New York, New York!!

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.

We left Port Washington int he early morning light, passing this lighthouse on our way to the Throgs Neck Bridge

We left Port Washington int he early morning light, passing this lighthouse on our way to the Throgs Neck Bridge

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……..

Approaching the Whitestone Bridge... Are we going to make it??

Approaching the Whitestone Bridge… Are we going to make it??

And yes, we make it through under the bridge.  We knew would.....

And yes, we make it through under the bridge. We knew would….. 138- 59 = lots of space!

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!

The Whitestone Bridge - see the sign for 678, Ryan and Kerri?

The Whitestone Bridge – see the sign for 678 South, Ryan and Kerri?

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.

Approaching Hell Gate Bridge - much more attractive than its name implies.

Approaching Hell Gate Bridge – much more attractive than its name implies.

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.

11 KNOTS!! Does that make us a power boat??

11 KNOTS!! Does that make us a power boat??

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.

Rockefeller University

Rockefeller University

Our apartment is the smaller building. The newer larger one now blocks it from most of the East River.

I lived on the 16 floor of the smaller apartment building, in the middle of the photo.

I lived on the 16 floor of the smaller apartment building, in the middle of the photo.

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.

The United Nations Building

The United Nations Building

The Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building

The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building

South Street Seaport and Pier 17

South Street Seaport and Pier 17

One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center

Staten Island Ferry Terminal

Staten Island Ferry Terminal

We pass by Ellis Island, where my father’s father entered the United States as a child with his family.

Ellis Island

Ellis Island

Next is the lady we have been waiting to see, Lady Liberty.

Lady Liberty and Al

Lady Liberty and Al

This was a special moment, to sail past the Statue of Liberty and see her torch held high and burning so brightly.

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty

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!
Entrance to Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Cast off those dock lines

Us before we goWe did it! Kindred Spirit left Shennecossett Yacht Club on September 12, 2013 at 9:30 am, my 61st birthday. Our friends, Mary Jo and Dean took photos of the event – photos that  I will treasure forever. A big thanks to all of my friends and family who also texted, telephoned, and emailed birthday wishes to me. This is certainly the most unusual birthday of my life!

 

And there we go!

Pulling away from the dock

Pulling away from the dock

Passing by Ledge Light, New London Harbor, with our sail reefed.

It took us 9.2  hours to cover the 52 miles to Port Jefferson, New York. The winds were 20+ knots and not in the most ideal direction. Our speed varied from only 4 knots for the first couple of hours to 7-8 knots when we caught the current. We took more water over the bow in those hours than in many years combined. Fortunately, we were able to skirt the fringe of the thunderstorm and rain line. Kindred Spirit handled the rough ride very well, better than the Admiral (me) did!

This is what most of the trip looked like.

This is what most of the trip looked like.

We haven’t been to Port Jefferson in almost 20 years. It is pretty quiet on a Thursday in September.

Sights of Port Jeff - ~ empty mooring field ~PJ Ferry PT Barnum

Sights of Port Jeff –
~ PJ Ferry PT Barnum
~empty mooring field

Our first day ended with birthday brownies and red wine.

b-day brownies

Ready or Not……. Here we GO!!!

Be brave in teal.

Be brave in teal.

After 12 years of dreaming about this, and 3 months of intense preparations, we think we are ready. Am I excited? Yes.  Am I afraid? Yes.  My sister, Lisa, gave me a bracelet engraved “Be brave” for my birthday this year.  It is for ovarian cancer, but I think it is meant for any one of us, whenever we do anything that is scary, big or small. If you aren’t afraid when you do something, you aren’t being brave. Each of us reaches deep inside for courage every single day; it just isn’t always visible to others. So, thank you to everyone I know who helps me find my courage. Especially my dear husband, Al.

Al had lots of projects over the past few weeks. Dinghy maintenance, head repairs (for those of you are non-nautical, that means the toilet), cleaning the enclosure’s “glass.”

Dinghy maintenance, cleaning the "glass," head repairs

Dinghy maintenance, cleaning the “glass,” head repairs

There were also some larger projects, such as installing a new forward hatch and adding the name and homeport to the transom.

~Applying our name and homeport ~ A nice new forward hatch!

~Applying our name and homeport
~ A nice new forward hatch!

You may be wondering what I do, other than take photos. I am not nearly as talented as Al when it comes to maintaining a sailboat, but I can plan, organize, and gather (otherwise known as shop.) The behind the scenes person.  I also make sure the Captain is well-fed and happy. Every once in awhile, I use the tools, too.

Sanding and repainting the stove top grates.

Organizing, moving, and stowing supplies and provisions aboard has been quite an experience. Where will it all go? Will it all fit? And do we really need it all?? Al reminded 3 times each day that there are grocery stores up and down the east coast.

We are not going to starve... at least not for the first month or so.

We are not going to starve… at least not for the first month or so.

6 bags of Dove dark chocolates

 

You won’t be surprised to hear that we have a nice supply of our favorite guilty pleasure – Dove dark chocolates. Six bags should last a little while…….

 

After stowing everything all away,  I quickly discovered the real problem. It is not finding places for everything, it is REMEMBERING where you put it all!!!! So we now have lists and diagrams.

 

 

We were both surprised to find that everything we have carried onboard has a home. For us, Kindred Spirit is our new home. I have listened to Philip Philips’ song  “Home” quite often, as we make this boat our home for the next 8-9 months.

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m gonna make this place your home

The galley

Starboard side

Starboard side

Port side

Port side

We are ready. Next post will hopefully be about the adventure!!

It’s September!!

September has always been a special month to me. It’s my birthday month – need I say more? September is filled with  birthdays of other special people I know  – Kim, Mary Jo, Joanne, Jill, Vicki, Rob, Bill, Bob, Katherine, Kathy, Kathleen, Tim….. I hope I did not forget anyone!

September is “back to school” time – when I was a student, a teacher, and an administrator.  After 38 years in education, my rhythm is tuned to September as the time when the New Year begins. Not in January, but in September!

September has a serious side for me because it is also National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. I am an ovarian cancer survivor of two years now. You won’t hear as much about ovarian cancer in September as you will about breast cancer in October. You won’t see as much teal around as you will see pink in October. Ovarian cancer does not strike as many women as breast cancer does, but when it does, it is more deadly. The slogan for ovarian cancer is “break the silence” because the symptoms are varied, ignored or disregarded by too many women and too many medical professionals. Diagnosis is difficult because there is no routine screening test; and the symptoms often mimic other less threatening conditions. I am one of the lucky ones. We caught it early. Even with that, it was the most difficult and challenging time of my life.

Teal Toes - Take Early Action and Live

Teal Toes – Take Early Action and Live

The color teal represents this disease and stands for “Take Early Action and Live.” Across the country, national programs will provide information on symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and support. Activities range from run/walks to Teal Toesa small but fun initiative to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer by painting your toe nails teal, especially in September. The goal is to get women to talk about ovarian cancer and break the silence — “By painting your toenails teal, the ovarian cancer color.  By getting your friends to paint their toenails teal too, and then by talking with people when they ask about it, to make sure that they know the signs of this whispering killer.”

Last September my colleagues and friends painted their toenails in all shades of teal to honor my survivorship with me. It was a special and significant gesture to me. This year my Teal Toes shade is “Naughty Nautical, ” by  Essie.  Perfect name and color for this September, isn’t it?

~Teal Toes at Buttonball Elementary, 2nd Grade, 2012 ~ My "Naughty Nautical /Teal Toes

~Teal Toes at Buttonball Elementary, 2nd Grade, 2012
~ My “Naughty Nautical” Teal Toes

Why am I writing about cancer in our sailing blog? To break the silence, to raise awareness for ovarian cancer, to save even just one other woman through early detection. As a survivor, it is the very least I can do.  From the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance –

  • Too many women with ovarian cancer do not get diagnosed until their cancer has spread. Their survival rate is 45%.
  • The survival rate improves greatly – to 93 percent – if the cancer is diagnosed at an early stage before it has spread. Only 19 percent of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed at this local stage.
  • Approximately 75 percent of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage after the cancer has spread beyond the ovary.

This September is special because it marks the beginning of our dream adventure as we set sail together on Kindred Spirit.

September is, once again, a time for new beginnings.