We left Great Kills Yacht Club around 9:30 am. This passage will be our longest yet and we will run straight through the night for a total of about 28 hours or 147 nautical miles. We are thankful to have our friend Tim aboard so that we can all be better rested on our journey. We will take 3 hour shifts during the night and when we are off your shift then it’s time to try to get some sleep.
Why are we heading offshore and doing this over 28 hours straight? There are not many marinas or services along this stretch of the New Jersey shoreline. The places that do exist can have strong current and are not well protected from the Atlantic, so as long as we have a good weather window there really isn’t a need to stop.
Knowing that we have about 28 hours to get to our destination, we left mid-morning so that we don’t arrive too early to our destination of Cape May. We want to ensure we arrive in plenty of day light so we have no trouble getting into the anchorage.
So the map below outlines our path as we leave Great Kills Yacht Club on Staten Island. We head out into the outer harbor of New York. The 278 interstate where it crosses from Staten Island into Manhattan is the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge. We have to go around Sandy Hook which you see on the map below as Sandy Hook Bay. Then we head south along the coast.
Once we come around Sandy Hook, it’s basically a straight shot south along the Jersey shore and then into the mouth of the Delaware River. We will stop on the south side of the Delaware River opposite of Cape May. We will pass right by Atlantic City.
The anchorage that is opposite from Cape May is near Lewes. It’s a great protected anchorage with a break wall that I drew in in red. Once we rest up for the day and over night, we will then head up the Delaware River. More on that in the next post.
So, as I said we left around 9:30 am. The winds are predicted to be 15 – 20 knots at least initially but are predicted to diminish overnight as we head down the coast. As we made our way toward Sandy Hook, we had 11 – 12 knots of wind, we had the main sail and the stay sail up and we were doing a respectable 5 – 6 knots. It took a couple of hours from Great Kills to reach Sandy Hook. Here is one of the last shots as we left NYC behind us.
Here is a photo as we rounded Sandy Hook.
About 11:15 am just as we were rounding Sandy Hook. We spotted a whale! I think Mark spotted it first and shouted, “Whale!”. We were all in awe! We tried to grab the camera and randomly shot pictures of the water but didn’t seem to time it well enough to coincide with when the whale chose to surface. How cool was that! A whale!
A short time later, we saw about 2 – 3 dolphins off the bow of the boat as well!
Here are the pics of the crew. Looking pretty good and still excited and well rested at this point.
The wind did die down a bit in the afternoon to about 7 – 8 knots which required us to start the engine to keep up our speed. The wind was behind us and will the following seas we had a bit of a struggle trying to keep wind in the sails to make it worthwhile to keep them out.
Toward evening, we started talking about what shifts everyone was willing to do. Are you a night owl or a morning person? I am a night owl so I was happy to take the midnight to 3 am shift. Time took the 3 am to 6 am shift and Mark was up for 9 pm to midnight and then also 6 am to 9 am. I had prepared a pot roast ahead of time so it was easy to heat up for dinner while we were underway. It was getting a little chilly as the sun was setting. It’s going to be dark for a long time since sunset is around 6:30 pm or so. Here’s a picture of the sunset.
We were sailing about 6 – 7 miles off shore at that point. To prepare for the darkness, we made sure we had our headlamps out and ready, turned the chartplotter to the night mode and made sure we had snacks or anything else we needed at hand in the cockpit since you really can’t see anything.
All night long we had winds that were consistently 17 – 18 knots either off our beam or our starboard quarter, which was perfect. The seas were a little rolly and we would rock back and forth quite a bit as the sails pulled us through the water.
Each of our watches went fairly quickly and the time was filled with watching the stars and the moon. Watching the lights of Atlantic City which lit up the night sky for at least 5 hours as we slowly passed by. Filling out the log book. Checking our course and the winds. Looking for other boats on our chartplotter and on the horizon. There was very little traffic during the night.
Tim described the weight of the responsibility of being alone at the helm and how comforting and necessary having AIS was to be able to identify other ships/boats around us in the dark. He described the boat being in the groove and the sails and the motion of the boat as happy. She felt in her element. The moon and the lights of Atlantic City was a constant companion during the 3 hour watch.
Mark spent his watch chatting with some friends back home. His friends were like, “Wait, what? Your sailing right now? In the Atlantic? Where are you?” He found his shift to be very relaxing and the time flew by.
During our off shift time, we tried to get as much sleep as we could, however I don’t think any of us really slept too well and sleep came in short fits and spurts.
All 3 of us were awake and up on deck around 8 am as we started to make our way across the Delaware to get to our anchorage. The tide and current was heading our of the Delaware toward the Atlantic and we were trying to head right into the flow of the current and tide up the Delaware. Because of the tide and current the mouth of the Delaware River was like a washing machine and the motion of the boat was rocking and rolling all over the place. We tried to adjust our speed to various settings to see if we could get in a bit of a rhythm with the waves. Our speed also slowed considerably as we tried to head into the current to get to our destination. We were all tired at that point and just wanted to get there and fall into bed.
We arrived and dropped the anchor around 1 pm and we all fell into bed for a nice afternoon nap. We got up and had some dinner and took a few photos of the area and sunset and went back to bed for the night. Here are the photos from our anchorage.
What an accomplishment! We were all feeling very proud that we made a successful journey overnight and conquered the Atlantic!
After our tour of New York City, we arrived for the evening at Great Kills Yacht Club on Staten Island. We choose this spot because it was out of the way and away from the city, which means it also doesn’t cost as much as marinas that are closer to the city since we plan to stay here for several days. It lies in this great man made basin that is well protected from the outer New York harbor.
Because we are members of the America’s Great Loop Cruisers Association (AGLCA), we get a discount to stay here in this marina and the AGLCA have harbor hosts scattered in multiple locations along the great loop route. Harbor Hosts are volunteers who want to help or welcome other loopers. Sometimes they will tell you about local attractions, let you borrow their car, or just generally be helpful to other loopers in that particular location. John is a member of the Great Kills Yacht Club and a harbor host for AGLCA. He was at the dock to welcome us as we came in and got us all tied up.
As I mentioned previously, it was our anniversary the day we arrived so we got showered and headed to a nice restaurant in town and had a great anniversary meal. On our way back from dinner, we stopped at the yacht club building and had a drink in their bar inside. There were a few yacht club members there and John was there as well. As soon as we walked in, John and the other greeted us right away and then asked us a bunch of questions. They were curious where we were from, where are we going, etc. to the boat, the moon was coming up and it looked just amazing. The myth that New Yorkers are abrupt and cool could not be farther from the truth. We have found everyone to be warm and welcoming and instant friends.
Here are some lovely views from our boat at the end of the dock at Great Kills Yacht Club
For my yacht club friends, let me tell you a little bit about Great Kills Yacht Club that we learned while we were here. They have about 150 members and the entire yacht club/marina is member owned and operated meaning that the membership maintains the docks, electric, and boat haul outs and operating the travel lift. They rely on the various skills that each member might have in their background, plumbers, electricians, welders, etc. There is a waiting list to become a member of the yacht club and the current waiting list is 292 people long. People waits decades to be able to make it to the top of the list. Basically someone has to die for a new member to join their ranks. Because everyone pitches in and all members are responsible for the club/marina the cost for a slip for the season is about $700. That my friends is very cheap. They also pay a whopping total of $15 to have their boat hauled out with the travel lift.
Some of the history of Great Kills includes a time during prohibition in the 1920’s. Wealthy people from NYC would come to Great Kills on Staten Island to drink illegal alcohol at the yacht club. This provided to be a very lucrative business for the yacht club. After prohibition ended, the revenue stream for illegal alcohol dried up and people went elsewhere to get the drinks. So, the yacht club opened a brothel on the third floor of the club house to continue a revenue stream and continue to attract clients.
On another note, one night when we were hanging at the yacht club, they were having a member meeting. We found out that they are very traditional with regard to their membership and meetings. Women not only were not allowed to be officers of the yacht club, they also were not allowed to even attend membership meetings. Men only! Yes, I know….it is 2021!
Here’s a view of the clubhouse:
The rest of our time at Great Kills was spent in preparation for our friend Tim to join us, provisioning food, and preparing some meals as we prepare to head offshore in the Atlantic for an overnight passage to Cape May, NJ.
We found this great little Italian grocery/deli with wonderful Italian meats, cheeses, bread, etc. Frank and Sal’s –
We also walked about 1.7 miles to the nearest large grocery store to stock up on several things that we needed. We took an Uber back so we didn’t have to carry our heavy grocery the 1.7 miles back.
Then I took sometime to make a pot roast with carrots and potatoes and made some ginger snap cookies. I spent an entire day cooking so we will have some ready prepared food for our overnight passage to Cape May.
Tim arrived to the boat on the morning of Tuesday September 28th. We spent the day helping to get Tim settled and giving him a run down of where things are on the boat and what he would need to know about the electronics and navigation for our trip south. We have been carefully watching the weather to determine the timing of our departure from Great Kills since we will need at least about a 48 hour window of good weather and the wind from at least any direction but south.
While we wait for weather we had a great dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant. Fiore Di Mare….delicious
Today is an exciting day, we will be sailing right through Manhattan and New York City! We have already been told by others to expect some busy traffic in the area with ferries, other boats, commercial traffic, etc. We will see what we get today and what the day has in store.
We left our anchorage around 6:30 am this morning. A couple of boat that were in the same anchorage as us had already left this morning by the time we were pulling up anchor. It looks like it will be a beautiful day for heading down the Hudson. We have a couple of bridges to go under today, however they are all have a large amount of clearance for us to get under them without an issue. First up is the Tappan Zee Bridge.
The landscape between bridges featured The Palisades, cliffs that rise up from the river to a height of over 500 feet.
After we passed the Palisades we could see our first glimpses of NYC with the George Washington bridge in the foreground.
Curiously, we began to encounter some commercial traffic, however the large ships we encountered were all anchored just outside of the middle of the channel. At the time we were passing through, we were fighting a flood current that was going up river and we were guessing these guys anchor and wait for the tide to turn and then keep on their way down the river when they have a favorable current. This is good news for us since all the commercial traffic seems to be standing still for now.
We came under the George Washington bridge and inched our way closer to the city.
Next we passed by the upper west side of NYC. This is where Park Ave is and the richer half live. You can’t necessarily see it in the picture but on the other side of the penthouse apartments is Central Park.
Here’s an even fancier part of the upper west side.
There are even big cruise ships at the port in Manhattan. The small sailboat in the picture gives you a pretty good sense of scale with the cruise ship and buildings.
Up next was a very cool looking building that looks like a sailboat. I learned that it is actually a residential building called 57 West.
Next up was a pretty good shot of the Empire State Building
Then we passed right over the Lincoln Tunnel. It’s weird to think that cars are going through a tunnel under the river and our boat heading down the river. Here is the entrance on the New York side that is visible above ground.
Next up is a unique structure called The Vessel. It was designed as an interactive sculpture. It is designed to be climbed and toured. Each of the interwoven sides of the vessel are actually stairways and landings. 154 flights of stairs, 80 landings and over 2,500 steps.
Next up was this unique green space that was built on stilts over the water in a terraced fashion to house a park and amphitheater. It is called Little Island Park.
The only picture I took of the New Jersey side of the river included a photo of this sculpture called “Water’s Soul” It depicts a woman with a finger to her pursed lips to signal quiet. The meaning of the sculpture is paying homage to the water. It invites people to be silent…to try to listen to their own thoughts, their own dreams, their own ideas in this incredibly time today in which we live. How very symbolic since this is exactly what we are doing about Painkiller.
Then we passed over the Holland Tunnel.
Next up was the heart of the financial district, One World Trade Center and the Battery at the end of Manhattan. One World Trade is the tallest building in the picture below.
Now we have officially left the Hudson River behind us and we are in the inner harbor of New York. Of to our right hand side is Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The East River is off to our left hand side where you can see the Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street and the United Nations building. It was rather interesting to hear the Coast Guard calling Securite warnings all morning about restrictions to navigation up and down the East River today due to various world leaders currently meeting at the U.N. building.
Here is Ellis Island
And here is Lady Liberty! I honestly thought that the Statue of Liberty would be bigger than it really is. It seemed small compared to all the skyscrapers in the city.
Then we decided to put the boat on autopilot and looked to ensure we wouldn’t bump into anyone hovering around the statue. Mark and I came along side the boat and turned so we could get a selfie of us in front of the statue of liberty.
Here is a photo looking up the East River with a nice view of the Brooklyn Bridge.
After our little tour of the inner harbor, we passed under the Verrazzano Narrows bridge that defines the inner harbor from the outer harbor and connects NYC to Staten Island.
We are heading to Great Kills Yacht Club on Staten Island to spend the next several days while we wait for our friend Tim to join us for our next leg of our journey. In the meantime, we celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary today! The greatest gift was the spectacular views of New York from our boat on the Hudson River and the harbor. We ended the day with a fabulous dinner on Staten Island!
We made it back to the boat after about a week in Minneapolis and Painkiller was just as we found her, all safe and sound. We got unpacked and resettled back into boat life. Our plan was to leave Half Moon Bay marina, as we have now been here over a week. However, we still have time in our schedule to kill since we have a friend meeting us in New York and he is flying in on September 26th and will be joining us on the boat on Tuesday September 28th.
So, we decided to get some boat chores done while we are still in the marina. I defrosted the freezer, Mark bleached the water hoses that go from our fresh water tank to all the faucets in the boat. Occasionally, it’s good to sanitize the water hoses to keep our drinking water tasting fresh. We filled the water tank before we left the dock as well.
Half Moon Bay marina doesn’t have any diesel fuel, so we decided to head across the river to Haverstraw Bay to a marina that does have diesel fuel and top off our tanks. We also needed to pump out our holding tank for the toilet so we did that while we were over getting diesel as well.
With those chores complete, we headed a bit south from Haverstraw Bay to Haverstraw Cove, which is a nice protected area that we can anchor for a few days to wait out some weather and kill some time before we head down through New York City.
The entrance to Haverstraw Cove was a bit tricky and shallow but we found our way in just fine even at low tide and avoided the charted obstacles that were lurking just below the water off the point of the entrance. We found a nice place to anchor with the peninsula in front of us to block us from the wind.
Here are some photos of our anchorage
We stayed a total of 3 days at anchor in Haverstraw Cove. I was a combination of rain, thunderstorms, clouds, gloominess and winds for the entire 3 days we were there. We watched a couple of other boats come into the anchorage and yes, we spied on them with the binoculars, it’s what boaters do for entertainment. We played several games of cribbage. I took an entire afternoon inventorying all our food stuffs in the pantry so I can do some grocery shopping once we get to Staten Island and before our friend Tim joins us on the boat. I also made some Brownies.
It was generally a peaceful time at anchor in this quiet little bay or so we thought. Every night around 6 pm there was a concert of sorts in a little band shell on shore in this park not far from our boat. Now, I like music just as much as the next guy and you are thinking…a concert, how nice! However, this was a techno hip hop like concert that lasted 3 hours every night we were there. It was not our style of music and you could not escape the sounds of this concert.
Not a lot of pictures since it was rainy and gloomy most of the time we were here. However, we are looking forward to our next stop – New York City!!
We left Hyde Park around 7:30 am after a small weather front went through with 16 knot winds. After the front passed it was nice and calm, so we headed out. We only have about 36 miles to go today.
The scenery along the Hudson in this section is some of the most scenic. The hills start to rise up along either shore and there are lots of curves in this section of the Hudson as well.
A bit further down the river we came across a small island that had an old castle on the island. We later looked up the history of this castle and what was once here. Turns out it is Bannerman’s castle. Built in 1901 by Frank Bannerman. Frank was a munitions dealer who had collected cannons, guns and ammunition from the Spanish war and later World War I. His original store was in Manhattan, NY, however the changing laws of the city no longer allowed him to keep large stores of munitions within the city limits of NYC. He moved his munition stores to this island up the Hudson river and build Bannerman’s castle as a summer home to live.
We also passed by West Point military academy. Very cool site along the Hudson.
The scenery was just breathtaking in this area. Hard to capture through photos.
We came into Half Moon Bay marina in the afternoon and we were hungry. We were close enough to NYC that I wanted to see if we could get some NY pizza. We called a place nearby that delivers and had them deliver it to the boat. It was really good pizza however, I am certain there is better pizza in NYC. Here is a good view of the marina and our boat. That’s our mast in the middle of the picture. The tallest one.
The next day we grabbed an Uber and headed to Croton Dam. We heard that it was a great place to go, so off we went. The Dam was gorgeous and well worth the drive to find it. We ended up on the road above the dam and the park which turned out fine. We thought we would be in the park down below. The views from either location seemed to be great.
After a tour of the dam, we headed back toward the marina and stopped for lunch at this great little Greek restaurant called Piato Greek Kitchen. The food was amazing! We haven’t had Greek food for quite sometime so this was a great treat. Then we walked back to the boat at the marina.
We spent the evening getting packed up and ready to go, as we are heading back to Minneapolis for about a week to attend Mark’s mom’s funeral and see family. We will fly back home from NYC which is just about 30 miles up the Hudson from NYC. We hope Painkiller will be ok while we are gone. See you when we get back.
We left Hop-O-Nose marina about 7:30 am this morning. The sunrise is getting a bit later in the morning than it used to be. We headed down Catskill Creek to get back out into the Hudson River. Along the way, we saw a few of our friends at Riverside Marina in various states of having their masts put back on their boats as well.
We saw David and Kendra on Blue Moon. Looks like they have their mast back in place already and they got some new rigging too while they were here. We happened to see David and Kendra out for their morning walk along the shoreline and they were waving at us as we passed by.
We also saw Jason and Sherry aboard their Island Packet 32. Looks like they will be getting their mast on soon!
We hope to see them both again. Perhaps at the Annapolis Sailboat show or the Bahamas.
Today is also the 20th anniversary of September 11th. It seems weird to be so near New York City on this day and thinking about and remembering all those who’s lives were forever changed by the events of this day. One of the smaller towns we passed by on the Hudson today was having a Sept 11th memorial ceremony. There were lots of first responders in the area. Fire trucks, ambulances, coast guard, etc. Both on land and on the water. They hoisted the American flag over 2 fire trucks as they held their ceremony and fire boats on the water streamed water high in the air.
Then we got hailed on the VHF radio by the Coast Guard. At first we thought…they aren’t going to board us again are they? Nope, he came back to let us know he was going to pass us on our starboard side. That was really nice to hail us to let us know.
A bit later we passed by this beautiful old wooden yacht at anchor off to the side on the Hudson. The boat is name Arriva. We later learned that it is owned by J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series. Also, the boat was previously owned by Johnny Dep. Beautiful boat.
Then came all the large beautiful homes, or should I say estates. As we go further south on the Hudson the homes are getting bigger and bigger.
We docked for the night at Hyde Park marina which has an dock outside of their break wall right along the river. The marina itself is too shallow for us to get into it but the dock along the outside is just fine. It can be a bit rolly but we were just fine.
The next morning we awoke to a couple of skulls rowing up the Hudson. This one is made up of all women. By their looks on the faces, perhaps they thought of other activities that they could be doing this morning.
After we had our coffee and got ready for the day, we headed out to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt museum here in Hyde Park. We intended to take a Lyft to the museum but our driver did not show up, so one of the guys from the marina agreed to drive us over to the museum and we would take a Lyft back.
Here are some pictures of the FDR museum.
Next stop – Half Moon Bay
The guys at the yard at Hop-O-Nose started their day at 8 am and they got busy right away on getting our mast back on our boat. It’s an interesting process here at this marina with some equipment that doesn’t exactly look OHSA approved. However, the guys know exactly what they are doing and they did a great job getting the mast raised and back on the boat. I don’t have all the pictures of the process because it was just too nerve wracking to watch! I thought for sure our mast was going in the drink more than a few times.
First they lifted the mast with a small crane
This allowed them to get it high enough and moved out in the open so they could get the travel lift close enough to get a couple of straps under the mast and lift it with the travel lift.
Then they used the travel lift to move the mast toward the shore and docks where the boat was. They then floated a section of dock underneath the travel lift and slowly lowered the mast onto the floated dock section.
Then the move this floated dock section around to the other side of our boat and place it right beneath the larger crane
Then they use the crane to lift the mast off the floated dock section and suspend it in mid air and move our boat from one side of the dock to the other so the boat is now directly underneath the larger crane and the mast hanging above the boat. It was at this point that I couldn’t watch any longer and decided that they could finish the job and I could try to occupy myself and hope the mast wasn’t going to end up in the drink.
Well, the mast went in fairly smoothly. Sometimes it’s better not to watch. Mark was able to get all our electronics and gadgets that are connected to the mast all hooked back up. We secured all the rigging at least initially for now. The guys from the marina had done all their work and now it was up to Mark and I to finish the job of tuning the rig, putting the sails back on, putting the mast boot back on to ensure the mast wasn’t going to leak when it rained.
Before we finished our work, it was about lunch time and we decided to take a walk into town and see if we could have some lunch. The Catskills is a nice little town with some interesting buildings.
But one of the interesting things were all the cat statues located along the main street. The origin of the word Catskills translates to Cat Creek. Not sure if there were a lot of cats around here?? But the statues were sure cute.
As we walked into town, we passed by a business that said “Henderson Oil, Propane and Monuments” Now that is an interesting combination of business. They sell cemetery monuments as well as oil and propane. Not sure what these have to do with one another but they seemed to be a thriving business. We stopped in briefly on our way to lunch to ask about propane and could they fill our propane tank on the boat. We use propane for cooking with the stove and oven on the boat. They said sure, so after we ate lunch we walked back to the boat, retrieved our propane tank and walked back into town again to get it filled. The guy fired up the truck that held propane in the parking lot and filled our tank in just minutes. We were about to leave after paying for our propane and he said, “Your not going to walk with that are you?” He offered to give us a ride back to the marina to avoid having to carry the now heavy propane tank. That was super nice, thanks!!
Once we were back at the boat, we finished up all the little jobs of getting the mast and rigging all back to what it should be. We tuned the rig, finished the mast boot and and added the sails and any remaining rigging. By the afternoon, we were exhausted and called it an early night after a nice dinner of homemade chicken chow mien.
So we left Waterford at about 7 am this morning. You can see the map below, the Mohawk River is the same as the Erie Canal. From Waterford, we just head a little east and take a hard right and we are now in the Hudson River. We will head south through Albany and about another 30 miles south of there to the Catskills area of New York. In total we will travel about 40 miles today.
First up on our journey today, was the Federal lock at Troy. And you thought we were done with locks! One left which is this one at Troy. It is not part of the Erie Canal system and is separately managed. Where the Erie Canal system of locks are managed by New York state. The lock at Troy is a Federal lock, managed by the Federal government. This lock will drop us only 14 feet. We also went under a series of bridges, some fixed bridges with the lowest being only 25 feet clearance. We still don’t have our mast on the boat and our mast is waiting for us at Hop-O-Nose marina in the Catskills, which is where we are heading. After the Catskills we won’t have to contend with any low bridges.
Here is one of the more unique bridges on our journey today. This is the Green Island Bridge. It has quite a modern look to it and the center span between the two towers lifts up to allow clearance for vessels that require it. We didn’t need to have it raised since our mast is not on the boat at the moment.
We quickly came up on Albany and we took in the downtown skyline and the other interesting buildings in the area.
We noticed how wide the Hudson River seems in comparison to the Erie Canal. Also for the first time we have to contend with and think about tides and currents. We have had some currents in rivers before now, such as the Detroit River or the St Clair River, however the tides are a new thing for us.
For those unfamiliar, the ocean and the waterways connected to the ocean, such as the Hudson River have 2 high tides per day and 2 low tides per day. The tidal range in this area of New York is about 5 feet. The Hudson River runs north and south geographically and the flow of water generally heads south toward the Atlantic ocean. So, during a flood tide (high tide) – water coming in from the ocean the current would be flowing north on the Hudson River. During an ebb tide (low tide) – water going back out to the ocean, the current would be flowing south on the Hudson River. The speed of the current hits a maximum of about 1.5 – 2.0 knots of speed. So, when transiting this area you generally want to go with the tide and current as it would make your boat go about 1.5 – 2.0 knots faster. If you go against the tide and current then it will slow you down by 1.5 – 2.0 knots. You can certainly do that, but it will slow you down. Lucky for us the ebb tide starts early in the morning which is exactly when we would want to get going anyway, so that works out pretty well.
We also started to see commercial traffic once again. The Erie Canal is not used for commercial shipping any longer and ships will go through the St Lawrence Seaway to get into the Great Lakes, so there was no commercial shipping traffic on the Erie Canal. We ran into a few today on the Hudson however. Well, not literally ran into. Motored past.
We pulled into Hop-O-Nose marina about 1 pm. Our mast was there waiting for us up on blocks in the parking lot area. Once we got docked, we started in right away unpacking our mast of all the shipping material that we used to protect it on it’s journey to Hop-O-Nose. In case you forgot, we had it shipped on a truck from Buffalo, NY here to Hop-O-Nose. The mast arrived a couple weeks before we did and has been waiting for us to return to it’s rightful spot. We also had to re-attach all the wires (stays and shrouds) that hold the mast upright. Re-attached the spreaders and all the instruments that adorn the top of our mast. One thing we discovered is that either in Buffalo or here at Hop-O-Nose someone mowed the lawn near our mast and it was coated in now dried and very stuck clumps of grass. I had to get a bucket of water and wash down the entire mast to remove all the grass that was stuck to it.
As we were working on the mast, we noticed another boat pull into the marina. It was a boat we knew from our time in Newark, NY. It was Dale aboard Veritas. His mast was here as well and we thought he was looking to get the mast put back on. However, we learned that he was hauling his boat out for the winter and will have to leave his boat here until next spring. We learned that this was not in his plan. His wife was at home in Wisconsin and fell walking the dog and broke her hip and a couple of ribs. Dale would need to cut his trip short and head home to help his wife. That is really too bad. Hope her recovery goes smoothly!
After all our work on the mast was done for the day, we took showers and headed to the restaurant at the marina for a nice dinner. Tomorrow the marina staff will be putting the mast back into the boat.
Waterford is a really cool stop since virtually all boats tend to stop here when they are starting the Erie Canal or ending the Erie Canal depending on which direction they are traveling. They have a great visitor center with helpful staff, lots of space on the wall for at least 12 – 15 boats. There’s a great little town to walk to as well.
We left a bit later this morning from Crescent since we really didn’t have far to travel today. We only have about 4 miles to travel today. However, in that short distance is the 5 locks of the Waterford flight that we have to go through. I can’t imagine encountering the Waterford flight heading west on the canal as your first experience going through locks. This would definitely be a trial by fire, but I guess on the flip side, you would learn to locks quickly.
The good news about these locks are once you start, they open the next lock and and ready and waiting for you to enter the next. They are so close together that you literally leave one lock and enter the next just a quarter of a mile further. We were able to get through all 5 locks in about 90 minutes and we were the only boat going through. As a general rule of thumb, it takes about 30 minutes per lock to get through, so 90 minutes for 5 locks was doing really well. Not that we are in any kind of a hurry.
Over those 5 locks, we drop about 170 feet in elevation. That’s about 33 – 34 feet per lock. As evidence by they drop in elevation. The landscape has also changed in this area. No longer is it flat ground for miles but we are starting to see some hills and contours to the landscape.
Once we got to Waterford, we checked in and got settled and decided to explore town. We also had to do some laundry. We haven’t done laundry since we were stranded on the wall at Newark. So, we loaded up our bags and headed into town. We were told there was a laundromat in town, no laundry at the visitor center by the wall where we are parked. Conveniently enough, we found the laundromat right across the street from an Irish pub. I think every laundromat should have an Irish Pub across the street. We popped the clothes into the washer and headed to the pub. Put them in the dryer before our food arrived and had fresh laundry waiting for us after our lunch. Easy-peasy!
Of course all the walking around town and the hard work of doing laundry and perhaps a bit of the Irish Pub, led to an afternoon nap.
I spent some time walking the dock and getting acquainted with all the other boaters on the wall. I met a couple on a large 45 foot motor yacht who just purchased their boat and were headed back home in Ohio. Also met another couple on a sailboat who had just left Ithaca, NY; Michelle and Robert. They too are headed to the Bahamas, so perhaps we will see them along the way. After a bit, we heard the lock opening at the far end of the wall, so we looked to see who was exiting the lock. Sure enough, it was our friends on Blue Moon, David and Kendra. They pulled up to the wall in Waterford for the next day or two. We also saw Dale aboard Veritas coming out of the lock. However, Dale kept on going and didn’t stop in Waterford. We also heard through their blog that s/v Undone had passed us this morning and kept heading down the Hudson and didn’t stop in Waterford. It’s fun keeping track of the people and boats that we know or have met along the way.
Waterford is a pretty area.
Here are a few pictures from town. I guess I didn’t get a shot of the Irish Pub.
So now that we are officially done with the Erie Canal. Here are some stats for the entire length of the Erie Canal. Because a lot of people have asked me already, how many locks did you go through? Definitely, a lot! But hey, we got pretty good at them and after one or two clumsy attempts early on, we rather enjoyed it. The scenery along the Erie Canal was really beautiful and it’s a area we would really like to go through again in the future.
Total Erie Canal Stats:
Miles traveled – 303 miles
Lift Bridges – 11
Fixed Bridges – 250
Guard Gates – 19
Locks – 35
Countless pictures and beautiful vistas, priceless new friends met along the way. It was a great experience on this leg of the journey. We are looking forward to the next part of the journey as we head down the Hudson River and into NYC.
We woke up this morning in Amsterdam, getting ready to head to Waterford today. It will be a big day with 10 locks today. However, the minute we stepped outside the boat, it became readily apparent we were not going anywhere. We were fogged in! You could not even see the surface of the water or past the boat. Certainly could not see the banks of the canal. We will have to wait until the sun comes out and starts to burn off this fog before we start moving.
So, we made coffee and chatted with Ed and Evelyn about the fog and the travels for the day. We are looking to go about 40 miles today and we will have to go through 10 locks today in that 40 miles. There are 5 locks that are dispersed along the canal but then there are 5 locks at Waterford that are in very quick succession and very close together. These 5 Waterford locks are collectively known as the Waterford flight. Once we start on the Waterford flight of locks you must complete all 5 locks and you may not stop along the route once you start.
We heard from our friend John today, who was stuck in Newark with us, and he is at lock 19 and looking to head to Little Falls today. He was curious about the wall there and what was available. It’s nice to have others that we know scattered at different points along our route and we can all share information about what is happening at different points.
We decided that once we were able to see both banks of the canal, we would declare that the fog had lifted enough for us to depart. Still a bit foggy but pretty.
As we came through lock 10, on the east side of the lock, you can see remnants of damage to the lock from Hurricane Irene from 2011.
A bit further down the canal are the remnants of an aqueduct that was built in 1842.
Just as we were making our way to lock 7, our VHF began alarming and gave us a weather warning. There is a severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado watch for our area. We see the darker storm clouds heading our way and we checked out the radar to determine where this weather was in relation to us. It looks like there is a small blog of rain that will catch up with us, but there is a second wave of weather that appears to be building and getting red on the radar that has us more concerned.
We texted Ed and Evelyn ahead of us and let them know we made the decision to pull up to the wall just before lock 7 and wait out the weather. We felt better being tied to a solid wall rather than running about during the roughest of the weather. It was a good time to make lunch as well. Of course, as I was making lunch the skies opened up and rain down upon us. The wind had picked up pretty significantly as well. The wind was now 20 – 25 knots ahead of the storm.
Once the rain let up, we decided to go through lock 7. Because the wind was still fairly strong, we had a bit of difficulty in the lock getting secured. We got the stern line well enough, however the bow got away from us and was quickly drifting away from the wall. I was able to quickly extend the boat hook all the way and try to reach for the line on the wall as we were drifting away from it. Ed saw we were struggling before we even knew we were. Ed was next to the boat before I knew it and he grabbed the line and tossed it out to me so I could grab a hold of it and get the bow secure. Thanks Ed!
After lock 7, we decided that given the weather and the fact that we were getting fatigued from going through the locks today, we decided to not go through the 5 locks of the Waterford flight today and we would pull over and spend the night at the wall in Crescent and do the Waterford flight of locks when we leave Waterford and we are fresh. 10 locks in one day is too many locks!
The wall in Crescent was not glamorous but it was a place to stay to sleep for the night. There is really only room for 1 or 2 boats here and the wall is in rough shape.
Ed and Evelyn decided to go ahead and go through the Waterford flight and stay at the wall in Waterford. So, it’s here that we said goodbye to our new friends Ed and Evelyn.
Stats for today:
Lift bridges – 0
Fixed bridges – 9
Guard gates – 0
Locks – 4