August 1 – 31, 2005
Well, we finally left our slip and are on our way!
All of the excitement of the last few days was now behind us as we headed down the Hudson towards Battery Park, around Manhattan, up the east river and across Long Island sound to our lovely cove in Northport Bay. Finally, peace, quite and serenity… NOT!
Let’s back it up a bit…
Friday night we spent a number of hours undoing the last few days worth of strategic stowing… moving the heavier items (3 cases of wine) from the aft locker to the v-berth in an attempt to evenly distribute the weight between the bow and the stern… that’s the front and the back for you land-lubbers!
Saturday morning, we had a lovely breakfast, fought with the GPS which wasn’t picking up the satellites, topped off the water tanks, picked up a couple of bags of ice and headed out.
We were doing great! Rocinante (our sail boat, in case you didn’t already know) was handling well and we were on track to hit the Battery in time to catch the tide up the East River.
We cruised under the Tappan Zee Bridge heading towards the George Washington when the engine started to struggle a bit. Looking into the cabin, I spotted the floor boards floating around the cabin and water gushing up from the bilge… now, I know I’m pretty new to all this, but I was pretty sure the water was supposed to stay outside the boat!
You’ve never seen two people react faster than we did (after the initial panic of course)…
We headed out of the channel to stay clear of commercial traffic on the river (yes, water is still gushing in!) I ran forward to release the anchor in record time (adrenaline! …what a wonderful thing) killed the engine and had Ada (aka Maria) dig the handle to the manual bilge pump out of the starboard locker and started pumping like mad! At this point, the water had stopped coming in, and I went below to corral the plastic boxes used to hold our wine glasses (picture a bunch of wine glasses aboard their own little lifeboats!) and figure out what was going on.
Best as I can tell, as usual, several little things conspired against us… The float switch on the electric bilge pump fried just as we went through the wake of a large cargo ship, which had submerged the bilge outlet at exactly the right time causing the water to start siphoning back down the hose going to the bilge pump. Needless to say, as we headed out of the channel at full-throttle (pushing the stern further below the surface of course) we kept the water flowing nicely into the bilge… once we stopped and the stern returned to it’s normal state, the water stopped!
We lost an hour during the “floating floor boards” incident, but we had enough margin of error around the tides to still make the trip up the East River.
So as you can imagine, we spent the rest of the trip with the bilge open looking down into the cabin every time we rode through a wake… there are a lot of wakes on the Hudson!
The East River was a mess, tons of traffic, confused currents… and the darn ferries from the Atlantic Highlands! All said though we made it up the East River and through Hell Gate without incident and cruised into Long Island sound.
The Long Island sound was absoloutly gorgeous; cool breezes and no more wakes, so we decided to alter our evening’s destination from Little Neck Bay to “Our Cove” in Northport Bay instead. For those of you that are new to the ongoing Sagas of Rocinante the wonder sailboat, we rode out tropical storm Henri two years ago in this lovely cove… (see pictures from Block Island trip). That would mean a night crossing, but we were confident we could find our way… Ok, so perhaps it’s not the Atlantic, but it was a “crossing” for these two newbies!
We easily plotted our course and picked up the primary buoys all the way to “G”15 which marked the entrance to Lloyd’s Harbor. Then it got interesting… picture Ada with a flashlight yelling “I think I see one over there” “Where?” “Over there!”… “Oh, wait, no, that’s another boat”… “no, no, there it is!” “are you sure?”… Slowly we found our way from unlit buoy to unlit buoy until we came to our spot and dropped anchor.
But, wait, the story is not over… as we lay in bed, we wondered… ok, Ada wondered… aren’t we anchored a bit too far in? We decided that it would be wiser and safer to pull up anchor and move rather than wake up at 6 AM (low tide) with Rocinante beached and laying on it’s side!
I’ll spare everyone the bloody details, but lets just say it wasn’t the smoothest re-anchoring on record. The good news, is that when we woke up, a “no wake” marker, not too far from where we were anchored, was laying on it’s side! Score one for the home team!
This morning is glorious!
We enjoyed blueberry pancakes in the cockpit with some great coffee and a fabulous breeze!
That’s about it for now… we plan on staying put for a day or so as we re-coup and replace the bilge-pump and float switch… the Adventure continues!
Till next time,
Carlos & Maria
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