LAT: N 40° 42.6'
LON: W 74° 02.5'
sunny and dry?
those dark clouds don't lie
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Coming To Rest In the City That Never Sleeps
Slowly For Sale
It's hard to say goodbye, but we know she will give a new owner a place to live or cruise, pride and projects!
Click here to see more recent photographs and specs of Slowly.
At Long Last, A Last Long Day
Mixed Emotions Among the Crew
Looking to our longest day yet of near 90 nautical miles, we woke at sunrise on our quiet Atlantic City anchor and were under way by 6:30. Turning left to continue up the coast, we found the Southerly breezes we'd been hoping for. They gave us a little boost and pleasant following seas as the endless New Jersey panorama unfolded. We were able to make 8.5 knots pretty much all day. At first at 1700 rpm, and then up to 1850. Our newly aligned starboard engine was running smooth!
It was a nice day on the fly bridge, and time passed easily with a few interesting views of the coast to entertain us. At about 3:00, we found ourselves up around Sandy Hook. We had kept it open as a anchor spot if we weren't going to make it into the city by dark. We had been doing well all day though the weather was supposed to change for the worst. It appeared as though it was following us. We kept tuned to the weather station as they reported quick-forming thunder storms. One grazed us to the south, and we saw some more to the west. Passing the Romer Shoal Lighthouse, we could the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in the distance. We started a keen lookout for other vessels.
As we passed under the bridge the water took on a oddly cartoonish quality. The combined experience of the giant span, the giant city on the horizon, and same giant dark clouds looming overhead, left us feeling surreally small. Though it was slack tide the boat slowed considerably in the Narrows as we lost the push of our following seas. We were in the Upper Bay now, and were glad to have a little more protection from the land that was closer to us. However, our view of New Jersey was increasingly unattractive and the weather radio was warning a long list of NJ and NY counties we'd never heard of with a coming thunderstorm and high winds.
It felt prudent to start stowing the books, charts, cell phones, and other water fearing items. Sitting up on the fly bridge, we watched as New Jersey disappeared to our west. The rain began, and Hannah headed below to close the windows. Within a minute, the storm was upon our small craft. Tim stole a look at the compass to get a last bearing as Slowly was swallowed up by a heavy downpour. Tim brought the throttles way back. He kept one hand on wheel, and another holding the bimini top, trying to keep it from either collapsing or flying off all together in the wind. Communication was near impossible with the sound of wind and water. Hannah readied our little fog horn, sending out a test toot. A lone barge in the white let out its own low blow too. There was a moment of appreciation for remembering to raise the radar reflector earlier in the day.
Forgivingly, before we had time to warm up the radar, the angry edge of weather blew through, leaving as quickly as it came. Soaked from our New York arrival christening, we were happy that it turned out to be only a short swell of exciting weather. We started to see the wonderful mix of color in the city's skyline. Letting two Staten Island ferries pass each other first, we made a slow break for the west side of the bay. The New Yorkers headed towards Manhattan, and we headed in for a good look at Lady Liberty. We weren't the only ones wanting a closer look either!
Making our way up the Hudson, the mesmerizing skyline began to reveal its details. After passing historic Ellis Island we turned left into the canal leading to the Liberty Landing Marina. Jersey City has its own shiny skyline that looms over the boats of the marina.
Happily, the air was now calm, and we had no problem navigating into our slip. The unique feeling of coming to New York by boat did not leave us after securing our lines to the dock. In a matter of hours, we had gone from crucruising atop the expansive openness of water, to being nestled in amongst many boats with an awesome view of Manhattan.
On top of this bizarre transition, the tiredness had not yet left us from our weeks in Oriental cleaning, scrubbing, sanding, painting, and then our even hotter and harder spell in Portsmouth. Despite all of this, there is an infectious excitement to being in New York which perked us up a bit. Especially because we were buffered from the city by the Hudson.
Of course, there was not much time to rest. There was work to do. We had just over a week to move into a new apartment in Ithaca and we had to clear and clean Slowly, finish projects, and get through a long check-off list. However, tonight we were going to relax a bit.
After a quick tidy up, and closing up Slowly, we caught the 7:30 ferry 'Little Lady' into Manhattan, making our way towards Brooklyn to go see Tim's sister Sarah. The sky was still active as we pulled out into the Hudson, watching the ominous darkness hover over Slowly's new home and cruising grounds.
Then And Now
New York seems unable to let us come or go without excitement of some variety. Our first journey to the Big Apple on Slowly is documented on page 8 of our log book, and this second trip appears on page 53. While the extra 45 days under way makes us only lightly salted sea-folk, we are a world away from the sodium free days of our first arrival to this city. But again, we were reminded that anything can happen, and no amount of experience will keep the weather at bay, or the ferries from bombing through it.
The greatest risk now, both in cruising and our coming adventures off the boat, will be losing the humility and wide-eyed joy that came so easily when we first set out aboard our beloved Slowly. On our first trip, the east coast stretched South, full of unknown currents, winds, bridges, anchorages, marinas, and as yet unnamed unknowns. On this return trip we were following a similar track north, though things never stay the same. We learned how to call to open a draw bridge, go through locks, tie up in southern style piling docks, and how best to (try to) handle steep seas. These little tidbits of knowledge go a long way on the water.
More than any specific skill though, Slowly made us better beginners. In other words, she helped us practice finding comfort despite an endless list of unknowns. She also opened up the amazing world of cruising to us and enabled us to meet many fellow boaters and to partake in high quality of life. And further, she gave us the rewards of persisting in the face of what might seem like one's better judgement at the time!
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