Long Island Anchorage


-----We launched Halcyon into the Hudson River at Kingston, on the Hudson River. We came down the river and into Long Island Sound. Consequently, we didn't use any ramps on Long Island or along the Sound.


-----"Hey, hon. Long Island is an island," I traced the outline on our chart, grinning like the proverbial Cheshire cat.

-----"Elementary, Dr. Watson," she said, looking at me quizzically. "Ah hah, I see what you're getting at - we can circle the island." Excitedly, she came over to look at the charts with me. "What about the south side? Never went there when I was a kid. That's the ocean. Are there harbors for shelter?"

-----Studying the charts on that south shore, we could see there was a continuous waterway - the extension of the Intracoastal Waterway that we had been cruising from Mexico to New York.

-----"There's a lock, some low clearances, and many lift bridges, but if barges can navigate the passage, so should Halcyon," I said.

-----"Marty and Mel's sailboat can't do it," El said with a frown. "Clearance is too low and there are some iffy shallow spots. But we have room for four - cozy, but the cockpit can be a guest bedroom with an air mattress and sleeping bags. Let's see if they want to do it."

-----Mel was enthusiastic, but Marty had some family obligations and had to decline. The three of us studied the charts together. Mel is an experienced skipper and he became increasingly excited as he saw the route around the island. We watched the weather and chose the start date. He met us in Essex, Ct. and we crossed the Sound.

Now That's a Looong Island Clam Rake!

-----The C-Dory site had connected us with Capt. John who owns a C-Dory and lives on Shelter Island. He gave us information and planned to meet us when we arrived at the island.

-----There is probably no professional less beloved than a meteorologist. The messenger of bad news used to be beheaded - we don't exact such tribute today, but predictions of rain, cold, or worse hardly makes the weatherman an endearing person to us. We save our best expletives for the times their predictions are wrong. This time, on our Sound crossing, we had a few choice words.

-----Capt. John described it on his posting the next week on the C-Dory site: "We met up on Saturday, after they made an AMAZING passage on Friday. Halcyon crossed Long Island Sound from Connecticut in high winds and rough seas (bay waves alone were running upwards of 4 feet). The last leg of the passage took them through the notorious Plum Gut, where the waters of Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean flush back and forth in tidal changes. Bill said he rode the backs of some waves and played the throttles, but the trip was uneventful. Steering was wild enough to blister the palm of his hand though."

-----John is, in his spare time, the skipper of one of Shelter Island's ferries. He and his wife, Katharine, gave us a "ten-dollar" tour of the island, a real gem. They are great folks, and John said it for us, on his posting: "It is further proof of the fact we all have come to know: C-Dory boats are superb little crafts and their owners are wonderful people."

-----We left Shelter Island full of good food and companionship. We had just cleared the Shinnecock Canal when it happened -- fog. It was like cruising inside a milk bottle -- nothing but whiteness. Of course, to make things worse, it was Memorial Day and there were hoards of fisherman in small boats buzzing around in circles lost in the mist. We switched on the radar. We had practiced, manual in hand, months before when there was a slight mist on Lake Mead. This was to be the exam, and we trusted it wasn't the final exam.

                   We're Where? Mel and El in a Fog -----
-----------------------------------In the Fog

-----The screen looked like one of those cable TV channels you didn't pay for -- squiggly lines and little black dots. We chugged along keeping the triangle on the screen (us) away from the swirling black dots (them). The GPS gave us a location (here) and a direction (there) and we muddled along seeing and hearing nothing in the real world outside our fogged up windscreen. It was like playing a computer game, except, if we didn't like the outcome, there was no replay button. Finally, after a half hour, we broke out of the fog into sunshine -- and for the first time we were REALLY scared. There were boats everywhere!

-----We anchored, well out of the channel for lunch, and fog enclosed us again. We smugly assumed all would be well - we were stopped and out of the main channel. The radar was back on, with a "guard zone" electronically circling us in a comforting embrace ready to warn if anything intruded our quiet space. We opened the front window to better hear any approaching engines. El fixed great sandwiches and, after our foggy cruise, we were finally relaxing - the enclosing whiteness out the windows almost seemed reassuring like a child's blanket.

-----I had hardly chewed my first bite, when there was an electronic scream from the radar - an intruder! A black blip was rapidly closing on our stationary triangle. It was too late to lift anchor and start engines to avoid the encounter. I frantically beeped our ship's horn. The swirling white blanket seemed to smother the sound. We could hardly hear it inside the cabin. We watched in helpless terror as the blip relentlessly homed in on us. We knew how it felt on the Lusitania to watch that torpedo trail, knowing the inevitable consequence. Then - the gods were chuckling again - the bip stopped. It circled a little like it was trying to find the scent and then went racing off in another direction. The radar went silent and we slumped into our seats still clutching our sandwiches.

We Survived!

-----We came out from the western end of the Long Island ICW into the gentle swells of a calm Atlantic Ocean. We cruised offshore, passed some shrimp boats, and, in the Ambrose Ship Channel, fell in line between several huge freighters.

-----We slipped under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and into the Inner Harbor. Stagnant air lay over the city, so visibility was poor, but the skyline was beautiful all the same. We tipped a hat to the Statue of Liberty and cruised into the East River again. The tide was running with us this time, so the trip through Hell Gate was an easy one. Then we headed out into the Sound and back to Connecticut - we had completed another circumnavigation! Long Island is ours also!


New York From the Sea                                         Care for a Pumpout?


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