Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Poignant Cruising Day Through NYC

We woke to a lovely day on Monday 9/11 and took time to walk the quiet neighborhood by this beach because we had to time our arrival at the Throgs Neck Bridge at a bit before high tide which was at 3:33pm and we had about 3 hours to cruise to get there.  The plan was to time our trip on the East River to pick up current rather than fight it through New York.  The East River has some serious current that is oposite of the current direction in the Long Island Sound so it takes some planning.  We also checked with the Coast Guard to be sure there were no restrictions because it was 9/11.  So on we went for a fairly uneventful day of cruising.

This is the Sands Point Light House that faces the Throgs Neck bridge.  

We passed the infamous Rikkers Island while watching a plane take off from LaGuardia Airport. This island has multiple buildings that must house a ridiculous number of New York inmates; such a waste of people's lives.  

Then we passed this unidentified ship kinda building; Any guess what this is? 

This is the view as we entered the area called "Hell Gate" which is close to where the Harlem River meets the East River and has the heaviest current so we timed it perfectly to allow the current to push us along toward the Triborough Bridge. 

The cream colored building in the center is a medical center for animals!!  Only in New York would there be a building that size dedicated to pet medical care! 

Some kind of famous Pepsi sign that asked to be in a photograph! 

Disappointed when we passed the UN which was 2 days away from a General Session and had no flags or other international decorations!  What's with that? 

Then on past the Empire State Building and lots of other skyscrapers. 

Looking back over the stern after we went under the (front to back in the picture) Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, and Williamsburg Bridge, and finally arrived at the Battery.  

Passing the Battery with a glimpse of One World Trade Center.

1 World Trade Center stands tall amongst the rest of New York's Best! 

Then we proceeded past Miss Liberty as she gazes at 1 World Trade Center.  

And navigated the shallow chanel to our anchorage past Liberty Park with flags at half mast.  

And then to our anchorage behind the Statue of Liberty.  Hard to believe we are in such calm water not far from the ever busy New York Harbor.  This place is a well kept secret!  We were lucky to have fellow loopers fill us in on this location!

A quiet night in our peaceful anchorage.   

Looking at the lighted Verrazano Narrows Bridge. 

And New York City's Tribute in Light which marks the location of the TwinTowers.  We could see this clearly from our anchorage and the lighted tower to the left is One World Trade Center.  Quite an amazing sight for us. 

Then on Tuesday morning 9/12 we left our anchorage to head up the Hudson and again passed Lady Liberty.

The Statue of Liberty stands tall and proud of our great nation.  What a wonderful experience over the past 24 hours!  

Reunion on Shelter Island

There has been a delay in posting this blog by about a week due to malfunction of the iPad keyboard and then lack of time.  Just too busy enjoying the cruising life!!  Back on the Cape, we grappled with balancing weather and wave conditions in Buzzards Bay and Block Island Sound with our desire to visit some places along the Rhode Island and Connecticut coast and guess what won out?  The weather and wave reports.  So we decided that on Saturday 9/2 we would travel the entire 102 miles from Kingman Marina to Shelter Island because we had a one day window before wind would greatly pick up and waves grew to heights of 3'-5' and later in the week to 5'-8'.  Go figure how waves could get that large so close to shore and not in the actual wide open Atlantic.  But we have to believe the predictions and not get ourselves into uncomfortable conditions.  We headed out at 7am (about when we get up to use the head and go back to sleep!) and arrived at Shelter at 5:30.  Our longest day so far! But as the week progressed with windy conditions, we were glad we made the right call.  Our reason to get to Shelter by the weekend of 9/8-9/10 was this:
A reunion of long time friends who also happen to be slightly "old"!!   Al went to elementary school with some of them and they were all friends through high school.  Not all the guys could make it and we specifically missed our buddy Dean and his great wife Diana.  Dean was the guy who was first mate to Erik in 2012 when InSpeyered 2 made her voyage from Florida to home in Tennessee.  But we had lots of fun over the weekend trying to remember old times!  We scored a mooring for the 8 nights in Dering Harbor through my long time best friend, Megan whose husband is the guy in the middle of the "guy picture".  
Megan and I go back to 5th grade!  She has spent every summer of her life on Shelter Island and I enjoyed visits while she was there so Shelter is a special place for us.  

Nick has some sage advice for his old pal Al as we finished up a great dinner around Meg and Charlie's dining room table.  His Italian instensity is captured in this picture!  

On Saturday we took the group for a lunch cruise around the Island.  Al loves to show off his boat and demonstrate the electronics to anyone who will pay attention! 

Since we had a whole week to hang out and wait for the reunion to begin, we got caught up on boat chores and I added working on the generator to my growing list of first mate skills!  

My small stature allows me to climb to the back of the engine room to work an old zinc out and replace it with a fresh one.  Of course I was under strict observation and orders from the Captain! 

So the week was spent partly enjoying time with Meg and Charlie's family over Labor Day weekend and then more quiet time walking the Island and spending time with Megan.  It was a lovely week.  Above is our view of the Shelter Island Yacht Club and Dering Harbor as we left Sunday morning 9/10.  

Going through Plum Gut, a relatively narrow cut out to Long Island Sound, was met by a "confused" sea.  This happens when the wind blows one way and the strong current runs the other and the water doesn't know which way to go!  (My non scientific version of this condition). But InSpeyered plowed through without a problem and we encountered a calm Long Island Sound for a rather boring 8 hour cruise the 78 miles to Huntinton Bay to find our anchorage off Sand City.
Sunset Sunday night just off the Long Island Sound.  In planning the trip down the East River from Long Island Sound to New York Harbor, we had to check several things out including the security closings of the river in the area of the United Nations because the General Session begins mid September and there are all kinds of restrictions when all the dignitaries are present.  In making the phone call to the Coast Guard we realized quite suddenly that the day we would make the trip was Monday 9/11.  Yup the real 9/11 and we were heading to New York!!  If we had tried to plan that, it wouldn't have worked; it was just pure coincidence.  The next posting will document our trip through NYC on such a poignant day.  In the mean time, as we passed the week on Shelter, we closely watched Irma and worried about Erik who now lives in Ft. Lauderdale.  Since we went through Matthew last year, we could feel his anxiety in the decision making process.  And Sunday night we received this picture and had instant relief that he had ridden out the storm in safety! 
Erik under a bridge on the ICW in Ft. Lauderdale celebrating that the storm was moving on and he could finally get out of the dark, shuttered house where he stayed that weekend.  Freedom for Erik!  

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Week With Friends on the Cape

On Friday, 8/25 we upanchored and headed a short 10 miles into the Boston Harbor to tie up at a slip at Constitution Marina.  This is a repeat stop for us since it is a great marina in a good location.  We had two priorities for this stop.  One was to pick up our weekend cruising guests, Lynn and Rich who were on their way via commuter bus from Cape Cod.  And the other was to have dinner with my nephew, Matt and his fiancĂ©, Lindsay.  Just as we were getting our lines set, a friendly boater walked by with a welcoming greeting.  Oddly enough, this marina has 110 livaboard cruisers who use their boats as home all year long in Boston.  Sounds cold and dreary to me but apparently they have a great little community and love boat life even when it snows!!  My new friend was on her way to the grocery so off I went with her while Al finished settling the boat.  I love how our needs find ways to be met so easily!
All went smoothly with preparing for and meeting our guests and with a local recommendation for a good Italian restaurant in Boston's North End, we headed out for a delicious but noisy dinner Friday night.  Turns out it was the beginning of a big Italian festival weekend!  Thus the noisy dinner!
The streets were packed, the traffic was crazy and it was good we had a reservation for our dinner!  But the food was authentic and tastey.

We walked back to the boat so Lindsay could have a tour and to have some time when we could actually hear each other speak! Matt looks a lot like my brother in law, Peter, who is his dad but he has some height from the Johnson side of our family! 
Saturday Lynn and Rich enjoyed their first time to wake up in a gently rocking boat to a blue sky day and to top it off, it was Rich's birthday.  We enjoyed a walk up Bunker Hill to scout out a Whole Foods Store to find some special birthday breakfast food and had a leisurely morning on the fly bridge with the view of the USS Constitution. 

The USS Constitution is a Navy frigate built in 1797.  And, no we have stayed next to it twice now and never took a tour; perhaps we will next time in Boston.  We took off late morning for the inaugural cruise for Lynn and Rich on InSpeyered 2 to traverse the Massachusetts Bay to the Cape Cod Bay.  Luckily we had Lynn on board with her good camera and  picture taking skills to document  the trip!  (Lynn was the photographer who captured the whale pictures a month ago). 

Boston Harbor is busy on a Saturday and very picturesque on a sunny day. 

Dead center in this picture, is Rowes Warf, known as the gateway to Boston.  

Note the light is on atop the Boston Lighthouse!  Lynn took bunches of pictures while I counted to 10  so we could follow the 10 second intervals that the light cycled on. This is the oldest lighthouse in the US, built in 1716 on Little Brewster Island.  Note our calm seas allowing us to traverse 26 miles to Scituate, Mass in comfort. 
Once we picked up our mooring for the night we hailed the launch and went to shore for exercise and to pick up the 2.5 lbs of fresh scallops for the birthday dinner that were on order from a local fish market.  I walked to the Scituate Lighthouse that is now a private residence.  

This plaque was on a break wall at the lighthouse.  Enlarge the photo so you can read the inscription. Still learning something new most days on our travels. 

Happy Birthday to Rich!  It was a most pleasant day and the best dinner was about to be cooked! It was a quiet night in the harbor but unfortunately Lynn and Rich, had to listen to the occasional bump of the bow against the mooring ball.  Always different sounds on a boat and disconcerting when it is a new experience! 

But Sunday dawned as another blue sky day with calm seas.  We got going and released the mooring for a 50 mile cruise to the Cape Cod Canal.  The Captain was happy again to be burning some diesel and traveling on our boat!  The canal is a popular spot for locals and tourists to enjoy the walking/biking paths along the waterway and Lynn and Rich have done just that.  So the cruise into the canal was a special treat for them.  

Always fun to see a place from the water that you have only seen from land.  

I gave Al a rest and Mr. Auto and I drove the boat together along the canal.  Note the remote in my hand; it is almost like cheating to drive with a remote control! 

Out of the canal, we turned to port to head to Kingman Marina just off Buzzard's Bay.  To the far left of this photo is a traffic light that controls boat traffic for vessels over 65ft through the canal.  The Wings Neck Lighthouse also in the picture is no loger active.  We took a mooring for the rest of the week at Kingman to enjoy some land based time with Lynn and Rich.  
While there, we also got some dog loving time with Gracie!  She requested a mention in the blog! One reason for the longer stay on land was Al's last (we hope) visit to Miami for an eye recheck.  Good news is that the retina is attached and healed.  Minor bad news is his chronic dry eyes have lead to a tiny rough spot on his cornea that needs extra moistizing eye drops and a future recheck with a corneal specialist.  But we focus on the good news.  In the mean time, I enjoyed time on the Cape!

A special treat midweek was the arrival of our friend, Peggy, another college friend and fellow Europe traveler when we were all quite young in 1976! The 3 girls went to Provincetown for some beach time and a visit into town.  The beach was well attended but alas, no one could swim because there were lots of seals which draw in sharks.  So it was a red flag beach day.  That was fine with me because the water was a "toasty" 60+ degrees!! 

We watched the seals float and dive but getting a picture was tough.  This was the best I could do with my phone since Lynn was without her camera.  Beautiful water view at the end of the Cape!  

We had a nice walk for a bit of exercise.  

Along the way, I watched and shot pictures of this quahog clam using its tail to inch along the beach toward the water.  

It would curl its tail to swivel and twist along.  I eventually picked it up and put it into the surf to end    its long journey to the sea! 

This is the Pilgrims Monument to honor the first landing of the Pilgrims on the Cape before they continued on to Plymouth.  I don't remember that in the history book we studied in school many moons ago but guess that is the fact.    

So we girls had a fun day in "P" town and then drove the length of the Cape to visit the boat.  Peggy has not seen our boat so we wanted to have docktails on the fly bridge.

It was a lovely sunset to share with old (not aged just long term) friends! 

We have toasted many occasions together over our 40+ years of friendship! 

Peggy has an artistic eye for photography since she is accomplished artist!! 

Tomorrow we provision the boat and figure out the next part of this journey.  But we end the night with a beautiful sunset.