wind I was surprised that so few of them actually had sails up (but please don't debate that old saw again).
We arrived at NYC in the early afternoon. The sun was shining, the sky was incredibly blue, and the place was bustling. You could feel the energy all around you on the water. Here's the Manhattan skyline as we approached.
We stayed overnight in Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City, NJ, opposite Manhattan. This landing, home to a number of businesses, is the closest one to the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. I highly recommend this upscale marina. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, numerous, and energetic. We topped off the tanks (and I gasped at having used 110 gallons of fuel for that leg) then moved into our slip. The dock hands do an interesting thing when they tie you up: they braid the bitter end of the dock lines to keep them out of the way just like my men used to do in the Navy with electrical extension cords when storing them. They claim it protects the lines better than the flaking down the flemish coil techniques do. I call BS, but it's pretty. I think I'll stick with the flemmish coil.
The marina fairways are narrow and it was a bit of a squeeze getting into position, but once there, the floating docks are very nice. They have super facilities and a nice store. Being a coffee hound from my Navy days and even before from long nights in college, I bought yet another coffee mug as a useful keepsake.
This is the new World Trade Center, still under construction, as seen from our slip in Liberty Landing Marina. The brilliant autumn afternoon sun made it a bright and beautiful picture, don't you think?
And, of course, I couldn't resist the offer put my ugly puss in a shot with the Manhattan skyline in the background. So here's me, being the rube tourist. No, I'm not sunburned. The flushing is a side effect of a medication.
We had planned to take the water taxi into Manhattan and eat at the Winter Gardens, but neither of us felt like doing much when we got there. So we did what most power boaters do: ordered a pizza! Stella's Pizza delivered right to the slip after we called the marina security and asked them to let the driver in. I called from my mobile phone, but mistakenly left my home land line number as I usually do when ordering a pizza. My wife was very confused when she got the delivery call. Happily, she's a smart woman and put it together so she gave them my cell phone number. I still haven't figured out what I did to deserve her or how she has put up with me for 32 years, but I'm grateful nonetheless. How is it pizza in NYC always tastes better than any other place in the whole wide world? Rich claims it's the water. I think they all NYC pizza makers are part of a conspiracy. They use a secret, highly addictive ingredient to keep us coming back again and again.
We got underway a little before 0730 on Sunday. Leaving the landing, we turned south, moving past Liberty State Park and into the Upper Bay. Of course, you can't pass Liberty Island without taking a pick of France's most famous give to the USA! We got ours about 0750. The sun being low in the sky made for some unusual lighting conditions. I read the history of Liberty Island and its famous statue in Wikipedia.
Interesting! Why don't we study history more?
Just south of Liberty Island is the equally famous Ellis Island.
. Below is a picture of the beautiful but imposing Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Reading about it revealed anew to me how what you think is true may not be. My family immigrated to the USA in the mid 1800s, spurred to leave Ireland by the great famine. I know they came into the country in NYC. All my life I had assumed they came went through Ellis Island, but I now understand that they did not since Ellis Island only started serving as an immigration station in 1892. They probably went through the Castle Garden Immigration Depot in Battery Park, known more formally as Castle Clinton.
My family did not make the usual choice to stay in New York City, opting instead to go immediately to Lebanon, MO because they knew someone there. Many of the Donnelly side of my family still live in somewhere in MO.
As we moved farther south through the upper bay, we approached the Verrazano Narrows Bridge
that separates the upper bay from the lower bay. The picture below was taken from the Upper Bay as we approached from the north.
This double-decker suspension bridge carries I-278 traffic over 6 lanes each way between Brooklyn and Staten Island. The Narrows is a choke point and is normally pretty crowded with both commercial traffic and pleasure boats, but we went through a little after 8 AM on Sunday, and the area was practically deserted. I was pleased as I wasn't looking forward to dealing with all the traffic.
We left at the beginning of a flood tide and wind from the NNW at 20 kts, so there was some wave action in the bays. As we moved from the Lower Bay into Raritan bay, we kept to the auxiliary channel next to the Ambrose channel. We moved into the Ambrose channel itself as we approached the Romer Shoal (take a look at the charts in Active Captain if you don't know the area), and for good reason! There were breakers over the shoal areas but not in the channel.
Once we got out well past Sandy Hook, we turned South. Normally I like to stay at least a couple of miles out to sea. Distance == safety in my mind. The water is deeper so the waves have a longer period and we can heave to without worrying about being blown ashore if something happens, giving us plenty of time to fix whatever went wrong (or just to eat lunch). We didn't do that this time, though. With rollers coming in from a storm at sea a few days before and that kind of wind blowing against them, the seas were lumpy and the ride was rough for a 34 footer. We found smoother water about a half mile of shore where there wasn't much fetch and so got back up to 18 kts to keep our assumed 15 Kt SOA.
It only took a couple of hours to make our way down to Manasaquan Inet. We had looked up local knowledge on Active Captain and didn't have any problems with running the Inlet. We continued our course until we were perfectly lined up with the inlet and then made the run in. Easy Peasy!
Once into Manasaquan River itself, we slowed to 7 kts, and again down to 5 kts in no wake zones. The only bridge I was worried about was the first one we encountered: a railroad bridge. It is a bascule type bridge with only 3 feet of clearance. It is normally open unless there's a train coming, so it would be rotten luck to have to wait, eh? Well, we almost did. No sooner were we though it than the sirens went off, the bridge came down, and we could hear a train in the distance. My Irish luck almost failed me. I'm gonna have words with that Leprechaun! A tricky little devil, that one!
We followed the channel around and took the Point Pleasant Canal south. It is part of the New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway, which intself is part of the East Coast ICW. We stayed strictly in the channel of the NJICW until we reached Barnegat Bay. During the time in the ICW, Rich, who did all the driving (it is his boat, after all), did visual piloting and I did navigation using my hand-held GPS. I was able to tell him water depths, upcoming turns, courses to steer, and the distance to the nearest shoal. Sure it was largely redundant, but the two different methods confirmed each other and gave him some good information when the day shapes were far apart or even missing. He was also running Navionics on his iPad, which he mounts to the left of his helm, but he would only glance at it on occasion. It uses bluetooth to hook up to one of those hockey puck GPS receivers. It works pretty well -- there is a 12V outlet on his helm within reach of the iPad power cord.
Finally we turned up Toms River and navigated our way to Shore Point Marina where he'll keep his boat for the next month. Again we stopped at the gas dock where he put in a breathtaking 130 gallons. No wonder he only wanted to come this far and then overwinter on the hard. The gas bills turn him into a pauper!
We moved into his slip stern in, and it was easy. These fixed wooden docks are just the right height for a boat his size. I really like the staff at Shore Point. It feels like a family run business -- friendly and relaxed.
Monday was a driving day. We went back to Kingston so Rich could get his car, then we headed south again to our separate homes in Northern VA. That was 9 hours of driving, all told.
Well, that's the story so far. We'll get the rest of the way to the Chesapeake next Spring. I'll report on that transit then.