Turning Eastward to Head Home

Sunday’s plan was ambitious, we would leave Croton at dawn around 5:15 am and go all the way south around Manhattan and then up the East River to Port Washington, 53 miles. By leaving that early we would have a favorable current with us the entire trip. And it turned out to be an interesting ride.

Just past dawn at 5:30 am.

When we leave that early the only thing that gets made is the morning coffee. Breakfast will have to be a little later.

6:15 am and the sun is above the hills.

The cliffs along the Hudson are one of the best views from the water.

The new Tappan Zee Bridge is coming along nicely, although slowly.

Wow! We’re going 9.7 knots down the Hudson River without increasing our rpms. (6:45 am)  Pretty impressive for a trawler that averages 7.2 knots.

A panorama shot of the cliffs.

At 7:00 am on a very quiet Hudson River, we saw a small white dinghy drifting ahead of us. As I took Kindred Spirit over to it, Al went down to check it out. Our first concern was that someone might be in trouble and need assistance. No one was in the boat. Could someone have fallen over board? Al hopped in the dinghy to check for information – nada. His inspection of this Walker Bay dinghy led to the conclusion that it had broken loose from somewhere – the shackle on the bow was broken.

Al plays rescue again. Good thing he is still pretty agile!

After securing it to Kindred Spirit, Al put out a call on the VHF radio, but received no response. Later he looked up the Walker Bay website and contacted them by email and phone call with the registration number he found on the hull in case the owner had registered it for the warranty.

The Walker Bay is secured to our transom and tows very nicely.

Manhattan is an island, right? When we first discussed making this trip to the Hudson River, we briefly considered finding the northern passage that must go above Manhattan since it is an island. That waterway is the Harlem River.  All accounts indicated that this was not a good idea for cruising boats. There are height issues if  you cannot clear 24 feet and some claim it is simply not navigable.

Going north we hadn’t noticed where the Harlem River enters the Hudson, but this morning we spotted it.

We couldn’t help but wonder how we missed this on the way north.

A closer look shows the low railroad bridge at the very beginning.

By 7:45 am we were approaching the George Washington Bridge. The support structures are attractive from this vantage point, certainly at odds with the view when driving by car on the bridge!

Two sailboats on the river with lower Manhattan as their backdrop..

We had a dual purpose for our morning traverse through New York on that morning. Another Mariner Orient (40, not 38 like us) was traveling from Florida northward to do the “Great Loop.” We had met Jan and Dave on Optimystique in Bradenton, FL when we were visiting the Bakers on Magnolia. Sailors and now “trawler-ers”, Jan and Dave have a terrific blog called Commuter Cruiser. Facebook and AIS told us they would be heading north up the Hudson as we were going south that day. One thing led to another and we made plans to take photos of Optimystique in front of the Statue of Liberty. This is becoming a habit for us! Everything went as planned and at 9:30 am we were both there.

Optimystique and the Statue of Liberty. Note: Real cameras take better photos than phones. Period. Even small idiot-proof cameras like mine.

A new photo of Kindred Spirit, thanks to Jan.

This Lady deserves another photo in the blog. Of all the sights in New York, she is my favorite.

The Statue of Liberty’s arm and torch in Madison Square Park, 1876 -1882.

 

Here’s another bit of trivia that I found fascinating. That book I was reading, Time and Again, also mentioned the Statue of Liberty. For 6 years (1876-1882) the statue’s arm and torch sat in Madison Square Park to raise money for the rest of the Statue. Who knew?? I found an old photo on “The Bowery Boys.”

 

I had the helm from the Statue of Liberty all the way up the East River, through Hell Gate and Throgs Neck Bridge. My first time!

I had the helm from the Staue of Liberty all the way up the East River, through Hell Gate and Throgs Neck Bridge. My first time!

The Empire State Building. This may be my first photo of it.

The tramway to Roosevelt Island – it took 6 trips through here to finally catch it in the air!

I had to take another photo of Rockefeller University with the morning sun lighting it.

The churning water of Hell Gate, and it wasn’t even maximum flood yet. Al took the photo because both of my hands were gripping the wheel.

13.8 knots at only 1500 rpm!! WooHoo!! That is quite speedy.

We settled ourselves on a mooring in Port Washington after our 6 hours down and up both sides of Manhattan. After a brief respite, we dinghied to town for a repeat visit to Douglas and James Homemade Ice Cream to cool off, and yes, to enjoy the ice cream (no photos this time!)

On our dinghy ride, we passed a very familiar looking boat, Navigator, previously owned by friends of ours from Maine that we met int eh Bahamas in 2013, Laurie and Peter. In fact, it was Navigator that led us to search for a “Europa-style” trawler.

Navigator, a very handsome boat.

We invited Dennis and Julie over for a happy hour. They have just embarked on a year-long journey to do “The Loop.”

I have to include this because my Captain Al is the ultimate rescue guy in so many ways. On one dinghy ride back to the boat, he noticed that this little sailboat was not moving at all. Turning back he inquired if they needed assistance. You bet! They were grounded in the shallows. Al gave them directions and pulled them off the sandbar and to a mooring. He is a sweet man always ready to lend a hand.

After a day relaxing and trying to stay cool, our next leg took us from Port Washington to Port Jefferson, 35 miles to the east.

Beautiful morning + calm seas = nice easy ride!

In the past, we enter the channel and hang a right, but Al wanted to spend the day in “The Sand Pit” to the left, ready to relive his childhood boating memories.

Entering Mount Misery, also known as “The Sand Pit.”

It’s not possible to capture the circle of sand dunes that surround this cove, even with panorama mode.

Kindred Spirit on a private mooring. When Al was a child this cove was all anchorage, but it is now filled with moorings. Fortunately for us, it was pretty empty on this quiet June Tuesday.

Now this was fascinating to watch. A group of very buff and fit guys arrived on the beach at the base of the dunes and repeatedly ran up and down doing some sort of drills. We let our imaginations work overtime, wondering what their purpose was. Lifeguard, SWAT team, Navy seals, Black ops, just fun???

Al had his own fitness program – rowing around the Sand Pit in the Walker Bay, revisiting childhood memories.

Phase 2 of his workout included some fancy twists as he cleaned the side of the boat.

Ok, not exactly a fitness program, but weaving outdoors is more fun than weaving inside!

Port Jefferson’s Mount Misery was anything but misery and, as our last stop on the trip, it was a restful, relaxing day in perfect weather.

Another 53 miles would bring us home. Once again we decided on an early start to get a good push from the current.

What a picture to begin the day, especially if you begin at 5:00 am.

We departed as the pinks deepened to orange, gold and red.

Turning east and heading home.

 

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Good-byes and Turning South

Magnolia departed early Thursday morning and turned north on the Hudson to enter the Erie Canal system. We turned south and retraced our path, heading for home. Although It was hard to say goodbye after the 10 fun-filled days together, we are very glad we joined them on this leg of their latest adventure.

Magnolia departs.

The red bridge reflected in the water looked so pretty in the early morning light.

Look what pulled into Kingston for this weekend – the GlassBarge is here now.

Much of this next part of our trip is a rerun, in the reverse direction. Funny thing, even though you might have been there and done that, you can still find new things to enjoy or notice.

It’s a lovely morning on the Hudson.

Esopus Light, again. She is a pretty “Maid of the Meadows.”

By 10:00 am the river was waking up and we were passing more pleasure boats heading north than we had seen last week. On the way to do “The Great Loop”?

This boat caught Al’s eye – a 1989 Morgan 44 center cockpit, named “Free Spirit Too”. He chatted with the captain over the VHF radio. Unable to sell the sailboat and get the trawler he wanted, he just removed the mast and began his journey from North Carolina. Instant trawler??? He’s doing the Great Loop with it. I admire his determination to fulfill a dream. (This boat should look familiar because it is a sister ship to our old Morgan.

The pretty morning mutated into a choppy afternoon ride as the winds increased, against the current.

We enjoyed Cold Spring and decided to stop here again, anchoring in Foundry Cove.

As we passed the Cold Spring town dock, we saw the Clearwater sloop.

Clearwater, Pete Seeger’s sloop and a floating classroom. We counted six separate groups on board, listening intently.

Ok, I know, I know, but how could we pass up another round of MooMoo’s ice cream???? We will diet when we return home.

We spent a rocking and rolling night with the winds and currents out Foundry Cove. For breakfast we treated ourselves to our one and only breakfast “off board” of the whole trip with a return visit to Hudson Hils Cafe.

Hudson Hils doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the interior is fresh and cheerful.

And the food is creative and delicious. The wait staff are friendly and fun, too.

Now that it is just the two of us, we aren’t touring or socializing as much. We are missing our buddies on Magnolia, so we fill our time with projects.

Al worked on a leaky porthole that has been nagging him.

And I got out a weaving project. I “acquired” a new smaller loom just to see if I could weave on the boat. Yup, can do it!

We were having dinner guests that evening – people we had never met. 😉 MJ (as in Dean and Mary Jo from SYC) has a brother, Pete, who lives on the Hudson and is a boater, too. We made arrangements to pick them up at the Cold Spring Boat Club and bring them out to Kindred Spirit for dinner. We all had a great time and we look forward to seeing them again when they make their first boating excursion eastward to Shennecossett in July.

Dinner guests arriving!

Shannon, Michele, Pete, and Al (I guess we are still socializing!)

Off we go again the next morning, only 80% sure of where we wanted to anchor for the night.

The winds were less, but we dodged a lot of floating logs during the first hour. Most were caught in the current line, floating in an informal swath together.

We passed West Point again, with the morning sun shining on it from the east.  It’s worth another picture, don’t you think?

“Army” sailboat. Amusing to see a sailboat with the name “Army” on its sailcover.

We had been debating for 2 days about this next stopover. The annual Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival, the country’s oldest music and environmental festival, would be held at Croton Point Park this weekend. I researched it and it truly sounded like an awesome event. The Revival was founded by folksinger Pete Seeger over fifty years ago, inspired by his desire to clean up the Hudson River. He began by building the sloop Clearwater, which became a world-renowned floating classroom complete with educational programs, and leadership in environmental and social justice.

The festival held at Croton State Park, where we were anchored,  included a juried Handcrafters’ Village, the Green Living Expo, the Working Waterfront with small boat exhibits and rides, the Artisanal Food & Farm Market, environmental education displays and exhibits, and seven stages for concerts.

Sounded terrific, except……. 1) boats were not allowed, not even dinghies, 2) no place to bring a dinghy within walking distance, 3) a one-day ticket for a senior citizen cost $76. We regretfully decided to sit this one out.

From our anchored location we could hear music and see some tents. The Clearwater and the Mystic Whaler were taking people out on excursions.

The Mystic Whaler. That boat really travels around!

Pete Seeger’s sloop, Clearwater

When we arrived, before noon, there were only 2 sailboats in the anchorage off Croton Point Park.

By afternoon the anchorage had filled with 74 (I counted! ) small- to medium powerboats surrounding us. They weren’t interested in the festival, this was just the ordinary weekend crowd on a beautiful June Saturday, complete with floating toys and loud music.

A nearby sailboat was probably here for the festival, they seemed like “free spirits,” or at least she did. Note – if you sunbathe in that attire, you have to expect people will notice! I used a discreet gray box to cover her.

There was an assortment of boats in the anchorage, but most were powerboats.

Once most of the day trippers had departed and the anchorage was quieter, we were treated to an hour-long concert by They Might Be Giants followed by Ani deFranco. No view, but great acoustics out here.

We Might Be Giants and Ani DeFranco
What a nice way to spend the evening on our boat, listening to a concert.

The sun set over the hills on a very nice day.

Croton Reservoir in Manhattan, in the 1880’s.

An afterthought  — I read a lot while we spend time on the boat. I just finished reading an older novel, Time and Again by Jack Finney. It’s a time travel story in Manhattan (1970 and 1882) without the trappings of strange overly scientific and technical  science fiction.  The main character walks past Croton Reservoir on the west side of Manhattan between 79th and 86th Streets and 6thand 7thAvenue. I wondered if that was a fact. Yes, it is true!

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North to Kingston

After our three day stay in Poughkeepsie we were ready to move on again, although there were still many things tourist items left unchecked on our to-do list –the FDR Library, the Vanderbilt Mansion, breweries and vineyards and more. When traveling by boat without a car, it is harder to reach places, even with Uber and rental cars.

One thing I really wanted to do was the New York State Park, Walkway over the Hudson, the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. It is a “park in the sky” for walkers, hikers, joggers, bicyclists, and those with disabilities.

“Walkway over the Hudson”, 1.28 miles long and 212 feet above the Hudson River.

A drive-by view of the Marist College entrance.

Speaking of cars, I must say that we drove to this region on a fairly regular basis to visit my son and his wife who both graduated from Marist College, here on the Hudson in Poughkeepsie. We rarely toured and usually only came to see them or their performances. What strikes me as amusing is that we would make it a day trip, only a 2-hour drive. This time it is has taken us over 5 travel days to get here by boat!! ;-0

Marist College campus as seen from the water.

A view of the Roth Building on the Culinary Institute campus.

A lovely morning and a lovely view of the Hudson River.

Esopus Lighthouse was built in 1871 to warn mariners of the mud flats known as the Esopus Meadows. You can see the Catskills in the background.

Esopus was nicknamed the”Maid of the Meadows” and is the  only Hudson lighthouse with a clapboard exterior.

It was less than 14 nautical miles from Poughkeepsie to Kingston, our next port of call. The Kingston Lighthouse or Rondout Lighthouse (seems to be called by both names) marks the entrance to Rondout Creek.

The first Rondout Lighthouse was built in 1837 and was made of wood. After it was damaged in a storm, it was replaced by a stone structure in 1867, and then this brick one in 1915. It is still fully operational.

Kingston is located on Rondout Creek, and was the most important port between New York and Albany in the 19th Century. Rondout Creek isn’t really a “creek” as such, it is a 63 mile long tributary of the Hudson. We passed numerous marinas, shipyards and docks. Our goal was to go as far as we could to the end of Rondout and anchor.

Passing some interesting vessels along the way.

And more interesting vessels……

There was a surprising number of sailboats up this creek.

Old wooden boat restoration center.

A view of Kingston town – looks nice.

We passed under an old high railroad bridge. How far up the creek will we be? With or without a paddle????

An art center that clearly makes use of the natural materials (flotsam and jetsam)  that may pass by.

A shipyard that repairs tugboats (and other boats I am sure.) These tugs had come a long way for their rehab.

Behind the trees was an active junkyard for scrap metal. Where are we going???????

After  miles on the “creek”, we came to the end and go no farther. And it was a sweet little spot.

A little red bridge marked the end of the line for us.

Kindred Spirit and Magnolia anchored at the end of the creek.

We needed an afternoon excursion so we dinghied under the red bridge up to the little dam and waterfall in Eddyville.

Even dinghies need to be careful of rocks under the surface – almost hit this one!

Love the sound of tumbling water.

We had already checked for ice cream in Kingston and found “White’s Dairy Bar” in Eddyville, right near us, just a short walk past the bridge and dam. You knew we would find ice cream, didn’t you?

White’s Dairy Bar, a friendly little stop on the road, or by boat.

A walk back and forth over the red bridge. Nice view of our boats. 🙂

We were both safely anchored and watched this boat try to find a spot for the night. He settled on a location after 5 tries. This is what we saw the next morning. There’s a reason we use charts and depth finders.

Wednesday, June 13th was a bit cloudy and drizzly, but that did not stop us from exploring Kingston. The Hudson Maritime Museum was a perfect place to hide from the so-so skies.

The Maritime Museum was established in 1980 to preserve the maritime heritage of the Hudson River and its tributaries. We were all surprised at the wealth of information, artifacts, and exhibits housed within.

The exhibitions begin with an extensive display of intricately crafted model boats.

The 1898 steam tugboat “Matilda” is outside on the grounds and a model version of her lives inside the museum.

A model canal system that demonstrates how the locking system works. We had fun raising and lowering the “water” level and moving the wooden models.

I was surprised we spent so much time here. The exhibitions were quite good and varied. Artifacts were accompanied by photographs and video displays. And chairs to sit down in and watch.

We learned about ice sailing from the exhibit and a video. It’s really hard to see the construction of these “boats” from the photo. A lot of work went into this sport for a few opportunities to go sailing on the frozen Hudson.

I wandered off to look at watercolors that were displayed between the exhibits. As I studied them, a charming older gentleman engaged me in a conversation. He was Michael Mendel, the artist.  Born in 1934, he fled Nazi Germany in 1938 with his parents. His career as a graphic artist included creating album covers for musicians – Donovan, Etta James, Tony Bennett, Gladys Knight and the Pips.

Michael’s watercolors now capture the Hudson River as he sees it from his home. He paints under the name Zepel. He confided in me that Zepel was the name of a stuffed toy he carried for comfort when escaping from Germany as a small child.

Our last day in Kingston and our last day cruising together came to an end with dinner on Magnolia.

This won’t be the last time Kindred Spirit and Magnolia cruise together. We hope. Farewell for now!