"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

August 31, 2013

Aug. 31 - Jersey City, NJ

Liberty Landing Marina

I really don't have time to do a regular blog entry today...we have guests onboard and are having a wonderful time. After Kyle and Bryt arrived we had lunch onboard and then went for a cruise of the harbor. The rest of the day was spent visiting, eating and enjoying the view of lower Manhattan. 

Miss Liberty

 Having fun on the water
Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Bridge
Lower Manhattan and the new Freedom Tower
Our amazing view
Dinner at Liberty Landing

Aug. 30 - Jersey City, NJ

Liberty Park - Anchorage

We woke to a dreary dark morning, but there was no rain or fog...which was a good thing. We left Port Washington and headed back to New York City down Long Island Sound into the East River and past Hell Gate, where the Harlem River converges with the East River. The current was rushing through the area and really churning up the water...we had a wild ride coming past the east side of Manhattan and Roosevelt Island. 

This is our fourth time to come into the New York Harbor. It's still fun and a little nerve racking with all the ferries, pleasure boats and water taxis, but not quite as exciting as the first time we approached the city and saw Miss Liberty. I was more excited today about seeing our friends on Gallivant and our visitors who are coming tomorrow. Kyle and Brytanie are flying in for the holiday weekend. We're looking forward to showing them around New York and visiting...it should be a great weekend. 

By the time we got anchored behind Miss Liberty the sun was beginning to shine and we had a great view of the statue. Pam and Donny arrived around 1:00 and we spent the rest of the day (and evening) talking and catching up on our summer cruising adventures.

Just a little current flowing under the Queensboro Bridge 

Gallivant arriving
We never get tired of this very
It's nice to spend time with friends

August 30, 2013

Aug. 29 - Port Washington, NY

Port Washington Mooring Field

We took the train into the city today...how fun. The train station is about a mile from the dock, but easy to find. We took the water taxi to the pier so we didn't have to worry about leaving the dinghy in town all day. The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) is a commuter rail system serving the length of Long Island, New York. It is the busiest commuter railroad in North America. Established in 1834 and having operated continuously since then, it is also the oldest US railroad still operating under its original name and charter. The LIRR is the only commuter passenger railroad in the U. S. to operate 24 hours a day.

We arrived at Penn Station which is the busiest train station in North America. It serves 300,000 passengers a day at a rate of up to a thousand every 90 seconds...a very busy place. It's located near 34th Street close to Madison Square Gardens and Macy's. We wandered through Macy's for awhile, but there was so much remodeling going on it was hard to get round. The Macy building takes up the whole block...there is a pedestrian park on the Broadway side, so we sat and watched people while we decided where we wanted to have lunch. We decided on the 2nd Ave. Deli, it was a good choice. 

After lunch we walked down 5th Ave. toward Central Park...stopping at a few of the exclusive shops and walking through St. Patrick Cathedral. We went into Tiffany's, but we didn't pick up any little baubles. Who needs shiny diamonds when you have The Pearl

Central Park is a wonderful peaceful escape from the chaotic world that surrounds it. Taxis, buses, sirens, people hurrying around and loud noises seem to end where the park begins...our favorite part of New York City. We spent a little time relaxing on the grass and regaining our energy so we could walk down Broadway, through Time Square and back to Penn Station. We didn't have any destination or plan for the day, we just had fun watching people and soaking in the city. 

The Long Island Rail Road train

The Empire State Building
Tiffany's & Co.
Looking down 5th Avenue
St. Patrick's Cathedral...The 133 year old cathedral is under going a five year $175 million restoration. There were scaffolding inside and out. 
F.O.A. SChwarz...I'd love to bring our grand daughter here!
The view from Central Park
 Relaxing at the park
Busy Time Square

August 28, 2013

Aug. 27 - Port Washington, NY

Port Washington Mooring Field

We left Branford with dark storm clouds to the east...luckily we were moving in the opposite direction. We are slowing making our way to New York City and then back to the Chesapeake. We had beautiful weather by the time we got to Port Washington. It's been 11 weeks since we were here and over 1200 miles. It's been an interesting cruising year and we thoroughly enjoyed New England, especially Maine. I'll have more thoughts on our year in a later post. For now we're just taking it easy waiting to see family and catch up with friends. 

August 27, 2013

Aug. 26 - Branford, CT

Branford Yacht Club

What a difference a day can make. It's Monday and the marina is very quiet...everyone has gone back to work and school will start later this week. One more week and summer will be over up here. Our picture perfect weather has turned to clouds and rain. The wind was howling last night and we were rocking quite a bit even tied to the dock. I'm sure glad we weren't anchored or on a mooring. 

We had a pretty lazy day since the weather was so threatening. We used the car to pick up a few more supplies and then had lunch at Lenny's. It feels nice to be stocked up on food and have clean clothes...and the boat is looking great. We're ready for company and New York City...our time in New England is over for this year. We had a wonderful time and we will definitely return. 

August 26, 2013

Aug. 25 - Branford, CT

Branford Yacht Club

Today was a repeat of Saturday…cleaning, polishing, shopping and laundry, plus the parade of boats was even more impressive. It was an absolutely wonderful day, weather wise and the world was out enjoying it. Even with all our work we enjoyed it too. It’s been wonderful having a place to get things back in shape after a long cruising season. We will stay here another day and then move down Long Island Sound to Port Washington and then into New York City on Friday. We are very excited about our son and his wife joining us next Saturday for a little fun on the boat and exploring in New York City.

August 25, 2013

Aug. 24 - Branford, CT

Branford Yacht Club

Work, work, work was the theme of our day. That and watching the parade of boats come in and out of the harbor. It was a beautiful Saturday...one of New England's last summer Saturdays, so people were out soaking it in. We're in a slip at the end of the pier so we had a great place to watch the show...as we worked. Stan cleaned the port side of the hull and transom, tomorrow we will move to the other side of the dock and he'll be able to clean the starboard side. He also waxed the flybridge. I defrosted the freezer and got rid of mildew in our main head. Sally lent me her car so I also had a chance to provision the boat. What a luxury...I was able to get everything in one trip. It wasn't an exciting day, but one we've needed for quite a while. We’re beginning to look a little more presentable. We were looking more like an old fishing boat than a yacht.

We're white again!

August 24, 2013

Aug. 23 - Branford, CT

Branford Yacht Club

We decided to give up on exploring anymore of Long Island and headed back across the Sound to Connecticut today. The morning was very windy, but we’ve discovered it's hard to determine the weather and winds up here. It can be windy in one place and a few miles away the wind settles down. By the time we got to the cut into Long Island Sound it was pretty rough, but once in the Sound the winds laid down and we had a very smooth ride. The weather changes quickly up in New England, so you just have to be prepared for anything and go!

Tonight we are back at our friend's yacht club in Branford. We've spent most of the summer on mooring balls or anchored, not including the time we left the boat in July to go home, we've only spent eight nights at a marina since we left here on June 18. We needed the luxury of being on a dock with all the water and electricity we wanted. The boat hasn't been washed since the beginning of June...that's a lot of salt, grime and mildew that needed to be cleaned. Some of the decks were literally black. I should have taken a picture before we started scrubbing; so we could compare the difference...she looks so much better now.

Late this afternoon we had a chance to visit with our friends Ted and Sally. We are almost at the end of our cruising season, but they're getting their boat ready to start theirs. They'll begin to head south soon.

The water was just a little rough going through the Plum Gut Cut this morning
We cruised by the Thimble Islands again today
Heading into Branford
Our beautiful view this evening

August 23, 2013

Aug. 22 - Shelter Island, NY

Coecles Harbor - Anchorage 

Today was a crazy mixed up day...it started out sunny and slow. Stan took the dinghy and went to the bakeshop for breakfast sweets, which we enjoyed as we watched the sky begin to turn dark. This is the point we should have decided to hang out in Sag Harbor another day, but we were in desperate need of water and the marina in town will let you tie up at their T-dock and fill up...if there's room. Yesterday when we came into town the dock was full and this morning it was free, so we pulled the anchor and went to the marina. We could have returned to our quiet little anchorage but we decided to move on. 

Our original destination was Dering Harbor, so we could visit Greenport. The harbor was full of moorings and signs telling us we weren't allowed to anchor. The moorings and marinas in this area are ridiculously high, so we moved on to Coecles Harbor. Neither place were too far, but it rained most of the way. This is a nice harbor but we took the long route to get here. It would have been much quieter to come around Shelter Island the other way. By the time we were ready to drop the hook the rain had stopped and the sky was clearing some. This harbor is pretty and there is a park area with miles of trails for hiking and biking and I think we could have ridden our bikes to Dering and gotten the ferry to Greenport, but the weather was too threatening all afternoon. We decided to stay on the boat and relax. Our only adventure today was cruising in the rain. 

Just a little dark the way we are headed.
Long Beach Bar Lighthouse - The benefit of taking the long route to our anchor was getting to see this beautiful lighthouse. Our lighthouse count is up to 92 for the year.
Even the places that will let you anchor have lots of rules! If you don't live here and you don't want to pay for their expensive accommodations...they really don't want you here.

August 22, 2013

Aug. 21 - Sag Harbor, NY

Sag Harbor Cove - Anchorage

We had a slow morning since we were only moving ten miles today. It was a beautiful calm morning. A family of swans came by to visit as we were preparing to leave...like geese and ducks they're always looking for a free meal. They are pretty and huge, even the grey youngsters liked nice to me.

We settled into our anchorage in Sag Harbor before lunch and then went ashore for something to eat. It was nice to be a short dinghy ride to town. We ate at a small seafood shack on the wharf called The Dock House. Fresh fish, clams and lobster from the boats outside...well mostly, I think the sign said the lobsters were from Maine. We wandered around town for awhile, but we didn't feel like excreting too much effort since it was very warm today. We've gotten a little spoiled to temperatures in the upper 70s and low 80s, so today high of 86 felt a little hot. I know everyone from home is getting a great laugh out of that, but remember we don't have the AC going. We did go back to town and pick up a few things for dinner...wine, cheese, bread and clam chowder from The Dock House. We sat on the deck and enjoyed a nice meal while we watched the sunset...one of the my favorite benefits of living on a boat. 

History lesson: The Port of Sag Harbor was founded in 1707, and is located on the south fork of Long Island, New York about 100 miles east of Manhattan. It was a thriving whaling port from 1760 - 1850, when the whaling industry began to decline. By the time the Revolutionary War began, Sag Harbor had built up a thriving coastal and foreign trade. In 1789, when George Washington approved the creation of Sag Harbor as a Port of Entry for the newly formed United States, the village had more square rigged vessels engaged in commerce than the Port of New York. Sag Harbor had the first custom house in the U.S., the first volunteer fire company in the state of New York that was established in 1803 and the first newspaper printed on Long Island.

There were two babies, but I didn't get a nice picture of the four of them...one was left out of the family photo.
The Dock House...it doesn't look like much but the food was good.
The lobster tank (tub!)
The inside of The Dock House. You can also buy seafood by the pound to take home with you.
Our view overlooking the harbor
Part of Main Street in Sag Harbor

August 21, 2013

Aug. 20 – East Hampton, NY

Three Mile Harbor - Anchorage

We’re spending the next week exploring the “fish tail” of Long Island. It’s the eastern end of the island that makes a split and looks somewhat like a fish tail. Within this split are several other islands, with protected coves and towns to visit. Our stop today was in the large well protected harbor of Three Mile Harbor. I really don't think it's a very good spot to stop if you want to do anything. It was a mile+ dinghy ride to the town dinghy dock and another three mile bike ride into East Hampton. If you wanted to go to one of the beaches around East Hampton you’d have to ride another mile or two. The town is very pretty and full of high end shops, restaurants and expensive cars. A place to be seen and watch others…if you’re into that. Living in East Hampton is one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S. The median price for a house in town is $895,000 and the cost of living is 168% of the national average. We didn't buy anything! We spent an hour or so wandering around and then went back to the boat.

I often include a history lesson on places we visit, but today you get a little science lesson with the blog. This evening’s full moon was a rarity…it was called a Blue Moon. In recent years we've been led to believe that the term Blue Moon means the second full moon in a month…in reality the term means something even more unusual. It’s a season that contains four full Moons. Why is the third full moon called a Blue Moon? The third full Moon is identified as the extra one in a season with four, because only then will the names of the other full moons, such as early summer moon, mid-summer moon, and late summer moon fall at the proper times relative to the solstices and equinoxes. No matter what you call it…it looked spectacular coming up on the horizon and even better as it sparkled on the water. I love to be anchored somewhere dark and peaceful when there is a full moon.

Just a few of the hundreds of fishing boats that are dock in Montauk.

Hook Windmill is located on North Main Street in East Hampton. It was built in 1806 and operated regularly until 1908. It is one of the most complete of the 11 existing windmills in Suffolk County on Long Island. Few of this style of windmill remain in the United States and it’s quite unusual to find such a large concentration of them in one area.
Main Street in East Hampton...full of stores like Tiffany's, Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors.
The beautiful "Blue Moon" rising

August 20, 2013

Aug. 19 - Montauk, NY

Lake Montauk - Anchorage

The last two days we haven't gotten off the boat...today we made up for the lack of exercise. It was three miles from the beach where we left the dinghy to the Montauk Point Lighthouse. Which was our first stop this morning. It sits high on the bluff on the very eastern tip of Long Island. Montauk Point Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in New York State. It was authorized by the Second Congress, under President George Washington, in 1792 and was completed in 1796. It is the fourth oldest active lighthouse in the United States. The light flashes every 5 seconds and can be seen a distance of 19 nautical miles. We hiked down to the beach and did a little beach combing, not really a beach, more of a rocky coast, but still fun to explore.

Our next stop was riding through Camp Hero State Park. This park is the former site of the Montauk Air Force Station. It was originally commissioned by the U.S. Army in 1942. The site was chosen because of the fear of a New York invasion that might be staged from the sea. It was a coastal defense station that was disguised as a fishing village. Today the park offers a beach, fishing, hiking, a bridle path, biking, and cross-country skiing. We enjoyed a few of the trails and then had a picnic lunch before riding into Montauk.

To get to the village of Montauk we had to do the three miles back towards the dinghy and another two more miles further down the island. The miles aren't so bad...it's the hills they have in New York that kill you! Coming down is sooo much fun, but going up is sooo much work. We thought Montauk would have a little more New England charm, but I guess we're not in New England anymore. Montauk is just your typical little beach town. The beach is beautiful and only a few blocks from town, but the main drag is filled with t-shirt shops, surf shops and over prices fast food joints. It reminded me of being at the beach in Port A. That really isn't a bad thing, but just not my thing anymore...way too many tourists. They did have a nice bakeshop and a cute little market, but both were very expensive. We picked up a few things at the market before heading back to the boat. We may not get a lot of exercise every day, but boy do we make up for it on days like today!

The view from the overlook on our way to the lighthouse. Looking out over Block Island Sound
Montauk Point Lighthouse
The cliffs at Camp Hero State Park, with the lighthouse in the distance
The Atlantic beach in Montauk
This picture just reminds me of the beach 

August 19, 2013

Aug. 18 - Montauk, NY

Lake Montauk - Anchorage

We found out today, from local friends, why Cuttyhunk might have been so crowded. The President and his family are vacationing on Martha's Vineyard, which makes it hard for "regular" people to get around...much easier to stay across the sound at Cuttyhunk. When we left this morning we had beautiful weather and flat seas, but the closer to Block Island we got the cloudier and winder it became. At least it was clear enough to see Block Island this time. When we came here in July it was raining hard and when we left it was foggy, so we've never seen it from the water before. We cruised past Block and are now on the eastern tip of Long Island.

Montauk is home to one of the largest sport fishing fleets in the US, but farming and ranching were once big business here. The Deep Hollow Ranch claims to be the birthplace of the American cowboy in 1658 and is the oldest cattle ranch in America. Hum...cowboys in New York, that's not what most people imagine when thinking about New York. It began to rain by late afternoon, so we didn't have a chance to do any exploring. That'll have to wait until tomorrow.

There weren't a lot of photo ops today.
This map shows you where we are...we are slowly working our way back to NYC. We have company coming to visit Labor Day weekend.

August 18, 2013

Aug. 17 - Cuttyhunk, MA

Cuttyhunk Harbor - Anchorage

Today was basically just a travel day. We cruised across the beautiful Cape Cod Bay to the Cape Cod Canal. We timed our departure so we would ride the tide through the canal. They have a posted speed limit in the canal of 10 MPH...we had to pull back on the throttle to keep it that slow. With the push of the current I think we could have easily been doing 13 or more. It was a beautiful Saturday and people were out everywhere, lots of boaters and even more people on shore walking, jogging and biking along the canal. The less energetic had their chairs set up in the grass and were watching the parade of boats going through the canal.   

We stopped at Cuttyhunk Island this evening. It's the outermost of the Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts and is located between Buzzards Bay to the north and Vineyard Sound to the south. The cruising guide says that even on the busiest summer day, Cuttyhunk remains pleasantly quiet, barren of the usual distractions of the mainland. Well that statement needs to be updated...this quiet little harbor was a zoo! The inner harbor has mooring and a few places to anchor. About half the moorings had two boats on them and ten boats were anchored in a space that was only big enough for 2 or 3 boats. Boats and people were packed into this small pond like sardines...dinghies zipping around, paddle boarders and even a few brave souls were swimming between boats. We anchored in the outer harbor with over 60 other boats. Cuttyhunk may not be over run with commercialism, but they are over run with people. We spent the rest of our day relaxing and watching all the action in this quiet, out of the way little paradise. 

The area around Cuttyhunk looks a little like Ireland

This man played his bagpipes for all of us around sunset
A beautiful Massachusetts sunset

August 17, 2013

Aug. 16 - Provincetown, MA

Provincetown Harbor - Anchorage 

We spent the day exploring the eclectic little town of Provincetown. The town was originally an active fishing village dating back to the Pilgrims. In fact this is where the Pilgrims first landed in 1620. They stayed in Provincetown for five weeks, where they created and signed the Mayflower Compact, before moving across the bay in Plymouth. 

Many Portuguese fishermen and their families made this their home for many years and the city has been influenced by that presence. Fishing is still active P-town, but it's primarily a wonderful home for artists of all sorts and a summer vacation destination for tens of thousands. Provincetown reminded us a lot of Key West full of unique shops, restaurants, bars and people. Unique being the keyword...anything goes here. People watching is a main attraction. On any given day you may see cross-dressers, leather-clad motorcyclists, barely clad in-line skaters, same-sex couples strolling hand in hand and tourists dressed in resort wear eating all sorts of seashore treats. 

After taking in all the excitement we could handle we had lunch overlooking the harbor and then took the bike trail out to Race Point Beach. This beach is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, it's a breathtaking stretch of sand with huge dunes extending as far as the eye can see. From what we've seen of the water and beaches in the Cape Cod area, we can definitely see why it is a popular summer destination for so many. 

The main pier in town where you can catch the ferries, whale watching boats or fishing charters
A collection of lobster buoys on the pier
The main drag in town...full art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and t-shirt shops
The bike path through the national seashore
Race Point Beach