Sunday, August 26, 2018

No Toll On These Bridges to Brooklyn and The Bronx

The bridges of Manhattan are a beautiful infrastructure of granite, ironwork, and steel. The architecture is taken for granted by millions of oblivious commuters honking impatiently at the brake lights ahead. Sailing underneath, however, is an introduction to centuries of changing materials and engineering.
Sailing toward Manhattan is a treat. We did it for the first time last summer. This summer, approaching Manhattan just before dusk because of the timing of the tides, we took a quick slide past the Statue of Liberty.
Early that morning, Echo II had arrived at Atlantic Highlands near Sandy Hook, after 24 hours in calm ocean off the Jersey coast, and anchored for a few hours, waiting for the tide to turn in our favor. By afternoon we would be torpedoing past Manhattan and through the notorious Hell Gate in the East River, in currents that can climb to 5-10 knots. Always a thrill.
On the way up the coast, we were surprised and pleased to pass fellow zydeco dancer Steve B. in Delaware Bay, returning from New England on his own boat. He recognized our spinnaker from my Facebook pictures and circled around to say hello! (I thought he was going the wrong way, though; the dancing will be in New England next weekend.) After Delaware Bay, we passed through Cape May and sailed north for the New Jersey ocean passage.

By the time we reached Sandy Hook, we no longer looked fresh and clean (see "before" photos in previous blog post), nor was the boat, after three days of hard sailing, biting flies, night watches, and cooking while underway, with nothing but a few naps and a good Scotch to fortify us. Couldn't wait to stand under a shower, dump trash, and buy beer and bandages.

First, though, we had to pass through New York City, a juxtaposition of historic glory and modern glitz.
Dodging ferries, water taxis, and jet skis in the lower East River, we passed the United Nations then the upper east side. Finally came the rocky ride through the notorious currents and eddies of Hell Gate. 
We left Manhattan glowing under a full moon, headed for the next anchorage and a rest.

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