Saturday, September 24, 2011


I usually take at least one cruise to New York every year this year was no exception. I was looking forward to it. But, it proved to be less of a pleasure cruise than years past. The effects of Hurricane Irene were still being felt as I headed west on Long Island Sound.I needed to keep an eye out for debris washed into Long Island Sound and the Hudson River which could really ruin my day if it hit the prop. I was looking forward to a nice leisurely drift down the East River like I did last year. But, the wind was blowing 15 to 20 knots on the nose and as I tried to travel between north and South Brother Islands I found things were a little dicey. Hmmm, wind against current could it be the wind had actually been strong enough to stop or reverse the favoring current I was expecting to use for a nice leisurely trip. If that was the case it might be a long slow trip down the East River. I decided to run around North Brother Island and found the current still in my favor but, it was a bouncy rough ride through the tidal straight. But, eventually I was able to get through and headed toward the nights anchorage by the Statue of Liberty which always makes this sailor think about having the liberty and freedom to enjoy sailing these waters

The next morning I headed up the Hudson River and observed the New York skyline. the view is always impressive from the water. It is always changing too.

On this trip the Freedom Tower which is being built on the destroyed World Trade Center site is starting to take center stage among the buildings in lower Manhattan:

I expect by my next cruise here it will be finished or at least the outside will be. Eventually it will reach 1776 feet and will once be a point for sailors to take sightings off of.  Sailing further up the river I came upon one of the city's new fire boats:

A pretty serious looking boat if I ever saw one.

A little further up the river there was the Intrepid Air and Space Museum. 

Though I found the image of the Concorde on display amongst the trees a little disturbing and had me wondering what were they thinking:

Maybe it looks OK from land but, from the water it looked like the plane crashed.

I continued the delightful sail up the Hudson. Finally BIANKA docked at the 79th Street Boat Basin it's destination for the next several days:

It can be a rock and rolling place to stay made even less appealing due to the effects of Hurricane Irene.  The waters where still a dark brown with silt. So much so I could not even see the top of the rudder of BIANKA just a few inches below the surface. Debris were still scattered around the harbor flowing with the currents. A lot of them entering the the marina:

Nasty stuff  and a lot of things that can go bump in the night. Including this coffee table sized piece of wood that drifted by BIANKA one afternoon:

It's about three foot across. That would leave a scar if your boat hit it. 

Even though I lived aboard BIANKA for six years back in the late nineties. One thing I did notice on this trip to New York was how noisy the city is. I had my Honda 2000 eu generator running on the forward deck as I motored down the East River. I can usually hear it purring away but, soon after I passed through the Hell Gate bridge I noticed I could no longer hear it. The sounds of the city masked it's noise completely. After spending a few days in quiet anchorages the noise of the city was rather disturbing at first. But, you do get use to it. Still, I don't think I'd be happy living with that noise everyday at this point in my life.

After some social engagements with friends in the city it was time to head BIANKA back toward the Isle of Long. But, there was a little problem when heading up the East River. Because the United Nations General Assembly was in session the U.S. Coast Guard had blocked off the west channel completely. I had come down the East River in previous years and they had allowed me to pass as long as I traveled on the extreme east side of the west channel. This time I was met by an armed Coast Guard inflatable and told the west channel was completly closed to traffic. I had never traveled down the east channel on the other side of the Roosevelt Island because a lift bridge was too low when closed for BIANKA's mast.  While I was discussing this situation with the armed Coast Guard crew I noticed a sailboat heading down the east channel. So I thought I guess it will be OK and the bridge will open on demand because if it did not there would be a whole bunch of hurt on board.

Happily, the bridge operator was very cooperative the the bridge opened  with about twenty foot of clearance. Well that was the first time I had ever traveled on that side of Roosevelt Island. Soon I passed under the Hell Gate bridge and soon was passing north Brother Island with it's still standing but, slowly crumbling hospital buildings:

Soon I turned BIANKA to the east and headed toward Long Island Sound ending the 2011 cruise to New York.

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