FROM: The Captain
Travel day: November 1st, 2017
Destination: Liberty Landing Marina, Jersey City, NJ
Forecast: Overcast with chance of light rain. Winds light and variable.
Distance traveled: 64.9 nautical miles
Time underway: 6 hours 7 minutes
Average Speed: 10.6kts
Max Speed: 18.9kts
Fuel used: 86 gallons
At 7:30 am I was off the docks with Jasper for our morning walk and when I returned to OLOH, Captain Keith was there with the egg sandwiches he had offered to pick up for us – that’s service.
The temperatures had plummeted overnight and when we awoke it was 32 degrees. Brrr. A good reminder – this is why we’re heading south. We had a rather leisurely departure at 9:36 am under overcast skies for what can only be described as a calm, magical ride down the Hudson River. The fall foliage was still popping just past peak and there was zero boat traffic for the entire day. We didn’t overtake nor were we overtaken by a single vessel. I realize it’s off-season but that was a first.
As many times as we have run the river, transiting through the area just south of Newburgh is always an incredible experience. You can’t help but feel the history of the river whenever you’re on it but there is something about this relatively unspoiled area from World’s End, by West Point and through the area of the Bear Mountain Bridge, one of the narrowest yet deepest points of the trip, that really allows you to imagine what it was like hundreds of years ago.
We ran from the heated comfort of OLOH’s lower helm and our only concern of the day was the unknown status of the river at the Tappan Zee Bridge. They are currently staging for the demolition of the old TZB and there are days where the entire navigable width of the river can be closed to boat traffic. I keep a close eye on the Local Notice to Mariners (LNM) which is issued weekly by the Coast Guard and details known hazards and other impacts to navigation but there was no specific information listed about impact closures on November 1st. There is a phone number to call with recorded information specific to the TZB’s construction impact to mariners that is supposed to be updated daily – I started calling it almost hourly since the day before, but I guess the responsible parties partied a little too hard on Halloween and never updated the line. So we remained optimistic that we’d be able to get through and I knew to hail the tugboat “Pilgrim” as we got closer. When we were about five miles north of the site I hailed the tug and was told to come on through on a “slow-bell” (no-wake).
From there it was a stressless ride down past the cliffs of the New Jersey Palisades off our starboard side before leaving the world’s greatest city to port. Because it wasn’t too late in the afternoon, rush-hour ferry traffic hadn’t quite kicked in and our approach to Liberty Landing Marina just across from lower Manhattan went as smoothly as we could have hoped. We arrived at 3:44 pm and after topping off the tanks and pumping out the holding tank we settled into a T-head dock a bit west of where most transients are placed – a perfect spot for an easy departure tomorrow for what will be one of our longest days. People always ask where to dock their boat when they want to visit New York City. My answer is always Liberty Landing. There are essentially three marinas on Manhattan’s west side but because they are all directly exposed to the river, if you stay in any of them you will likely not have a restful stay unless you are in a mega-yacht with zero-speed stabilization. And I’ve even seen those get rocked at the marina at North Cove. Plus, the view of Manhattan is priceless from Liberty Landing and if you must go to the big city, it’s a fifteen-minute water taxi ride away.
Marina note – Liberty Landing Marina has some of the nicest bathrooms of any marina, anywhere, two very decent restaurants including the Liberty House which fully capitalizes on the incredible view and a ship’s store that rivals West Marine for selection. I also found Andrew the dockmaster to be most accommodating and our dockhand, Matt, was a pro.
As heard on the VHF today: A voice breaks through on the marine VHF, which is not a CB radio, saying, “breaker-breaker. I’m out of fuel and adrift, can anyone help me?” The Coast Guard engaged and asked if the boater had a towing membership to which he responded, “yes I do and I can see a Seatow boat from where I am.” There was a pause from the Coast Guard and the boater replied: “I should call them…” I’m confident this trip will be filled with many more head-scratching moments.
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