…A beautiful sail.

On the 10th, we set off from our anchorage at Liberty Park.  And yes, we had a quintessential NY scene. We left NYC via the East River, getting a nice shot of the Pier 17 museum this time. We passed the entrance to Newtown Creek (boo, hiss) and under the Queensboro Bridge.  Lovely thing, it is! We were running with the current, having made it out of the Liberty Park anchorage at the exact right time.  When we got to Hell Gate, the current was flowing like mad.  Whirlpools swirled visibly and jerked us around like an amusement park ride.  It was cool as fuck. This is a 6 knot boat under most circumstances. James started singing, “So we crashed the gate doing eight point eight,” but by the time he reached the end, we were bouncing over 9 and saw our top speed at 10 knots.  Ten knots!  Wow! Rikers Island creeped us out and the rest of the area between Hell Gate and Throg’s Neck didn’t offer much more. We passed into Little Neck Bay, Long Island, and settled the hook just of the coast of the city of Great Neck, NY.  The area didn’t have many boats in it and it was pretty peaceful once the water skier got tired.  A couple of other boats swung our way to get a good look – because we were looking great on the hook! We know this because we launched the dinghy and gave her a maiden voyage, rowing to the little semi-public park meant only for the residents of the stuffy neighborhood.  The tony subdivision has a fancy name, but I can’t be bothered to remember it. The row went swimmingly (not literally), with all our hard work resulting in a nice firm caprail that gives us plenty[…]

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Airlock Sex and the Space Shuttle

My reading was Wednesday night.  I’m only now writing about this because yesterday was a complicated bummer and I want to get across my real experience of that evening, without the later baggage. We were considering whether to take a ferry over to Midtown and walk to a subway station or take trains the whole way.  That was an easy decision once we got a gander of the space shuttle Atlantis being barged up the Hudson to the Intrepid Museum.  Ferry, definitely. The ferry got us pretty close, but we walked on over to see the last retired remnant of that step in the right direction.  Reusable vehicles that can land under their own control – awesome.  If only they could escape without the rocket.  Well, that will come…or we won’t have a viable space future.  I can’t bring myself to believe that’s a possibility. Falafel was the name of the game. James promised me that you couldn’t turn around without some street vendor handing you a falafel sandwich.  Pita bread, lettuce, tomato, white sauce, and hot sauce, all lovingly wrapped around the best treatment of chick peas I’ve ever experienced. Midtown was a bust, on that level.  We got to the train station without any sign of food other than hot dogs.  The foot traffic flowed and we picked up the rhythm immediately, absorbing energy down 8th Ave.  A brief subway journey later, we were on the Lower East Side and, what do you know, there was falafel on the very corner on which we exited the Delancey Street train station. And it was good. We ate the falafel standing right next to the food cart.  It disappeared so quickly that, within moments of the last swallow, we started talking about getting another one before heading back that night. We[…]

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Aground at the Dock in Lincoln Harbor

We’ve already said we think this marina, Lincoln Harbor,  is the worst built thing ever, but now we know it is also being run by thoughtless people. We came around from Brooklyn, as so vividly described here.  When we asked ourselves why the docks were jumping in place and wondered about the scream of tortured steel, we hadn’t yet felt the strange shudder that happened occasionally on a wave trough.  Didn’t figure out what that was until this morning. Here’s a taste of a medium-bad wake. Main pier, finger pier, and boat – all moving independent of one another. The place works on 3 shifts.  The dockmaster, Janier, works days and two guys split the time between 4pm and 8am.  I called before we left Brooklyn and spoke with an office manager who told me candidly that it was her first week on the job (remember, this was Wednesday).  I was careful to tell her that we are a sailboat and that our draft is 4’9″.  Power boats are concerned with telling marinas their beam – how wide they are – but sailors have keels that go deeper than most any power boat. She wasn’t confident enough to assign us a slip or give us directions into the marina.  We got ourselves over just fine and called the dock hand on the VHF, channel 74. Every time James hailed the guy, he said, “…this is the sailing vessel Nomad…” because that’s what one is supposed to do.  Somehow this didn’t soak in and it seems he didn’t get the note from the office manager that we were sailors.  James even told him our draft! He assigned us slip B-15, but when he saw us, changed his mind and put us in B-33.  Meaning he hadn’t thought this through at all. […]

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Sailing Down the Delaware Bay

What a lovely morning we had yesterday!  When we pulled up the anchor and headed out, we were just a little ahead of the change in current.  The ride out of the Cohansey River was less nervous because we had our old track to follow on the GPS – we knew there was enough water there! Sailing down the bay was as uneventful as we had hoped.  We averaged 5 knots and made it to the Cape May Canal by 4pm. The canal has a couple high, fixed bridges, but also has an old swing bridge.  An amazing piece of mechanical engineering. A relic of the bygone railroad age from one end: We were sitting at the fuel dock by 5pm.  We got a full tank of fuel and found out that we can drive for 1.5 hours on one gallon of diesel. Hook down in front of the Coast Guard training facility, we puttered around, cleaning up and preparing for our offshore trip today.  I heard the recuits chanting in the distance and it made me think of a coven. We’re too excited to write much.  We’ll write more in Sandy Hook, NJ, or New York.

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Ho-Hum, then Blammo!

We started the morning off perfectly with percolated coffee in the Bohemia River.  Got the last blog post written and stowed everything.  In the last blog post, I forgot to say that I went swimming the night before – fresh water baths are rare and precious. Hauled the anchor, laying the line out so that I could clean it before sending it into the anchor locker.  It was pretty muddy, so I felt good about that. We motored out of the Bohemia River and up the Elk River to the C&D Canal.  There was very little traffic because of the weather system that was blowing in.  The one we were to wish we had avoided.  Some great bridges, though. We did get to see a great big Japanese cargo ship, passing port to port in the very tight quarters. Several fishing boats sent their wakes at us as they passed, all going the same direction – Chesapeake to Delaware. We made the Delaware Bay by 1pm and talked about our options.  We could duck in between the peninsula and Reedy Island.  It wouldn’t protect us from wind at all and the chop was coming from the south, so we wouldn’t get much protection there.  People said it was good holding, but that sounded rather nerve wracking.  Besides, it was only 1:30! The other option was the Cohansey River on the northeast shore of the Delaware Bay, right before the bay opens up.  A tricky entrance and a winding river, but plenty of depth inside and good holding.  Since it was winding, we hoped to find shelter from the wind.  We were sure there would be shelter from the chop. We were motoring at 6+ knots and it looked like, “at this pace,” we could make the Cohansey in only an […]

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Quiet in the Bohemia River

Not the party I’d expected… We’re looking at some rainy weather coming along, courtesy of Beryl.  She petered out, but it’s still going to blow and rain a bit.  Looking at options: stop at Reedy Point, a full 5 hours early in order to miss the wet?  Sail straight to NY, without hitting Cape May, to make up for the lost time?  We’ll make the decisions as we come to them.  As long as I have options lined up…I’m fine! We’d really rather sail all the way to Cape May, but that probably won’t happen with the wind on our nose. Hopefully we’ll have internet again soon and we can tell you what we decided!

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Heading Out from Baltimore

We’re leaving Fells Point on a lovely, breezy morning.  There are about 5 knots of wind blowing us out of the Patapsco River and we’ll get a nice ride for a while.  Then it looks like we’ll be beating gently toward the Bohemian River. Our search for a global definition of the word civilization was not satisfied here in Baltimore.  We found pockets of intelligence, kindness, happiness – people working to make civilized lives in a profoundly uncivilized structure.  On we go, still searching. Thank you to the friendly and welcoming people waiting tables at our favorite restaurants, the respectful and inquisitive visitors to our respective working establishments.  The Domino sugar plant squatted across the changing seasons – an aesthetically pleasing industrial image of decay.  We saw Baltimore’s attractions and enjoyed the historical ships, the museums, the tulip garden.  We’re really glad we’re missing the War of 1812 2.0. So farewell, Baltimore.  We will.

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