Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

Here we are, (5/26/08) safely in our summer slip at Brewer Greenwich Bay North in Warwick, RI, 36 days after we left Melbourne, FL. Considering that we spent 10 days docked in Washington, DC and 5 days on the Potomac River going and coming; not a bad trip at all.

We have learned to take whatever the weather and sea conditions bestow, and this year was not an exception. Coming out of the Potomac and heading north on the Chesapeake we watched the satellite weather system closely for a window of favorable ocean conditions so that we could work our way in the Atlantic Ocean, up the New Jersey coast and avoiding the inside passage. The New Jersey ICW is shallow, narrow and busy with bridges that all need to be opened for us to proceed. Plus, none of the bridge tenders we’ve dealt with have completed the Emily Post School of Etiquette. “Bring Her On Up Captain” they say. One of their favorite tricks, (I swear it’s deliberate) is to command that the boats bunch up at the bridge before it will open. I suppose that allows them to minimize the number of openings but if the current is carrying you toward the bridge and there are already 6-10 boats jockeying for position adding another boat to the mix is a sure fire recipe for disaster. I’ll bet the tenders get together at the end of their shift for a beer and to swap stories about boats trying to avoid collisions. “You shuuda seen this one!” Running outside in the Atlantic is a far better choice.

Atlantic Sunset off Barnegat Inlet, NJ

We hunkered down for two days at Summit North Marina in the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal waiting out a storm. While there it appeared that there was a window developing. Sure enough, Saturday arrived and the forecast for that day and the next were excellent. We departed Summit North at 6:00 a.m., exited the canal, rode the current down the Delaware Bay, around Cape May, New Jersey, into the Atlantic along the New Jersey coast past Atlantic City and then north through New York City Harbor, the East River and into Long Island Sound.

Sunrise NYC entrance

Lady Liberty at dawn

We finally anchored in Westbrook, CT Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. after 36.5 continuous hours of being underway. The night passage was spectacular, highlighted by a great fireworks display at Barnegat, NJ that was easily visible offshore and a nearly full moon which lit up the ocean. We don’t seek out 36 hour passages but when the conditions are right, it is a great way to avoid the shallow New Jersey ICW and to make time.

Nap time!

Connie & I alternated napping with helm duties and were greeted by the daybreak view of the NYC Harbor seen below. While we traveled alone most of the night except for an occasional fishing boat, by morning the entrance channels to the city were teeming with commercial vessels making their way to various locations despite the fact that it was Memorial Day weekend and a Sunday. Those guys work 24/7 including Pilots and Tug Boat crew.

Merchant vessel entering NYC

Connie had plotted the entire 36 hour run correctly and we arrived at the entrance to the East River, (aka Hell’s Gate) just as the tide switched and carried us well above hull speed into the Long Island Sound. The current here is very swift and at 7 knots The Rose will take all the help she can get. Running against the current is NOT suggested!

Norwegian Dawn

NYC at daybreak

We had several options plotted for anchoring either in Long Island or along the Connecticut coast. While we wanted to make as much progress as possible, neither of us was sure of how much energy we’d have after such a lengthy trip. We finally decided to push on to Westbrook, CT where there is an excellent anchorage behind a huge breakwater that fronts the harbor. We dropped the anchor Sunday evening at 6:30 and as you would imagine we collapsed into bed after a very quick meal.

Monday morning we were up at 4 a.m. making ready to get underway at 5:30 for the Brewer Marina in Mystic, CT. Our plan was to spend at least a couple of days there because the winds and waves were predicted to be high along with small craft warnings. Those conditions would prevent us from continuing to RI. We consoled ourselves with the thought that we could tour the Mystic Seaport and the surrounding area while waiting for the weather to improve.

The further we moved up Long Island Sound the more confident we were that the conditions were either delayed in arriving or not as severe as predicted. Ultimately we decided to continue past Mystic and go at least as far as Westerly, RI where we would be exposed to open ocean conditions without the protection of Long Island. In cruiser parlance this is called, “poke your nose out”. Conditions were good and to make the situation even better we were being pushed by a stronger than expected current allowing us to easily exceed our usual speed of 7.2 kts.

By 11 a.m. we made the turn into Narragansett Bay, the last lap to our summer home. The wind was strengthening, (of course) with gusts to 20 kts but fortunately it was on our stern and the current continued to be in our favor until we reached Warwick Cove close to our marina and slip. Enroute we were greeted by our Uncle & Aunt, Bill & Marianne who were waving from shore near the Bay Campus of the University of Rhode Island.

We had called our friends and slip mates Ben & Gail and they rounded up a dozen, (no exaggeration!) fellow cruisers to help grab lines because of the wind. Well, this day everything went as planned and The Rose slid into her slip as though she was as anxious to be here as we were. In no time at all, lines were secure and we greeted by hugs and handshakes all around.

The welcoming crew at Greenwich Bay

That’s it for now……………we have NO travel plans for the immediate future and will spend the next week catching up on rest and family/friends.

Paul & Connie
M/V The Rose, GH37
Slip #13-33
Brewer Greenwich Bay North
Warwick, RI



At 2:27 PM, Blogger Donna Sullivan said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful and safe journey back home and have thoroughly enjoyed your retirement. Have a wonderful summer with your family and friends up north and we will see you in sunny Florida next year.

Donna & Bob


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