Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Return trip

We are anchored in the Hudson River somewhere between Coxsackie and Hudson, New York (map).  East of us is Little Nutten Hook, which I believe to be part of a state park, and west of us is a forested hill with a sparse line of homes along the shore.  It is bucolic here; we have a lovely view in all directions, and the river has been flat and quiet save for a few tows passing in the night.  The photo above was taken just a few miles north -- glassy enough to reflect the clouds.

One more lighthouse shortly after we left Catskill, just south of Hudson and Athens, marking a split in the river.  We took the less-traveled fork, on the Athens side.

Sunday's cruise from Catskill to Troy was pleasant, but we found that stretch of the river to be not nearly as beautiful as it had been to that point.  Still, it was quite interesting to transit the busy port of Albany, and see some of the interesting architecture from the water, a very different vantage point from when we passed through in the bus.

These old wood-hulled barges just north of Athens, one with a derrick on it, hark back to a bygone era.

In order to make Troy by dinner time, we ended up pushing against the current the whole way, for the first time on this cruise.  That put us at the one low bridge, a swing bridge for Amtrak, at a low enough tide that we were able to pass under just by lowering our SSB antennas.  No such luck yesterday on the return, where we had to call for an opening.

Docking in Troy was an event unto itself.  There is a municipal dock there, but it's $1.50 per foot to stay overnight (three hours is free if you just want to have a meal or take in the town).  It's possible the Trojans are simply wary of anyone on an "Odyssey," especially geeks (whether or not bearing gifts).  We opted instead to tie up just north of the docks, on what was once a commercial quay, nearly a century ago (map).  The guides call it the "town wall," and a wall it is -- the quay itself is a good dozen feet above the water.

Vector on the quay, looking upriver.  If you zoom in, you can see the Troy barrier dam in the background, about mid-shot.  We could actually pass through the lock, but then there is no place to anchor or tie up before the fixed bridge.

About halfway up the wall, spaced perhaps 60 feet apart, are small bollards for tying up ships.  Much larger dolphins are higher up, at quay level.  The cruising guides told us there was no way to get off your boat here, but I had figured we could use our trusty collapsible straight ladder to climb up from the deck.  As we approached the wall we realized that there were some built-in ladders already, maybe every 150' or so.  We picked out a spot adjacent to a ladder that looked to be in decent shape, and slowly sidled up to the wall.

The recessed bollards mid-wall.  It's farther from the boat than it looks.

I approached the wall at dead slow, working my way in sideways so that first contact would be with the numerous fenders we deployed on the port side.  We wanted to drift in under no power, since I did not know if there might be debris or silt on the bottom below the wall. While I was working the boat in (it's a challenge to move Vector directly sideways with no stern thruster), first one, then two, and finally three guys from a nearby business came over to the quay to watch.  I'm on the flybridge, so they and I were standing more or less eye to eye.  (We learned early on that anytime docking is challenging, there will be an audience.)

Eye-level flybridge.  The large dolphin in the gap in the wall was too high to use.

Two of the guys were boaters, so they were at least understanding, and to be fair, they offered to help.  From the quay, the recessed bollards are not visible, so they were a bit confused as to how we intended to tie up.  Between all their questions and talking to Louise on the intercom, I was talking non-stop the whole time.

Our means of escape.  The line around the rung is not tying the boat to the quay (it's loose); rather it was our way of ensuring we could get back aboard if the boat drifted further from the quay as the tide came in.

With the help of a boat pole and lots of right rudder, Louise was able to loop the bollard at the stern, and then it was a snap getting the bow on using the thruster.  The ladder ended up adjacent to the foredeck, which was fine for our purposes.  One rung was missing, clearly the victim of a boater who opted to tie up to it on a falling tide, and we had to keep reminding ourselves of the missing rung on our way back to the boat.

View down the ladder, which goes all the way to the water.  It's really here in case someone falls in.

It was a long day, and after we successfully tied up and squared the boat away, we ambled over to the nearby waterfront brew pub to have a beer while we waited for my cousin Chris, who arrived just as we were finishing our first glass.  We had a nice meal and a great time catching up, and Chris was kind enough to run us over to the grocery store after dinner so we could restock on milk, beer, and fresh veggies.  We also picked up child-appropriate lunch fixings for the following day.  We really enjoyed staying on the wall in Troy, and would have spent another day if we had the time.

Vector in Troy.  Building to the left with the mural is where we had dinner.

Yesterday we were back in sync with the tides, and shoved off at high tide for the return trip, about 9:30.  That put us at the Henry Hudson town park in Selkirk (map) at 11:30, time enough to anchor and splash the tender before our friends arrived for a lunchtime visit.  Oddly, the section of river adjacent to the park is a designated "special anchorage," leading me to wonder if the park at one time had, or planned to have, mooring balls.  At least I did not need to deploy the anchor day shape while we were there.

Albany skyline on our way south.

We picked this spot because we knew it was an easy morning's cruise down from Troy, it had a nice dinghy dock, and free parking. Our good friend Eric was driving from NJ to CT with his daughter and was willing to add an hour or so to the trip to come visit us, so this was a plausible meeting place. It was great to see them and spend a pleasant afternoon together.

George enjoying the cruise on the aft deck, in the twilight of her life.  We've had to put her in a tiny life jacket on deck, for fear she will go over in her weakened state.

We only spent a couple of hours with them before they needed to get back on the road, and we were again weighing anchor by 2:30.  We still had a good two hours of ebb current, which brought us all the way here to this lovely spot.  It is not marked as an anchorage in any of our guides, but the holding is good and we actually prefer having the place to ourselves.

We are coming up to slack now, and in a few minutes we will weigh anchor and continue downriver on the ebb.  I expect tonight will find us in or near Kingston.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful account of your experience with your new yacht. How could it get any better than this.


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