Sunday, June 28, 2015

Our week in NYC

Tuesday we took the dinghy to the marina and walked up to the Subway.  We rode down to Little Italy and Chinatown to wander around, look at the shops and watch the people.  We made a trip over to the tkts booth to get tickets to a couple of shows.  We rode up to Grand Central Station to wait out a rain shower and to take in the station.  It is a very impressive building.  From there we rode to Times Square and had dinner then went to the musical “Beautiful” at the Steven Sondheim Theatre.  I grew up listening to Carol King music without knowing it and when her Tapestry album came out I bought the 8 track and about wore it out.   Recently Cori bought the CD.  After the theater we made our way back to the boat.

Wednesday we made our way back downtown to the Stage Door Deli for the pastrami sandwich I have been craving.  The Deli has moved and is no longer the old style deli that I remember from when I would travel to the city for work but the food is still good.  From there we went up to 54th street to take in the play “An Act of God” featuring Jim Parsons of Big Bank fame at Studio 54.  It was very enjoyable.  After the play we happened to walk out the exit where the cars were waiting so we joined the group waiting to see Jim when he left the theater.  We were close enough to be able to get our Playbill and ticket autographed and a couple of photos.  From there we stopped at a bakery for a piece of cheesecake, I love New York style cheesecake.  We walked down to Rockefeller Center then up 5th avenue to Central Park.  We walked through a lot of the park finally exiting at the area designated Strawberry Fields in memory of John Lennon.  From there it was back to the boat to take some Ibuprofen for the aches and pains caused by all of that walking.

On Thursday we hung out on the boat most of the morning and then took the subway to the lower east side to have lunch at Katz’z deli.  Katz’s is the deli used in the movie “When Harry Met Sally” where they filmed the orgasm scene.  Just by luck we ended up sharing the famous table with a couple of nice ladies from Monterey CA that were on vacation.  The pastrami sandwich is expensive but well worth it.  It was the best pastrami sandwich I have ever had.  From there we walked to a bakery that according to our phone mapping programs specialized in cheesecake.  Unfortunately it was not the best but the walk wore off any calories it contained.  From there it was back uptown with a stop at Columbus Circle then back up to 79th street.  Walking up the street we came across a Barns and Nobles store so I went in to browse and Cori headed down the street to find a new pair of shoes.

Friday we spent the morning on the boat then went to the marina with the intent of getting a couple of loads of wash done.  While the machines were running we wondered around the neighborhood and picked up a couple of things at TJ Max and Michaels.  Cori made the run back to the marina to change out loads I hung out at a little bookstore we came across.  On the way back to the boat we stopped at Café Lalo for another try at cheesecake.  Café Lalo is where they filmed the scene in “You’ve Got Mail” where Tom and Meg meet for the first time.

Saturday was overcast and cool so it was another good day to walk around the city.  We took the subway to Greenwich Village then walked to SOHO stopping at a small bakery for a croissant and some coffee for Cori.  From there we walked down Canal Street to catch a subway to Union Park.  There is a very big farmers market there on Saturday and we were advised to check it out.  You could buy just about anything there including ostrich eggs.  From there we moved to midtown to check out the Empire State Building and Macy’s.  I had found out there is a West Marine store there and I needed some bolts for a project.  From there it was back to the lower east side for lunch at Katz’s again.  This time I wanted to try their Ruben sandwich.  It was good but we still prefer the pastrami.  At this point it was threatening to rain so we caught the subway back up to the marina with a last stop at Times Square.  It proceeded to rain the rest of the evening and into the night. 

We had arrived at the marina on Sunday and paid for a week so it was time to leave.  First I had to bail out the dinghy which had about 8 inches of water in it from the rain.  Just before we were ready to drop the mooing lines Homeland Security stopped by to check us out.  It was just a routine stop so we didn’t get boarded.  We dropped the lines and started down the river back to the Battery.  With the engine doing a low idle the current was pushing us at 7 knots.  We made a pass by the Statue of Liberty again then motored around waiting for the tide to change.  After about an hour of dodging other boats we started up the East River.  We needed to time the trip up the river to make use of the incoming tide and to be at the area called “Hell Gate” close to slack tide when the currents are the calmest.  We made the trip up the river without incident and headed for Manhasset Bay where we are planning to spend the next week.  It is a 45 minute train ride into the city so we will be back in a couple more times and to be there on Saturday for the fireworks.  This is big change with the calm waters of the bay compared to the current and wakes we had on the Hudson River.

Monday, June 22, 2015

New York City

We are in New York City.

We left Hampton VA after being anchored there and at Norfolk for a week.  We got a possible weather window on Thursday and headed out in the late morning riding an outgoing tide.  The winds were light and we ended up motoring as we left the Bay and turned northeast.  We continued into the evening and were alerted by radio of a storm coming our way.  I watched the storm on radar as it advanced across the peninsula and came out to sea heading southeast.  The angle was just right that it passed by to our left and behind us.  I was ready with full foul weather gear but only got a short rain shower.  It put on an impressive light show as it moved by.  The rest of the night was uneventful.

On Friday we continued but the forecast was for a front to come down from the north with adverse winds.  First we could not get favorable winds for sailing and now it was going to be on the nose and increasing.  We chose to be sensible and set a course for Atlantic City.  We arrived late afternoon and dropped anchor in a quiet little anchorage with a view of the city.  No, we did not go ashore and lose any money.

In the morning we pulled anchor and headed out again, with about 12-14 hours to go.  Again the wind was refusing to make the forecasted shift to southeast and stayed out of the east and northeast, not a good angle for sailing.  As the wind shifted more to the east the waves started us rolling again, very uncomfortable but nothing we can do about it.  We made it to the entrance of New York Bay and worked our way around Sandy Hook in the dark, meeting an outgoing tug pulling a barge.  We have an AIS (automatic identification system) transponder that told the barge operator who we were and our heading and speed.  He gave us a call and warned us about how his barge was swinging more than normal.  It is good to have them be able to see and identify us and how we can identify them especially in the dark.  We dropped the hook about 10:30 Saturday after a 14 hour day.  In the morning we were able to see everything around us and what a nice anchorage this is.

Sunday was overcast and light rain in the morning and we waited until after lunch when it started to break up and set sail for New York City.  Winds were 15 knots and we made a quick sail across the bay and into the narrows.  The winds were blocked by land as we approached the Verrazano Narrows Bridge so we motored through along with several ships until we reached a point we could sail again.  Fortunately we were on a direct line to the Statue of Liberty.  We had to dodge a couple of anchored ships and barges moving about, not to mention the many ferries and sailed as close as we could to the statue.  We continued on past Ellis Island then proceeded up the Hudson River to the 79th Street Marina where we picked up a mooring ball for the week.  Only by boat can you stay in Upper Westside Manhattan for $30 a day and the seventh day is free.  It is a long dinghy ride to and from the marina docks and it is a bit rough with the tide and winds but you can’t have everything.  Also, the ice and laundry are free.

We spent Monday seeing the city.  We have a short walk to the subway and after an early lunch at Zabar's Deli we took the subway to Times Square.  From there we took the subway to the 911 Memorial and from there we walked to Trinity Church and down Wall Street to the East River.  At the river we turned left and walked up to the South Street Seaport.  The area is all changed from when I was last there but the ships are still there.  We are going back to take a tour of the tall ship Peking later in the week since ship tours are closed on Mondays.  We took the subway back and instead of going back to the boat we walked over to see a little of Central Park and I mean a little.  Now we know where it is and what part is close to us.  Back at the boat we kicked back and rested from the walking and had dinner.  I guess I should say I kicked back and Cori fixed dinner.  Later as the tide was ready to change, what we call slack tide, we moved to another mooring ball they wanted us on because of our weight.  We are a heavy boat and with the tide and waves from the wind and boat traffic they wanted us on a larger anchor.  We are happy to comply since it makes us more secure but with a longer dinghy ride.

We are settling in for the night and will be hitting the city again tomorrow.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Hanging out in Norfolk VA area

We made it to Norfolk.  It was a long motorboat ride.  There is no way to sail in this section of the ICW.  We left Coinjock and continued up to Chesapeake VA and spent the night tied to the wall at the Great Bridge.  I will mention that we only caught one bridge opening and had to wait from 20 minutes to 45 minutes for the scheduled openings at the others.  One of the hassles of the ICW.  We have stayed here previously, it is a free overnight stay.  No, this time I did not go up to the Dairy Queen.  In the morning we called several of the marinas in the area to see if any of them could get a chance to look at our 9.9 outboard.  Everyone is booked for several weeks.  We gave up and caught the 12:00 opening for the lock and continued up to Norfolk.  We were waiting for a call back from one of the marinas and called them when we got outside their entrance.  No luck, booked for weeks.  They suggested Ocean Marine Yacht Center.  We called them and they said they might be able to get at it on Friday.  This was Thursday so we jumped at it.  We pulled in and dropped the engine and gas tank off and moved up to Hospital Point to anchor for the night.

We had a relatively quiet night at anchor in downtown Norfolk with the city lights reflecting off the water.  In the morning, boat, ship and barge traffic picked up but what can you ask for in a free anchorage.  We hung out on the boat for the day and late afternoon called to check on the motor.  They hadn't been able to get at it but would have someone working on it on Saturday.

While sleeping in on Saturday we were waken by music coming from shore.  They were evidently having some sort of race and the band was firing them up.  The rest of the morning we got to listen to the music and the PA system along with watching the boats, ships and barges go by.  Just after 11:00 we got a call that the outboard was running.  I had let it sit too long and the gas gummed up the carburetor again.  We pulled the anchor and headed back to pick it up and get some diesel fuel.  By 1:00 we were off.  We had decided to go across the river to Hampton for the rest of the weekend.  As we were approaching the Navy base one of the carriers was leaving its dock and heading out to sea.  At one point we had the Navy Police boat come to check us out after I made a fast 90 degree turn straight at the ships to avoid being hit by another boats wake broadside and rolling uncontrollably.  It must have looked like a move a terrorist would make but at least we didn't have stuff flying all over like it did on a previous wake.  Some people don't care what happens to others just so they can go where they are going as fast as they can.  It wouldn't kill them to give some of us a slow pass to minimize their wake.

Just before we got there the sky tuned dark and we could see the rain coming.  It is never a good idea to enter a strange harbor in adverse conditions so we turned around and motored around until it let up.  The good news is that we got everything closed up and the boat got a nice fresh water wash.  The bad news is that we got a nice fresh water shower but we can dry out.  We eventually made it into the harbor but were not able to get a spot to anchor.  We are trying to save money for our stay in New York so we are avoiding marinas.  We chose an alternate anchorage and headed back out of the harbor and up river a short ways.  Anchor down by 5:00, the boat is clean and we are dry, things could be worse.  Now that the outboard is running again we can take the dinghy into town on Sunday.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

On the move again

We are moving again.  We have started our trip north.  We started by taking a couple of days in New Bern to spend with friends.  The trip usually involves several hours of motoring but this time we had a perfect wind to sail using our spinnaker.  After two nights at the Bridgepoint Marina we left early to make the trip to Ocracoke Island.  It was a flat calm motoring day.  We go to Ocracoke the first weekend in June to attend the annual Ocrafolk Music Festival.  It also happens to be my birthday or the closest weekend to my birthday.  I look at it as the island hosts a big party for my birthday.  We have several friends that also attend the festival and bring their boats to stay on.  Dock space is short so we always find ourselves anchoring out and running in and out with our dinghy.  This year my 9.9 outboard refused to run but we had the backup 3.3 horse running.  The festival was great and we had plenty of opportunity to get caught up with our friends.  The weather was beutiful for the week we were there.

The anchorage started thinning out on Sunday and we joined a half dozen other boats leaving early Monday morning.  We started out heading to the Pamlico River and after a couple of hours the breeze came up and it became a sailing trip instead of a motor boat ride.  We were able to sail until we reached the Pungo River and had to turn up to follow the ICW.  We motored up to the entrance of the Alligator/Pungo canal and dropped anchor for the night. A 50 nautical mile trip that took about ten hours.  First thing in the morning, and I mean "first thing", 6:30 am, we pulled anchor and headed up the canal.  The canal is a 20 mile stretch of straight water dug connecting the Pungo and the Alligator rivers.  It is usually a boring trip with a lot of other faster boats passing us and throwing out a big wake and really rocking us.  Today we only had one boat pass us and he did not kick much of a wake.  Once out on the Alligator river we were able to set the head sail and sail most of the way down the river to the Albermarle Sound.  The Sound was kicked up from the wind and gave us a pretty rolly ride.  Once across the we motored up the North River until we arrived in Coinjock NC, a 69 mile, 11 hour trip.  The best thing about Coinjock other then the nice folks that run and work at the marina is the restaurant.  If you like prime rib, this is the place to go.  It is awesome!  If you can't be there for dinner they use the left over prime rib for sandwiches at lunch.  I ordered the 32 ounce prime rib and will be having the leftovers for lunch and probably dinner tomorrow.  We didn't expect to be this far along in just two days so the overnight stay in Coinjock is a treat since it has been over a week since we have stayed at a dock.  Tomorrow we will continue to Norfolk VA and start our way up the Chesapeake Bay, planning a stop at Deltaville to see friends and have the outboard looked at.