Thursday, August 7, 2014

Farewell, highlands

We are anchored in the Hudson River across from Peekskill, NY, or, more precisely, across from the Indian Point nuclear plant (map).  The plant dominates our view across the river, and tells us that we have now left behind the stunning scenic beauty of the Hudson Highlands.

We had hoped to anchor somewhat north of here, at the small town of Cold Spring. Our cruising guide said this was a recommended stop, with the whole town just a couple of short blocks from two places where a dinghy can be landed. Unfortunately, the river bank is quite steep there, with mid-river depths near a hundred feet.  There is a small bay, but it is silted in to depths far too shallow for us.  The bottom line was that if we got close enough to the shore to drop the hook, our swing circle would encompass water too shallow for us.  There are anchoring techniques to deal with this, involving a second anchor, but deploying two anchors from Vector is challenging enough that we consider those techniques appropriate only for storm tactics or longer-term anchorages.

The river is deep in this stretch.  It's a bit startling to look down and see these kinds of depths on the sounder on the inland waterways.

Reluctantly, we continued downriver to Bear Mountain State Park, another beautiful spot.  We had exactly the same problem there, and we also rejected the dollar-a-foot park service dock as being unsuitable for Vector (it's really built for 100+ foot excursion boats).  We could certainly get in there with the right motivation, but a 150' climb to the lodge on the cliffs above was not calling us.

Instead we continued downriver, taking advantage of the final hour of ebb.  The tide turned just as we made the turn around Jones Point, just a half mile north of here.  This particular spot in the river has wide "shallows" ranging in depth from 11' to 32', because it is on the inside of a tight bend.  Decades ago, the Reserve Fleet was anchored here in neat rows; our California friends will recognize this as the east-coast twin to the "mothball fleet" anchored in Suisun Bay.

Yesterday's cruise through the highlands was just as wonderful as the northbound trip.  Coming back the other way provides a different perspective on the landmarks, and I again took a few photos.  The ebb is stronger than the flood, and we made excellent time downriver once again.  That turned out to be fortuitous when our planned anchorage did not work out.

The Maritime Museum, as we pulled away from the dock.  The classic tug on the hard has a viewing window into the steam engine room on the inland side.

Rondout Creek is full of old tugs.  I took this photo for Louise's classmates -- the Cornell.

Rondout Light from the creek side.

The CIA, in Hyde Park.  Not the spy agency -- the elite cooking school.

It's not everyday you see someone with a classic seaplane in their yard, like this Republic RC-3 Seabee. No idea if it still flies -- it looked a little rough.  Then again, it's nearly 70 years old.

A better shot of Bannerman's Castle, not a castle at all but a "modern" (at the time) building made to look like one.  The four kick-joists emanating from the facade are the latest attempt to keep it from collapsing.

In a few minutes we will weigh anchor and continue on to Yonkers, where we believe there to be a free municipal dock that can accommodate us.  It will be a short trip, just 20 nautical miles or so, owing to the extra mileage yesterday.  If the dock does not work out, we have some backup anchorages just a short distance further, on the New Jersey side of the river.


  1. Great photos Sean. It sounds like the cruise downriver was nice. I think it would be more correct to call RC-3 Seabee a flying boat as the fuselage serves as a hull.

    1. You are correct, it is technically a flying boat, but I did not want to confuse readers with a term that conjures up a different mental image. Seaplane, strictly speaking, encompasses "flying boat" and it alerts people to look beyond the, uhh, non-flying boat in the photo. I'm sorry I could not get a better shot -- it looked great in the binoculars.


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