45 Newport, RI to New York City

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We looked at each other and our mutual smiles said it all. Here we were aboard a ferry heading for the Newport Boat Show. At that instant we both had total recall of the number of times we had dreamed, planned and hoped we could pull off a quick trip to see the show. For all the years we had dreamed about going, it had never happened. Now we had sailed Tranquility to the show, tucked her in at a quiet marina at Dutch Harbor and headed over to do serious shopping for a new dinghy. Years of dreaming had become reality. We spent the day looking at dinghies and other toys. Never did go on any of the boats on display. We’re happy with Tranquility and had no urge to look at new boats.

Sometimes we feel like science fiction is becoming real too quickly. The classic line from Star Trek, “Beam me aboard Scottie” transports people over great distances. For us it seems like the equivalent happens with e-mail. As we carry on conversations by e-mail, details get worked out and our friends from far away materialize along our route. Star Trek does it instantly, ours take a little more time but are just as effective and for us, totally enjoyable.

When we left Milwaukee over a year ago, our first guests aboard were Steve and Amy when we sailed into Muskegon. E-mails kept us current with their wedding and honeymoon plans. Timing worked out, and they hit the moving target of Tranquility catching us at Dutch Harbor. We shared a wonderful evening together, met again the next morning then poked around the boat show swapping notes. After too short a time we parted– Steve and Amy headed for Maine, we headed south toward Mystic.

We were on a roll. A second friend materialized. For months we’d been exchanging e-mail with Ken and Pat on Infinity. We’d met during a storm on Lake Superior and watched 4th of July fireworks rafted together. Ken by e-mail introduced us to Allan and MJ in Mystic. Now in spite of the Northwest Airline strike screwing up all of Ken’s plans, he managed to make it to Mystic. We all shared a wonderful dinner at Allan and MJ’s, separated for a day and then showed up at Noank where Ken spent the evening with us, sleeping over on Tranquility. Time flew as we swapped notes and cruising stories. Again time was too short, and we parted company feeling like we should have been together longer.

Some of our repairs seem to have a unique life of their own. Many of them require some time to figure out how and when the repair will be accomplished. For example, the anchor bow roller was bent in February during a violent thunderstorm at Man-O-War Cay. A few attempts to bend it back with a wrench failed. Finally in September, in Portsmouth, NH I found a long heavy piece of angle iron while poking around in a hardware store. A few clamps and a dock to stand on for leverage resulted in straight bow roller and bent piece of angle iron.

In a similar fashion, our Elizabeth City damage to the bow pulpit in May got worked out over time. While cruising in Maine I worked out a way to use a line and winch to spring the bow pulpit back into its correct position. The bow running light damage was finally corrected in Noank when we found a convenient stainless steel welder to repair the broken mounting plate welds.

While in Noank we walked to Carson’s Restaurant in heavy rain. Foul weather tops, bare legs and sandals were the dress for the morning. Water washing down the hill, ran 4 inches deep in the street, and we were glad we had sandals as we forded the raging street stream. We wished our foul weather tops were a bit longer; the legs of our shorts hanging maybe an inch below our foul weather jackets got soaking wet. The water wicked up giving us damp bottoms. Carson’s was a throwback to the 50’s. Everyone sat at a long counter. A friendly server made for a great breakfast even with damp shorts.

Sailing down Long Island Sound, we had some of our best sailing winds in a long time. The sail from Saybrook to Branford was a beam reach with reefed main and working jib. We flew down the bay. Caribbean Soul’s masthead wind speed indicator recorded 30 knots steady with gusts to 40. We had an awesome ride.

Caribbean Soul, on one of their forays ashore, found another fantastic place for breakfast in Port Washington on Long Island. The Greek market/restaurant they found was a real treat. We worked hard to communicate our order to the Greek cook. Our reward was an outstanding breakfast sandwich served with a stunning harbor view and Greek music. After breakfast, we stocked up on all kinds of treats from the deli counter for future enjoyment.

Coming down the East River into New York City is like entering via the service entrance. Along the river’s edge a grungy lineup of power plants, industrial buildings and even a bleak prison built on a barge greeted us as we headed down river. At Hell’s Gate, the fabled junction of the East and Harlem Rivers, a double decked freeway with a pedestrian walkway on top walled off the much of the view of Manhattan. A wall of sound from the freeway reflected off the apartment buildings behind the freeway making the scene unpleasant to the ear as well as the eye. Even here in the residential heart of Manhattan, power plants reside next to uninteresting brick residential apartment buildings. Greenery was lacking except for the occasional treetop high up in a penthouse garden. As we continued south the freeway disappeared and when we passed under the Brooklyn Bridge, the familiar vista of New York City skyscrapers came into view.

We crossed our track south from a year ago as we passed under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. We both commented about how different we felt now on our second time south. We now know what lies ahead and what to expect. However that knowledge, if anything heightens our expectations of experiencing new adventures along the route.

Great Kills on Staten Island provided a nice place to moor and easy access to Manhattan via bus, the Staten Island Ferry and subway. Our Sunday in Manhattan was outstanding. We headed for the Guggenheim Museum but got delayed and sidetracked a little when we found that Lexington Ave had been shut down for a street fair. Not just a few blocks, but rather what appeared to be at least a mile or more of food stands, demonstrations, music, entertainment, and of course, all kinds of merchandise for sale. We wandered slowly along sampling everything and enjoying some outstanding people watching.

At the Guggenheim we planned to see: Art of the Motorcycle, a display of over 50 historic motorcycles on display as art objects. We were a week late and the museum was in changeover mode for the next exhibit. However, we could get in and see the changeover in process. From a distance, we saw a few of the bikes that hadn’t yet been removed. People were working on changing the exhibit and cleaning up the building. Outside we found the custom tractor trailer rig that transports the bikes to their next showing. The trailer was custom built–all chrome on the inside with special racks for holding each bike. Instead of Art of the Motorcycle, we saw the art of moving an art exhibit. Made for interesting watching.

As we continued walking through Manhattan we found 6-8 blocks of 5th Ave. closed for a book fair. Bookstores, publishers and authors selling their own books lined the street. The street was jammed with people and most of the stalls were impossible to see because of the crowds around them.

The street fairs gave Manhattan a sense of community. Felt just like a small town, but done on a New York City scale. We felt like we were part of the neighborhood.

Finally exhaustion set in and we retraced our subway, ferry, and bus route back to the marina. The launch dropped us off on Tranquility at dusk. It had been a long day. We enjoyed fresh New York City bread and Greek deli treats as we watched the light disappear from the sky.

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