Ships Log Catskill Creek - Hudson River October 10-17, 2005

Sean, Paul and Holly watched over Raven at the Hop O Nose Marina while we returned to Chicago for a couple of weeks. Rana worked on the filming of the Chicago Marathon. Mike took care of some business.

We returned to Raven in the middle of a monsoon. Since it is more pleasant to travel while dry, we spent several days further exploring the Catskills. The river and the mountains are what make Catskill such an interesting place to visit.

One of the things we discovered was the Hudson School of Art, regarded as America’s first art movement. It is distinguished as large-scale landscapes with atmospheric lighting, which glorify nature. We visited Thomas Cole’s house and studio. The Federal style house, named Cedar Grove, contains Cole’s work and featured an exhibit of the works of George Inness, a later Hudson School artist. Thomas Cole traveled from New York City to the Catskills for several years starting in 1825, before he met his wife at Cedar Grove.

Friends of my heart,

lovers of nature’s works,

Let me transport you

to those wild

and blue mountains

That rear their summits

near the Hudson’s wave

From Thomas Cole’s The Wild, 1926

Cole belonged to the “Lunch Club” with James Fennimore Cooper, William Cullen Bryant, Asher B. Durand and Washington Irving. He later founded the “Sketch Club” in 1829 with Bryant and Durand. This was the beginning of the Hudson School of Art, later joined by Fredrick Church, Charles Herbert Moore and Jacob Cropsey.

Another focus of the art colony was Charles Beach’s legendary Mountain House, which drew artists and tourists alike to the area. This artistic energy lives on in the many art galleries in town. The Town of Catskill is undergoing substantial renovation.

Our two favorite local restaurants are Creekside at the marina, and Bells Café. Creekside, managed by Sean between acrobatic stints stepping masts, offers excellent meat and fish dishes and a nice wine list. Keith and Yael purchased Bells Café a year ago and renovated it. Yael, who is from Israel, is a graduate of the Manhattan French Culinary Institute. Queens native Keith studied at the Institute of Culinary Education. The Café’s menu shows it and includes wonderful breakfasts with terrific Italian coffee, and inventive vegetarian and fish dishes for dinner.

As we sailed out of Catskill and down the Hudson, we passed beautiful scenery. The fall colors were just starting. Trees green, golden, orange, and rose creating an impressionist mosaic along the banks of the river. Native Americans in this region were made up of many tribes and several alliances: Algonquians, Iroquois, which included Mohawks and Senecas, as well as Mohicans, who inhabited this luscious land of mountains, rock outcroppings, and bountiful rivers.

Henry or Hendrick (as the Dutch called him) Hudson, an Englishman, expert pilot and navigator sailed into the Hudson from Amsterdam for the Dutch East India Company in September of 1609. His sailing vessel was called the Half-Moon. He was looking for the long sought passage to Cathay. He went all the way to Albany and then back to New York Bay. After a parting ceremony with the chiefs of the Manhattans, he claimed possession of the country in the name of the government of Holland.

In the by Washington Irving, Rip meets up with the crew of the Half-Moon as well as Hudson himself. According to the legend, every twenty years, Hudson and his crew would keep a guardian eye upon the River and play nine-pins, a bowling game, the sound of their balls crashing together would peal like thunder up in the mountains.

The Spirit of Washington Irving is all over Catskill and the Hudson River Valley, from the Rip Van Winkle Bridge to the statue of old Rip himself on Catskill Main Street, all the way down to Sleepy Hollow.

We spent the night at the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club. Nice people and club house just up the road from Franklin Roosevelt’s Hyde Park home and is also near the Culinary Institute of America. Unfortunately, we arrived on Sunday and they were closed.

The next morning, we passed Vassar, in Poughkeepsie, the West Point Military Academy , General Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh where he gave his famous farewell speech to his troops.

“You see gentlemen,” he said as he placed his spectacles before his eyes, “that I have grown not only grey, but blind, in your service.”

This speech, in the spring of 1783, put an end to the growing unrest in the ranks of the army just after peace had been declared due to the fact that Congress had been unable to pay them.

Having reached Haverstraw Bay late in the day, we were anxious to find a place to dock the boat. We bypassed Haverstraw Marina, located under a smokestack, because we wanted something a bit less industrial. So, we tried Westerly Marina but found it too shallow for our depth of 6’3”. This is in Ossinsing which is the native Mohican name Os-sin-ing from ossin, a stone and ing, a place -- stony place. And is the home of the famous prison Sing-Sing.One hundred felons quarried and built the prison in 1829.

Then we tried Tarrytown marina but we had trouble contacting that marina when we finally did they said that it too was too shallow for our boat. We had wanted to go to Tarrytown because of the Washington Irving story about Sleepy Hollow. The Dutch named it Slaeperigh Hol, or Sleepy Hollow, the scene of Washington Irving’s famous legend. We picked up a mooring ball at The Julius Petersen Marina in Nyack. The next morning, we sailed under the Tappan Zee Bridge, Tappan was the name of a Mohican tribe that inhabited the eastern shores of the Bay and Zee is Dutch for Bay. We passed incredibly beautiful canyon wall called the Palisades . At one point, our electronics failed completely. We were glad that we had paper charts. It turned out that the failure was caused by an evil looking tower which bristled with antennas. Once clear of it, our systems returned to normal. With Manhattan looming in the distance, we passed under the George Washington Bridge .

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