110 Chesapeake City, MD to Lake Champlain

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NOAA’s weather forecast changed our travel plans. We blew off Delaware City in favor going down Delaware Bay before the forecasted lousy weather rolled in for a few days. Morning in Cape May brought 20-knot south winds. We decided to see what running outside was like before taking the easy, but shallow and slow, inside ICW route to Manasquan, NJ. Weather was forecast to continue to deteriorate. If running outside was doable we could hunker down in NYC instead of Manasquan or Cape May.

Short, steep, confused waves tossed us like a cork as we exited Cape May harbor jetties. A few items we’d forgotten to secure relocated themselves to the cabin sole. Twenty minutes later things had settled down, and we were on a sleigh ride north with following seas giving occasional surfing conditions. The knotmeter jumped from 13 to 20 as we slid down fronts of waves. The ride wasn’t bad; however, we got a workout steering as each wave crest and trough seemed to be working hard to change our direction. As Atlantic City came up, we elected to continue for Manasquan and as Manasquan became a bailout option we looked at each other, and agreed New York would be more fun. We tucked in close to shore as we rounded Sandy Hook and headed into New York harbor.

Bayone, the southern end of the light rail line didn’t look very interesting for walking around. We reboarded and on the same ticket headed for the other end of the line. A bit of nervousness crept in as two inspectors boarded and began checking tickets. We’d decided on seeing all the light rail system and the surrounding view when we realized ticket validation was good for 1.5 hours. The validation also showed our boarding station, and we were riding toward that station instead of away from it. The inspector looked at our tickets, said nothing and handed them back. We happily continued on our grand tour of the light rail system.

Saturday in New York City is always fun. On the perfect spring day the entire city was at play. We started with a sidewalk juried art festival up near the Natural History museum and worked our way south. Huge daylight visible video screens are replacing the jumble of outlandish billboards that give Times Square much of its uniqueness. Now it feels more like looking into the window of a large TV store with all the sets turned to different channels.

Washington Square Park was jammed with street performers, spectators and people watchers. A group of outstanding acrobats had a huge crowd. Just outside the crush of watchers a smaller group of acrobats had it’s own following. Off to the side, a band was playing providing background music for us as we watched the bocce ball games in progress. We slowly continued south soaking in the sights and sounds.

Little Italy restaurants took over the sidewalks with tables filled with happy eaters. We stood in line to get Italian Ices and then joined other strollers walking down streets closed to vehicles on the weekend. SOHO sidewalks jammed with people and a few street entertainers made for interesting people watching. Looking in some of the windows, we wondered who’d buy, and where they would wear the unusual clothing displayed.

Even the Financial District, normally a bleak place on the weekend, had a Romanian Festival in progress. Kettle Corn, popcorn made with a bit of sugar, was available. We got a bag and munched away as we rode the ferryboat back over to the marina on the New Jersey shore. It had been a long day and long walk.

Twenty-knot wind almost convinced us to stay snug and secure in our slip and enjoy New York City a few more days. However, we’d already stayed a week and were itchy to be on the move again. With the wind on our beam it took a bit of effort to get free of the slip, but once out the ride up the Hudson River running along the lee shore was comfortable.

Sheer cliffs of the Palisades replaced flat shoreline terrain that had kept us company all the way from Florida. For us, the Hudson River with it’s cliffs, mountains, and train tracks clinging to the waters edge as they squeeze between the river and cliffs is one of the best scenic areas we have traveled by boat.

Tarrytown on the east shore of the Hudson didn’t work out as we expected when we pulled in to spend the night. No only had the rates gone up, but the wind shifted slightly and we had 2-foot waves coming directly in the harbor entrance and splashing on our bow. It made for a bumpy night. The next morning as we were leaving waves reflecting off the seawall caused extremely confused conditions. The 2-foot waves suddenly became steep, square waves, and we again had an assortment of stuff on the cabin sole. Fifty yards further on all the turbulence disappeared.

The anchorage at Kingston, proclaimed to be one of the best along the river, didn’t appeal to us. We were looking for a wilderness setting but instead found both shores close at hand crowded with houses and marinas. We turned back and found Hideaway Marina tucked up a channel barely wide enough to turn Odyssey around. We had a funky marina on one side and an overgrown island on the other. We snuggled in and explored Kingston for a few days.

Wind gave way to cool weather, which changed to cold weather. NOAA announced frost warnings, then freeze warnings. Snow for higher elevations was forecasted. The 3-6 inches of snow NOAA had talked about was visible on the mountains as we moved north.

Bonzo’s Bakery a half-mile from the marina has outstanding sweet rolls. Our breakfast treat provided fuel for the work ahead as we got ready for next segment of our summer trip. Routine maintenance mixed with serious boat sitting as we relaxed and watched early spring boaters heading for the canals. Things slowed as word got out that part of the Erie Canal was closed due to high water.

Odyssey stayed in Albany as we headed by rental car to the Rochester area to visit family. A week later, recharged with warm feelings and new memories of all our loved ones we headed for the Champlain Canal. As the canal works north the terrain becomes more rugged. Hills change to small mountains blending into the skyline as they fade from greens to deep blues and purple as vistas opened up along our path. Finally at Whitehall after 10 locks we stopped for the evening and stayed another day to let thunderstorms pass.

Leaving Red Rock Bay was easy; we followed our breadcrumb trail on the GPS. Getting in had been a bit more difficult. It took two tries before we located the narrow channel shown on the chart. The channel hugged the face of a rock cliff that became our background scene once we anchored. This anchorage was unplanned. It’s not listed in any of the cruising guides we use probably because of the shallow entrance. Its wilderness beauty, cozy look and challenging entrance drew us in as we passed just an hour after leaving Whitehall.

Working our way out of Red Rock Bay

West wind continued to build as forecast. A spit of shallow water and weeds upwind kept waves from forming as we registered 25 with gusts to 35 mph on our wind speed indicator. Worries about dragging, especially at night prompted a dinghy ride to see if we could squeeze in behind some trees in an even narrower section of the bay. The area looked a bit too narrow so we stayed put comfortable knowing we were going into evening with 10 hours of holding without dragging in winds that were now beginning to abate a bit. The cold front arrived about 1AM, and our gentle night wind jumped to 25 again. A check of the GPS confirmed we were still in the same spot, but until the wind settled down, I’d get up after what seemed like an unusual gust to confirm that we were still holding fast. The next morning after a struggle to get our well-set anchor up we headed on into Lake Champlain.

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