Wednesday (9/8) – Great Kills Yacht Club, Staten Island, NY
We left Essex, CT and headed down the Connecticut River at 6:30 am in order to get as far down the Long Island Sound as possible, before the expected south east winds kicked in. Our hope was to be able to get all the way to Staten Island today, but we knew if it got too rough we could bail out at Port Washington for a free overnight.
Thirty minutes later we past the Old Lyme Bridge, then, the Lynde Point Light, and the Saybrook Breakwater Lighthouse. It was a beautiful morning on Long Island Sound, and we were hopeful it would last as long as possible.
We ran down the Connecticut side of the Sound for a while, and there was some chop, but not too uncomfortable. After the first hour we noticed the waves were developing a “freshening”, indicating that the wind was picking up and decided to take our chances running on the Long Island side of the Sound for more protection. However, instead of crossing it directly, we made our way on a more diagonal track to meet the encroaching coastline, as the Sound narrows as we headed south. This had us in the middle of the Sound for about 2 hours of our journey, passing only a barge or two, and a few fishing boats. While the waves did not really settle down, they also did not get worse, and for this Denise was grateful. By the time we got to Execution Rocks Light, we knew we could make it to Great Kills Yacht Club (GKYC) where we had already secured our dockage for 4 nights to wait out weather.
By the time we got to the Port Washington area, the waves were pretty flat and we easily cruised around SUNY Maritime, LaGuardia airport, and Riker’s Island Prison.
From there we took turned into the East River, this time hugging the eastern shore of Roosevelt Island in order to avoid the NY Ferries on the western side. We were fighting a current against us, but it wasn’t as strong as it could have been. However, it did have us longing for the 3 knots in our favor we had when heading home in 2019.
Before we knew it we were in NY Harbor with the Manhattan skyline behind us; a sight we never get tired of seeing from the water.
Captain Mark maneuvered through the numerous ships anchored or under way in NY Harbor, and of course the Staten Island Ferries that zoom by at rapid speed. We crossed under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and turned right into Raritan Bay. Here we expected really rough water as the forecast called for 3 foot waves and chop. Fortunately, we had arrived early enough in the day that we did not face this and made our way into Great Kills Harbor and the GKYC without issue. By 12:30 pm had traveled 108 miles, and had the boat tied up to the dock. We were greeted with hugs by our friend John Calascibetta (aka “John C”) – our Looper Harbor Host, and another friend (Tony) whom we are always happy to see. After socializing for a bit, Mark washed the salt off the boat, while Denise cleaned up the inside.
In the afternoon the winds did pick up as expected, with some strong gusts. Unlike in past visits, this time the assigned slip was on the t-head at the end of the dock, with our bow facing out towards the harbor entrance. As the wind blew in from Raritan Bay it really rocked our boat and slapped the water against the boat hull. Despite this, we stayed on board for the rest of the day as we both had lots of work to do. We also planned a tentative itinerary for the next week that would take us down the NJ coast, and hopefully up the Delaware River in calm seas.
With bad weather forecasted for the evening, we decided not to go out to eat even though there are a plethora of choices (albeit mostly Italian). But we didn’t feel like cooking either. Instead, we ordered a take-out dinner (salads with protein) from Marina Café; one of the local restaurants up the street from GKYC. The food was good and we were happy to stay hunkered down for the rest of the night.