Croton Bay, NY to Manasquan, NJ

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We headed down the Hudson playing weather chess.  NOAA, acting as the announcer for our opponent the weather, said weather’s opening move was light winds then wind from the SE at 20 knots starting late and continuing for the next day.  We countered by checking mooring availability at Great Kills, NJ and learned there were plenty available.  Light winds coupled with outgoing tide made for a wonderful ride.  The river was almost empty of traffic, even the ferryboat traffic seemed light as we passed Manhattan enjoying the scenery.

 

George Washington Bridge

 

 

Cruise ships along the Manhattan waterfront

 

Light wind was still with us at the turning point for Great Kills.  Tempted by the light wind we continued on to check out sea conditions on the Atlantic side of Sandy Hook.  Over the VHF we started reading sailboat mail (listening) as cruisers coordinated regarding anchoring out at Atlantic Highlands, or picking up moorings at Great Kills and staying for a day.   There wasn’t enough time for them to reach Manasquan before dark.

Lazy four foot rollers from hurricane Earl were a bit bumpy but not too uncomfortable.  From where we were Manasquan was three hours away or an hour back to Great Kills.  We decided to head for Manasquan.

 

Route south

 

An hour later we discovered we’d fallen for weather’s– no wind at the starting point gambit– as the wind rapidly increased to 20 knots changing the lazy rollers into nasty six foot white caps on the nose with an occasional cross wave just to make it more uncomfortable.  For the next two hours wind and waves gave us an inside a washing machine ride.  We were happy but beat as we cleared the breakwaters guarding Manasquan’s entrance.  Below Odyssey was a mess.

 

Moving to port we had room to go under

 

A very old bascule bridge creaked open giving us access to The Glimmer Glass where we anchored at low tide with 2 feet of water under the keel. Clean up would wait for morning.  Ashore a commuter train rumbled by as we settled in to enjoy the evening and watch the moon rise.

 

The Glimmer Glass anchorage

 

After spending all morning getting Odyssey cleaned up and better organized for serious offshore travel, we took a break and dinghyed ashore to explore.  To our surprise we found a very different Manasquan from what we’d seen on prior visits out along the coast where a honky-tonk atmosphere prevailed.  This time turning north and following the road along the train tracks we found charming residential areas, a vibrant town center and a commuter station providing rail access all the way to NYC.  After a leisurely lunch we loaded up with groceries and headed back to the dinghy.

 

Manasquan Station

 

 

Street sign marking the corner

 

The last of the weather front was coming through.  A gem of a thunderstorm rolled in about 10PM and lightning lit up the anchorage making it easy to see where Odyssey and Wizard, a Canadian sailboat anchored nearby, were dragging.  Fortunately the wind had switched to NW and we both dragged slowly along parallel to the line of docks and boats along the shore.

A half hour later the storm had blown itself out, the wind was down and all that remained were cloud flashes behind us out over the Atlantic.  Without storm winds the anchor would hold us secure.  Just in case I turned the GPS anchor alarm on and we went to bed.

It wasn’t quite first light when we saw a couple of sport fish boats pulling away from docks and calling the bascule bridge. Our companion, Wizard was already moving.             Inspired, we got Odyssey’s anchor up and joined the parade and was the last boat clearing the bridge.   Out on the Atlantic we could see fishing boats scattering in all directions and a small fleet of cruisers, mostly sail and one or two power, heading south riding easily over three foot rollers and light winds.  For now the sailboats were all powerboats.  We joined the group heading south.

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