Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Day 3: Atlantic City to Chelsea Piers in Manhattan

Concerned about the forecast for thunderstorms in the afternoon in NYC, Ann and I set an alarm for 6:10 a.m. this morning. We got up and immediately got the boat ready to go. At 6:25 we were under way. Our route took us along the East Coast of the United States, about 2-3 miles from shore in many spots. This was to be our first test of mother nature - the first time we were committed to several hours in the open ocean, which we believed was a completely different boating experience from previous outings. However, the weather was fantastic. The waves, to the extent that we had any, were 1-2 feet at most. The ride was relatively smooth. And there were dolphins everywhere, a wonderful sight I don't think I'll ever get used to.
Atlantic City to Manhattan
As we pulled out of port, we took one last look at Atlantic City, and I got a gorgeous shot of Ann on the bow putting the lines away as we headed into the sunrise at Atlantic City inlet and turned to port to head North to The Big Apple.
Sunrise silhouette of Ann as we leave Atlantic City
About an hour into our trip, we passed by the Shore house of our friends from New Jersey, Shery and Michael Jay who came out to the beach early, around 7:30 just to wave and see us go by. They saw our boat, and we saw two small people who we thought were them in the distance waving, but we couldn't be sure. Text messages confirmed that they saw us, and I was kicking myself for leaving my binoculars below deck in the crew quarters storage area. That's what happens when you leave port half asleep early in the morning. We'll try  to see them better (with binoculars!) on our return trip home.

After about three uneventful hours of boating, we approached the Verrazano bridge, which I remember crossing (by car) as a child when we drove to Brooklyn to visit my grandmothers. It was a bit nerve racking coming under the bridge because of the heavy amount of large ship traffic with no clear indication of where recreational boats such as ours were supposed to go, but it all worked out.
Approaching Verrazano Narrows Bridge
After crossing the bridge, we got our first real view of Manhattan. What a skyline! Still makes me sad to see New York without the twin towers. I don't think I'll ever get over 9/11. Every time I see New York I think of it.
First view of Manhattan
Several moments later, we passed the Statue of Liberty. I wish they had a public dock where we could stop by and visit, but I'm pretty sure that only the tour boats are allowed to stop there. Anyway, we got our money shot, which is what really matters when you are a dedicated blogger.
Statue of Liberty
As we approached the city from Jersey City where we fueled up, I thought of another photo to take. Note the reflection of the city in the window of Sababa. Love this shot. (Benny always teases me when I compliment my own pictures.)
Approaching the city
As we made our way to Chelsea Piers, Ann noted that you could see the Lincoln Tunnel in our navigation chart on the plotter, and that I should take a picture. So I did.
Chart plotter shows us about to cross above the Lincoln Tunnel
With Chelsea Piers only minutes away, Elana adopted a happy pose.
She loves New York!
This marina is known as a rough water marina. The boat shakes back and forth non-stop, and docking in this rough waters was a new challenge, but also confidence building, as I pulled her in slowly and smoothly with no hiccups. Starting to feel good about this docking thing, always the most stressful part of boating. If I can dock it here, I can dock it anywhere. It's up to you, New York, New York!

Tied up at Chelsea Piers; I got this docking thing!
After tying up, I spent a good 30-40 minutes washing the boat. There was salt on the metal rails and on the cleats, and the ocean water really did a number on the dingy and the rest of the big boat, so I gave her a serious hose down. I had to connect two fifty foot hoses to each other and wash from both sides as well as from on the bow to really clean everything. Came back on the boat sweaty and exhausted and downed a cold beer and relaxed before we headed out to explore New York. Although we arrived at NYC around 10:40 a.m., it wasn't until 2 pm or so when we were fueled, emptied of waste, tied up and washed. There's lots of work to do, but it's a labor of love. I wouldn't have it any other way.

After a quick shower, we took to the streets. The first shot here is at the entrance to Chelsea Piers. It had been a dream of mine to come here on a boat ever since my early 30s when Ann brought me to the city on my birthday, and we hit golf balls at Chelsea Piers driving range and had a nice dinner in the city. Today I finally realized that dream. Hope she doesn't take me to Thailand next for my birthday because getting there by boat will be a bigger challenge!
On land
Every time I come to New York, I discover a new site that I had never heard of. This time it was the High Line. An amazing walking park in the city that covers many blocks, above ground. It's a peaceful oasis in a crazy bustling city. I don't think it's been around that long, but somehow in all my recent trips to New York, I missed it.
Coolest park ever
Ann and the kids wanted to try out a famous vegan restaurant called By Chloe, and I wasn't too enthusiastic about that. Luckily, I had been in touch with a former student of mine, Nick Ginsberg, who I met at the Chelsea Market. We got some Hummus at DizenGoff restaurant and took it back to the boat where we sat on the flybridge, ate dinner, and he taught me about the ins and outs of statistical horse betting.
Hummus in Manhattan!
Great to keep in touch with former students. With Nick Ginsberg.
Tomorrow, we have tickets to see School of Rock on Broadway. I'm sure we'll explore many other parts of the city as well, and I will sneak in some meat or dairy food whenever I can get away with it. We are going to be here 3 nights, and I'm going to take a break from this blog, which I always intended to cover our travel days more so than our multiple nights.

We have our eye on our departure day, which is Friday. Some concern about the forecast, so hoping there is a good window of time to get to Norwalk, CT. Also trying to time the tide at Hell Gate because apparently there is a reason they call it that. Between the projected thunderstorms (BTW, today they never came), and the rough currents in Hell Gate we have our work cut out for us.

Finally, as it turns out (small world!) the dockmaster at the marina where we're staying in Norwalk is Nick's grandfather, so we look forward to seeing grandpa there.

So that's it for the blog for a few days. Looking forward to a few days of fun, and then we're back on the water on our way to Boston!