Ships Log Hudson River – New York Harbor October 18-20, 2005

When we arrived in New York City the weather was glorious. It was a perfect crisp fall day with clear blue skies. We were fortunate to find the 79th Street Marina. Most of the Marina’s in New York City charge very high rates for slips. Here, we found a mooring ball for $30/night. We walked from 79th and Riverside Drive to Soho. It took all day but we found great restaurants and discovered that Rana’s favorite grocery store Balducci’s doesn’t exist anymore. Rana attended graduate film school at NYU. Wandering through the Village, we walked the campus and had a snack at Dojo’s. We watched the “Dance of the Sperm Men” by DK Hollywood, a Japanese dance troop in Washington Square. Then, we dashed to Freeman’s Alley, off of the Bowery, where we met Lem Huntington, a friend from Chicago, who now lives in NY. Then later we found Spring St. Natural Restaurant which had amazing food.

On a cruising boat, power management is always an issue. When renting a marina slip, we are usually connected to shore power. But when anchored or moored as at 79th Street, we generate power with our wind generator. It provides plenty of power for our lights, computers and radios. But, we must watch how often we run the refrigerator, our biggest power hog. We intend to add solar panels when we get far enough south to make them economically feasible. The wind and current were such that we spent a bumpy and noisy night. Mike went on deck at 3:00 am to check on the mooring connection and to re-secure the dinghy on deck. We have an inflatable dingy that we lift onto the foredeck every night for security reasons. Many of the surrounding boats leave theirs in the water, but we feel better in these high winds and rapid currents to have it tightly strapped to the deck. Although we have not heard of any theft in the area, it simply seems wise to protect from that as well. We have developed a system of a simple harness for the dingy which we hoist with the spinnaker halyard on the main mast winch. Rana cranks the winch and Mike directs the dingy over the edge of Raven. This has provided us with an effortless way to handle the boat even in high winds. We have not yet attached the 6 HP outboard motor. All of the other boats in the mooring field use outboard motors. But we are close enough to the dingy dock that we can easily row there and we enjoy the exercise.

The next day we spent wandering in Central Park. This is probably the best and most beautiful park in the country and the first major park in America. In 1853, Fredrick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux began to create their vision of the Park. The space was little more than marshy hollows, tangled vines and rocky hills. There was blasting, trenching, tunneling, bridging used in the transforming process. It is 843 acres and is more than 2 and ½ miles long and half a mile wide. The rock outcroppings are a metamorphic rock called Manhattan schist and are 450 million years old. We went to Strawberry Fields, the memorial to John Lennon, and surprisingly, we both got choked up.

We then went to the Bethesda Fountain and Terrace. A fun jazz band was playing near the Terrace called the Blue Viper. We visited Alice in Wonderland and saw some sprites and fairies and then we went to The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

At the Met was a special exhibit of the works of the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. He is the architect of the Milwaukee Art Museum which is brilliant and beautiful. The Museum looks like a sail boat with sails that open and close. His work is graceful in his use of engineering. Another special exhibit was of Van Gogh sketches. They were marvelous examples of his work, from studies leading to his paintings, to completely independent works of exquisite detail. The Met contains one of the world’s finest collections of art. Now, all of the permanent collection can be photographed. We spent some time collecting images in the modern sections. There just isn’t enough time to do everything one wants to do in NYC.

Hurricane Wilma terrorized the Caribbean and is now sweeping up the east coast. It was a category 5 storm and said to be the strongest in recorded history in the Atlantic. It appears that global warming may be causing more frequent and more severe storms every year. We were exposed at our location on the river and had to seek shelter before Wilma arrived. Our next move is to be offshore, so we had a serious decision to make. We need to assess the best port in which to weather what may be severe conditions. Most of the harbors near New York are not very well protected. The alternative would be to retreat up the Hudson. However, in the areas we covered, there was little in the way of safe harbors since the Catskills. We passed past the City on the way down to the mouth of the Hudson. On the way, we encountered freighter traffic and passed the Statue of Liberty. We the selected the secure bay of Great Kills on Staten Island in which to wait out the passage of Wilma. The bay is near the offshore jump off point of Sandy Hook. It is nearly landlocked, and as a result, is very well protected from storm surge. We were lucky to run into local sailor, Steve Hasner, who shared very helpful details of the course ahead, gave us a ride to market and generously supplemented our library.

Thanks Steve.

At this time, we have battened down the hatches and are enduring the noisy storm. After Wilma passes, we plan to jump down the coast to Delaware Bay.

Lighthouse photos through out our site are of ones we passed and relied on for safe navigation.