We finally raised the anchor about 8:15 am heading for Sandy Hook, NJ. It seemed as though we were on the widest part of the river, actually resembling a lake. The closer we got to New York City the heavier the barge traffic became. We started out moving along at a decent speed because it was going into low tide. As we approached the George Washington bridge from the north at slack tide, we noticed blue flashing lights along the western half of the river. We counted six boats, NYPD, NJPD, Westchester Sheriffs and Coast Guard from the various areas, not to mention police cars driving along the shore. We figured there must have been a 'jumper' and they were trying to recover the body. Way too much excitement!! What else might be in store for us before this day is through?
Neither Chuck nor I have ever been to New York City, so it was pretty cool cruising by Yonkers, New York City, and Jersey City on the opposite shore. The NYC skyline is awesome and we found out later that it's even more so at night when the light's of the buildings are on! What a busy place....ferries zipping from shore to shore, and from the Statue of Liberty back up the river. There were many barges being pushed up the river while others were being towed down. It's hard to believe but there were still signs from Hurricane Sandy that did so much destruction to the area last October.
As we motored by West 57th Street Boat Basin, we checked out the boats on the mooring balls to see if Challenge IV was there. We had told them that maybe we would join them provided they were still in New York. Of the 50 available balls, there were 21 sailboats in that mooring area but Challenge wasn't one of them. We were surprised that the moorings were to the north of the boat basin and not inside the bulkhead! Many boaters like to stay here because it's only $30 per night, it has a launch service or you can dinghy in to a fairly secure dinghy dock.....and once on land it's close to various forms of transportation that will take you into the city. If you want to stay cheap in New York City, this is the way to go!!
The storm that wasn't suppose to hit NYC until 4:00 pm rolled in at 1:00. Try dodging the water taxis, and barges when your not familiar with the area and the visibility turns almost to nil. I quickly lowered our enclosure panels and we at least stayed dry! We also had to turn on our running and steaming lights, that's how bad it got! What a welcome to the city of New York City! So, here are some pictures that I took before and shortly after the storm. You can see it was a dreary afternoon.....
|Sandy's new trawler/w dinghy!|
As we made our way to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, the sun tried to come out. However, last was short lived and it remained cloudy and a bit gloomy. As seeing Lady Liberty we had a hard decision to make....do we continue to Atlantic Highland Yacht Club on Sandy Hook, or turn back and anchor just north of Ellis Island. I checked the radar and it looked like NYC was going to add 'insult to injury'....another storm cell was approaching.....so at 2:00 pm and 5 3/4 hours on the water, we turned back to a very small anchorage.
This anchorage, just like the Active Captain reviews stated, was very choppy until the Statue of Liberty ferries quick running....and they didn't stop running soon enough in my opinion! However, there is a great view of the skyline from here and we were entertained not once but twice with sailboat races. In both cases, the race committee plopped one of the race buoy's about 6 feet from our boat. Why? Who knows, maybe they needed an obstacle to add excitement to the race! At least none of the boats collided with us when they made their turn around the buoy. LOL. The one fleet of boats were 26 foot Colgates.
Once all the racing was over, we decided to drag anchor and move closer to the island that house the coast guard. We got up as close to it as we dared because of the immediate water to the island was restricted and boats were to keep out. It's a good thing that we moved.....the storm front hit us with a vengeance! The winds along the front of the storm were raging at 30+ kts. It rained so hard that all the lights we could see on the cities skyline as well as the lights along the walkway behind us were gone!! We were afraid that our anchor would start to drag. The winds had us heeling just like we were out sailing and of course swinging in all directions on our anchor line. It was so bad that I put on my life vest....and so did Chuck....so you know it was bad. When you start turning and swinging on your anchor line, it gives you a different perspective of your surroundings. We thought we were getting close to the rocks. We wish we had some type of warning on our chartplotter to let us know if our anchor drags, but we don't. Chuck did turn our chartplotter on and it did track the movement of Happy Hours II and it was showing that she was staying within the radius of a circle.....so we were holding! Needless to say, we stayed in the cockpit for quite a long length of time until the storm passed and everything settled. I didn't sleep well that night and went to bed with my clothes on! I couldn't wait until morning came to leave our little anchorage....of course we were the only boat there.