Monday, October 18, 2021

Departing New York

We are under way southbound in the Atlantic Ocean, just a half mile off Sandy Hook as I begin typing.  There is a small craft advisory, but winds are west so we are hugging the shore for a mostly comfortable ride. Winds have been 25-30 all morning, and we did have to bash our way across the lower bay, with the full fetch of Raritan Bay well to the west.

George Washington Bridge with her tower lights on for the holiday, as seen from Vector.

Before I move on to catching the blog up for the past three weeks, a quick health update: I am alive and well and recovering nicely. Louise removed my sutures using our emergency surgical kit, and I have been to a lab for a blood draw that shows the markers improving significantly. And I have been checking my vitals daily using the pulse oximeter and blood pressure cuff from our medical kit. I also purchased a device that can produce a 6-lead EKG and have been checking my heart rhythm a few times a day.

Coming down the East River we passed this ACL cruise ship, which we also saw go up the Hudson twice.

When last I posted here we were still in Port Washington, while I recovered enough to drive the boat. We rode out another windstorm, this time on sufficient scope to keep us from moving even an inch; sadly, we lost one of our Textilene exterior window covers, which must have blown right over the side without landing on deck. Louise has already bought some more Textilene to sew a replacement.

Crystal Symphony on the Hudson, making a port call.

That Wednesday we went ashore for my first dinner out in nearly two weeks, pizza at Amalfi's. Thursday we called for the pumpout boat, and while I was out dealing with them the marine patrol swung by and asked how I was doing. They were very helpful during our stay. That night we went to fancy white-tablecloth place La Piccola Liguria (eating under their outdoor tent) to celebrate our imminent departure.

Jules the duck is something of a pet at the Boat Basin. He'll be on his own in a couple of weeks.

We left for New York Harbor the next morning, timing our departure to have a fair tide all the way to the Battery. I was off by a few minutes, and we ended up pushing against it once we passed the United Nations. We then had a slow cruise up the Hudson to our usual anchorage north of the mooring field for the 79th Street Boat Basin, where we dropped the hook just past the last mooring (map). Cruise ships have returned to the city, and we passed the Crystal Symphony on our way upriver. From our anchorage we could see Norwegian Breakaway come and go three times.

Vector at the Boat Basin dock for the last time, taking on water mid stay. Alchemist ahead of her, and the oldest Trumpy at right. That's been a fixture at the basin for decades; no idea where he will go.

The Boat Basin as it exists today is closing for good at the end of this month. A massive renovation is scheduled to begin in 2023, so the earliest they will reopen is 2024 -- we're not taking any bets. We had been making tracks here for a mid-September arrival before we were waylaid in Port Washington, for what we expected to be our last hurrah on the Upper West Side. We thought we might stay for two or three weeks, and I had been amassing a long list of things I wanted to do on this final visit.

Fireboat 343 testing pumps and monitors upriver of us. FDNY does not have 342 other boats; it's named in honor of the firefighters lost on 9/11.

We did end up staying a full two weeks, owing in large part to some very pleasant early-October weather. But my list was right out the window, mostly because the combination of my recovery and medications has seriously limited the amount of walking I can do, especially with a big hill at the start of every venture as we climb from the waterfront to street level. Still, I got at least some walking in every day, and we went to dinner almost nightly in the neighborhoods around the marina.

This car is always parked across the street from the Hi Life. This is the first time we saw the sign illuminated; they just run an extension cord right across the street under the traffic.

Walking further afield to some of the things on my list was out of the question, as was hoisting the e-bike into and out of the tender twice a day. (As a side note, the reason for that is that it has to come back to the boat each time to be charged; whenever I replace this bike I will look for one that has a removable battery that can be charged elsewhere). And the change in the pandemic situation since our previous visit in June made riding the subway less attractive, especially in busy hours.

This kit came in our extensive offshore medical kit ...
and included suture scissors. I've also been using the BP cuff and pulse oximeter.

Still, we enjoyed wandering the city streets and eating at tables on the sidewalks, watching the people go by. We took some dry cleaning ashore, shopped at the local grocer and wine merchant, and strolled a street festival on Broadway. In the river, we were treated to a bit of a show from FDNY's Fireboat 343, and we got to see the towers of the George Washington Bridge all lit up, something that happens only nine times each year.

No more appropriate gate for me to enter Central Park.

We did have a little unplanned excitement when we noticed from the boat that one of the sculptures in the temporary exhibition in the park had been ripped from its based and thrown in the Hudson, immediately abreast of Vector. It had landed on the rip-rap and was partly exposed at low tide; Louise did some sleuthing on the Internet and emailed the artist and the curator, while I phoned the parks department and left a message.

Getting lines on the sculpture. Our engine is raised and we are using a paddle to avoid the rip-rap. Photo: David Shaw

The artist, David, called while we were out at dinner. While the exhibition had ended in September, several pieces were extended, and his was slated to move directly to a museum in just a few days. He was understandably distraught. He showed up the next day with a small crew to attempt to fish it out of the river, but ended up waiting most of the day for the tide to fall. We went over in the dinghy and secured lines around the ~300-lb stainless steel sculpture, and they were able to lift it out with a backhoe. It sustained too much damage, mostly from salt water, to make the next show, and is back at the studio for repair instead.

Lifting the sculpture from the river, as seen from our tender.

You may remember me mentioning this exhibition when I posted here in June. After this incident we went to the West Side Rag web site to read the write-up, here, and were amused to see Vector in the background of the photo of this specific piece, just under the tree off to the right. David was very grateful for our help, and took us out for a beer the following week. He also gifted us one of his (two dimensional) pieces, which we will frame and hang when we get the chance.

Summit rock is the highest point in Central Park; these steps are hewn directly out of the rock.

Our other big adventure, such as it is, was getting back to Port Washington for a follow-up appointment with the arrhythmia doctor back at the hospital. Fortunately it was mid-day and well out of rush hour, and we had a pleasant uncrowded trip on the subway down to Penn Station and on the LIRR out to Port Washington, where we took a Lyft for the final leg to the hospital. Many cruisers take the LIRR to visit the city from Port Washington, but the station, in the old downtown, is a very long walk from the dock.

The controversial Roosevelt sculpture still stands in front of the American Museum of Natural History.

To avoid making this trek again, I scheduled my follow-up blood tests at Quest Diagnostics, walking distance from the Boat Basin. It's right at Central Park, so on my way back I got in a few block walk through the park and then back along the museum.

Norwegian Breakaway in front of the Manhattan skyline as we departed. Intrepid museum at right.

On the restaurant front we hit all our old favorites, including Fred's, Viand, Salumeria Rosi, Betolla's, and Il Violino, where we ate for Louise's birthday. We tried some new-to-us places, too, including Playa Betty's and Cilantro, both good, and Cafe Luxembourg, which was overpriced and not worth it but they had heaters when we needed them. We also tried the brunch this time at Fred's, which was excellent. We ate outdoors at all venues, and were never asked for our vaccine cards, which are mandatory here to dine indoors.

This message came in on our AIS as we motored down the Hudson. Must be a new automated system, as we've never seen this before.

Thursday and Friday would have been the best days to continue south, as it was flat calm out here. But my blood test was on Thursday, and a Friday departure would have pinned us down along the coast for the weekend, and so we opted to remain until yesterday, when we made the short two-hour cruise down the Hudson with the ebb to pre-position for today. Stiff northwesterlies would make our usual stop at Gravesend Bay a washing machine, so instead we turned to starboard after passing The Narrows and dropped the hook just outside the cable area off South Beach, on Staten Island (map).

Sunset over Staten Island from our anchorage.

From here we had a new perspective of the city, as seen beneath the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, and also a different vantage of the ship channel. We were passed by the gargantuan Royal Caribbean cruise ship Oasis of the Seas as on its way out to sea from its departure point of Cape Liberty. A couple of Ro-Ros, several container ships, and a handful of offshore tugs rounded out the entertainment lineup. I could just make out the top of the Coney Island parachute jump, so prominent from our more usual anchorage.

Oasis of the Seas, all aglow as she leaves the harbor.

As I wrap up typing it has been a challenging day. Winds have never dropped below 20 and have often been close to 40. Crabbing from the wind combined with the stabilizers trying to keep us level has cost quite a bit of speed, and we're now running at 1650 to get to the inlet before the current builds above a knot. With any luck we will make Atlantic City tomorrow and Cape May on Wednesday. My next post will probably be from Delaware Bay.

A different view of The Narrows. The Empire State Building is just right of the left tower.


  1. I resisted suggesting you buy an EKG machine because I assumed I would be in a long line of know-it-alls, so I am glad to read that you have one! I am glad you are up to the challenge of medical care from a boat, and are feeling better. I look forward to seeing David's artwork!

  2. Great to hear you're on your way south. We are heading out of Chesapeake City tomorrow to make our way through thrle open waters of Chesapeake Bay. Will keep our eyes open for you along the way! Safe travels.

  3. So happy things are going pretty well for you.
    I also have the Kardia device. (Older version).
    I got it 3 years ago when diagnosed with Afib. My cardiologist is impressed with the readings I get. I had a cardiac ablation 3 years ago, and all good now. But I still get "flutters" periodically, so it's reassuring to use the Kardia monitor to check on things and have it diagnose " no Afib".
    Stay safe!

  4. Sean, so glad you are feeling better. On the road to recovery! I've been anxious to hear about your progress. Wonderful that you and Louise are on your way south. Be careful and be safe.


Share your comments on this post! We currently allow anyone to comment without registering. If you choose to use the "anonymous" option, please add your name or nickname to the bottom of your comment, within the main comment box. Getting feedback signed simply "anonymous" is kind of like having strangers shout things at us on the street: a bit disconcerting. Thanks!