Whale of a Tail

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Eric here reporting on our crew’s journey from Cape May, New Jersey to 37 miles north of New York City at Croton on Hudson, New York.

But first another welcome aboard is in order for our newest virtual crew member, Russ Kunkel.

If you would like to be a virtual crew member for this adventure, go to the website https:/stillwaters2scuttlebutt.com and click on the ‘Follow’ button in the lower right hand corner.

Run Up New Jersey to New York City

The run to New York City was made in three jumps:

  1. Cape May to Atlantic City via the ICW
  2. Atlantic City to Brielle via the Atlantic Ocean
  3. Brielle to New York City via the Atlantic Ocean
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King Neptune guarding the marina

 

On the first jump, the crew decided to make the run up the Jersey ICW rather than make the run outside on the big pond.  The wind conditions were predicted to cause 3-5 foot seas that the crew wanted to avoid.

However, the risk of running on the inside via the ICW is going aground.  The Jersey ICW has a bad reputation for being shallow and narrow.  Local knowledge suggests that a crew should start two hours after low tide to ensure the most water on the day run to Atlantic City.

Unfortunately for our crew, they needed to take on fuel before leaving the marina.  This caused the crew to shove off at 0845, only 30 minutes before high tide.  The first half of the day was uneventful, but as low tide approached at 1500, the skipper was constantly challenged to keep 4 feet of water under the boat.  Between 1400 -1700, the crew found less than 4 feet of water at least three times.  Each time the skipper was able to stop the boat and back up before going aground.

In this same time frame the crew actually saw one boat stuck aground.  A second boat was heard hailing Boat US Tow Service because they had run aground.

All in all, it was a long nervous day for the crew as they navigated the shallow waters.  I overheard the skipper tell the Admiral that he was adding this run to his ever growing list of things he is never going to do again.

Shore Excursions in Atlantic City

  • Atlantic City Aquarium
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Permit

The aquarium had a nice display of Mid-Atlantic Fish.  The aquarium had Permit on display.  You do not often see these fish at aquariums.  The Permit holds a special place in the heart of the skipper because it was the namesake for the boat he served aboard during his Navy days, the USS Permit SSN-594.

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This pic taken in 1984 San Francisco Bay while she was going out on sea trials. You can see the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.  The skipper was standing watch as Engine Room Supervisor when this pic was taken.

 

Absecon Light House

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The skipper and Admiral walked to the Lighthouse and then made the 228 steps to the top of the lighthouse to view the surrounding area.  The Lighthouse was placed in operation in 1857.  She is New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse at 171 feet tall.  She is the third tallest masonry lighthouse in the US.

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Webcam of skipper at the top of Absecon

 

  • Atlantic City Boardwalk
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Boardwalk near New Hampshire Ave

 

If you have ever played the game of Monopoly, you know that the most treasured piece of property is Boardwalk.  The next most treasured property is Park Place, which turned out to be a small road leading to the Bally’s Casino off of Pacific Avenue.

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Atlantic City at night

 

The crew had fun as they walked the iconic boardwalk from the north end starting at New Hampshire Avenue down to Iowa Avenue.  They even stopped at Texas Avenue for a break.  For a Monday afternoon there were already plenty of people out enjoying the day.  Many of the businesses were still closed however, with their openings scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend.

On the second jump, Tuesday May 24, 2016, the crew decided to run outside to Manasquan Inlet.  After leaving the Absecon Inlet, the crew turned north and headed up the Jersey coast running about three miles off shore. The swells were about four feet with a period of 8 seconds, which means there was a 4 foot swell about every 8 seconds.  As the day wore on the swells lessoned to two feet which made for a nice cruise.

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Whale off the bow

 

 

Around Little Egg Inlet, the skipper spotted his first whale.  Before the day was out the crew had spotted five whales.  One of them surfaced about 10 yards just off the port side of the boat.

On the third jump, to NYC, a boat most run on the outside because the ICW ends at the Manasquan Inlet. The ocean swells were 2-3 feet with a period of about 7 seconds. This made for rolling seas all the way to NYC.

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Still Waters II approaching the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.  Entering the Upper Hudson Bay.

 

Upon arriving in the Sandy Hook big ship channel, the skipper noticed that the Cat Daddy had caught up with Still Waters II and was following in her wake.  The two skippers agreed to continue on to Lady Liberty together and take pics at the statue.

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Still Waters II at the Statue of Liberty

 

After the photo shoot, the vessels made their way behind Lady Liberty and anchored.  Rafe Williams, Cat Daddy’s captain, made the dinghy ride over to Still Waters II, and an enjoyable evening was had by all swapping recent sea stories.

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Cat Daddy joins the crew

 

About 0915 the crew was surprised by a 15 minute fireworks show on Liberty Island.  Must be part of the Fleet Week activities going on throughout the city for Memorial Day Weekend.

Shore Excursions in New York City

The skipper awoke to almost completely discharged batteries the next morning.  He started the generator and charged the batteries for two hours so he could start the engines.  After the engines were started the crew made the one hour hop over to Lady Liberty Marina.  Unfortunately, when the crew arrived they were informed that a transformer had failed nearby and taken all the power in the area down.  Interesting, must be a day for electrical gremlins to run loose.

911 Memorial

  • 9/11 Memorial

The crew settled the boat and hooked up shore power with the hopes that the power would be restored while they were out exploring.  They took a ferry over to Lower Manhattan and then walked to the 9/11 Memorial.  Just so happened that their visit fell on the 15th anniversary of completing the cleanup following the attacks.  The construction workers, police, fire, and survivors were present for a remembrance celebration in the Museum.

  • Ellis Island
Central RR NJ Terminal
Central RR Station where the ferries pick up today, but the immigrants caught trains to their new lives

 

The crew took the Statue Cruise Ferry to Ellis Island and spent about 4 hours exploring the museum.  The restoration of the facility was well done and the museum does a good job of discussing immigration to the United States, pre and post Ellis Island.

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Showing immigration routes on a globe

 

One interesting observation the skipper made was the change in the facial expressions in the exhibit.  You could see the tension build as the new immigrants made their way to Ellis Island.  Then the facial features were really strained as they waited and processed through the facility.  However, once they made it, you could see the stress was gone and a big smile adorned their faces.

Another interesting story told was that the immigrants needed 25 dollars to enter the country.  A running joke was that with the thousands of people who processed through the facility each day, that there was actually only 25 dollars on the island.  The new immigrant would pass the money back to next family in line after proving that they had 25 dollars.

There are many first-hand accounts of actual immigrants explaining their story as they moved from their home country to the US.  Makes for a very moving experience to walk back in time and share their hope for a better life.

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One of skippers favorite stories

 

  • Liberty Island
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Selfie madness in the back ground as people take pics with Lady Liberty

 

The crew spent so much time on Ellis Island that they only had an hour to wander around Liberty Island.  One new tidbit the skipper learned was that Gustave Eiffel, of Eifel Tower fame, designed the internal support framework of Lady Liberty.

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Ferry ride back to marina

 

Symbolism abounds on the Statue:

Torch: The torch is the strongest symbol that Bartholdi incorporated into the Statue. In fact the Statue’s real name reflects its true meaning: “Liberty Enlightening the World”.

Crown: The statue wears a crown with seven spikes. This represents the 7 seas and 7 continents of the world, re-enforcing the universal concept of liberty.

Tablet: The Statue holds a tablet in her left hand. It is a book of law based on the founding principles of this nation, a nation based on law.

Writing on the Tablet: The Statue’s tablet contains writing on it. This was one of the last changes that Bartholdi made to the Statue. It was originally left blank. Bartholdi placed the date of America’s independence on the tablet (JULY IV MDCCLXXVI ). They are in roman numerals which are symbolic of law.

Shape of the Tablet: keystone – In architecture, a keystone is the stone which keeps the others together. Without it everything would fall apart. The keystone of this nation is the fact that it is based on law. Without law, freedom and democracy would not prevail.

Sandals: The Statue of Liberty actually wears sandals. She is also not standing still. Even though the Statue stands on a pedestal, she is actually walking ahead moving forward. This goddess is lighting the path to freedom through peace, not violence. Her footwear also suggests her stature as a free person.

Robe: The Statue of Liberty wears a free-flowing robe or stola, which powerfully refers to the Roman influence of the goddess “Libertas”, which was worshipped by freed slaves.

Chains: Located at the Statue’s feet symbolize the freedom that Lady Liberty has. It demonstrates that the Statue is free from slavery and bondage.

Shields: Richard Morris Hunt made some representations in his pedestal design as well. He placed shields on each side of the pedestal symbolizing the states in the Union.

Granite Brick: There are 13 layers of granite that comprise the body of the pedestal. The 13 colonies formed America in 1776.

Run up the Hudson River

Manhatten at Nite
View from the marina

 

You probably guessed it, but after being missing for 405 years, the skipper has found Henry Hudson.  You might recall from your history lessons that mutineers placed Henry, his son, and 7 others in a small boat in 1611.  The small crew was never seen again.  But who better to narrate our voyage up the Hudson than Henry himself.  I will catch back up with you when you get to Troy, NY.  Eric the Red

I first cruised these waters back in 1609 looking for the rumored Northwest Passage.  My crew spent ten days exploring this river that now carries my name.  We made it as far as present day Albany.

George Washington Bridge
George Washington Bridge

 

One thing has certainly changed since the last time I was here.  These shores are now covered with buildings where thick forests once stood.  And those huge bridges crossing the river were not here last time either.

Grants Tomb
Grant’s Tomb

 

Before the crew got out of the upper Hudson Bay and actually started up the river they passed an interesting scene.  The NYPD and Coast Guard had created a boundary area around a plane that crashed in the river the day before.  A rescue vessel was present with divers in the water who were attaching lifting devices to the plane.

Also, the crew managed to land in NYC for Fleet Week.  Because of this, the marinas were booked for the weekend and our crew had no place to stay.  They shoved off from the marina and travelled 37 miles north, where the crew stopped at one of the spots I anchored in back in September, 1609.   The crew stopped at Half Moon Bay Marina.  The marina is named after my ship that sailed these waters back in 1609.

HMB Marina
Half Moon Bay

 

 

In the coming week, the crew will head further up the Hudson River Tuesday morning to Poughkeepsie where they have planned shore excursions to the FDR home at Hyde Park, Culinary Institute of America, and Vanderbilt Mansion.

Check back next week as we continue our epic journey around the Great Loop.

Henry Hudson

One Comment on “Whale of a Tail

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