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Sailing Hudson

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Log Book: Hudson River - July 5-7, 2004

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After those 4th of July festivities Tobs was tossing an idea around about going ashore for a day and to live large in the Big Apple, but in the morning she decided that the trip was not worth the trouble. Perhaps the idea of trying to wave down some passing motorboat filled up with Jersey boys in leather jackets to hitch a ride with wasn’t so appealing. If you remember, we didn’t have our dinghy any longer and our options to get ashore were now limited. In any case the day was gloomy and Hudson River was smothered in a dense, sickly, fog and NYC didn’t look as vibrant as it did yesterday. It was a sticky and a hot day yet even the sun could not penetrate this vapor around the river. In the end we opted to raise the anchor and get going. This time I was better informed on how to use the tides to our advantage and we made a good fifty clicks before anchoring for the evening in a beautiful bay surrounded by mountains. Welcome to Upstate New York. The wide bay was happy to give her hospitality alongside a flock of geese, swans and several boaters finishing off the long weekend. To sum it up today was a sailing version of an uneventful “commute.” We made the distance, but we were motoring most of the day staring at the river or killing the time reading some fiction books we were alternating between us. Hours of motoring filled our ears with steady, almost hypnotic murmur of the engine and it was good to find a pretty place to stay the night.

Following day looked so much brighter. The skies cleared up and gorgeous sun was waiting patiently for us to emerge from the hatch. But there was a small snug - we found ourselves stuck in the weeds now and it took some elaborate twists of the outboard to wiggle us out of it. Finally we were free and clear from the weeds but we couldn’t do much about the head winds – looks like another day of motoring to me.

Following the bends of the river we finally went past West Point, where you no longer can pull up your boat to the dock and stop for a visit in the post 9/11 world. But before we went past Indian Point with its aging nuclear plant we were stopped and boarded by Orange County Sheriff boat and given cursory check of our paperwork before we were sent on our way. It actually was the first time I believe that anyone bothered to actually board our slow little sloop. We made it to Kingston by nightfall and Tobi liked the view of those river lighthouses built on top of a simple, square brick houses with the round cupola for the light fixed on the top. They're all very cute and old-fashioned looking and Tobi was dreaming of living in one of those. We passed Kingston’s town docks and a few restaurants sprawling on the banks and called the night by dropping off the hook in a wider part of the river with a train bridge in view. It was a very pleasant summer evening. Tobi made a chickpea spinach curry for dinner and we were content reading our books till late in the night with no care in the world.

The next morning I took the time to pour over the tidal tables to figure out most effective time to sail up the river and since we had still plenty of time we went ashore to exercise our legs and change the scenery a bit. We explored the river-front of Kingston, which wasn’t all that much, but walking and browsing around the town was a nice change. We got some groceries at the small convenience store and snooped around the "Steel House" – the restaurant converted from a railroad building of some sort, perhaps an old steal warehouse converted into a trendy steak house and bar to the tune of two million dollars. There were quite a few restaurants around, but all surprisingly pricey – I think the New York City is perhaps far from here by boat, but not by train or a car. We had some hot dogs from a hot-dog lady in the park instead then went back to the boat as there was not much else to see unless we were willing to take the bus further into the town. All the better - we were quickly approaching Castleton-on-Hudson where we would be taking our mast down and we took advantage of the time we had on our hands before we had to catch the slack tide and took the boom down and packed the mainsail. In couple of days we’ll be living Hudson for the Oswego Canal and would need to clear plenty of low laying bridges. We were on our way shortly after that and even though we’ve grounded softly couple of times on the low tide in the middle of the river we were unfazed enjoying the sun and finishing off our books. Well, I guess we should have paid attention and follow zigzagging channel markers after all.

To be continued...

 

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