17/10/2016 – How time flies when you are having fun!

Saturday 2nd October the strong winds had abated and we dropped the mooring and made our way out of New London. John had identified a suitable harbour to aim for on the mainland shore, Newhaven. The harbour is protected by a long sea wall with about 4 gaps to enter though the most westerly one would have been challenging given the shallow water. The protective sea wall is a bit like Plymouth's or Dover's though longer but far less busy! The anchorage we were aiming for was in a large bay on the eastern shore, off East Haven. According to our charts there was a minimum depth of 2.4 metres leading up to a 5 metre hole. We draw 2.2 so no real problem but we were anchoring at low water and the depth gauge read 0 m on the way in. Worrying, but we do have a safety margin of about 0.3 metres. We had a peaceful night before getting an early start to our last anchorage in Long Island Sound. Manhasset Bay had been recommended to us; a very sheltered bay, protected from most directions, good holding but also lots of mooring buoys, a hurricane hole surrounded by impressive mansions, the pleasant town of Port Washington. What nobody said is that it is also rather shallow! The buoys were mainly in water too shallow for us so we anchored. We dinghied ashore and found a well kept municipal dinghy and small boat dock within easy walking distance of a West Marine (our target), a supermarket and a number of other stores. We had a very successful shopping trip. On Monday morning we didn't need too early a start because we needed to time our arrival at Hell Gate to ride the tide through the East River to the Hudson. East River separates Manhattan from Queens so the views were quite spectacular as we rushed past Rikers Island (a prison), under several bridges, past standing traffic, a noisy heliport and very tall buildings, catching the occasional glimpse of the Statue of Liberty as we approached the Hudson. The Hudson River was busy with ferries and tripper boats charging about, causing a lot of wake. We didn't deviate to view Liberty Island and the statue up close, that will wait until we leave, instead we made our way straight to the marina. Liberty Landing Marina is a short way up a canal between Liberty State Park and Jersey City, just a short ferry ride from Manhattan. This is allegedly the only Marina in the area that doesn't suffer from the tide racing up and down the Hudson, wake from passing ferries etc. It has proved to be very comfortable. We were a little worried about Hurricane Matthew which battered Haiti, causing many deaths and much destruction, before hitting Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Several models forecast it continuing towards New York but fortunately it swung east, away from land, after causing a number of deaths and a lot of flooding especially in North Carolina. Somehow we managed to make room on board for five extra adults, not an easy task when you have been cruising for three years, accumulating lots of 'stuff'! We had enough beds and bedding, crockery and cutlery but the sleeping arrangements lacked a little privacy! I used clothes pegs to hang up king size sheets from the grab rails and curtain runners along each side of the saloon to offer a little privacy to Emma on port side and Zack and Liam on starboard side where the seat back is designed to lift up to form a bunk. Cathy and Chloe shared the forward cabin. We also managed to seat 9 around the table for Sunday lunch when Richard and Stephanie joined us, thanks to the two folding chairs we have carried since we left home and only used very rarely except when camping in New Zealand. I knew they would be useful. Our days were filled with exploring New York, finding great diners, shops and museums, a wonderful show which was a surprise birthday treat from our lovely family and eating on board. We had a wonderful time seeing everyone together for the first time for three years. All too soon they all left to return to the UK but we'll see them all again in less than a year. Our friends from World ARC 2014 - 15, Charlie and Cathy, drove to New York to help celebrate my birthday a couple of days after our visitors left. We had a wonderful evening, beginning with cocktails and dinner then a trip to the theatre. It has truly been a memorable birthday and I feel thoroughly spoilt. We had booked in to the Marina for two weeks and left the dock, refuelled and headed out to sea shortly after noon on Monday. Our next destination is the Chesapeake. Joyce Initially I glad very weak coverage, then I had a messsage that I'd run out of data, now it seems to be working!

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