Saturday, August 2, 2014

River cruise

We are docked at the Mariners Restaurant, across the Hudson from Poughkeepsie, New York (map). Yesterday's cruise from Haverstraw encompassed some of the most beautiful scenery we have seen to date.  The Hudson is really a fjord, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the Hudson Highlands.

Cruising the Hudson Highlands.  Or Norway, hard to tell...

Thursday's cruise from Manhattan to Haverstraw was also scenic, in a different sort of way.  I enjoyed passing many familiar landmarks such as the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, Grant's Tomb with the cathedral behind it, The Cloisters, and the George Washington Bridge with my closest-ever view of the Jeffrey Hook Lighthouse beneath it, made famous by the children's book The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge.

Our Manhattan anchorage, as seen from Riverside Park. NJ is in the background.

I shot this from the end of Pier-i, with the upper west side in the background.

Grant's Tomb (left) and Cathedral of St. John the Divine (right).

Approaching the George Washington Bridge...

...with the Manhattan skyline, complete with Carnival cruise ship, in our wake.

The little red lighthouse beneath the big gray (and rusty) bridge.

We also carefully studied the Spuyten Duyvil railroad swing bridge as we passed, since we will be going through that way on the return trip.  We noted that the free dock in Yonkers looked like it could easily accommodate us, so that is an option for the night before, where we have to wait for perfect tidal conditions on Spuyten Duyvil Creek.

We spent Thursday night at Haverstraw Marina, an enormous facility in a protected basin off the river. Never again, although it was convenient for our wonderful visit with my aunt and uncle, who took us for a nice dinner after a tour of the boat.  In addition to being expensive, at $2.75 per foot plus electricity (and an additional fee if you want to use the pool), the regular tenants are outright hostile to transient boaters.  They made it 100% clear that transient boats are not welcome, and since marina management (who has apparently been made aware of this before) does nothing to mitigate that hostility, clearly they don't really welcome transients, either.

United States Military Academy at West Point.  Go Army.

We saw my aunt and uncle again yesterday as we cruised past West Point.  My uncle is a volunteer with the Military Academy's athletic department (and last year he took us on a fantastic tour of the campus), and had business to attend to there, so they came down to the school's docks to wave as we steamed past.  Since there is a blind corner in the river there (the strategic advantage that made the location perfect for a fort), I felt justified in sounding one long blast on the horn.

Cadets on exercise at the north end of campus.  Can't see 'em, though -- camouflage!

In addition to the majestic beauty of the river itself, as we passed along Bear Mountain State Park, the American Orient Express overtook us on the west bank, behind a pair of CSX locomotives.  I couldn't get the camera ready in time to get a close shot, though.  I did, however, get a good shot of Bannerman's Castle, the private armory now decaying into oblivion.

The American Orient Express passes beneath the Bear Mountain Bridge.

Bannerman's Castle.

This dock was a perfect distance for a day's cruise, at 32nm.  That let us shove off from Haverstraw on the flood and have the flood behind us the whole way, and we made it in just four and a half hours.  The dock is free if you dine in the restaurant, which was actually pretty good.  We're out of beer aboard, so we went over early and sat in the bar first, which is popular with the locals.

The Walkway Over the Hudson, facing Pughkeepsie.

Immediately south of us is the former Poughkeepsie Highland Railroad Bridge, which has been turned into a pedestrian bridge and is part of a larger rails-to-trails segment.  This morning I hiked the mile or so to the trail and walked out onto the bridge.  I did not have time to walk all the way to Poughkeepsie, but I got great views up and down the river from my vantage some 215' above it.  Vector looks really small from up there -- I had to zoom in to get today's cover photo.

The river is wide and deep here, and Vector (lower left) looks insignificant.  You can see the current still running downriver if you zoom in on the buoy to the right of the photo.

Security is tight at the park.  How did they know we were coming?

A little further downriver is the Mid-Hudson suspension bridge, which is elegant in its own right, but is also cheerfully lit at night with lights that change between blue and green.  Both bridges are plenty high enough to accommodate the large towboats and the bulk freighters that continue upriver to Albany and Troy.

Fuzzy photo, but this is the Mid-Hudson bridge at night from our deck.

In a few minutes we will drop lines and continue upriver, again on the flood, bound for the small community of Catskill, New York, another 32nm day.  There are docks there, but it's not clear we can get into them, so we will probably anchor in the Hudson.

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