Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!
I would like to welcome Gideon A. aboard as our newest virtual crew member. As a dear friend, Big Dave S., used to say, “It is an SOS (scoot over some) kind of day.” It might be a little crowded on this 43 foot boat, but there is always room for more.
The crew met an interesting host of people during the past week. These folks have definitely enriched the crews lives.
The first half of the week was spent making way from Cape May to New York City, with the following stops:
The second half of the week was spent running up the Hudson River with the following stops:
Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log. This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, a summary of the day’s experience, and a few pics of the route.
This week’s video shows Still Waters II leave Cape May and run up the New Jersey coast to Atlantic City. She then runs inside on the NJ ICW where she encounters a train at Manasquan. She then runs back outside in the Big Pond to NYC, and begins her voyage up the Hudson River. In Poughkeepsie, she listens to Bridge Music. She ends her week watching fireworks off her bow over the Hudson River. Happy Birthday America! Enjoy!
To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site. The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.
The skipper noticed another Viking Motor Yacht had arrived at the Marina in the early afternoon. He also noticed that the Viking was flying a White Looper Flag, signaling that they are ‘In Progress” on the loop. The name of the boat, Gettin’ Looped. The crew of Gettin’ Looped , Mike and Jonell, invited our crew onboard for a tour. Then later, Mike and Jonell came down and toured Still Waters II.
The boats are still very similar, even after 30 plus years of additions and modifications to each boat.
Mike and Jonell aboard Still Waters II
Mike and Jonell stopped by the Viking Manufacturing Facility just north of Atlantic City. They sent a message that the tour was fabulous. Our crew will put this on the ever growing ‘Next Time’ list.
The ever changing weather has opened a window to cruise three straight days to New York City. So this morning the crew set off on the first leg of the journey up the Jersey coast by heading towards Atlantic City.
Leaving Cape May Harbor
The crew ran about three miles off shore for much of the cruise and did not have much of a view of anything but miles and miles of water.
Atlantic City in the distance
The skipper out getting video for this week’s film
When the crew arrived at the anchor spot they had a bit of trouble. On the first try the anchor did not set. While pulling the anchor back in the chain got stuck in the windlass and tripped the breaker. After resetting the breaker, the skipper un-lodged the stuck chain and dropped the anchor a second time.
Again the anchor did not hold. This time when the anchor came up it had a big ball of grass stuck on it. The skipper cleaned the anchor off, then dropped the anchor a third time. This time the anchor held, but it seems the brake may have broke on the windlass because the chain was just free wheeling into the water. Just another thing to troubleshoot and fix.
The crew did make arrangements to stay at Liberty Landing Marina in NYC on Wednesday. They plan to meet Geof, the Captain that originally trained the crew three years ago.
Geof (far left) and the crew on the last day of training, three years ago
Then they made reservations at Hyde Park further up the Hudson River so the Admiral could make reservations at the Culinary Institute for Friday. The Dance Card is filling fast this week.
The crew completed the second leg of the journey to NYC. They decided to run on the inside route via the NJ ICW. To get past the worst spots of shoaling, they needed to leave about 2 hours ahead of high tide. This just happened to be 0600 today.
New Jersey ICW
The skipper got up and completed his morning routine and had the engines started at 0545. The Admiral got up when the engines started and made her morning coffee. She then went to the helm and helped get the anchor up from the helm while the skipper was out on the bow pulpit. The windlass seemed to work fine and the anchor came up clean.
They made their way out the basin and headed north on the ICW at mile 66. The first two hours had several spots of shoaling and the water low level alarm went off frequently. The good news was that the skipper never saw less than two feet of water under the props. Other than a few tense moments in low water, all was well with the cruise.
As the crew approached Tilton Point to drop anchor, the tide was ebbing and they found themselves once again in some shallow water. They managed to keep five feet of water under the boat though. When they rounded Tilton Point, they pulled into the cove and dropped the anchor. The windlass performed as designed and the anchor was set on the first try. Strange after all the problems from yesterday.
View across the ICW from the anchor spot
The crew is set to make New York City tomorrow. Always a fun trip to take your own boat into New York Harbor past the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan. Only issue is the weather, looks as though a storm may build in the early afternoon and carry some 20 plus mph winds. The skipper will evaluate the conditions in the morning.
Got away at the crack of dawn this morning. The conditions in the morning were marginal, but the afternoon conditions would be a no go.
The crew uses the following matrix for deciding to travel or not:
Wind Waves Go-No Go
0-10 <2 ft Go
11-15 <2 ft Go
15-20 >2 ft No-Go
The winds were predicted to be 20 + in the afternoon with 3-5 foot swells only 4 seconds apart. That would not be much fun. However, the window to get around Sandy Hook looked good if the crew left early. When they reached the Atlantic Ocean, the wind was 11 mph with 2 foot swells at 6 second period. The wind slowly picked up energy as the crew headed north. Conditions were 13 mph winds with 2-3 foot swells as the crew rounded Sandy Hook and made way to the Verrazano Bridge.
Abandoned Lighthouse in Lower Hudson Bay
As the crew neared the Verrazano Bridge, conditions seemed to weaken and the waters calmed down. After passing under the bridge and thru ‘The Narrows’ into the Upper Hudson Bay, the skipper checked conditions out at Sandy Hook and the winds were up to 20 mph..
Looking towards Manhattan from below the Verrazano Bridge
The crew swung by the Statue of Liberty for a few pics, and were surprised to find they were the only boat there. As they pulled away from the Statue, a tour boat loaded with tourists arrived..
The crew made way over to Lady Liberty Landing and got docked. As the skipper was checking in at the dock office, a 32 foot sail boat arrived on the fuel dock to check into customs. The boat and 4 crew were landing after a four day cruise from Bermuda. The skipper asked how the sail went and the Captain of the sailboat launched into a story of 26 foot waves and a hail storm. The skipper assumed it was not that good of a trip.
After that story, the skipper checked the wind conditions out at Sandy Hook and found that the wind was well over 20 mph. Sure glad they left early and missed that mess.
The view of Manhattan from the boat
As mentioned earlier, the goal for today was to make NYC and meet up with Geof. It has been too long since the crew has seen Geof, and they are eager to learn what he is doing working in NYC. Geof had a business associate with him, Shawn, so they both arrived at the boat around 1730. After introductions and some good story telling the group set off to find some food to eat.
New and old friends aboard Still Waters II, Shawn, the skipper, Geof (left to right)
The food was ok, but the price included a charge for the view.
The skipper looked at the tide and current charts for the Hudson River and determined that the best time to leave was 0800, so that they would get a 1.5 mph push from the current.
Unfortunately, there was a steady downpour while the crew shoved off the dock. The crew donned their rain gear, unhooked the water and electric, then slipped the lines, and finally left the dock in the rain.
After motoring out into the Hudson River, the rain abruptly stopped. This would happen two or three times throughout the day. All at the most inconvenient of times.
The crew caught site of Grant’s Tomb overlooking the Hudson River. This begged the question, Who is buried in Grant’s tomb?
Well, that is a trick question, or maybe even a riddle. How can that be you ask? Well, for starters, technically no one is buried in Grant’s Tomb. However, both General Grant and his wife, Julia, are ‘entombed’ there above ground in matching sarcophagi.
The skipper wondered why the General was not buried in West Point, or some other military installation. The answer turned out to be because the General’s only request upon death was to be laid to rest beside his wife. Back when he died, wives were not permitted to be buried in military cemeteries.
His wife choice New York because the site of the memorial was only blocks from where she lived and she could go visit her deceased husband. When Julia died in 1902, she was placed next to the General, granting Grant’s last wish.
Some give credit for the old question, Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb? to Groucho Marx. He hosted a quiz show, ‘You Bet Your Life,” in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Marx did not like participants to go home empty handed, so if a contestant had not won anything, he would ask this question which would lead to a winning answer. Maybe Marx is also the inventor of the modern day participation trophy.
The crew continued north on the Hudson River to the Haverstraw Marina where the skipper planned to top off the fuel tanks. The skipper noticed that fuel at the Haverstraw Marina was only $2.92/gal, fuel in the surrounding area was priced 3.50-4.00. Yes, just as they were docking the rain began again. And yes after they pulled away from the dock, the sun came back out. It has been one of those days.
After the fuel stop, the crew dropped anchor in the Haverstraw Cove. The cove is well protected from winds in any direction and is out of the river current. While in the cove, a couple of swans swam by. The skipper also spotted two deer feeding along the shore.
Views from the cove.
Today the crew weighed anchor and headed towards Hyde Park where they have reservations to eat at the Culinary Institute of America.
Along the way, they passed some of the best sights on the Hudson River, which make this leg of the journey one of the better cruising days. The weather also decided to cooperate and bring out the sunshine.
Cruised by Bear Mountain. You can actually see NYC from the three story overlook on top of Bear Mountain, on a clear day.
The Bear Mountain Overlook, from the water
Bear Mountain Bridge
Cruised by West Point
Cruised by Bannerman’s Castle
Cruised under Poughkeepsie Bridge while listening to Bridge Music. Only other place in the world you can get this experience is in France at the Eiffel Tower. A local resident, Joseph Bertolozzi, recorded sounds made from hitting the bridge with different objects, and then composed a dozen songs from the recordings.
Click here for the New York Times Video story.
The skipper also had several radio conversations with the crew from Almost There. They are on the Loop headed to the Erie Canal, and then into Canada.
After landing at the dock at Hyde Park, the dock master informed the crew that the CIA would conduct a fireworks show after dark. He pointed to some rocks and said the barge will be just past those rocks so you will have a front row seat.
Fireworks barge getting setup for the show.
Watch the video above for a little bit of the fireworks show.
The best time to leave the dock to catch the current north was around 1100 this morning. The crew shoved off and had a good day of lighthouse viewing.
The Esopus Meadows Lighthouse, nicknamed ‘Maid of the Meadows’, was first lit in 1872.
The Roundout Lighthouse, first lit in 1917
The Saugerties Lighthouse, first lit in 1869
The Hudson City Lighthouse, first lit in 1874
Texas 2 Step, this boat was docked in front of Still Waters II at Shady Harbor Marina. The skipper talked with the Captain of the boat and learned that they are traveling with a couple of other Texas Looper boats.
The crew will arrive at Waterford on Sunday, and launch the beginning of the Erie Canal. The Erie Canal is made up of the Eastern, Western, and Finger Lakes sections. The crew has cruised the Eastern Erie to the Oswego Canal, so they will travel thru this area as quickly as possible and hope to arrive at the endo of the Eastern Erie Canal by the end of the week.