For the past two weeks we have been moving along like clockwork, completing our final ocean passage, riding the tide up the Hudson River, un-stepping the mast and are now partway through the Erie Canal. But the most enjoyable part was clearly our 6 night stop in Manhattan.We departed from Norfolk early in the morning to ride the ebb tide all the way out to the mouth Chesapeake Bay. From there we turned northward to follow the coast a few miles out to sea and gradually the wind filled in providing for a close reach under full sail, allowing us to coast along peacefully. The wind later clocked around to our stern where it stayed for remainder of the journey allowing us to sail wing on wing. Other than needing to jibe half a dozen times we had an uneventful sail and the brisk winds that had been forecast blew in places north and south of us.
In the early morning hours of our last night at sea the winds lulled and we motored the last few hours to reach the Hudson River. As the sun came up I had my last view of the expansive ocean, and then it struck me that this might be the last time I stare off the back of Altera to a horizon of ocean.
We found the south channel into the river just north of Sandy Hook.
The navigator was worn out from 2 days at sea, but was determined to make sure the chart didn’t blow away. Too bad he was covering up our current location.
The Hudson didn’t exactly welcome us as we arrived to a building ebb tide, but at least this way we had ample time to take in the scenery, including our approach to the Verazano Narrows bridge.
All 3 times we’ve sailed past this statue it has been cloudy.
Good thing we didn’t come directly from the Bahamas. This might have been a bit of a culture shock. I am amazed at the number of sailors I’ve spoken to that just keep on going and never stop here on their way by.
The welcoming committee.
We arrived at the 79th Street Boat Basin mooring field at around noon on the 29th of June. The boat basin is well known for its location, which is superbly located at the edge of Riverside Park and conveniently within walking range of the subway, central park and Times Square. The realities of mooring on a river that floods and ebbs at close to 3 knots and has water taxis and barges throwing wakes at all hours of the day isn’t so appealing, but where else can you spend a night in Manhattan for $30? We got lucky and only had wind against current for a few hours, and it was during the day, so we just went back ashore to explore while the boat bucked around.
Our view in the evening. This city really does fascinate me.
Our second day in Manhattan marked a big milestone for us as our tenth anniversary, so Chrissy found a South American Steakhouse that was incredible and we followed that up with the Cirque du Soleil Paramour show – also incredible.
The next morning Chrissy’s Mom flew in for a quick visit so we did more touring and when it was time for shopping I wandered off zig-zagging the streets around Times Square watching the crowds of tourists that had come for the 4th of July weekend.
We learned that when you are looking for a place to eat, you really need to get a few blocks from the Times Square area as it seems to be a culinary void space unless you are looking for generic franchises or similar quality. Fortunately any time we were beyond this region we managed to do well and it can actually be more reasonable than you might think for an otherwise expensive city.
I’m amazed that despite all the apartment buildings, the streets actually aren’t crowded in the residential areas and people are friendly, although it helps when you have Magnus as an ice breaker.
While I wouldn’t put driving in Manhattan on my bucket list, the traffic does seem to move, and unlike Kitchener-Waterloo, the roads are straight so it is easy to find your way.
While I’m not sure I could live and work in a city like this (I found the stuffy and crowded subway t0 be a bit claustrophobic at peak times) unless I was a few minutes from work, I would like to rent an apartment for a few months to live here. But that might have to wait for a more traditional retirement and we already have a list of European cities that we have considered doing the same in one day and many are not nearly as expensive as NYC.
In the meantime, we need to decide today whether we make the turn onto the Oswego Canal to allow us to pop across Lake Ontario for a re-visit of Toronto and take in a bit more city life. Or continue west to Lake Erie so that we arrive in the North Channel of Lake Huron just in time for the peak season.