Mystic, Ct to Liberty Landing, (Tuesday, 9/26)
The night air had been calm and warm so naturally we woke up to thick fog everywhere. Hoping it would burn off a little we waited to leave Mystic and Denise went for a run. This time she took a path that did take her out to the Mystic Seaport Village Museum and captured a few more pictures along the way.
Once Denise returned we saw the fog had lifted a bit in the harbor and decided to head out. Our goal was to get to Port Washington on Long Island and we needed most of the day to get there. The fog had cleared a bit in the inner harbor, but we had to wait on the railroad swing bridge before we could get to the outer harbor. But, we were not alone in the wait as a huge yacht “Rena” was behind us and her tender was in front of us. They would eventually get back together in the outer harbor where the tender would be put back on the mother-ship before heading out into Long Island Sound.
We exited the outer harbor and immediately encountered thick fog. Although we have gotten used to cruising this way, it is still frustrating, exhausting and tedious to constantly have your head on a swivel.
There was a bit of marine traffic (ships and fishing boats) that we encountered, but by noon the fog lifted and we could relax a bit. We started to make good time (probably due to a favorable current) and soon reset our sights on Liberty Landing (in Jersey City, NJ) instead of Port Washington.
Eventually we cruised past the harbor entrance to Port Washington, and then past Kings Point and the US Maritime Academy, saying good bye to Long Island Sound. We entered the East River passing Laguardia airport, and Rikers Island.
Fortunately, there was almost no traffic and we hit the “Hells Gate” area at slack tide, thereby minimizing the impact of otherwise ferocious currents. It also helped that it was a Tuesday and there was almost no pleasure craft on the water.
There is a certain thrill that creeps in when you see that NYC skyline, and knowing we were once again taking our boat through the “big apple” made Denise giddy. Of course that quickly changed as soon as we hit New York Harbor and the Hudson as the water was really turbulent with all the ferries. We had lots of chop and 3’ waves that rocked our boat until we pulled into the breakwater at Liberty Landing.
We had chosen Liberty Landing because it was a good jumping off point to go to Sandy Hook/Rumson and because it offered a spectacular view of the NYC Skyline. We also chose it because we had to go back into the city, even though we had just been there on Sunday; we left our hanging clothes in the hotel and had to go retrieve them before moving on. Another reason for choosing this location was that we had generously offered free dockage by a yacht broker who has a slip there that is paid for, but empty for a few days. We had seen Hank (broker) at the Newport Boat Show when he extended the offer, and we had contacted him while in route to see if it was still available. Fortunately, it was and we made arrangements to use it for a few days.
We pulled into the assigned slip at 3:15 and had traveled 107 miles, from Connecticut to New Jersey. As we were docking we noticed the boat “Chimera II” in a slip across the way from our boat. We had met them early in our Great Loop adventure and at other points along the way. After securing the boat and checking in at the marina office, we walked over to their boat, but they were not around. We figured we would connect up with them later.
We returned to the boat tired and ready for an “adult beverage”, but happy to have bypassed Port Washington and be further on journey towards home. Despite there being two restaurants onsite in the area, we opted for the leftover pizza for dinner and decided to call it a day.
Liberty Landing, (Wednesday, 9/27)
Today was a “clean the boat” day aboard Island Office. It was filthy inside and out, so we tackled it from two fronts; Mark on the outside and Denise on the inside. But first we started with laundry, taking up all 3 washers at o-dark thirty before anyone else was even awake. We stopped our chores briefly for lunch, and at one point to talk with Gwen & Jim (“Chimera II”), with whom we finally did connect.
Finally, in late afternoon we had finished cleaning everything and had a chance to sit for a minute and enjoy the surrounding area. We had been constantly interrupted by passers-by during the day as the boat was located on the main ramp to the fuel dock and many people would stop and admire our boat.
After we got cleaned up, we sauntered down the walkway that runs from the marina out to the point overlooking the Hudson River. The NYC skyline stood before us in all its glory and it truly was amazing. But it was still daylight and we knew the best was yet to come.
We ended up going to dinner at Liberty Restaurant; a nice dining establishment located in Liberty Park overlooking the Hudson. This is a very large restaurant with several private dining rooms, a huge banquet facility upstairs and outdoor dining – where we sat. The view of the Manhattan skyline is breathtaking and the service and food was excellent. We found this place to be reasonably priced given all of these features, and would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a great place to share a meal with a group, or for a special occasion.
Liberty Landing, (Thursday, 9/28)
Today we decided to take the water taxi into NYC. While we had no plans in mind, but since being in the city can be so thrilling we just figured we would hang out. Of course we had to retrieve our hanging clothes from the Hilton (near the WTC)!
But first Denise went for a morning run. Taking advantage of the huge Liberty Park that borders the Hudson River on the NJ side, she headed out hoping to get in some long miles. Along the way she ran, past the old RR station, the security-controlled bridge to Ellis Island, and eventually the point that looks out at the Statue of Liberty. No doubt this is a very cool place to run and not many people get to experience this thrill. Eventually, she looped back to the boat but was only able to rack up 5 miles; a few miles short of the desired goal, but acceptable.
We took the ferry to the pier that dumped us right near the financial district, and near where the WTC site was located. We now feel like this is familiar territory and we knew where to go for lunch: the Shake Shack near the Conrad – which was where the T2T race ended last Sunday.
After a quick bite to eat we walked back towards the WTC and Oculus, seeking out a public restroom. The main lobby area was all set up for the President’s Cup – the golf tournament taking place right across the Hudson River. The displays included everything from PGA golf attire to purchase, to a bar sponsored by Michelob Ultra. They were broadcasting the ceremonies from the golf tournament on a big screen and many people were looking on from all around. We found our restrooms and left as soon as possible to get on with our day.
From Oculus we grabbed a subway up to Times Square and to see what had changed in the three years since had last been here.
We walked over to 5th Avenue, stopping at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the Adoration of the Holy Eucharist, and then on to 6th Avenue.
We were looking for a pub or a place to grab an “adult beverage” and our search took us back to Times Square. We settled on a bar at the Renaissance Hotel that overlooks Times Square and spent an hour “people-watching”.
We meandered around the area for a while, then took the subway back to the WTC area and the Hilton. We retrieved the clothes we had left behind, taking way longer than expected. Recognizing our dinner choices in the city were much larger than at the marina, we decided to try a recommended restaurant in a never-explored area of NYC; Tribeca. It was a few blocks north, but the walk was good exercise and we didn’t mind it. We ate at “Ecco” – an Italian place that was delicious and offered more than your usual pasta choices.
After dinner we walked back to the ferry terminal, but arrived a bit too early to catch our launch. The wind was really blowing and the harbor was very choppy with 3’ – 4’ seas. We watched all the ferries coming in and out of the terminal, fighting the current and wind. It was pure entertainment and we were thankful we were not trying to dock our boat under these conditions.
Once we got back on the boat we reviewed the upcoming weather and decided to leave for the Sandy Hook area in the morning, setting up for a run down to Cape May on Saturday. We communicated with our Looper friends Evelyn & Clark Woodworth to confirm it was ok for us to come on Friday night. We would be staying on the dock behind their house in Rumson, NJ while their boat is “on the hard” for maintenance.
Rumson, NJ (Friday, 9/29)
Denise started the day with a walk out to the point at Liberty Park that overlooks the Hudson River and took in the peacefulness of the day, and the extinguishing lights of Manhattan. It was a beautiful calm morning with little hint of the winds from yesterday.
We left the dock at Liberty Landing at 9:00 and entered the NY Harbor. Of course there was the usual ferry boat and anchored commercial boats to negotiate around, but we have gotten used to this and Mark made it all seem easy.
We cruised under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and into Raritan Bay – all familiar to us now, and headed towards Sandy Hook.
We took the channel south to Highlands through the Shrewsbury River going under the Highlands Route 36 bridge. From here we could see the Twin Lights State Park on the hill, bypassing numerous houses on both sides of the water.
We turned up Little Silver Creek following the private navigational aids and eventually up the canal that runs behind the Woodworth’s house.
Although it was a bit confusing at first, we eventually found their dock with the assistance of Clark who had come out in his kayak to assist us. It was like having our own private water Sherpa, and it worked great. We were able to securely tie up to their dock and utilize their electric connection without issues. They really do have a great set-up and they advised their boat weathered hurricane Sandy here without damage.
We arrived right at lunch time, so once we settled our boat we made sandwiches and met the Woodworth’s for lunch on their back deck. We chatted for a while about our different boating adventures and made plans to go to dinner in the evening. Then we went back to our boat to get some (office) work done in the afternoon until it was time to reconnect with Ev & Clark.
That evening the Woodworth’s drove us to Restaurant Diomede located in the nearby town of Little Silver. The restaurant has a fresh fish market right next door, and we had a delicious meal. We enjoyed talking more about our families and of course more about our boating adventures. From there we had to feed Clark’s sweet tooth and went to Hoffman’s for an ice cream cone; of course we had to participate.
Once back to their house, we were welcomed into their home for more conversation about our different hobbies (Denise running, Mark shooting & Clark’s guitars).
Soon we realized it was quite late and we had plans to leave early in the morning as it was a long way to Cape May. We said goodnight and thanked our hosts for their wonderful hospitality, with no expectation of their rising early to see us off their dock.