We’ve made great progress in the past week knocking off more than 600 miles in our journey to warmer weather. We departed Arichat last Tuesday evening, a year and a day after we departed our home port of Penetanguishene. We are now patiently waiting for the end of a security closure on the East River along Manhattan Island to be lifted so we can scoot through Hell Gate and then cross the Hudson River to Liberty Landing Marina where we will stay for close to a week to explore New York City.Our journey began around 5pm last Tuesday with all our gear stowed and the boat provisioned. As usual it was a last minute scramble, but the car was washed, waxed and vacuumed and then put away for the winter. We left behind a few items that we had carried for a year and never pulled out of storage compartments, so hopefully this will free up space for a 2 person inflatable kayak that we are considering.
Magnus seemed to be excited to start the journey.
Our first few hours were a bit rough as we had both lost our sea legs over the past couple weeks and had to pound our way into the south east wind and swell to get around Canso on the eastern shores of Nova Scotia. Fortunately this only took a few hours after which the south east winds were favourable putting us on a broad reach along the southern shore line.
By the next morning the winds had fallen off and we were motoring for about a day. We had been anticipating this but took the chance to make up for the limited sleep we each get on the first night at sea as we adapt to short shifts and I had a chance to splice the loops to connect our lifelines. This has been the to do list for a while and I have recently learned to splice. So now we have a dyneema attachment that with a stroke of a rigging knife can cut the lifelines free in the hopefully unlikely event that we need to hoist the other aboard with the lifesling, should one of us go overboard and not have the strength to get back on board.
As we passed Lunenberg, I realized we were quickly approaching a position due north of the Virgin Islands. We were only 1495 miles away, yet the path we are taking is going to be close to 2700. What are we thinking? Anyway, I resisted the temptation to point the boat due south, probably something to do with those big revolving low pressure systems that can occur this time of year. Hurricanes I think we call them.
Before we reached the western edge of Nova Scotia the winds filled in from the north east allowing us to sail the remainder of the trip to Newport, RI. Our trip across the mouth of the Bay of Fundy was one with steady progress, but unfortunately no close up whale sightings this time around. Just a few sprays from their blowholes in the distance.
We passed through the shoals north of Nantucket in the early hours of the morning and continued past Martha’s Vineyard in the late morning. 4 days after our departure we were pulling into Newport harbour. Some very impressive boats here. Suddenly we were again the ones on the ‘small boat’. Good thing we had shiny varnish to give Altera a classy look and help fit in among all the big boats.
The customs agent met us at the Newport Yachting center where we completed some paperwork and he stamped our passports. Seeing as we had packed light on fresh foods, so that we wouldn’t have anything to be confiscated, we opted not to eat a canned food dinner and instead headed to a local pup with a dog friendly patio, as it would have been cruel to leave Magnus behind after 4 days at sea. Magnus was impressed when the brought a bowl of ice water to the table for him and even more impressed when they had a ‘doggie menu’, so he enjoyed a 4 ounce burger, Chrissy a burger with the trimmings and I had the fish and chips.
Newport seemed like a nice town and is obviously an affluent area. We saw several Porsches, a Lamborghini, two Maserati’s and the Audi ‘A’models were outnumbered 2 to 1 by the ‘S’ models. For those interested in fine dining, I think you would find a number of suitable options to whet your appetite.
Seeing as New York City was our destination of interest, we left Newport just after lunch the next day for another overnight sail down Long Island Sound. As the sun was setting, we entered Long Island Sound through ‘The Race’. We passed through at full flood current and hit a top speed of 9.7 knots over the ground. Exhilarating! Just through the race, however the ferry traffic running back and forth was extremely busy. I felt like I was going to be a bumper boat target. You can see below the AIS targets for the ferries and cargo vessels which were going twice as fast as we can go ( We are located at the crosshairs for those unfamilar with radar displays). At this rate it would be a long night, but fortunately beyond this point we saw next to no traffic.
We were treated to a full moon and Chrissy later saw the lunar eclipse. I didn’t wake up when summoned so unfortunately I missed it.
We are currently at Port Washington, waiting to go through the East River. We didn’t know until this morning that it is closed today due to some United Nations event downtown. For those familiar with this stretch, there are some huge reversing tidal currents along this stretch, so we had wanted to work with the currents and depart our current position between 11 and noon. Unfortunately, we will have to wait until around 3pm otherwise we will get stuck at the closure area. On the bright side, the timing of slack current is progressively later at positions further downstream, so we should be able to get through most of it at slack current and only have to battle the gradually increasing current for the last 5 or 6 miles to the Hudson River.