Saturday, June 19, 2010

Birds and the Big City

Departed Norfolk in settled weather expecting some cold and rainy conditions on the 3-day trip North to New York. The conditions were indeed very cold and we had our first thunderstorms, accompanied by 30+ knots of wind.  Not close enough to do any damage but close enough to make us feel very uncomfortable and nervous.  And this on Seb's watch in the middle of the night. For the entire way the wind was coming from the wrong direction or was light and the waves were large and uncomfortable...the worst kind of weather for sailing. The rest of the trip was spent in two layers of foul weather gear huddled under the dodger peering through the very grey, misty, rainy space around the boat (if you were unlucky enough to have watch) or entertaining the kids inside with books, music, games and treats (yes, we did succumb to using the occasional bribe). 
Three little birds joined us along the way, one of which flew in and huddled on the stairs of the cabin for the night, its feathers puffed up into a ball.  Sadly, although they lived through the night they all died within a few hours of one another in the morning of our second day, frozen and exhausted.

At midnight on April 26th we hooked a mooring buoy in Sandy Hook and slept for four hours before starting the engine again to catch the incoming tide to New York Harbour.  The sun was just rising as we sailed past the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island and the city skyline was rather impressive from our little boat.  After dodging through the ferry boats in the harbour (NY harbour is one of the busiest in the world) we tied up in a marina in New Jersey.  The marinas on the NY side of the harbour were unprotected and were pitching boats about so we chose the less romantic side.

Our visit was to be a short one so we bundled ourselves up and headed down town.  We spent a fabulous day showing the kids the sights and soaking up the now unfamiliar city feel (neither Emma or Macsen had been to NY before).  They both had a great time going up the Empire State Building, poking about in FAO Schwartz, shopping and lunching at Saks, before we closed off the day by taking a taxi to Churrascaria, a
great Argentinian steakhouse on west Broadway. 

The following morning we threw off the lines at 0700 for a 24h sail to my brother's house in Rhode Island. Fortunately our calculations of the tidal currents were correct and we shot through Hell's Gate at 11,9 knots and out into Long Island Sound.


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