Experienced cruisers who go south from New England told us that the trip down the East River is a “must do.” That is simply an understatement. The day was exciting and emotional, which surprised me. Although I lived in Manhattan many years ago, I have had no wish to return to the big city life. And yet, as we passed so many famous city sights, from this new water perspective, I unexpectedly felt many emotions. I cannot resist sharing all of this with you, mostly with photos.
We left Port Washington at 6:00 am before the sun fully rose, and soon encountered the first of many bridges.
Bridges can be very intimidating to a sailboat. The first one truly did make me nervous as we approached. We knew we would safely pass below – the chart says 138 foot clearance and our mast is only 59 feet above the water, but still……..
We drive over the Whitestone Bridge every time we visit my son, Ryan and his wife, Kerri. It‘s cheaper to pass under the bridge than drive on it!
After passing Rikers Island, we were on our way to Hell Gate. The infamous Hell Gate! Every boater who chooses this course knows that timing is everything. We carefully studied the charts and information to choose the right current. Passage through here and down the East River must be timed just right so that the current works with you, not against you and not propelling you too swiftly down the river.
The current’s churning, swirling waters through Hell Gate really push you through. The chartplotter is proof of our speed – 11 knots!! And we are happy when we make 7-8 knots of speed.
Soon after Hell Gate we reached Rockefeller University and the apartment building on 63rd Street where I lived for almost 2 years, 34 years ago.
Our apartment is the smaller building. The newer larger one now blocks it from most of the East River.
The city shows no wear and tear, no grime and dust as we pass along. It was amazing to see so many famous buildings as we made our way down the East River.
We pass by Ellis Island, where my father’s father entered the United States as a child with his family.
Next is the lady we have been waiting to see, Lady Liberty.
This was a special moment, to sail past the Statue of Liberty and see her torch held high and burning so brightly.
Once past the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, we were able to put the sails up and have some “quiet time” as we crossed the waters over to New Jersey. Ahhhh, that’s what sailing is really about – the wind in the sails and the silence! OK, almost silence. After five and half hours and 36 miles, we reached Sandy Hook, New Jersey. After anchoring behind the breakwater in the Atlantic Highlands Harbor, we went to shore for a much needed walk after three days on the boat. And ice cream!