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September 27, 2013

14

From New York to New Jersey

by frankandems

Once again I/we are woefully behind on posting, so as a quick update before sharing the past few weeks . . . we have been back in NJ at our new home base seeing family and friends. We also participated in the ALS walk in Ocean City – an annual event which brings friends and family together from all over. It was a great event and one that is SO important to Frank each year. It also serves as somewhat of a family reunion for Frank –  and all three of his children were in town this year which made him (and me) very happy. We are now back in the Chesapeake Bay for a while enjoying our former home turf . . . but before we got to all of that, we still had to make it back from Rhode Island through New York to New Jersey.  We left off with our stormy stay in Point Judith. From there we headed south towards NJ. As people ask us what some of our favorite “moments” have been in the last three months, one of the highlights is certainly this last leg that took us down the Long Island Sound into the East River and through New York City. But before we got to THAT moment, we’ll share the very cool re-visit to one of our favorite stops: Shelter Island, NY. After leaving Point Judith, we took a long day to get back to Derring Harbor in Shelter Island, one of our favorite (and unexpected) stops in July on our way up the coast. We visited with our “Gozzard cousins,” once again being treated to their hospitality and graciousness. This time around, our friends conspired ahead of time to get me (Ems) out sailing on their Herreshoff doughdish sailboat. Frank keeps telling me that I need to get on a small sailboat to really feel the wind and understand it at a different level than I can sailing on a larger, more forgiving vessel! Our friends agreed and so had decided to get me out for just such an experience. And so, Frank stayed behind and worked on boat projects and my Herreshoff Captain took me out for a lesson!

Ems' sailing lesson! What's a tiller?

Ems’ sailing lesson! What’s a tiller?

So cool!!!!

After enjoying another meal and musical jam session at their house, it was time for us to push on towards our home turf via the Long Island Sound. After an early start and a rough/choppy first hour of wind vs. current (not a good combination), we made it around the corner through Plum Gut (a notoriously tricky cut between pieces of land that has strong currents, traffic and shoaling) before heading down the Long Island Sound with beautiful conditions – perfect wind and lobster pot free!! We enjoyed the best sail we had had in weeks!

The lighthouse at Plum Gut

The lighthouse at Plum Gut

Sailing at last!

Sailing at last!

Our destination that day was Port Jefferson. We found a great place in the anchorage there and enjoyed a restful evening. Our welcoming committee was a male swan that Frank promptly named “Bubba.” (By the way – Frank names most any animal “Bubba” if he doesn’t know their actual name.) I will do a whole separate post about Bubba and his antics, but the short story is that Frank had Bubba eating out his hand in short order.

Frank and Bubba

Frank and Bubba

After a restful night, we had another early morning departure . . . and saw the remnants of an event that had taken place after we had come into the harbor the prior evening. You never want this to be your boat . . . but it happens.

Don't you just hate when this happens?

Don’t you just hate when this happens?

So off we went down Long Island Sound headed to New York City. Now you have to understand – I had some trepidation about taking this route at all. So true confessions here: New York just makes me uncomfortable. I love the idea of New York. I love what it represents for us as a country. But New York and I have a rocky history. I have been in the Big Apple on a number of occasions over the years. I even interviewed for an HR job at one of the big, fancy hotels  back in the mid 90s when my first marriage was going south. I have dealt with a taxi scam, a near robbery in Central Park and a chalk outline on the sidewalk beside my car in the morning after visiting a friend (you know, the kind where the body was laying a couple of hours earlier.) Frank had entertained a number of customers back in his Atlantic City days and always enjoyed his trips to the city pretty episode-free. My “episodes” in the city all happened when I was in my 20s and 30s, so I figured I was past all of that when I accepted a consulting gig there in 2001 in the World Trade Center. I worked on the 54th floor of Tower 2 about 8 days a month for about a 9 month period. The last day of my contract was July 6nd, 2001. You do the math . . . I harbor a lot of mixed feelings about the place. So when I thought about the idea of sailing right through the heart of it all, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Frank had even coached me to have an attitude adjustment about the trip. I almost wanted to bag it and go back out in the Atlantic and do another long passage to get home. But after much discussion, we decided that New York was the way to go – and I managed to embrace the idea and get into the spirit of the trip. What we did not expect was the overwhelming feeling of excitement and  pride that we felt as we cruised through the city on a spectacularly clear and sunny day. All the corny lines that you hear in songs about New York kept coming to mind during the trip . . . the city that never sleeps being the one that I kept hearing the most. The place was just throbbing with energy and activity in every direction! Ferries, mega yachts, skyscrapers, airplanes, helicopters, water taxis, sky writing planes . . . it was 90 minutes of constant action  . . . it was truly sensory overload!! And from a navgtional standpoint, there’s an awful lot going on! There’s mega boat traffic and currents to contend with and two rivers coming together to create eddies at “Hell Gate.” There isn’t much more to say about it than that: let’s just let the pictures do the talking!

Throgs Neck Bridge, one of many bridges we passed under.

Throgs Neck Bridge, one of many bridges we passed under.

I was taking a picture of the plane flying over when I realized there was a skywriter publicizing a new restaurant! When was the last time you saw a sky writer??

I was taking a picture of the plane flying over when I realized there was a skywriter publicizing a new restaurant! When was the last time you saw a sky writer??

We were watching planes landing at LaGuardia right next to the tennis center where the US Open was being played at that moment which is all right next to Rikers Island!

We were watching planes landing at LaGuardia right next to the tennis center where the US Open was being played at that moment which is all right next to Rikers Island!

Look closely - there's a tram going across the bottom of the bridge!

Look closely – there’s a tram going across the top of the bridge! Really??

The captain is trying to navigate and take it all in!

The captain is trying to navigate and take it all in!

The United Nations Building with the Chrysler building peeking out from behind.

The United Nations Building with the Chrysler building peeking out from behind.

The Empire State Building appears!

The Empire State Building appears!

The Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge

A look at the new World Trade Tower nearly completed.

A look at the new 1 World Trade Center nearly completed.

Helicopters fly overhead nonstop!

Helicopters fly overhead nonstop!

All we could keep saying was, "Wow!"

All we could keep saying was, “Wow!”

Okay, the other thing that we kept saying was, "This is UNBELIEVABLY COOL!"

Okay, the other thing that we kept saying was, “This is UNBELIEVABLY COOL!”

The water taxi is a popular mode of transportation. We made this trip on a Saturday which meant that, as busy as it was, it would have been far more hectic on a week day!

The water taxi is a popular mode of transportation. We made this trip on a Saturday which meant that, as busy as it was, it would have been far more hectic on a week day!

And then we cruised right by the Statue of Liberty.

And then we cruised right by the Statue of Liberty.

The Tappen Zee Bridge

The Verrazano Narrows

And a final look over our shoulders at the skyline! Whew!

And a final look over our shoulders at the skyline! Whew!We then cruised past Coney Island, one of the options for anchoring for the night, but decided to push on to Sandy Hook, NJ.

I don’t often use the word “awesome,” but this was truly an AWESOME day in the truest sense of the word and we were awestruck.

A lighthouse on the way to Sandy Hook . . . Frank finally got to take a breather and let Ems take the wheel for a bit.

A lighthouse on the way to Sandy Hook . . . Frank finally got to take a breather and let Ems take the wheel for a bit.

We anchored in Sandy Hook, totally spent from our overwhelming day!

We anchored in Sandy Hook, totally spent from our overwhelming day!

We settled in at anchor in Sandy Hook. The next day was going to be a long passage, and again, our timing was based on wind forecasts and the time of day we wanted to arrive in Little Egg Harbor Inlet in Longport, NJ – our base of operations when we’re at “home base” in NJ. We we had the next day to relax and rest before leaving at 4pm for our 16 hour trip down the coast. And while we were enjoying time in the cockpit, look who came around the corner! Why, just a lil’ old aircraft carrier, that’s who!! It was carrier #5. We were able to look it up and see that it is one of the “small” carriers that is especially for harriers and helicopters. This ship was also one of the first to respond after Katrina as it can be used as a mobile hospital unit as well.

Look who's coming around the corner!!

Look who’s coming around the corner!!

Around 4:00 in the afternoon, we departed for our overnight trip down the coast. Now my second time down the coast overnight, I knew a little more what to expect. As with the first time, there were exceptionally inspiring moments and exceptionally nerve wracking ones as well. Sunrise and sunset are always amazing on the water – those are the great moments. The number of stars you see (since the moon set very early that night) is beyond words. We took approximately 2 hour watches  early on which then spread to 3 hour watches overnight. As with the last time, the first hour of real dark threw me (Ems) for a complete loop. What a feeling of disorientation! But after that adjustment is made, it is kind of magical (although I’ll still opt for daylight when given a choice.) The forecast had called for winds to pick up after dark, but we had let the reef out of our sail early on since the strong winds were not there yet. Quick review: reefing your sails means you don’t have the full sail unfurled so you don’t get overpowered with heavy wind. There is an expression that if you’re wondering if you should reef your sail, you’ve already waited too long. We proved that again. Let me say that this was never dangerous – just unnerving for the inexperienced crew member! I was at the helm and Frank was still in the cockpit with me but attempting to get a nap. The wind had been building and I had been hanging in there with the growing wind, the growing seas and our increasing speed. (It WAS nice to be making our destination more quickly!) And then the wind was just a little too much and I experienced the phenomenon of losing the ability to steer the boat. We were heeling like crazy and I couldn’t fall off! (turn away from the wind.) I know when I need help and I yelped a clear, loud yelp which got Frank to leap up out of his light slumber to see what I needed. The sailors reading this are now going, “Well duh, Mary Marie! Just head it up into the wind if you have to to depower the boat!” Yeah – I know that now, thank you! It just makes such an awful racquet when you do that and it just feels wrong. But I get it . . . lesson learned. Frank quickly did just that – enough to get us back under control . . . and then I headed the boat directly into the wind while he reefed the sails. After that, the ride was a lot less harrowing and a lot more comfortable. That got my heart beating! But all of those moments are good learning and provide me with more experience. I’m just going to keep repeating that to myself several more times until I actually believe it.

Here are some of the beautiful moments of dusk and dawn.

A new moon at sunset over the Jersey Coast.

A new moon at sunset over the Jersey Coast.

Well I WAS sleeping until the flash went off in my face, thank you very much. A most cruel man he is. (I guess I had it coming to me . . . I've taken some pretty mean pictures of him at times.)

Well I WAS sleeping until the flash went off in my face, thank you very much. A most cruel man he is. (I guess I had it coming to me . . . I’ve taken some pretty mean pictures of him at times.)

Frank looking at the first light of dawn over the ocean.

Frank looking at the first light of dawn over the ocean.

We sailed all night and cruised past Atlantic City in the early morning, arriving in Longport and back to Seaview Harbor Marina around 10am where we would park Eleanor Q for the next two weeks. And so the first “segment” of our adventure comes to an end. We made it to Maine and back – over 1,000 miles! We have spent time reflecting on our major learnings in our first three months and here are some of our key takeaways: a) you don’t have as much time as you think you do to see and do everything you thought you would, b) it is HARD WORK between boat maintenance, dealing with weather issues and just the physical demands of operating the boat, and c) there’s nowhere else we’d rather be right now. It is every bit as cool and stimulating and challenging and fun as we thought it would be.

After a few weeks back in the Chesapeake, we’ll spend the next few months on “segment 2” – going down the southeast coast of the U.S. before our leap to the Bahamas this winter. We’ll keep you posted!! Thanks for riding along with us.

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Rich & Donna Darr
    Sep 28 2013

    Bravo! Bravo!! Love, Rich and Donna

    Reply
    • Mary Marie
      Oct 2 2013

      Well thank you . . . thank you very much.

      Reply
  2. Loretta and Jim Elliott
    Sep 29 2013

    Ah, this post brings back lots of memories. I will never ever forget the flood of emotions we experienced sailing through New York City, capped by the impressive sight of the Statue of Liberty. I’d viewed the surrounding area from her crown years ago but it sure was impressive to be looking at her from the boat. Can’t imagine what emotions our ancestors felt when first spotting her when sailing over on the big ships moons ago. Makes me get all choked up even to this day. Thanks for sharing your adventure. Sorry we missed you in NJ, we’re at the cabin in NC! Fair winds. Hope to see you in the Bahamas (or before??) Loretta and Jim s/v Plan Sea

    Reply
    • Mary Marie
      Oct 2 2013

      We will, no doubt, find each other!

      Reply
  3. Harold Elmore
    Sep 30 2013

    Thank you so much for all this sharing and you are safely back!

    *From:* Voyages of the Eleanor Q [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com] *Sent:* Saturday, September 28, 2013 8:35 AM *To:* elmore_h@wvwc.edu *Subject:* [New post] From New York to New Jersey

    frankandems posted: “Once again I/we are woefully behind on posting, so as a quick update before sharing the past few weeks . . . we have been back in NJ at our new home base seeing family and friends. We also participated in the ALS walk in Ocean City – an annual event which”

    Reply
    • Mary Marie
      Oct 2 2013

      Thanks Harold, and I’m glad Sylvia got safely back from her adventures! Has she recovered? I’m assuming this was a recent trip . . . hello to her!

      Reply
  4. Caroline
    Sep 30 2013

    Great adventures. The New York City sail thru was awesome! And hats off to Frank Q. for his outstanding snap of my “little sister”. Tee hee. Way to go, Scrappy!

    Reply
    • Mary Marie
      Oct 2 2013

      You’re still just looking for revenge after posting your wild hair and cleavage shot . . .

      Reply
      • Caroline
        Oct 4 2013

        Yep!

  5. Sep 30 2013

    Fabulous! I could feel the energy buzzing as I vicariously joined you on your cruise through NY, NY what fun! Oh those magical nights at sea…it is indescribable! I (Stephanie) have also had a lesson or two in de-powering sails. Fun sailor lingo I learned this summer in Maine, a “fisherman’s reef” means you head up just enough for the sail to start luffing. Thinking of you guys as we make our way south…

    Reply
    • Mary Marie
      Oct 2 2013

      Fisherman’s reef! I like it!

      Reply
  6. Michael V.
    Sep 30 2013

    Love reading the “Diary”

    Reply
  7. Leigh
    Oct 4 2013

    I almost cried when I saw NY. I love being on the water in NYC. On really hot days I would take the Staten Island Ferry just to cool off. It really is beautiful and some days I really miss it. Thank you for letting me live this amazing trip with you.
    Love you
    Leigh

    Reply
    • Oct 10 2013

      Thought of you as we were going by Jersey City!!! Miss your face.

      Reply

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