It is hard to believe that Friday was only 3 days ago as we packed in a lot of things over the weekend. Here is how our adventures unfolded:
Shady Harbor Marina (SHM) – New Baltimore, NY (Friday, 6/7):
Before leaving RYB and Kingston, Denise found a place to get in a short, but hilly run. Who knew there was a large mobile home (aka “double wide”) park just up the street from the marina? There was even a street named “Florida” that required exploration. Here are some pictures from the run:
Anxious to get underway, we left the dock shortly after Denise got back from her run, with Mark doing the deck cleanup and Denise doing the driving. We passed by downtown Kingston, out the breakwater, and headed north up the Hudson River.
It was a beautiful day and we were so happy to have good weather enabling us to see so much, including the Catskill Mountains, the houses that line both sides of the river, and some very interesting lighthouses along the way. We passed under two large bridges and the hamlets of Saugerties and Catskill before coming into an area called “Middle Ground Flats”. Here the channel is divided by a series of barrier islands with the hamlets of Athens on the west side and Hudson on the east side (and home of the Hudson Power Boat Association). The islands themselves are used for recreational camping or trail blazing, but are quite small and forested. We also had to dodge a bit of debris coming down from the lakes and canals north of us.
As this is a major shipping thoroughfare, we sometimes had to negotiate our way around a handful of passing barges who take up the entire channel. It is a good thing that here the river is wide and outside the channel is deep enough for us to get out of their way.
Soon we came up to the tip of Houghtaling Island where a large anchorage lies to its east as the channel heads west. Many cruisers anchor here and then dinghy into New Baltimore. It was shortly after passing this area (and less than a mile from Shady Harbor Marina) that we were approached and boarded by the USCG for a “routine” inspection. They asked us to continue motoring as they completed their inspection, and we showed them all the requisite items on our boat (PFDs, fire extinguishers, waste management plan, etc.). They were very nice and since we complied with everything, they finished their paperwork and in 20 minutes we were on our way. Mark thinks they were using us as a training exercise; Denise thinks it is that they loved our boat and really just wanted to see the inside.
Almost immediately thereafter we approached Shady Harbor Marina (SHM), contacted them on the radio, and got our assignment to be on the North dock for the week. Their very competent staff was there to help tie up the boat and with the help of other Loopers, we were settled in no time. It wasn’t long before owner Brian Donovan came down the docks looking for us and gave us a big bear hug. What a welcome!
We ate lunch and then checked in at the marina office. Here we were presented with flyer of the planned schedule of activities for “Boater Appreciation Weekend”. While we knew of the pig roast on Sunday, we had no idea there was a whole weekend of fun planned. Learning of this, we were so glad we decided to come here and not stop at Catskill as we had originally planned.
In the afternoon, Mark washed the boat while Denise took on other domestic tasks, including preparing a shopping list for tomorrow’s errands. Meanwhile other Loopers began coming into SHM, some of whom we knew and others we did not. At 5:00 pm there was the usual “docktails”, but instead of it being actually on a dock, it was in the large covered picnic area. There were at least 20 boats on some version of the Great Loop, Triangle Loop, or Down East Loop with more expected by Sunday’s pig roast. It was loads of fun to catch up with people we had previously met coming up the east coast, as well as meeting new people. There were introductions to all led by Herb (“Phantom”), and a few announcements about the weekend activities that have been organized by Sue (“Lucky Me”) in concert with the marina’s pig roast.
The socializing was still going on 1.5 hours later when we had to leave for our dinner as we had reservations at the Boathouse Grill; the restaurant at the marina. We had made plans to dine with Peter and Sue (“Osprey”) from Cape Cod as we wanted time with them before they leave (tomorrow) as we will not see them again until October. We enjoyed our time getting to know them better, and our food was delicious. However, the restaurant and bar was overwhelmed with all the Loopers and locals, so our service was slow. Plus, the restaurant had live entertainment which also brought the crowds. By the time we left, the bar was packed and it was hard to get past all the people. On the walk back to the boat we were stopped a handful of times to talk with other Loopers, finally making our way back to Island Office to go to bed.
Shady Harbor Marina (SHM) – New Baltimore, NY (Saturday, 6/8):
Every day the sun keeps rising a little earlier and every day Denise wakes up a little earlier. Today was no different but enabled the capture of a great sunrise over the Hudson River.
In the morning we went to the marina to sign up for the loaner car. Because of the number of Loopers, they were limiting the time to 1 hour today, but we only needed 10 minutes to go pick up a reserved rental car from the Ford dealership in the nearby town of Ravena. Fortunately, the next person on the list had not shown up and we were able to use the car and get back in time for the morning festivities.
First there was the annual raising of the flags; a tradition of all yacht clubs at the official start of their season. SHM is the hosting location for the Awenke Yacht Club and today was their “opening day”.
There was also a “blessing of the fleet” given by a local Progressive-Catholic (not Roman Catholic) Bishop. However, it took him a long time to get started and then he went up and down every dock, starting with the south dock. Once we realized we were going to have to wait at least 45 minutes for him to get to our boat, we decided to leave for our errands.
So we headed out for the 30 minute drive on the NY thruway to Albany and went first to West Marine. Here we returned the extra set of burgee clips for credit; we were not going to use them as we don’t want to lose another burgee (see story here). We then grabbed a quick lunch at a nearby Panera, then on to Supercuts for Mark to get a haircut. From there we went to Fresh Market, Wal-Mart and Hannaford’s (Supermarket), all within a 5 mile radius of each other. We then headed back to the marina and arrived to find that our boat had been blessed during our absence and we have the proof.
We then meet up with Jackie and Jim (“Dona Pacem”) as we offered to take them to mass since we had the car. The four of us attended the 4:30 vigil at St. Patrick’s in nearby Ravena. Although an older congregation, the young priest was very expressive and by his enthusiasm we could tell he loves what he does. It was a small but beautiful church and a new one for us to attend.
We then headed back to the marina to participate in the nightly “docktails” which had just started when we arrived. Once again the fellowship and socialization was fun and since new Loopers arrived today there were new faces to meet.
Having spent the day out, we had nothing planned for dinner and ordered a “to go” pizza from the Boathouse Grille. Once again the restaurant was packed and the 20 minute wait turned to 40 minutes before we picked it up and took it back to the boat to eat it.
One of the great thing about being in higher latitudes in the summer is the sun comes up early and sets late. But when you wake up with the sun it makes for a very long day. We had intentions of going back up to the picnic area where a bonfire had been lit and the movie “Captain Ron” was being shown. However, Denise could not keep her eyes open and crashed at 9:15 pm and Mark shortly thereafter.
Shady Harbor Marina (SHM) – New Baltimore, NY (Sunday, 6/9):
Despite an area full of hills and the pain her right leg still plaguing her, Denise got up for an early run. With no traffic early on Sunday morning, she managed to find a route near houses that overlooked the Hudson River south of the marina.
Once back at the boat she was stunned to see Mark already up; after all it was just 7:00 a.m. and since we went to mass last night he didn’t have to get up. But there were a few things he wanted to get done before leaving and he had a few people he wanted to say good-by to as he would not see them again.
Meanwhile, Denise attended the “Looper Ladies” morning discussion, coordinated by Sue (“Lucky Me”) a first time Looper but definite leader of all things social. Most of the women participated in the unlimited mimosas, but since she would be driving, Denise refrained from such celebrations. However, she did enjoy meeting a few new women, several of whom were long-time cruisers. It was a fun event and she was glad she went, albeit for a short time.
We then took the rental car and drove Mark to Albany airport. However, on the way he got a notification that his flight had been delayed and that he would be leaving almost an hour late. This gave us time to have lunch together before dropping him off. Denise then headed back to the marina, and along the way was trying to devise a plan to get the rental car turned in before the end of the day. Although it had been rented until Monday there was no need to keep it and we could therefore save one-day’s rental. Since they were not open on Sunday, the Ford dealer had a drop box to enable this. But the trick was to find someone to get the marina loaner car, meet her and then take her back.
Having not solved this issue while in route, she returned to the marina. After some communications with other Loopers, it was discovered that the car was signed out to Steve (“United 771”) who was in the town of Ravena running an errand. With Jackie’s (“Dona Pacem”) help and a few text messages later she secured a pick-up at the dealer and a ride back to the marina. Come to find out we had met Steve (but not his wife Cathy) in Cape May when their boat was next door to “Balahula”. Their boat was named after the flight in which they met; Cathy was the flight attendant and Steve told her that day he was going to marry her. He did just that and they have been married over 32 years.
Once back at the marina Denise finished preparing a side dish to bring to the pig roast, which was scheduled to begin at 4:00. However, the afternoon festivities started at 2:00 pm with steamed clams on the barbeque and live music by the “Doug Leiby Trio”; a local band that was excellent and who played all afternoon into the evening.
During this time everyone was socializing and getting to know one another. Sitting at a picnic table with a handful of people Denise was talking with Celeste and Ken (“God’s Grace”) about mutual friends in Orlando; Celeste graduated high school the same year as Denise. It was then that she learned that Ken is actually the brother of one of her classmates – who he himself is a captain of a private yacht and whom we had connected with in South Florida during our Great Loop. It was an unbelievable coincidence and truly is a small world.
After dinner, many people sat around a bonfire talking, and tonight Denise stuck around to participate in the laughter and fun. Finally around 9:00 she went back to the boat for the night. Here are some pictures from this event:
Meanwhile, Mark’s flight got delayed and rerouted twice in his attempt to get to Palm Springs. Finally he secured a hotel room in Phoenix (where he got routed through) for the night, and will fly the last part of his trip in the morning.
Shady Harbor Marina (SHM) – New Baltimore, NY (Monday, 6/10):
Today, Denise stayed pretty much hunkered down on the boat getting some work done, cataloging the weekend’s pictures, and getting a blog written. She did find some time in the morning to speak with a few Loopers, but many of them have left the marina and have headed north to begin the journey on the canals.
In the afternoon Sue (“Lucky Me”) organized a pot-luck dinner for the evening; she would provide the chicken for barbeque and everyone was to bring a side dish to share. Rain was forecasted for the late afternoon, but since the grills and table were under the canopy it would still go on. So now Denise had to bring something and was glad for the purchase of extra Romaine lettuce on Saturday; a Caesar Salad would be the dish of choice.
Despite the high winds at first, followed by drizzle and then all out rain, the remaining Loopers gathered under the tent and shared a terrific dinner together. Everyone had fun and thanked Sue for doing such a great job and bringing us all together. She and Greg will be leaving tomorrow and will be missed.
Meanwhile, Mark spent the day flying the not-so-friendly skies. Due to the GPS tracking issue on the CRJ – the type plane he was supposed to take from Phoenix to Palm Springs, his morning flight had been canceled late last night and he was rerouted taking him through Salt Lake City. It would be almost noon CA time before he would arrive at the client site, but he finally did do so safely. Then it was late for Denise when he finally got a chance to call. Thankfully, this trip is only 2 days in CA and one day in Chicago so the time change difference will be for only a few days. Before long the week will be out and he will be back on the boat, but not before Denise gets her long list of “honey do” items completed.
There is a reason why we like so many cruisers like this marina. Aside from its location on the Hudson River, it has great facilities and lots of fun things to do. Here are a few pictures:
Stay tuned for more of our adventures on Island Office.