Friday, June 19, 2015

The Hudson River to the Erie Canal

Thursday, June 11 - We spent a quiet night in the Liberty Landing Park. On Thursday morning we’re ready to head on up the Hudson River...

Oh, my! We slowly cruised out the little channel to the NYC harbor and what a commotion awaited us there! We had delayed leaving until 10:30 thinking that the commuter traffic (ferries, etc.) would have cleared a bit…and maybe they had. Still…we were accosted by four or five ferries mulling around Lady Liberty AND after we got past them we hit the hubbub in the harbor. I think I have one picture to represent the fuss…Only one because I was usually holding on with both hands.  Water, boats, seemed everything was coming at us!

We crossed over to the east side of the channel as soon as we could so we could take in the sites on the way up. The further up and away from the city hubbub we went, the calmer, of course, the waters became.

We found our anchorage that evening around 5 at a small park with a boat ramp near George’s Island in Haverstraw Bay. A man standing on the dock nearby warned us away from parking on the “green side” of the entrance channel because of rocks. We stayed to the “red side” and a bit further out in the bay than we’d planned, just to be sure. It was a bit rocky-rolly that evening, but the views from that anchorage were worth it!

Friday, June 12 - We were out and on the river by 8:15 knowing we had 60 miles or so to go that day. We had a push with the current for the majority of the time, but later in the day had the current pushing on our nose.

We passed several large freighters/tows. Being from Tennessee and having had experience with such beasts, I hailed one such freighter as we approached (what I considered to be) a very narrow area in the channel for our pass.

I asked the captain if he’d like for us to lay by in an area until he got by. “I’m gonna be coming right down the middle…so, you do whatever you feel is necessary.” “And…thanks for calling.” Great answer!!;-) We “took him on” in the channel and had, what I would call, an embarrassingly large space in which to pass. Oh, well. Never hurts to ask, right?

Views along the Hudson that day..

West Point. (Lindsey, when you do the loop you can dock here!)

We anchored that evening in Esopus (ee-SO-pus) Creek, Saugerties, NY. A beautiful little creek with modest looking homes and a couple of marinas alongside. We were the only boat anchored there that night.

We took Lucy in for a walk at a little park down towards the far end of the creek where there’s a town park and small ramp to catch the dinghy.

We were back at the boat in time to see this duck and her ducklings doing the evening promenade...

My loose watercolor of one of the nearby homes on the creek.

Saturday, June 13 - Happy Birthday, Kay!!
It rained overnight but we woke to a gorgeous day!!

The day was so pretty that that may have colored my impression of the whole area…but, I will say now that Saugerties, NY, is one of my favorite places ever on this loop trip! (I’m prone to exaggeration, but seriously!) Maybe it’s because I wasn’t expecting much, but it’s an up and coming town.

Late morning we walked up the hill, across the bridge, and into the town proper. We passed near the waterfall at the head of Esopus Creek as we went over the bridge.

Lunch was delicious at the Brewery at Dutch Ale House. I had the veggie burger and it’s the best I’ve ever had: lots of variety in the veggies that made up the “burger.” Wayne, on his never ending quest for the absolute best burger, had a burger. He declared it good.

The streets of Saugerties were filled with people. I asked the waitress at the Ale House what draws people to Saugerties. She said there were a lot of people from “the city” (Albany) moving into the area. Lots of small shops and businesses opening. Like the Diamond Mills Hotel and Restaurant. Apparently this investor had a major positive impact on the community when they built this complex and engaged a series of annual horse shows to the town.

Unlike many small towns we see, Saugerties had more thriving shops than vacant. She said the economy was growing there. Saugerties is part, she said, of the whole Hudson River scene.

The store fronts were so creative! I took picture after picture… There were several couture shops with unique items.

This restaurant, called Miss Lucy’s Kitchen, had aprons strung up in the window...

The farmers’ market was going on that day and we stopped by there hoping for some fresh veggies. Supply was kind of limited by the time we made it to the site. The small market was very fru-fru, with soy-organic-vegan everywhere.

There was a table with activities for children and it looked well received.

Heading back to the boat we passed by a Stewart’s. I’d read something in one of the Active Captain reviews about Stewart’s ice cream so we stopped in for a look see. Pints were on sale! Two spoons and 15 minutes later, we had polished off a pint of Crumbs Along the Mohawk.

One of the many neat looking homes we saw there.

Obviously there are some artistic people in town. Check out this gate and fence. And, yeah, not sure whether the black commode is a permanent fixture or a sign of remodeling.

How’s this for a senior housing?

And an assisted living facility...

Sunday, June 14 - Fog set in this morning but didn’t hang around for long. We were soon on our way back up the Hudson. We stopped for fuel at Catskill, Riverview Marine Services, then on to the free Troy City Dock and Marina.

Albany is just before Troy on the water. Both cities are part of what’s known here as the Capital District.

As we approached the dock at Troy we heard what I described as a siren sound. At first I thought it was one of those city-wide sirens announcing a tornado or other hazard. Then we realized it was coming from the boat!!! Further experimenting indicated it was happening when the boat was put into gear, either forward or reverse.

Uh-oh! And...on the way up we realized the toilet raw water pump wasn’t bringing in water for flushing the head. We can work around that problem by manually pouring in water…but the pump will have to be repaired or replaced.

Monday, June 15 - We woke up and started working on our list for the day: have the siren sound looked into, fix or replace the pump, order dog food in for Lucy before we get to Canada. By day end, we had it under control.  {Big grin}
  1. Two people recommended we take the boat to Jimmy at Coeyman's Landing, about 18 miles back down the Hudson.  By evening we had arranged to have the boat towed down to Coeyman's to let Jimmy take a look at what we think could be a transmission problem. We didn’t want to run the boat back down there fearing we’d do damage to something.
  2. Raritan is sending a replacement raw water pump under warranty. It will likely be here Wednesday or Thursday.
  3. We’ve ordered enough dog food for Lucy to cover our trip into Canada. We order her food from Chewy online and they usually ship within one or two days.
We did take time out to have lunch at Dinosaur BBQ, a highly rated waterside restaurant within easy walking distance. The food sounded better than it tasted, to us. The spiced pork over rice was a bit fatty, the slaw sort of ordinary, the collard greens were pretty good…and the cornbread was sweet, which is not our favorite. Picky, picky! The price was right at $6.95.

Tuesday, June 16 - Joe from SeaTow arrived shortly after 8 and we were quickly on our way being towed to Coeyman’s.

By 11 we were at the Coeyman’s dock and ready for Jimmy to look at our problem.
Nicest guy! We’d pulled up the salon floor to make access easy and he got right to work. 45 minutes later he had us fixed up. The water flow to the shaft seal was restricted by a damaged impeller. This caused the propeller shaft to make the siren noise when it was in gear. Total charge: $20. That’s right! We doubled it and gave him and a ton of thanks!

Not long after we were headed back up to Troy dock. It rained on us off and on as we went back…sometimes poured!

Wednesday, June 17 - Beautiful day in Troy! Temperature was 62 degrees when we woke up and got up to the high 70’s during the day. We had decided to walk around the city some today to get a feel for it. And…it’s a unique city.

The architecture in Troy is stunning. Granted, many of the buildings are in disrepair or worse…but the city has “good bones.” The places that have been renovated or kept up are jewels.
Some areas of town, especially around our neighborhood, are rather poor in nature. The bus terminal is nearby and there are a number of government housing projects in the area.  Countering that, there are some great restaurants right by the water downtown, and some posh looking shopping areas in little pockets of the downtown area.

Some shots of Troy...

Oh, by the way, Troy is known for being the “home of Uncle Sam:"
For most people, the name "Uncle Sam" conjures an image from a World War I era Army poster, which depicts a top-hatted man with a white flowing beard, dressed in red, white and blue, pointing; the poster reads, "Uncle Sam Wants You!" That Uncle Sam is based on Samuel Wilson, who resided in Troy from 1789 until his death in 1854. Wilson and his brother owned and managed a meat packing business in Troy. They supplied a contractor, Elbert Anderson, for the federal government with beef, pork, whiskey and salt, which were sent to troops stationed nearby. Wilson, who also worked as an Army inspector, stamped on every barrel of goods he approved the letters, "US/EA." Following the death of Wilson, who was affectionately known as Uncle Sam, a legend began.
Dock workers joked that the "US" of "US/EA" stamped on inspected barrels stood for "Uncle Sam." Many of the men who worked in Troy and shipped the barrels became soldiers during the War of 1812, and ate the beef they had packed. They continued to spread the joke to other soldiers. The story grew until Uncle Sam and the United States became synonymous. In 1961, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate unanimously passed a law which proclaimed that Samuel Wilson of Troy, New York, was the progenitor of the nation's symbol, Uncle Sam, and that Troy is the official home of Uncle Sam. The bill was signed by President John F. Kennedy.

We lunched at Brown’s Brewery right by the dock (good!!) then struck out to take advantage of a frozen yogurt bar about half a mile away. Our walk took us by several public housing areas and we were marveling at their proximity to a yogurt bar!?! Turns out, there’s a new little niche of shops…with the yogurt bar and housing called “college suites.” Troy has two colleges, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and Sage, which has several different campuses in the Capital District.

The yogurt bar was yummy!!

That afternoon we decided to catch up on laundry. We called a cab and, having picked out a laundromat based on only the information shown on Google Maps…went.

You know, this is where we really get to see what life’s about in cities: doing laundry, riding buses or cabs, hunting down boat parts. This laundry was in a poorer section, but it was pretty clean and functional. Interesting, though, how the pictures on the website review were slightly skewed to the pretty aspects of the facility. Well, why not, right?

We had the whole place to ourselves so we were able to handle the chore in little over an hour. Called the same cab company (ride up cost $5.75…cheap from our experience!) and requested a ride back to the dock.

Our cab driver was a bit of a curmudgeon! When we told him we needed to go to the city dock he threw up his hands. Turns out, Wednesday nights in Troy during the summer mean concerts at the waterfront. They start at 5…and it was about 5.

The ride was thrilling! Just like being in New York City!!! Whizzing through small neighborhoods watching trees sway as we drove by! Until we hit the concert traffic, which is when the tone turned snarly. Turns out, he got us as close as he could…and was apologetic at not being able to get all the way into the parking lot. Nice guy underneath that bluster.

The place was hoppin’ that night!! People all over the waterfront, more people tied up to this dock than we’ve seen the whole time we’ve been here. Funniest thing was a group of guys walking by and commenting on our coming here from Tennessee. “Don’t stay too long, or they will start taxing you! They don’t call this the Vampire State for nothin’!"

Thursday, June 18- Cloudy today, but no rain…so far. Today was another work day. We took the bus up to Price Chopper grocery store (bus trip was about a 35 min. ride and interesting because we got to see more areas in Troy). We got our groceries then called our cab company for a ride home. While the cab was coming I walked over to the nearby UPS Store to collect our packages we had sent from Chewy and Raritan. A half hour later, we were back at the dock with everything unloaded.
Wayne installed the new pump and we put up all our loot. We are ready tomorrow to start our tour of the Erie Canal. Spoiler alert! They’ve had a lot of rain in the upper reaches of the region and the Oswego Canal is actually closed, as of June 15, for what is hoped to be only one week. Things are backing up a bit on the canal, so we’re prepared (provisioned) for a delay in our trek, if necessary.

Friday, June 19 - Went through the Troy federal lock at about 8:15 this morning…then quickly through Waterford area and Lock 2. We had a crash course in locking on the Erie by doing the “flight” of 5 locks, Lock 2-6, in quick succession. What we found easiest to do was to loop a mid-ship line around one of the fixed cords in the recesses of the lock wall. That worked for us all the way up to Lock 8. Lock 8 had ONLY lines hanging down the wall that we needed to catch, one on bow and one on stern.

Lock 8 west wall was our home for the night. We were ready! It was about 3 PM by the time we locked through…and the approach to Lock 8 had been enough to wear us out. It started raining as we hailed the lock master requesting passage. The dam for Lock 8 is right beside the lock entrance and the water, as you approach the lock doors, was turbulent. We sped into the lock, dodging debris. As we left the lock, the lock master had speared a huge log at the lock door. Needless to say, the water is up and it shows!

Our spot for the evening is…OK. No more. The highway is very close. I thought the waterfall would drown out the traffic noise, but not yet. Unfortunately, the water isn’t even pretty. The high waters have lifted all sorts of debris into the canal and it’s floating all around us. The area beside the canal is kind of grassed and kind of muddy. We walked Lucy in a very restricted circle so she wouldn’t track home a lot of mud.

All in all, we’re not enamored yet with the canal. We were on the Mohawk River today and most of what we saw could be seen along any river bank. No cute little towns yet. We’ll hope for a better outcome tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Cape May to NYC

Saturday, June 6 - We had our heart set on leaving this morning to start our travel up the NJ ICW. We got up early and checked the weather. For once this week, the weather forecast had gotten better!! Suddenly, we realized we could make a run up the Atlantic coast to Atlantic City. “NE winds 5-10, seas 2-4 feet, with swells from the SE 7 seconds apart."

Everyone else who’d been waiting in Cape May with us had the same idea. There was a mass exodus from the marina. We left at 7 AM, all a-twitter.

Upon leaving the Cape May inlet we hit some rough water and had to brace ourselves to stay upright. Soon, though, we got far enough out and away from that current to settle into a “wavy” ride up the coast. Visiblity was limited at times to 1 mile, and there were a good number of boats out that day traveling north. We saw two large cells of rain on radar…and watched as we entered and exited the showers.

Our view out this morning...

And later, coming into Atlantic City...

As we grew closer to Atlantic City the skies started looking a bit angry. We made it safely into a slip at the Historic Gardner Marina, though. We had telephoned and hailed the marina multiple times trying to set up a transient overnight. No reply. Finally, we contacted someone in the nearby aquarium and were told to come in, take a slip, and come up to the aquarium to pay ($1.50/ft.).

When we got to the docks, scoping out the open slips, we were directed by a young man with “staff” on his shirt to a slip close to the shore. Turns out this was Chris, the new dock master, who was on his first day of the job. He actually thought he was being hired as the assistant dock master…but soon realized he was the only dock master.

Chris told us the slip we were in had a low tide depth of 4 feet. A bit later in the afternoon he came by to say he’d been measuring the depths in the slips and ours would actually probably get down to 2 feet. He moved us to the commercial dock where we siddled up to a slip next to a tour boat. A bit busy that Saturday evening…but, no problem. The price, as they say, “was right!”

Sunday, June 7 - Today we started the NJ ICW! A view of Atlantic City as we left this morning...

We timed our departure so that we would be on a mid-tide rising…so 9 AM. It being the weekend, there were a ton of small fishing boats in the channel. Moving around them and staying in “deep water” (read: 4 feet)was challenging.

About an hour after we’d left our dock we ran aground. Ah, well. Boat US to the rescue! We were promptly towed off the shallow spot and escorted through what he described as one of the most troubling areas of this ICW.

That accomplished, we spent the rest of that day with eyes trained on the markers and the depth finders! That said, we really enjoyed the view as we passed by the surrounding areas...

We made it all the way up to Tom’s Creek and an anchorage near Shore Point Marina. Wayne took Lucy in for a walk to a nearby boat ramp and pebbly beach. Spent a nice night in the cove.

Monday, June 8 - The next morning it looked like the winds were going to be picking up again…and sooner than we’d expected. We decided to contact Shore Point for a slip for two nights to see the winds out, and they told us to come on in. Their diesel was a good price, so we topped off the tanks before getting into our slip.

Neatest little marina! Nice people, $1.50/ft. + electric for Boat US discount…and a loaner car!!!

Beautiful area. The views of the river are amazing. The marina is obviously home for the majority of the boats docked here. Some even have “dock-a-miniums” on the shore: wooden platforms with tables, chairs, storage by their slips.

We borrowed the loaner car and drove to the nearby Shop Rite supermarket. Wow! It’s been a while since we’ve seen such a well-stocked store! We made it back to our boat with a good supply of provisions and quickly put them away.

We’d met a couple, Dave and Trisha, on SOVEREIGNTY, a Krogen Manatee, and they had invited us over for evening cocktails. They are live-aboards for 4 years now (Dave was live-aboard on a sailboat for 30 years before they met)and travel annually from Stuart, FL, to Lake Champlain. Sounds like a good plan! They anchor out a lot and we talked with them about good places on up the way. They are leaving on Tuesday afternoon and going up to anchor near Manasquan inlet in preparation for a Wednesday trip up the coast and through New York to the Hudson.

Tuesday, June 9 - Wednesday looks like a good day to travel outside. We’ve decided to leave tomorrow morning at the crack ‘o dawn and head up to the anchorage behind the Statue of Liberty.
Today we made a quick trip into town for stop at Lowes and Home Depot. The afternoon was spent preparing for departure…filling up the water tank, cooking a pork tenderloin and a meatloaf for quick meals later…and plotting our course.

Wednesday, June 10 - Still a good weather outlook for today’s trip to NYC, so we were up at 4:30 and out of the marina by 5:30! Our view of the Tom’s River as we left…and Shore Point Marina.

We had 2 hours’ travel to the Manasquan Inlet…and then we were on the ocean again.
Don’t want to get too close to the breakwater at Manasquan Inlet!

And our ride once we got out of the inlet area...

The Jersey shore as the sun got higher in the sky..

Seemed to take forever to get from one waypoint to another today. In this shot of the plotter screen you can see the boat image at the bottom…headed for the highlighted X, our next waypoint. "Objects in the plotter window are further away than you think.” It was to take us an hour to get to that waypoint! ;-)

And…finally…we are arriving in the New York Harbor...

We are happy campers! We’re anchored in the park behind the Statue of Liberty. And…you can see her from our spot...

We’ll sleep well tonight! Tomorrow we head up the Hudson. We decided not to “do” NYC while here this time. We will come back later by air! ;-)