Make hay while the sun shines, unless it’s night

Farley’s basically told us that we had to get out of Atlantic City no later than Tuesday morning because of a huge boat show.  Whether we die or not really was of no concern.  They even threw out Arctic Pride II, which made an early exit on Monday. 

Stealth was going around to the outside of the fuel dock to make room for the gobs of new fishing boats that are looking for a home.  Farley’s didn’t give us that option.

The good news is that Tuesday looked to be a one-day-only opening for safe travel, before the spin-off from Hurricane Larry and Tropical Depression Mindy rolled up the coast.  The problem for us was that the run to New York is between ten and twelve hours, depending on where we stop.  And leaving Atlantic City requires timing the Absecon Inlet.  And high tide on Tuesday morning was about 8:30.  Which meant even if we went to Great Kills, we’d arrive close to dark, in the wind, with no dock help.  Which wasn’t an awesome plan.

Low tide, however, was at 3.  In the morning.  There are many reasons why leaving a marina at 3 a.m. is awful.  Start with the fact that sleeping is the only reasonable thing to do at 3 a.m. and go from there.  But screw it.  We can catch the inlet at slack and make it to Jersey City by early afternoon.  The ocean by moonlight is beautiful, right?

Up at 2:30, off the dock at 2:45.  The one benefit to the garish Golden Nugget casino lights shining like a thousand suns is that at 2:45 the marina was as bright as a young Einstein.

Once out of the marina, of course, the lights faded.  Just our luck to hit a new moon.  Zero light.  Black.  As black as the souls of the people who flew into the World Trade Center almost exactly twenty years ago.  Lots of stars, but since God invented electronic charts we didn’t need to use our celestial navigation skills.  Which is fortunate, because we have none.  Just spin up the radar, put some George Jones on the stereo, and head north.*

Oscar was more than a bit befuddled by the early departure, but he’s a good soldier so he sucked it up and immediately went back to sleep on his cat bed in the pilothouse.

Unfortunately for him, he slept through the sunrise.  The only good thing about traveling at night is watching the sun come up.  Tuesday morning we got a good one, even if we did have to share it with a fishing boat.

Shortly after sunrise we passed the Barnegat Inlet, which is notable only because of our self-imposed obligation to take yet another photo of Old Barney.

About 9, the reasonable people who appropriately used the night for sleeping started showing up, although jamming in with dozens of other people aboard Norma K III does raise some questions as to the definition of reasonable.

By the time we reached Sandy Hook, even the beach-goers were out in force.  And yes—despite what certain criminally-insane politicians and talk-show hosts might claim—these are real people.  No hoax.

On every other trip up the Jersey coast, we’ve hooked around Sandy Hook and collapsed with exhaustion.  Since it was only noon, this time we forged ahead.  We don’t know the technical entrance to New York Harbor, but for us it’s the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.  We also are obliged to photograph the bridge every time through, but this time we went crazy and took the picture from the back side.

The fort, by the way, is Fort Wadsworth.  It’s been around in one form or another since 1663 but never saw military action.  Now Coast Guard Sector New York and some other outfits use part of it, but mostly nowadays Fort Wadsworth is known for being where the New York City Marathon starts.  As an aside, two of us believe that people who run 26.2 miles without being chased by a mugger are even less reasonable than people who get up at 2:30 to boat in the dark.

And finally, we rounded the bend and started up the Hudson River, past lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty for the sixth time.  Yup, we’re still taking pictures.  Yup, they all look the same.

Thanks to adverse current, we cruised the last ten miles to Liberty Landing at about five knots, but on balance the twelve-hour trip couldn’t have gone better.  We found exactly one wave bigger than two-feet, although it happened to hit us just as Doug was dozing off on the couch.  Dana had a nice long nap and shower while underway, however, which is all that matters.

Dang good thing we didn’t need fuel when we pulled in to the marina.  Bella Vita monopolized the fuel dock all day and into the night.  Thirty-thousand gallons takes a long time to pump.  She’s a 200-footer.  These boats are of a size not seen since Fort Lauderdale.

We’ll have more about New York after our friends Mike and Lucy arrive for the weekend, but the highlight so far by far was catching up with Dave and Becky.  Doug and Dave worked together thirty years ago in Phoenix, and shared more than one life-threatening situation created entirely by their own poor judgment.  We’re hoping next spring they’ll cruise with us a bit when we pass back out of Long Island Sound.

Today so far isn’t a highlight.  It’s raining.


*Nobody does lovin’ and hurtin’ and cheatin’ and drinkin’ like The Possum.  The first concert Mallory and Shannon attended was Ol’ George, with a special appearance by Jesse Colter as a tribute to the recently departed Waylon Jennings.  Although the girls were too young to remember it now, we’re pretty sure that exposing them at a tender age to old-school lovin’ and hurtin’ and cheatin’ and drinkin’ songs (1) was an act of stellar parenting and (2) helped them become the wonderful and successful people they are today.

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