Port Washington, Long Island, NY – Wednesday, 6/16
At 8:30 am we left Half Moon Bay Marina at Croton-on-Hudson and headed south down the Hudson River. For the next 90 minutes we passed by the Palisades on our right, and some boat traffic on our left, including this large mega yacht.
Just before the George Washington Bridge on the Hudson, we turned left, approached the Spuyten-Duyvil Railroad Bridge, and requested an opening. This bridge spans the Spuyten Duyvil Creek leads to the western entrance of the Harlem River; a body of water dividing Manhattan and the Bronx, in New York City. This 20-mile short cut prevented us from having to go all the way down the Hudson, around Manhattan and back up the East River. And because Island Office has an air draft of only 14 feet, we can easily get under all the other bridges along this river without issue. Therefore, it is a big time and fuel saver. We had traveled this river on a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise when visiting NYC in 2014, so we knew it was doable and not a bad trip. There was no debris in the water and we only saw a handful of other boats, all of which were pleasure craft and most we did not see until we were almost at the end.
Our travels down the Harlem River had us passing under 14 bridges, starting with the Henry Hudson Bridge and ending with the Ward Island Bridge where the Harlem River meets the East River. Denise was particularly thrilled to go under the Madison Avenue and Willis Avenue bridges as this makes 4 of the 5 bridges we have taken our boat under, and she ran over during the NYC Marathon in 2018.
We entered the East River and the area known as “Hell Gate” to a favorable 2.5 knot current and had our boat speed up to 23.5 kts. This was a nice way to save on fuel and pick up some time as the Harlem River is a no-wake zone the whole way. Here we encountered a little more boat traffic, including an FDNY boat, a pleasure craft who road in our wake for a while, and one of the infamous NY ferry boats.
We cruised by Rikers Island (NY Prison) and LaGuardia airport to our right, and soon went under the Throgs Neck Bridge and into Long Island Sound. From a distance we could see the fort at Willets Point, and then the US Merchant Marine Academy. Soon we passed by Stepping Stones Lighthouse and made a direct course to the buoy that marks the entrance to Manhasset Bay.
Our time on Long Island Sound was short (7 miles), but we encountered a brisk wind out of the west that sprayed salty water on the bow and port side of the boat; a first in over a week. It was a little bouncy, but not too bad and shortly thereafter we picked up a mooring from the Port Washington town moorings. These are free for the first 24 hours and $25 per day for each day thereafter. This is a real bargain as nowhere else on Long Island will one encounter such great prices.
Once settled into our spot, we ate lunch and then Mark launched the dinghy. He was anxious to move and wanted to scope out the town dock. Meanwhile, Denise worked on the last blog posting, trying desperately to get caught up. After he returned from his outing he prepared for, and then completed a conference call.
In the meantime we watched the town’s boat launch ferry boaters from their moorings to several destinations on the shore. We knew there was a large grocery store (Stop&Shop) and after Mark’s call was over we took the launch to the north town dock and go get a rotisserie chicken for dinner. Only after we got on the launch did we find out that there still is a charge for the launch for the first night, but if you pay the $25/night for the subsequent nights on the mooring, it is free. If we would have known that we would have taken our own dinghy today. But it is still a reasonable price: we will get two-night’s stay for $45 + tip for the launch driver.
The launch dropped us off at the Port North Pier near the Bay Walk, then we just had to cross the street to the “Stop&Shop”. Here we picked up a few produce items as well as the chicken, then walked back to the park to catch the launch.
During the afternoon the wind really picked up and we returned to a very bouncy boat. We spent time reviewing our upcoming itinerary and finalizing a few things. Mark had been busy making inquiries and researching places where we could affordably tie to a dock for a few nights, as well as securing a place for the upcoming July 4th weekend. Finally, we received confirmation on a place in the New Bedford/Fairhaven, Massachusetts harbor. Next was more immediate; we already had Friday & Saturday nights covered with moorings at Huntington Yacht club in Huntington Harbor. But we wanted to secure the rest of the weekend, and decided to go all the way to Greenport, where we stayed in 2017, for Sunday and Monday. We went ahead and made reservations for those two nights, praying the weather holds for the hours on Sunday to get there on the Long Island Sound.
The wind seemed to subside a bit, but the outgoing tide against the west wind made the slap of the water quite loud on the hull of the boat. After our dinner, we tried to settle into some reading and stayed up later than we normally would because the din was worse in the stateroom than in the main salon. Finally, it settled down enough that we could turn in for the night and fell fast asleep. But tonight we got treated to another great sunset!
Port Washington, Long Island, NY – Thursday, 6/17
We had the best of intention this morning: Mark was going to take Denise to town in the dinghy so she could get in a run, then he would go to breakfast at a diner and then take her back to the boat. But we stayed up way too late last night, and slept in way too late in the morning. Then the lack of motivation kicked in and the run and dinghy ride was abandoned.
We spent all morning and most of the early afternoon working on publishing the last blog, updating pictures, doing email and other work related items. It really isn’t a bad place to work on our Island Office; the view is outstanding!
Finally, around 2 pm we took the dinghy into the town dock and went for a walk. We learned that they were having an event called “Port Outdoors”. This occurs every other Thursday between May and October, and at 4pm they block off a certain section of Main St. for open air dining, sidewalk sales and live entertainment. We were a bit too early for the festivities and there wasn’t much to do between our arrival and when it was to start. But we walked around to see some of the stores and buildings on Main Street, and getting some exercise in the process.
One of the places we ventured into was “Shields Hardware”. We love going to local hardware stores and this was no exception. We ended up talking with “Bryan” who works there part-time for fun. He is a retired FDNY out of Brooklyn and still works as a volunteer for the Long Island Fire Department. He retired in 2004 and lost many friends on 911 as well as from post-911 injuries. He also shared a lot of suggestions for places to eat in town and explained how the Port Outdoors event closed only part of Main Street, alternating sections depending on the week.
We left there and continued walking up the streets of this “downtown”. It really is just a main street, off of which are the cross streets lined with houses. The middle and high school kids had just gotten out of class (yes they go until the end of June here) and many of them were walking home. Some stopped for sweets at Dunkin Donuts, or at Gino’s for a slice of pizza along the way. It was fun to take in all the sights.
We were not really hungry, but didn’t really want to head back to the boat yet, so we popped into “Finn MacCool’s”, for a beer. “Bryan” suggested this place for good food and good drinks. We found it to be an “upscale” kind of Irish bar, and very nice indeed. Like all the restaurants on Main Street, they too set up tables outside as soon as the road was closed at 4:00. But we had arrived prior to this and were comfortably ensconced in our bar stools with the comfort of air conditioning, so we were not going to move. We ended up eating an early dinner inside as it was too sunny and hot to sit outside. We split a wedge salad and an order of fish and chips that was very good, and the perfect accompaniment to our ice cold beers.
We left Finn MacCool’s and headed back down Main Street as the festivities were just getting under way. We browsed through a few sidewalk sales and saw people gathering with their families at restaurant tables and in nearby Blumenfeld Family Park. The weather was perfect for an evening like this and had we known sooner we would have planned differently.
We took our dinghy back to the boat and spent the rest of the evening watching crazy boaters trying to pick up mooring balls, or just out for a sunset cruise. It was cheap entertainment and fun to watch. It was also calm in the bay and we were also once again treated to a spectacular sunset.
Tomorrow (Friday) we will cruise the 20+ miles north on the Long Island Sound to Huntington Harbor, where we will spend the next two nights.