Friday, July 17, 2020

Long Island is aptly named

We are under way eastbound in Long Island Sound. We're running along a part of the north shore of Long Island that is devoid of bays, coves, or harbors, and we have our sights set on the next usable anchorage, in a little cove off Truman Beach, in Southold.

One World Trade Center as seen through the fins of The Oculus

Tuesday we went ashore for breakfast outside at our favored bagel joint. Having checked the tide tables to determine that Wednesday was perfect for departure, we paid for just one more night at the anchorage. After breakfast I returned ashore with the fully charged e-bike to do some more exploring.

USS Intrepid museum. We could see her superstructure from our anchorage.

I rode all the way down to the Battery on the very nice riverside bike trail that runs the length of the island. I diverted a block east to the World Trade Center, where I found the 9/11 memorial fountains completely fenced off. The Oculus was eerily silent and empty; as a mall it is closed, but it is open for transit riders, where it serves as a giant interchange. On a weekday in the financial district, with no tourism, it hosted but a small handful of riders. It was open for entry, but I am avoiding unnecessary indoor spaces.

The entire district was empty. Wall Street was a ghost town, the Charging Bull standing as a monument to American hubris. I miss Fearless Girl standing in defiance on Bowling Green. I continued into Battery Park, around Castle Clinton, and worked my way back north through Battery Park City. I was struck by how empty the harbor was.

9/11 Memorial fountain as seen from The Oculus. 1WTC at right.

The restaurants along the waterfront were all open for patio dining and were doing a brisk business for a weekday afternoon. The marina, not so much: it was empty. I am not sure if they have closed their transient dockage, or simply have no takers. I continued north on the bikeway to midtown, where I again made a brief detour a couple of blocks east to the new Hudson Yards development. It all looks quite nice, and I look forward to going in, should it ever again be safe to do so.

Looking down into The Oculus. Normally this floor would be packed with people.

My battery thankfully lasted all the way back to the dock, after a ride of perhaps 12 miles. The bike is nominally rated for 15. I was back on board, bike in hand, well before cocktail hour. We returned ashore in the evening for one last meal, at ho-hum Italian place Salumeria Rosi, and to restock some fresh provisions at the Fairway market before returning to the boat.

Wednesday morning we decked the tender, and at an appropriate time in the tidal cycle, we weighed anchor and cruised over to the dock to take on water. The weird nature of hydraulic currents around Manhattan meant that, in order to have a fair tide all the way around the island and out into Long Island Sound, we were docking at near max current, bow headed upriver. That aced us out of also pumping out, which is on the port side. It took over an hour to fill the water tank, during which time we also offloaded the trash and recycling.

Looking across the harbor at Lady Liberty and Ellis Island from The Battery. Anyone who has been here will be struck by the fact that there is not a single vessel to be seen in the harbor.

Our timing was impeccable, and we zipped down the Hudson, around the Battery, and right back up the East River with anywhere from one to two knots behind us. An old high school chum lives on the Upper East Side in sight of the river; a year or so ago we had agreed to try to connect the next time we came through. Little did we know. In lieu of an actual meetup, he waved to us from shore and took a few photos as we steamed by. I had just enough time to wave before having to turn my complete attention to the helm..

Vector at the dock for water, amid a sea of rusty moorings.

We hit Hell Gate with three knots behind us. The confluence of three hydraulic channels, with an island in the middle to boot, makes for a swirling maelstrom of eddies and countercurrents that roll the boat and can spin it around if not paid attention to. I'm used to it now, and fortunately there was no other traffic and I could follow my preferred line. We had a nice push all the way to the sound, past all the usual landmarks.

The high-zoot North Cove Marina in Battery Park City was empty.

Normally on this leg, we would stop at Port Washington on Manhasset Bay. In addition to a nice anchorage, they have a mooring field which offers two free nights, a launch, a pumpout boat, and two free dinghy docks with access to a nice grocery store and a few restaurants. As with so many of our usual stops, we felt no need in the Covid era, and so we decided to forego the four-mile detour into and back out of the harbor, and availed ourselves of what was left of the tide to get a bit further along.

"The Vessel," an interactive sculpture of staircases and balconies.

That had us dropping the hook in a small cove between Matinecock Point and Peacock Point (map), where we had a nice sunset, and a view of the beachgoers on Pryibil Beach. We had a nice dinner aboard and a very calm, quiet night. I hoped that we might see Comet Neowise once away from the city lights, but it was too cloudy.

Vector steaming up the East River, passing Roosevelt Island. Photo: Flash Sheridan

Yesterday we got an early start, intending to make it a long day and get all the way here. The forecast was for one footers on a long period, perfect conditions. The forecast was also for five knots of wind, but we soon had treble that under way, and  as we angled further and further from the shore. conditions got uncomfortable, with steep two footers on a short period.  We're not in a rush, and so rather than continue to bash through them, we angled back to shore to seek shelter, before the long harborless stretch of shoreline.

I set a course for the last harbor in the eastbound direction, which looked to be easy in and easy out: Mount Sinai Harbor. I knew we'd find it chock-a-block with mooring balls, but figured we'd find a spot to drop the hook -- the harbor is enormous. Turns out I figured wrong; while perhaps a third or more of the moorings were empty, they had still planted a ball in every square meter of harbor that could hold a boat.

One WTC as seen from Brookfield Center in Battery Park City.

Reluctantly, we beat a retreat and backtracked three miles to Port Jefferson Harbor, where I had to squeeze in line between a loaded tow and a car ferry to run the inlet. We pulled off channel just inside the harbor, headed for the eastern shore away from the ferry wakes, and dropped the hook (map). This turned out to be a popular watersports area, and on a sunny day we were circled by all manner of jet skis, wakeboards, Big Mables, and center consoles. By sunset they had all departed, and we had the corner to ourselves for the night, another quiet and peaceful stay. After dinner I got a much needed haircut on the swim step.

Sunset over western Long Island Sound from Peacock Point.

This morning we got another early start, and have had the excellent conditions that we had hoped for yesterday. It's a straight shot down the bay all the way to the little cove just off Truman Beach, where we have anchored in the past. We're hoping for another peaceful night.

Update: We are anchored off Truman Beach (map) in Southold, New York, on the North Fork of Long Island. It was weird passing our friends' vacation home on the bluff just a half hour before arrival; normally we are here in this vicinity to visit them, as we have done most years since moving on the boat. They're stuck in California for the duration, and I detected a bit of envy that we are here in this neighborhood.

Gratuitous shot of a mooring where the eye had worn so thin, they welded a shackle in place to reinforce it. We always trust our own ground tackle more than moorings.

Unfortunately, our hoped-for quiet anchorage, while mostly settled, has had an uncomfortable motion to it from swell wrapping around the point. Louise was so uncomfortable that she took some meds. It's a little better now than it was earlier and through dinner. We'll weigh anchor first thing in the morning.

Normally, when our friends are in town, from here we would go around the corner into Gardiner's Bay and the Peconic River, landing somewhere in the Greenport area. With there being no point to that now, instead we will cut diagonally across to Montauk tomorrow, and make our way into the harbor and Lake Montauk. We have some friends on the South Fork as well, and if the stars align, we may be able to have a socially-distanced reunion of some kind.


  1. Been following you for quit a while. I live in Greenport and have looked for you several times I'll try and see if you are still off Trumans beach.If you want to stay in Greenport there is always Pipes Cove just west of the village.

  2. Hi, Sean & Louise.

    Nice to drop in to your blog and see that you are somewhat in the neighborhood. Will you be hitting the CT coast this trip?

    Had it not been for CV-19, Emily would be here now, and we, most likely, would be out in Cutchogue visiting our newborn cousin.


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