Sunday, September 9, 2018

Day 105, 9.9.18, Finale

Our first cool morning since we left Narraganset Bay in May, and we turn on the diesel heater. Florence looks worse, so the decision is made to end our adventure here in Wickford. My father will drive down with Eclipse's trailer, and we'll haul out and be towed home. 

It's been a fabulous journey over some historical rivers and lakes and bays, with some great sailing, many hours of motoring, and many wonderful people met. Special thanks to many old friends including Roger and Mark, new friends like Bob and Barb Schumacher, Michael, and more, plus those who traveled with us – Peter, Mark, and Ira. 
Eclipse berthed at the dock in Wickford, RI - Awaiting our chariot to collect us and her

105 days upon this boat.
It has been home for nearly all of those 105.
By wind, by motor, by sun, by storm.
It was a place where summer's adventures were born.
105 days and today is 105.
We sit and wait amidst a flotilla of yachts.
What amazing memories this journey has brought.
Canals, Rivers, Ocean and Lake.
How many waterways did we actually take?
Business cards exchanged and friends we did make.
Now we sit in Eclipse, her mast is down.
Securing goods for travel as we await our chariot to arrive.
Eclipse shall mount upon wheels and take to the road.
Hurricanes loom with gales in the sound.
Alas we by water can't be Portsmouth bound.
Of all the places we visited, we could have driven in a day
For 105 days on this boat we steadily made our way
So much history to learn and stories that were told
The path we took, we saw each one unfold.
Each town, each place, offered a perspective unique
But an intertwined story between each was a surprise
Distances of a day were achieved in a week
But the places visited had stories reprised
105 days on this 26 foot boat.
104 of those days seemed to fly quickly through.
Day 105 is our last day afloat
And it feels like an eternity as we wait for the end.

Day 104, 9.8.18, Mystic Museum

Eclipse stays put today, and my friend Roger and Collette, his wife, who we visited with at the end of May, pick us up and we share the day at the Mystic Seaport Museum. What an amazing place. In addition to historic and period boats, they have extensive shop facilities for repairing and rebuilding wooden boats of considerable size, where the Mayflower II is currently under restoration. They have set up a rope walk, cooperage, chandelry, and a display of art on boats including figureheads. 

And we're constantly looking at the upcoming weather. Florence is playing hard to predict. And the remains of Gordon wash across the midwest. Different prediction models with different assumption parameters produce different scenarios especially this far away from the center of the storm. 
Steam powered cider mill on the way back from the museum.
Back at Eclipse for dinner, after picking up shrimp and flounder at a local seafood purveyor, we add a salad and enjoy the evening with Roger and Collette. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Day 103, 9.7.18, Wickford

After the storm yesterday evening (west winds at 30knots), the wind shifted around to the north during the night. Our little bay doesn't provide shelter from this direction. We're rocking all night. Come morning, our first order of business is to find a better anchorage, which we do just beyond the Wickford Marina. Getting there involved bucking a 15 knot wind with waves. I can't imagine what the open ocean is like. 

But when we return to Eclipse after going ashore and checking out the town, the local gendarme has paid us a visit. It seems that anchoring is not allowed in Wickford harbor. We are forced to support one of the local marinas, and the town council and police support this.

So we're securely ensconced at the Wickford Marina, where we also have a shower, jacuzzi, laundry, wifi, and a kitchen at our disposal. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Day 101, 9.5.18, Fishers Island

We're a little concerned about Tropical Storm Florence, making her way up the eastern seaboard. Early predictions were for 3-4 meter high waves, but now they've scaled that down to 1.5-2 meters. Still too much for us, plus winds over 20 knots. In two days we can make it to Narraganset Bay and find a secure place for a few days. But to get there we need to keep heading east. 

We've got a good wind today, but it's out of the East, so we're close-hauled all day. Once the tide turns against us, about 1pm and as we pass Old Saybrook and the Connecticut River, we have no choice to but to motor-sail until evening.

Home for the night is in West Harbor on Fishers Island, NY. A few other sailboats are anchored with us. Pork chops and rice pilaf completes the day.
Wednesday afternoon sailboat races off New London

Sunset, prayer flags, and Partial Eclipse

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Day 100, 9.4.18, Clinton CT

One Hundred days on Eclipse!

Gentle winds all day that sometimes went to nothing. We sailed when we could and motored when we had to. Along the way we saw two seals.

As evening approached we pulled into Clinton CT, and as if on cue, the wind finally picked up for a bit, then died again.

Perfect timing, as we tied up to the dock at Shanks Seafood restaurant, my sister was parking her car here too. We enjoyed a nice seafood combo platter and salad together, then shared a sundae. The staff were generous with giving us ice for the cooler and letting us stay tied up for the night.
View from the deck at Shank's

Monday, September 3, 2018

Dy 99, 9.3.18, Charles Island/Milford CT

Great sailing today. Nice wind out of the south, turning to more Southwest mid afternoon. We stopped in Black Rock harbor at Captain's Cove Marina were we met Tom who drives the courtesy launch. He let us tie up for free and enjoyed tales of our adventure. The gas dock jockey was surprised to hear that one can go by boat to all the places we visited. It's a short walk to a good grocery store, so we are well stocked again. 

Back out on the Sound we found ourselves looking at building cumulous clouds. We checked the radar and forecasts. But none of them developed into a serious threat. Home for the night is just off Charles Island near Milford, CT. 

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Day 98, 9.2.18, Sheffield Islands

The forecast is for winds from the South. Ha! Clueless weathermen. More winds from the East, and very light all day until 3pm, when we finally get some SE winds. But they don't last very long. It's a frustrating day of drifting and ghosting and hoping for winds, and using the motor. 

With very light winds we head for an anchorage in the Sheffield Islands. As we're scoping out the possibilities, the wind picks up. Shall we sail on? Shall we drop anchor? We choose to anchor, which was the right choice, as the winds soon died again.

Along way, we did our part for the environment by picking two helium balloons from the sea. 

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Day 97, 9.1.18, Oyster Bay

Getting out of New Rochelle at low tide is a slalom course between buoys and rocks and twisty channels. But soon we are out on the broad Sound. The wind is in our face (what a surprise, eh?) but strong and steady, so we make good progress often sustaining 5+ knots. 

For lunch we take a break and swim ashore to Little Captain's Island, a park owned by the city of Greenwich. Most people come here by ferry, and being the start of Labor Day Weekend, there's a good crowd.
Little Captain's Island

Back at sea, we cross to the Long Island side of the Sound and find an anchorage in Oyster Bay. We joined a veritable traffic jam of sailboats coming into the harbor. We heard there might be music at a local bar, so we rowed ashore but alas 'twas not to be. We strolled through town and learned that Theodore Roosevelt had a summer home here. 

Friday, August 31, 2018

Day 96, 8.31.18, Harlem River to New Rochelle

As we're waking up a security guard comes by and says we're not allowed to stay here. I tell him we're waiting for the tide to change then we'll be off. In half an hour it does, and the current carries us up the Harlem River, past huge apartment buildings, warehouses, highways and more and delivers us into the East River and Long Island Sound. The current on the East was even stronger, and coupled with a stiff headwind was kicking up some good waves and tidal rips. Out on the Sound, the east wind has had the entire length of the Sound to kick up bigger waves. It's a rough crossing to take shelter in New Rochelle.
Manhattan skyline from the Harlem River, just before joining the East River.

Sunset in New Rochelle

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Day 95: 8.30.18 - Haverstraw to NewYork City

After laundry at the marina, we set sail. Last night the weather broke. Instead of very hot and humid with a south wind, we have not quite as hot, drier, and a good wind out of the north. Instead of tacking we're running! [Sailing with the wind directly behind is called 'running', to the side is 'reaching', while sailing into the wind is 'tacking']

We made about 30 miles, under the Tappan Zee bridge, past Yonkers, and into the northern edge of New York City. On our trip out we chose the East River, which was crazy with ferries, police boats, tides and waves. So we'll try the Harlem River. To that end we say goodbye to the Hudson at Spuyten Duyvil, and tie up to a dock hosted by Columbia College. Nobody says we can't spend the night, and there are no signs. Quiche for dinner.

Fresh Salad with crabmeat and a home made creamy Parmesan with pepper dressing
Quiche for dinner!

On the Hudson heading south:  Manhattan skyline ahead
New Tappan Zee Bridge next to the old.
Docked at Columbia University

Sunset at Columbia University in Manhattan

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Day 94, 8.29.18 Bear Montain to Haverstraw

Good sailing in early morning, then the wind dies as it often does. We motor into Haverstraw Marina, and walk to town. We had read an account of the first white man's attempt to cross Labrador in 1903. Two of the three made it out alive, and the third, the leader, passed away in his tent in the wilderness. His partners brought out his body and he is buried here in Haverstraw. We visited his grave. 
Grave of Leonidas Hubbard.

Next stop the post office where Eileen and Allison were delighted to see us again and give us our package.
Post-mistresses extraordinaire. 
Lunch was down the street at Los Amigos, a cafeteria style restaurant serving food of the Dominican Republic. This town has a strong Caribbean presence.
Lunch, Dominican Republic style.

Another very hot walk back to the boat and showers at the marina. As the sun is getting low, we motor out and sail across Haverstraw Bay to deliver Ira to the train station for her ride back to her car and to home.

Sailing back it's nightime. Few boats are out, and we're surprised how many are either not using navigation lights or have incorrect lighting. 

Day 93, 8.28.18, Peekskill

To catch the morning tide we're up with the sun and it's fabulous. Good wind, good current. We stop at Plum Point south of Newburgh for a stroll in the park while waiting for the tide to turn. Then again in Cold Springs for ice cream (it's so hot) and take breaks to swim in the Hudson to cool off. Past West Point, we find a quiet anchorage north of Peekskill.

The cheerful side of Plum park
Too many signs, too many rules


Monday, August 27, 2018

Day 92, 8.27.18,

With morning mist still on the water, I pop my head out of the salon. There is a small sailboat without mast slowly motoring by. We strike up a conversation, which ends up with an offer of a ride to the grocery store. Thank you, Jeffrey!

Eclipse at Highland Riverfront Park. Photo by Jeffery. 
Newly stocked, our next port of call is directly across the river. My friend Ira has parked at the Metro North train station and will join us for a few days. She'll then return to her car on the train. She's got more groceries for us, so we are doubly well-stocked! There is a pedestrian bridge over the river here (once a rail bridge) and as we depart, the police have made a strong presence at the landing and dock with reports that someone might have jumped. 

Around 1pm the current is near slack so we set out, tacking into the wind. Back and forth, zigzagging down the river. The wind dies leaving us in an anchorage near New Hamburg.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Day 91, 8.26.18 - Kingston to Poughkeepsie

Today we say goodbye to the town of Kingston, NY and prepare to set sail down the Hudson to reach Poughkeepsie, NY by evening....but first.... we enter Eclipse into a sailing race being hosted by the Kingston Sailing Club.  We find ourselves to NOT be anywhere close to racing class with Eclipse and certainly towing our dinghy behind did not help matters much!  It was still fun to sail with the gang that we met ad hung out with at the party yesterday and when the downwind leg started and the majority of the fleet raided spinnakers (see photo's below), we called it quits and headed on down the river as we had many miles to make before end of day.

The day was spent battling wind that was coming straight at us from down the river.  This meant that we had to tack (zig-zag) back and forth countless times in order to make our way south to Poughkeepsie.  I pulled together a home-made Chili for dinner and Gary baked some banana bread for desert

Racing "Eclipse" with the Kingston Sailing Club

Spinnakers up for the downwind leg!  Wait!  We don't have a spinnaker!!!

One of the many beautiful lighthouses on the Hudson River.  Catskill Mountains in the background

The "Clearwater" under sail north of Poughkeepsie
What town is this, I think I know
T'is Kingston town you should know
Under billowing sails we depart from here
On down the Hudson we do go

Our little boat, by us is steered
To join a sailing race that's here
Between the buoys and starting gate
The slowest boat we were I fear

Over waters whipped and winds that shake
Our boat heels steeply for goodness sake
The other boats within the fleet
move out, for the lead they take

The Hudson is lovely, deep and blue
But we have miles and promises to keep
And miles to sail before we are through
And miles to sail before we are through

Day 90, 8.25.18, Kingston

Stuck in Kingston, and that's a good thing. 

Partial Eclipse needs some repair on the seat rail. But first we motor across the river to Rinecliff and drop off Mark at the Amtrak station.
Saying goodbye involves wrangling dock lines.

Back in Kingston we find a hardware/surplus store with easy boat access, then descend upon the Riverport Wooden Boat School, who lend us a clamp and some space for repairs.

The school is also home to the local sailing (racing) club, and they're heading out for a little race. We meet some members and get invited to a bar-b-q this afternoon.

While they're out sailing, we visit the Maritime Museum. There was another canal, the Delaware And Hudson, with one end here and the other in the Pennsylvania coal fields. All the big Hudson River sidewheel steamboats stopped here, and the Mary Powell called this home port. There are several model makers who call Kingston and nearby home, and their models show the history nicely. Iceboating was also popular (now Kristen wants to go iceboating), and river ice was shipped to the city. We also meet the curator to find out more about a steamboat called the Armenia.

We have great conversations at the bar-b-q, and Michael ends up spending the whole evening with us onboard deciphering the world's woes.

Kristen, Michael, conversations. 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Day 89: 8.24.18 Saugerties to Kingston

The morning tide flows south, so we try to get out early. Our first challenge is salad. There is a huge mat of floating water hyacinth tangled around the anchor line, which requires cutting it away with a kitchen knife. The wind of course is out of the south, so it's a day of tacking until the tide turns and we drop anchor near a beach at a county park. We row ashore and explore old foundations and trails and a bridge. 

We set sail again but with every tack the current carries us back, and progress is slow until after high. A good afternoon of tacking brings us to Kinston, were we visited two months ago. We tie up to a dock at the Ole Savannah restaurant where we enjoy some very good southern food.

This is an interesting town. It hosts a maritime museum, trolley museum (both closed after 5pm) a rowing club and wooden boat school. Restaurants are upscale and hopping on this friday evening.

After dinner we find live blues at the Mariner's Harbor (we asked if they harbor any mariners) with Sam Allen and his band. Very well performed and with feeling. He had lots of people dancing in a small space and having a great time. 
Gary battles the mat of Water Hyacinth

A huge mat has engulfed us into its clutches!  Salad Island

We set forth to explore the shore as we wait for the tide to turn in our favor.
The town of Kingston, NY

Jammin to the blues in Kingston Town Mon!

Mark plans his dive into the pool.....not really

High speed yacht races past an anchored Eclipse

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Day 88, 8.23.18, Saugerties

Our friend Mark will be joining us here in Hudson, but doesn't arrive until after the tide has turned in our favor. We spend the morning checking out the town. Hudson became big (nearly the size of NYC) when the British took Manhattan, and the Quakers in New Bedford, Nantucket and Providence moved their base of whaling operations to here. The processing facilities were down by the docks, and 'tis said was rather odiferous. As the whaling industry was waning, prostitution and rum running took over as the dominant economy. When that was cleaned up in the 1960s, the town declined. However, downtown Hudson boasts a mile of period architecture in its store fronts and a convenient train line to NYC. People who appreciated antiques (including buildings) moved in with antique warehouses and a few storefronts. Gradually more store fronts were set up, followed by art galleries, yuppy restaurants, and gentrification.
Eclipse at Riverside Park, Hudson NY

We set sail early afternoon, but the brisk wind of the morning soon becomes the afternoon doldrums. Thus, we slowly make our way to a little park just north of Saugerties. Kristen makes pizza.

Freighters ply the waters where the Hudson River narrows in Hudson, NY

Huge freighter makes the sharp turn at Hudson

A barge makes it way past Eclipse on a moonlit night

Day 105, 9.9.18, Finale

Our first cool morning since we left Narraganset Bay in May, and we turn on the diesel heater. Florence looks worse, so the decision is mad...