Hello Friends and Family! Today began early in the AM in New Rochelle, New York with a breakfast that consisted of calculating out the right time to hit Hell Gate which is the intersection just before Roosevelt Island where the Harlem River meets the East River. We went back and forth for 30 or so minutes debating the time and eventually decided that we needed to head out around 8:45 AM. This decision was tricky because not only is it essential to hit Hell Gate at slack tide (calm tide), it is also extremely important to have the current going with you once you round the corner at The Battery (near World Trade Center and Financial District on the tip of Manhattan) because the current in these waters can be about as fast or faster as Neverland can go. Eventually, we pulled out of the marina, signaled to the draw bridge man that we needed a lift, and we were on our way into the port of New York City.
Upon leaving the marina and turning right onto the East River, we rode the strangely vacant river down to the LaGuardia Airport/Riker’s Island area.
After Riker’s Island, Hell Gate Bridge marks the passageway that is known as Hell Gate, however, we weren’t too worried as up until this point we had our timing down perfectly. After going through the calm intersection we had Roosevelt Island just ahead of us which is where things started to get interesting. About 90% of the wake being tossed around was from New York City ferries running full throttle across the river. These ferries would run across the river, stop for 5 minutes, and then run back out in front of you or behind you. In addition to this, the distance between Manhattan and Roosevelt Island is about 750 feet which is not nearly enough room for comfort. It was also extremely tricky to navigate this area as we had to turn into the wake to not get broadsided whilst also not cutting in front of the oncoming traffic. Once Roosevelt Island passed, we might as well have been in the Atlantic Ocean. We had NYC ferries, NYPD, NYFD, and multi-million dollar yachts weaving around us while the Empire State Building stood just to the right of us towering over Manhattan. Down near the Navy Yard Basin in the East River right before the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge, a FDNY boat decided to come full throttle and turn right next to us which left us with a highly charged chop that gave Neverland her first water over the bow. (Considered going home at this point.)
After the traumatizing wake left by the fire department, we battled consistent traffic from massive ferries, tour boats, and city department boats. By the time we made it down to the Manhattan Bridge, which is just before the Brooklyn Bridge, we had the tide against us.
Now, ideally we would have been going through this section with either no tide or the tide going with us, however, having to turn into waves and battle ferries earlier, we arrived here later than we expected. Right at The Battery is where the waterway really opens up with Brooklyn to your back left side, Governor’s Island and the Statue of Liberty to your left, New Jersey in front of you, and Manhattan to your right. Right here is where you’ve got the big timers like the huge ferries and container ships playing the game as well.
Despite the lack of speed we were carrying around the battery, we knew that once we rounded the corner into the Hudson River that we would have the tide with us. Once we finally crossed into the Hudson, we naively relaxed and thought we were out of the chaos. However, all of the tour cruises come out of the Hudson River side piers because the East River is too narrow and doesn’t have piers anyways. This meant that we not only had to deal with the same amount of ferry traffic, but also much more sightseeing cruise boats. The good thing about the Hudson though is that every foot we climbed up it more the easier it got, and once we made it even with Central Park, the cruise traffic had really died down.
The rest of the way up the Hudson had us crossing under the George Washington bridge and into a rain storm that significantly hurt our visibility. Eventually, the rain shower passed and the Hudson River began to feel like an actual river. The Cuomo Bridge and Yonkers, NY came up next and the Hudson River Valley was starting to appear.
Surrounded by the hillside, we booked our marina but quickly realized after doing so that our boat goes too far down into the water for the 3 foot clearance that the marina had, along with about a 4 foot difference in depth depending on the tide. Therefore, we had to look for anchorages near where we thought we were staying that not only had the correct depth, but had the correct depth and extra to account for the tides.
We eventually landed just south of Jones Point across from the Indian Point Nuclear Energy Center which provided us with great depth and some protection from the possibility of overnight commercial traffic. Tonight we have to plan to head out when the tide is with us all the way down from New York City because even though we are far from saltwater now, the tide affects the Hudson all the way up to Albany. The goal tomorrow is to make Albany (75 miles away) and also refuel, as the old diesel fuel that has been sitting for a year has the boat smelling like the Industrial Revolution.
– Written by Jackson