Another hardship the Pilgrims avoided was listening to an AC/DC tribute band at the end of their dock. It wouldn’t have been too bad if we were 30 years younger. And liked non-country music. And didn’t have to wade through an ear-splitting mosh pit to walk the boys. And didn’t need to go to sleep at 9:30 in anticipation of a dawn departure. And were 200 miles farther from the stage.
Actually we might not have slept much anyway. There just aren’t many places along the Jersey shore that can accommodate looping trawlers. The general feeling of the group last night was that we could (1) try to enter Manasquan Inlet, face the railroad bridge in strong current, and likely perish, or (2) push through a long day to Great Kills, face afternoon winds and waves, and likely perish. Listening to Highway to Hell multiple times on what might be our last night on earth was not at all comforting.
The Great Kills group left at 5:30, but we opted for Manasquan and left at 7 after enjoying a gorgeous sunrise. At 8:01, Dana called the dockmaster at Hoffman’s to beg for a slip assignment east of the bridge. He told us they assign slips as boats arrive based on current and wind, and couldn’t promise we’d avoid the bridge. Well that’s a big no-go for anyone with insufficient life insurance or a desire to avoid having their next-of-kin make a claim. That’d seem to eliminate Manasquan. Time for Plan B. Wait. We got up too late for Plan B. What’s Plan C?
After throwing up in our mouths a little, we called Jerry Taylor—who with his equally-experienced wife is delivering a 49 Kadey Krogan while leading the Great Kills group—to seek advice. Jerry said go, so we ramped up to 2100 rpm and made a run for Staten Island, fully regretting the decision to leave late. We’d been traveling with Second Wave and Karen snapped a photo of us as we zoomed by at about a 1/2 knot speed differential. Second Wave later decided to take advantage of the good conditions and press ahead as well, as did everyone else.
On a road trip to N.Y. in about 1987, Doug stopped at Old Barney. It looks just about the same today. Just north of Old Barney we hit a bump in the road. And by that we mean we hit something submerged in the water and it went “bump.” Sort of a chilling sound and feel when 3 miles from dry land. We stopped and checked things out as best as possible. No bilge pumps running, no water rushing in, rudder seemed to work, engine seemed fine. So off we went again. The gods of fortune smiled upon us as the anticipated 3-foot waves never materialized. Conditions were far more benign than Wahweap on a busy day.
From about 15 miles away we could see the Manhattan skyline and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. We rounded Sandy Hook and beelined for Great Kills Harbor. The dudes gave us horrible instructions and told us to dock stern-first in a slip that was “very wide.” And by “very wide” they clearly meant “very narrow.” After a couple of aborted efforts that saw us nearly ground on the adjacent shoal, we put the bow in. As Dirty Harry observed, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” We later noted that nobody else in the entire marina backed in. Not even the little maneuverable boats.
Dana and Karen plotted the trip up the Hudson River to Half Moon Bay tomorrow. There’s a decent chance we’ll take more and better N.Y.C. photos on the way through town.