Monday, December 17, 2012

DESTINATION: HOOK MOUNTAIN

  It was mostly a motor sail (or as some of us with electric propulsion refer to it "electro sailing") after leaving the anchorage by Ellis Island. Winds were light to start but, picked up from the west later in the day. Unfortunately, the high cliffs of the Palisades blocked  a lot of the wind from that direction. But, with a favoring current and the quietness of the electric propulsion system even motoring makes it a fast and pleasant cruise up the Hudson. When the winds finally did work their way down to the river level and the sail was filling nicely,  then the eastern lee shore started to became a concern to me. As I tacked toward the center of the river to gain some more room to leeward the winds clocked around from the north and became on the nose due to the wind swirls off the cliffs. So it goes. Finally,  after I reached the Piermont Pier area and the river opened up I got a nice 15 to 20 knot breeze out of the west that even had me considering putting in a reef in the sail.


I  ultimately did not put in the reef as it was just a few miles to my destination though I did do one more tack in order to make it under the center span of the Tappen Zee Bridge. After passing under the bridge I headed BIANKA to the northwest keeping the town of  Nyack and Peterson's boatyard to port and Tarrrytown to starboard.  My plan was to anchor off of Hook Mountain and in the late afternoon that's just what I did:

In some ways this is kind of a homecoming for BIANKA and I. This place brings back a lot of good memories and was a place that changed my life for the better. I have not been here since 2002 when BIANKA last dropped anchor here going and coming on a cruise up the Hudson River into the Erie Canal and Oswego canals and into Canada and back. It was also the first time I had made the trip with BIANKA's electric propulsion system installed. It felt good to be back. The beautiful autumn sunset that evening made me even more glad to be back in this spot.


The next morning reveled the beauty of the spot as it began to be filled with fall colors once again:


It was at this location back in 1999 where I started to think about making a major change in my life. I was sitting in BIANKA's cockpit with a cup of coffee enjoying morning sun lighting up the nearly vertical side of Hook Mountain. The crew woke up poked his head out and said" "ya know you could be doing this everyday if you wanted".  That remark got me thinking and within the year I had given up my full time job and began to work freelance. The result of which allowed me to work less and sail more. I embarked on a plan of working to live instead of living to work.  That was over twelve years ago and it turns out to be one of the best decisions I could have made. Coming back here all those years later brings me back to that morning.

To really take in the beauty of this location one really needs to see it from the water and spend some time observing it. Because it's beauty changes during the day with the changing light:



Also to see how majestic this place is the activity along the waterfront path gives you some idea of the scale of the area. As the photo below with a park pick up truck making it's way along the shore shows:

Here is another photo with a person walking along the shore side trail. The arrow points to them:

A day or two spent here at anchor offers up a number of pinch me moments especially as the colors of the fall foliage start to make a palette of color up the side of the mountain. It's a peaceful place to just sit and stare from the boat's cockpit :







The autumn colors provide a never ending show of color from dawn to dusk:




A few days after these images were taken Hurricane Sandy hit the area  no doubt stripping many of the trees of Hook Mountain of their leaves.  I was glad I was able to enjoy them while they were still there.











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