Saturday, December 12, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy!

I am afraid I've been slow in updated the blog yet again! We have yet to hook up internet on the boat, so I only get online when I have time to go to the coffee shop next door to use their wireless internet. Also, Henry loves to use the computer so much that it's nearly impossible to get anything done on it when he's around!!

Today Andy and Henry are having some Daddy time while I have escaped for some me time. :)

Time has been flying since I last wrote over a month ago! Henry continues to grow and change. He is so mobile now! His latest feat has been climbing the companionway all by himself!! Yikes!! For those of you that are not boaters, the companionway is a steep ladder with rungs almost a foot apart that leads from the inside of the boat out into the cockpit. Henry holds onto the steps and puts his knee up, then hoists himself up (amazing strength for his size, I wish I could do that!!).

Henry is also showing his independence by feeding himself, a very messy experience, baby cereal is not meant to be a finger food!! He loves to empty all of our cupboards, and just recently has started being very helpful and putting everything back when he's done. Good boy!!

Wintering aboard has been a very pleasant experience so far. We have had an extremely mild winter up until this past week. Our first winter storm blew through, giving us three straight nights of some pretty wild rocking and rolling! Luckily my sea-sickness seems to be mostly a thing of the past. Our heaters have been keeping up nicely, and since Andy built our plastic house over the boat, we have been toasty warm.

Last weekend we attended the annual 'Trimming of the Tree' at our yacht club, QCYC. Henry was amazingly social, not making strange at all. He even went off with his good friend Whit for about half an hour, not even noticing that Mommy and Daddy weren't in sight! He sat on Santa Steve's lap and got his very first Christmas present. Good fun was had by all.

Henry and I continue to get out every afternoon for a walk, regardless of the weather. Yesterday we went to the local community centre for their Mommy and Baby drop in time. It was great! Henry got exposure to several other babies aged 3 months to 18 months, as we sang, played with musical instruments and bubbles, and enjoyed a holiday snack. We have also made new friends that we met at the mall. Caroline is really nice, and we got chatting at the H&M, soon realizing that we had a ton of stuff in common, not the least of which is that our sons were born just two days apart! We have had weekly dates since. It's amazing how many people you meet through your kids!

All in all, life is good! Andy and I celebrated five years together last week. It truly is amazing how time flies. I love him more and more every day, and feel so blessed that we found each other.

That's all I can think of that's new for now. I promise I'll try to write much sooner next time!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all, just in case I don't write again before then!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Who Cooked the Baby?

When Henry was a newborn I used to put olive oil on his skin after his baths. We did this for the first couple of months of his life, keeping his skin soft and supple without any of the potentially harmful additives in commercial baby products.
As he got a little older and we headed south his skin wasn't dry and we didn't put any moisturizers on him. With winter weather upon us I decided he needed some oil after his bath on Wednesday. Out came the olive oil and I slathered it on from the waist up while he was still in the water. Once he was out of the tub I forgot to finish his oil rub from the waist down, and got him into his pajamas and ready for bed.
Henry had a rough night, tossing and turning, and even needing a middle of the night feeding to settle down again. I figured his teeth were bothering him, as he is starting to cut his first molar.
When we got up in the morning light and I got a better look at Henry I was alarmed to find him covered in a rash and sporting a huge swollen face!! Yikes! I got on the phone with the doctor's office and scheduled him in for 1:30pm. Then I woke Andy to have him take a look. We racked our brains for what Henry had eaten the day before that was different, but discovered the true culprit, olive oil, when we noticed that the rash was only from the waist up. Good thing I forgot to do his lower half!
All's well that ends well. The doctor gave me a prescription for hydrocortisone cream and recommended Benedryl. By next day he was looking much more like himself, and now, five days later you wouldn't even know that he had looked like we'd cooked him with the dinner.

Our New Neighbourhood

Living aboard in a Canadian winter was not part of the plan. I have to say, however, that I have really warmed to the idea (pardon the pun!).

I didn't realize that I was harboring a lot of stress about where we were going to end up this winter, but now that the issue is settled I have felt a weight lifted. We were on a waiting list for Marina Quay West, the only marina that has live aboard winter slips in downtown Toronto, but were not hopeful of getting in. We were offered a spot in Pickering, but the location was so remote that Henry and I would have been stranded on the boat most days. That would definitely not be ideal!

Everything always has a way of working out for us, and this time was no exception. It turns out that Marina Quay West also runs a smaller location at Pier 4, and we were accepted for their last available slip! We found out just over a week ago, and had to be in last weekend before they brought the tall ships in for the winter.

We have settled in nicely and I'm just thrilled with the location! There are three grocery stores within easy walking distance, the closest being right across the street. The fast food, restaurant and coffee shop selection on our block alone is outstanding. We can walk downtown in any weather, with easy accessibility to the indoor path system just a block away. And the very best part...the view through the v-berth hatch is the CN Tower!!

Pier 4 has only eleven boats wintering, as the electrical demands are substantial. We are on a dock with three other boats and our neighbours are very friendly, especially the couple two boats over. who rushed out onto the dock as we were walking by because she was so excited to meet Henry. Deirdre is suffering from empty nest syndrome since her 19 and 22 year old sons have recently left home. She even offered to babysit!

We have been cozy in our little home so far, with two heaters keeping us toasty warm. The next step is to build a frame over the deck to cover in shrinkable plastic. This keeps the deck dry and insulates the boat, preventing the escape of heat as well as preventing the inevitable leaks from snow and ice. Then we will install a bubbler to keep the ice from freezing around the hull. It's not Florida, but out adventure continues.

Life is good.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Hallowe'en!!!

Henry's first Hallowe'en was quite memorable! We got him a Tigger costume and planned to Trick-or-Treat on the island.

We had been sick with the flu for a couple of weeks, so our nap routine is still a little off. Henry missed his afternoon nap altogether. At 6:00pm we figured it was time for the wee ones to start the rounds, so we put our little Tigger in his stroller and got set to head out. Five steps down the side walk he fell asleep! We didn't even get to the first house.

Not to be deterred, Andy and I took Henry around to our friends' house. Whit and Ally live on Ward's island, and are always very happy to see Henry, especially Whit. So we arrived at their door to a warm welcome and a chuckle about our sleeping Tigger. Whit had made a big pot of Chili, so he offered to feed us while we waited for Henry to awaken. About an hour later after a great visit and a few beers our Trick-or-Treater was ready to go.

Whit came out with us, being a lifelong islander, and gave us the tour. We went to about 10 houses. Henry was quite taken with the decorations and the Jack-O-Lanterns. The island folk go all out for Hallowe'en, some of the grown-ups even dress up to hand out the candy. Ally was a lovely beauty queen, 'Miss Behavin'!

We finished our rounds visiting Bob, the Tender Captain, at his son's house. All in all we had a wonderful first Hallowe'en. When we got back to the boat Henry surveyed his loot, and we let him eat his first peice of licorice. The chocolate and bubblegum I'm afraid we'll have to eat ourselves.

I hope everyone had a safe and fun Hallowe'en!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Autumn in Toronto

We've been back in Toronto for over a month now. Lucky for us the weather was beautiful for the month of September. It's almost like we brought the sunshine with us!

Our adventures continue, but will not be taking us down south this winter. We are looking at taking the business in a new direction, which means we have to stick around and make it happen. Which means we are Toronto...on the boat...

Although this was not what we hoped for this winter, Andy and I look for the best in every situation and are looking at this as an opportunity. An opportunity to take our business to the next level, as well as an opportunity to spend time with friends and family here. Living aboard during a Canadian winter will be an experience in itself, but just think how much we will appreciate the weather when it warms up in the spring!

Cruising down south was something few of our friends have experienced...even fewer have braved winter aboard! But hey, we never claimed to be normal!

Henry is thriving with life aboard. He is a very, very active 8 1/2 month old. He is always on the go, and gets into everything!! We are having a lot of fun with him. He has so much personality, and is just such a sweet, fun kid! Henry and I go out every afternoon between his naps to keep either of us from getting cabin fever. We go to the city for walks. I get lots of exercise, and he squeals with delight in his stroller. Life is good.

We attended my Uncle Ben's funeral today. He was 44 years old and lost a year long battle with cancer. I am so thankful to have had such a wonderful uncle and friend. I have also been reflecting on the fact that life is precious and often far too short. No matter where life takes us, I am so blessed every day to have Andy, Henry, and all of the friends and family I hold dear. Life happens in the little moments. Treasure them.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I come from a very large family. This has been quite wonderful. Especially since we have been blessed, all of us, with good health. Until now.

My family has had a very difficult year. My Mom is the oldest of seven children. The youngest has been ill since last November. He is dying of cancer.

My grandparents are in their late seventies. My Grandma has recently had a triple bipass surgery. My Poppa has been trying to cope with an ill wife and a dying son. The stress is very overwhelming for him.

I have been thinking a lot lately about some pretty deep stuff; the value of family, the fragility of life, and what happens to us when we die. I feel so very lucky to have spent the past five months enjoying my little family in such an enjoyable and intimate environment. We have shared in adventures that none of us will soon forget (except Henry, of course!).

I think that too many people go through life seeing the negatives and letting the joys pass them by. Seize each day. Don't let the little things get you down.

Life is too short.

Me and my Henry

Henry and I are really getting into a rhythm. This age is such a pleasure. I know when he's tired, hungry, bored, clingy or adventurous. I feel that we've come to know each other well enough for me to meet his needs effectively, even though he can't yet tell me what they are in words. It's wonderful.

I've learned that when he starts to pull his hair and rub his eyes it's time for bed. If he wakes up crying, I should soothe him back to sleep, because until he wakes up happy, he's still tired! I've learned that he has a certain whininess when he's hungry. I've also learned that once he has laid eyes on his bottle the wait for it to warm up is excruciating for him!! He has needy times of the day when I'm really best to tote him around. He also has a lot of independence, especially in the morning before his first nap, when he's quite content to play alone on the floor. Henry's best days have just the right combination of time spend out and about, and time spent peacefully and quietly at home. He's a great kid.

Lately Henry's separation anxiety has reached a fever pitch! I can't be out of sight for more than a minute. I think this is a particularly difficult stage for Henry because having lived on the boat he has been with us constantly. He has met a lot of people along the way and seems to have good social skills as long as I'm within reach. As with all stages of babyhood, I know that this too shall pass.
It's amazing how much babies change as they grow. Every day is full of new discoveries for them, including their discovery of themselves.

Life is an Adventure

If there is one thing I've learned over the past five years since I met Andy it's this. Go with the flow, and adventure will find you. We are not planners. We are simply doers. If an opportunity presents itself we hop aboard, literally, and off we go!

Andy has begun talking about the possibility of selling our boat for profit, buying a hurricane boat down south and starting again. I say, "Sure, why not?"

I think that life presents us with all sorts of opportunities, it's all about whether or not we seize them.

Where will we be in a month or two? I have no idea, and that's okay with me. Not making plans has served us well so far!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Taste of Autumn

Just a taste of thanks, I've had enough! Brrrr!!!!!! We've been back in Canada for a week. Now we know what everyone has been complaining about with the weather. This isn't summer! So much for Global Warming!

This week was quite busy. Andy's sister Rebecca came to stay on our old boat and visit for three days. It was great to see her and the kids. Marissa and Caleb are always full of energy. They helped me to entertain Henry!

Thank goodness they were here. We are med-moored right now. That means that we're nose into the dock and have to climb over the bow sprits to get off. I'm not able to do so safely with Henry in my arms, so when Andy is going to be out for the day I'm either out too or stranded on the boat. Not an ideal situation! Rebecca helped me a lot, and gave me the freedom to come and go. Once, though, when they were on our boat visiting I decided it would be a good opportunity to walk the dogs. I had just climbed onto the dock box with Buddy under my arm and stepped down onto the little (broken) step stool on the dock when the piece of wood covering the split in the stool slid off. I slid off too!! Right into the lines between the dock and the boat! It would have been much easier if I had just hit the water. As it was I was suspended with my butt in the water and lines strung under my arms and knees. You should see the bruises!!! Ouch! And of course, poor old Buddy, the cowardly lion, ended up in the drink! What a day! Rebecca had to come and yank my sorry butt back onto the dock. We travelled over 2000 miles and my first fall was at my home port!

Today Henry and I ventured into the city to get some supplies. Andy was sick...stomach flu or bad pizza? We wanted to let him sleep, and Henry was out of formula. We had been to the doctor's office earlier in the week for our check-ups, and feeling guilty about how I answered the question, "do you exercise?" I decided to walk instead of taking the TTC (public transit). It was a good day. We walked to the Eaton's Centre, up to Dundas, over to Peter St. and back down to the ferry. Probably six miles in total, but it doesn't seem nearly as far when you're not in the Florida heat! I couldn't believe, though, how hard it was to find baby formula in downtown Toronto! I went to three pharmacies and three grocery stores with no luck! Finally I gave up. Henry has one bottle left for tomorrow morning, we'll have to go to the Loblaws before lunchtime.

Our little Henry is growing up so fast! He is such a joy to be with. Today he babbled up a storm, it is starting to sound like he is speaking complete sentences in a foreign language! His motor skills are improving too. He gets around really well, between crawling and cruising, and has started to feed himself finger foods! I'm a very proud Mama!

I am eager to take my camera into the city the next time we go so that we will have some Toronto pictures for our friends down south. Andy forgot the camera SD chip in his sister's car, I guess I'll have to pick up a new one, as I'm suffering from photo withdrawal!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Now What?

Here we are. We’ve travelled over 2000 miles from the west coast of Florida, all the way to Toronto. We arrived yesterday at our yacht club, QCYC. Most of the members are away this weekend, so our return felt a little anti-climactic.

This morning I found myself feeling a little out of sorts. Andy has a long list of things he wants to accomplish while we’re here, and has jumped head first into his many tasks. Me, I have found myself wondering, ‘now what?’ I’ve forgotten how to lead an ordinary life.

While Andy is off searching our locker for wood to build doors in the companionway, and Henry is napping in the aft cabin, I’ve been contemplating this feeling. I have been very, very busy since I quit working. Last summer we were very busy in preparation for our trip. Then we headed off to Florida, and I had purpose on the boat, knitting baby clothes, helping Andy in the ‘boat work’, and looking after my ever expanding, pregnant self. When we returned to Toronto in November I was nearing the end of my pregnancy, and between nesting and resting, my days were full. Then we had a new baby. Enough said. When we moved back aboard in early April, Henry was still less than three months old and filled my every moment. Then we started travelling, and there was always something to be done.

Now that we are going to be in one place for a little while I think I need to relax and just be.
Henry and I can go for walks, visit people, go to the library, whatever. It will be nice to have some quiet time with my growing son.


Home. The concept of home is a strange and ever changing one for the traveler. We have been spending the last two and a half months heading ‘home’. As it turns out, home was with us all along.

Living aboard and spending each day with our family has made Sassy II our home. It feels odd to be back in Toronto.

We travelled from Oswego to Cobourg, arriving in the wee hours of the morning. My parents came to Cobourg to visit us, and of course to see Henry. It was really nice to see them again. It’s funny, though, once we had seen them it felt a lot like we’d never left. Andy drove my parents’ car to Toronto to do some business, and came back already feeling sick of the big city life. I think that we will both find that the travel bug has taken hold of us, and we will have had enough of being ‘home’ sooner rather than later.

Today we travelled the final leg of our journey, from Cobourg to Toronto. It was a pleasant day, but felt bittersweet. Finally home…can we go back now?

I am looking forward to visiting with friends both here and in Peterborough whom I’ve missed over the past four and a half months. But I think that once I have seen everyone I will be ready to go again.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Homeward Bound

The last three days in the canal system have not been very note worthy in themselves, but as our trip comes to a close I find myself reflecting on the past two and a half months of travel.

This journey has been quite remarkable in more than just the scenery. We have seen more of the United States coastline than I ever thought I’d see, from the tropical foliage and beaches of Florida to the beauty and grandeur of the Hudson River. But I find in looking back that it is about so much more than places and people. The memories we’ve made together, the family bonding time, the love, that’s what stands out for me.

I have had so much precious time spent with my family. Andy and I have bonded in a way that would not be possible without spending 24 hours a day together experiencing the world from such a small space. We have also been able to spend this short and precious time in Henry’s life together. Most mothers are alone with their children most of the time. We’ve had time as a family. It has been quite magical. Our pictures and our memories of this time will be treasured always.

Henry has flourished during this trip. He has grown so quickly. I think that he has benefitted from the fresh sea air, the sense of adventure, and the attention and dedication of two adoring parents.

Charlie has really found himself on this trip. Many people along the way have asked us if he is part Schipperke, pronounced ‘skipper key’. We looked online and it was like reading Charlie’s horoscope. The translation for Schipperke is ‘little captain of the boat’. That’s Charlie. He is a sailor at heart. He runs around on deck, barks at anyone who happens to come too close to the boat, and seems right at home when we’re at sea.

Then we have Buddy. He loves the Florida sunshine, and the time spent with us. He does not love the sea, and is a ‘Nervous Nelly’ who sits and quivers when the weather is rough. Buddy is afraid to follow Charlie when he jumps ashore, but piddles every time we pick him up. He does, however, love the adventure of discovering a new place at every port. As Andy often says, it is nice to be able to provide them with a good life when their lives are so short.

Living on a boat wouldn’t suit everyone. The space is limited, life is simpler in a lot of ways, and more complicated in others. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I hope we get to continue this lifestyle for awhile, but even if life doesn’t lead us in that direction I am so thankful for the past five months that we’ve been aboard.

Thank you to everyone who has kept up with our journey and read my stories. You inspired me to write them. I plan to keep up with the blog while we’re at home. My entries may be less frequent, as there will probably be less to report, but I have enjoyed this form of journal keeping and plan to keep it up. Hopefully we will be able to continue our adventures and head south again come autumn.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Day in the Erie Canal, Lock...Lock...Lock...

We started out today at 9:00am. The first section of the Erie Canal, headed west, has four locks in quick succession. I found it interesting that after heading north for so long we're now going west. I'd kind of forgotten that we were on the coast, and Toronto is definitely not!

After the first few locks Andy and I were really getting a good system going. It was actually easier than I thought it was going to be. The height of the locks varies, with their being more turbulance in the taller locks, but once we got the swing of things we felt like old pros.

There was a free dock with power just after Lock 11. It was approaching 5:00pm, so we decided to stay there for the night instead of trying to push on to the next dock, which would have taken another 3-4 hours.

We were docked with three other boats. One of them had a couple that we had seen in Waterford on our way out. They had commented on our "three babies" and she had said that she wanted one of them. We offered her Charlie, but she seemed to want Henry...

They were a Russian couple in their fifties. Lana and Boris, very nice people. Her sister was with them for a vacation. She still lives in Russia, and spoke very little English. We visited with them for most of the evening. They invited us aboard and fed us snacks as they oohed and aahed over Henry. We were asked to stay for dinner, but it was getting on towards 9:00pm and Henry was ready for bed.

We wanted to get to bed early, too, as we had a longer day in the locks to look forward to tomorrow.


With mast on deck, off we went. It was a short 16 miles the rest of the way up the Hudson River. This section was not nearly as scenic as the previous two legs.

We arrived in Troy, at the first lock of the Erie Canal at about 2:00pm. We locked up with little trouble, as Andy had rigged a fender board and all of the fenders in all the right places. Andy had some experience with locking in the Welland Canal from his solo trip home with the Cal 3-30 when we bought it.

Just beyond the Troy Lock we came upon the town of Waterford. They had a free dock and Visitors Center with information about the Canal System. So, we docked, walked the dogs, and went inside for some maps and such.

The people running the Visitors Center were extremely friendly. We purchased an information booklet for $1.00 and I found a book exchange, where I was able to leave a novel and find two more.

We got talking to some fellow cruisers on the dock who had a lot of experience with the canal. They were incredibly helpful, and one gentleman went so far as to make us a list of all of the locks, pertinent information, the mileage between them, and where all of the free docks were located along the way. With this information in hand we decided that there wasn't much point in starting through the canal today. Waterford's free dock was great, they even provided power and showers! So we decided to call it a day.

The lady at the information centre recommended a local restaurant for lunch, so after the dogs were walked we headed into town. Waterford is a lovely little village. We found the quaint little coffee shop/restaurant to be very reasonably priced and the food was delicious. They didn't deep fry their French toast!

After lunch I was on a mission to get my hair cut! I hadn't been to a salon since Marathon, and I was feeling rather shaggy. There were three salons in one block, but only one of them was open (poor economy?), so we stopped in. The wait was 20 minutes, so Andy took Henry back to the boat in the hopes of napping, while I awaited my hair cut.

I was very pleased with the cut, and it was only $10.00!! I don't think you can find a hair dresser in Toronto who charges less than $40! It sure would be nice to settle down in a small town once we've finished our travels.

Andy was feeling rather lousy from his allergies, we've all noticed allergy symptoms since we've gotten north of Virginia. So Henry and I ventured out across the bridge to the pharmacy and grocery store to let Andy get a good, long nap.

We had a nice walk and returned with a few provisions. Andy had just gotten up, feeling quite a bit better. Aren't naps wonderful?

All in all we really enjoyed Waterford. It's a nice place to stay before embarking on the long trek up the canals to Lake Ontario....almost home!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Down with the Mast!

Today we travelled the six miles remaining before arriving in Castleton-On-Hudson. The next leg of our journey can't be done with our mast up, and we had read in Skipper Bob's book that the Castleton Boat Club had a mast crane for do-it-yourself mast stepping.

Andy was hoping that it would be a fairly quick three hour job to build cradles to hold the mast on deck, take the mast down, and tie it on deck. I'm afraid he has a tendency to underestimate the amount of work involved and the amount of time required for jobs such as these.

Henry and I went around the corner to a laundromat, and Andy set to work on the mast stepping. When they said do-it-yourself, they weren't kidding! There were a few members sitting on the lawn for most of the day, but with the exception of one gentleman who helped Andy a little in building the cradles, he was on his own. What a huge task!!!

I was little help, as Henry is a full time occupation, and as Andy says, "this was a Blue Job". I did, however, go up the mast in the Bosun's Chair to tie a rope around the mast above the first set of spreaders. For those of you who are not boaters, that means that I sat in a little nylon seat/harness and Andy hoisted me up about 30 feet in the air, where I was suspended from a piece of rope long enough for me to tie a knot around the mast. Afraid of heights? Who me? Definitely. Just don't look down!

So the mast stepping operation was started at about 10:00am, and finished just after 8:00pm. What an exhausting day Andy had! Doing almost two weeks worth of laundry was a walk in the park compared to that chore!

Now we are all set for the final leg of the trip. We are stocked up with groceries, water and fuel. We have pumped out, done the laundry, and the mast is on deck.

From Newburgh to Coeyman's Landing

Our second day on the Hudson started out just as calm and lovely as the first. When Andy went down with Henry for an afternoon nap, I settled in at the helm with my book. The river is extremely deep, and the auto-pilot gave me the freedom to relax and enjoy the ride.

Unfortunately I didn't realize that the Hudson River was 'Red Right Returning' at this point. For those of you who aren't boaters, that means that you keep the red markers on the right side of your boat, instead of the usual left for red, right for green. This error led to some pretty wild navigation on my part! I was thinking to myself that Andy chose to nap at the trickiest part of the channel! Little did I know that I wasn't even in the channel!

I really should have clued in when I saw a freighter on the other side of a shoal, but in a blonde moment I just figured that there must be a channel on both sides at this point.

Luckily I managed to narrowly avoid disaster, twice, as the depth dropped to six feet in front of an island, and then, when I had finally figured out that I was on the wrong side the depth dropped below five feet when I tried to move over to the channel on the other side!! It was the depth sounder alarm, along with my crazy manouvering to keep from running aground that had Andy bolt out of bed and run up the companionway.

Crazy woman driver! I'm not sure he'll be so quick to take another nap. Oops!

We ended this jaunt of just over 70 miles at the town dock in Coeyman's Landing. The town's people were incredibly friendly, despite the fact that the free dock reported in Skipper Bob's book was in fact only a boat launching dock. Once we were tied up, the locals we talked to told us to stay and not worry about it. One elderly gentleman even drove Andy to the grocery store. Henry and I stayed behind and watched some elderly ladies feeding a flock of ducks. Very relaxing.

Andy went into the bar at the marina next door to inquire about the tides in this area. He had a wonderful time, meeting some great, helpful people, and came away with a Birthday martini for me along with the advice he was seeking.

I don't know what they put in that Chocolate Martini, but my, oh my did it pack a whollop!! Thanks Andy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

On up the Hudson River

Since we had enough of New York the day before, we were more than ready to make our way up the Hudson. We had heard tell of the strong currents in the Hudson River and were told that there was really no point in heading up river until the current was with you. This was fine with us, especially since Henry had another rough night and we were quite happy to wait until after our morning nap to head out.

We left the mooring field around 11:00am. The tide was coming in and we were making 8-8.5 knots!! The rest of the morning was spent watching the city thin out and disappear behind us.

I had no notion of what to expect from the Hudson River. Andy was expecting more of what we'd seen in the ICW, houses and docks lining a thin, uninspired waterway. We were surprised and delighted to find some of the most awe inspiring scenery we've seen since we began this journey! The Hudson River is gorgeous!! Once you get about 10 miles north of New York City you are surrounded by glorious rock and tree lined mountains. The river becomes serene and flat and the scenery is just breath taking. We enjoyed it immensely. A much needed calming after the hustle and bustle of the big city. This is what we came to see!

We were also surprised by the Hudson River's depth! It is deeper here than anywhere we've been in 2000 miles of travel, including being miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and the North Atlantic! The Hudson has depths of up to 180 ft!!

We had a wonderful day. The weather was hot, but blue skies and a nice breeze combined with the lovely view had us flying high. We travelled 55 miles and ended our day at the Torches Restaurant. They have a dock that is free with dinner, and you can stay overnight if they aren't too busy.

The restaurant was one of the nicest we've seen...ever. It was elegant, had a lovely view, and a surprisingly reasonably priced menu. Henry enjoyed the huge salt water aquarium and his encounter with an adorable nine month old girl seated next to it.

The portions were huge, and after the complimentary bread and our calamari starter we were too full for the main course. Henry was pretty much ready for bed anyway, so we got our meals to go and headed back to the boat.

What a great day. This was the kind of day that you always remember. This is why we're out here.

A New York Minute...

Well, today we spent an afternoon in New York. I had some preconceived notions about what to expect. Mostly from what you see in the movies. Wrong!

Andy had to do some work on the dinghy engine before we could head ashore, so we didn't get there until about 4:30pm. It was a Sunday afternoon, not too busy, right? Wrong again!

Our walk through the riverside park was lovely, and then we headed up 79th Street to Broadway. The buildings on 79th were old and grand. The incline was really steep, it reminded me of what I imagine San Fransisco might be like. So, after a vigorous walk pushing Henry in his stroller we arrived on Broadway. (No we didn't sing or dance!)

Broadway was bustling!! Their are a lot of people in New York, and it felt like they were all out and about. Andy wanted to try some New York pizza, so we ate at a little whole in the wall called Nick's Pizza and Burgers. We were uninspired by the food, but found the experience gave us plenty to talk about, between the odd and diverse menu and the equally odd and diverse clientelle!

After dinner we went out in search of a grocery store so we could buy a few provisions. On the way we found a little street vendor (her and her shop!), and I found a lovely sundress. It felt odd to put it on over my clothes and peer into the mirror she had set up on the sidewalk, but I got a pretty good idea of how it would look despite the fact that her mirror was like those funhouse mirrors that make you look really tall and thin! I wonder if all of her patrons notice...I bet she sells a lot of dresses!

We asked around and went to the market that was most often recommended. What an experience! It was like nothing we had ever experienced before. Picture a store the size of two 7-Elevens, with isles the width of a sidewalk, piled floor to ceiling with stock. Then picture it jam packed with rude people in a hurry. Yikes! Talk about frazzling!! Andy dove right in and got the job done. I hated every second of it, I would have been happier having a root canal!!

Initially I had wanted to visit Central Park, but the sky looked ominous, and after the hectic pace of the market we were more than ready to return to the serenity of our boat.

On the walk back we ran into an English family that were moored behind us. Andy had made their aquaintance earlier, and so we fell into step with them for the rest of the walk. They are living aboard and cruising with two boys aged two and four. Yikes! These boys had energy to spare! After visiting with them for a half hour Andy and I had made up our minds that Henry was to be an only child.

New York may make a better impression on us the next time around, who knows, maybe nicer weather and a different agenda for our trip ashore would make a difference. This time, lets just say that a New York Minute was enough for me.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Everything Happens for a Reason

Our adventures last night were interesting, to say the least. Andy and I always try to think positive, and figure that everything happens for a reason. That is our tactic for not getting discouraged when things go wrong. Usually in hindsight you can find the good that came out of the bad stuff. This was certainly the case today.
We usually head out fairly early in the day. Due to our mishaps we didn't head out until 11:00am. Good thing! As I'm sure everyone has heard on the news, there was a mid-air collision of a helicopter and airplane over the Hudson River at 11:50am. We could very well have been under it, had we not been delayed!!

We sailed through New York Harbour. It was a wonderful opportunity to shut off the engine and enjoy the experience. I've always wanted to see the Statue of Liberty, especially from the water. I have to say, though, that the experience was much less awe inspiring than I had hoped. She looked so small!! In fact, the New York skyline was a little anti climactic. I'm sure it was a greater sight before the World Trade Center fell. Sad, really.
As you can see by the pictures, Henry wasn't impressed either. ;)
By late afternoon the Coast Guard had reopened the east side Hudson River to boat traffic, so after fueling up we started up the river towards the 79th Street Boat Basin. It was very sad to see the recovery crews across from pier 40 searching for wreckage and bodies from the crash.
We heard a radio transmission on our way up the river about a boat in distress. As we approached the Enterprise aircraft carrier we spotted the distressed vessel...a small power boat with five fisherman rowing feebly towards shore in the strong Hudson River current. Well, our good boyscout Andy could not pass them by, so with the towing experienced he gained helping out on the Robbins at QCYC, we tied them on Sassy II's hip and towed them to safety.
We moored in the 79th street boat basin, and were discouraged to find that their was absolutely no shelter from wind or wakes! We might as well have been anchored in a shipping channel in the middle of the Atlantic! Talk about rocking to sleep!! Oh well, what can you ask for $30 per night in New York!
With the atmospheric changes, I guess a combination of being further north and having a storm front move in, I had a terrible headache. I went straight to bed at 8:00pm, and Andy took over baby care for the rest of the night. Thanks Andy!

A Great Sail to Sandy Hook

We were both dreading the 12 hour sail from Atlantic City to Sandy Hook. Our last trip in the Atlantic was rough, in more ways than one. But, having to get this leg behind us before we could make it the rest of the way home, we had no choice but to brave the seas and get on with it!

To our surprise and delight the trip was flawless! We had beautiful weather and fair winds. The seas were about two feet, and I didn't get sea sick at all! We did notice, however, that we must be getting close to home. We all wore pants and sweaters on this trip! We haven't worn warm clothes since we arrived in Florida the first week in April!

It took a total of 14 hours from port to port, which got us into Sandy Hook, New Jersey in the dark. We weren't concerned, we'd come into port at night before without incident.

Andy went below to find a phone number for Pete and Peggy who we had met in Atlantic City because Sandy Hook was their last stop and he wanted some direction to help us find the anchorage. Sandy Hook was a very large bay, and in the dark we couldn't see any other masts or anchor lights.

While he was below deck, Henry and I kept a casual look out, as we were in the middle of this massive bay and our depth was over 40 feet. Out of nowhere I was startled by our ladder jumping on the side of the boat! I looked up in time to see several large sticks knock past our hull!! I screamed for Andy to come up, and we stopped the boat to find ourselves in the middle of a field of these sticks strung with heavy line!

Andy tried to back us out the way we came in, to no avail. Our prop was fouled with line. The engine cut out whenever we tried to move.

Andy got on the radio and called for help. The Coast Guard responded and told us that we were caught in a fish trap. More of a boat trap if you asked us!! The Coast Guard boat came along and kept an eye on us while we awaited Boat Tow US assistance. We cut the lines that entrapped us and were towed to the anchorage that we were trying to find in the first place.

Boat Tow US sent a diver the following morning to unfoul the prop. Thank goodness we got a Boat Tow membership! The towing and diving bill would have been $1200.00!!!!!!! Yikes!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Rain Delays...

We woke up on day second morning in Atlantic City to drizzle. It was overcast and miserable outside. We listened to the weather forecast on the VHF radio to see what the day had in store for us. The seas were fairly calm, and the forecast held a lot of rain, but no thunderstorms. We really didn't want to lose another day in Atlantic City, so we decided to head out to sea and see how it was.

Well, after an hour out in the rainy, dreary, rolling seas we decided it was best to head back in. Our moods were as grey as the sky, and I was really not looking forward to a 12-14 hour sail with a cockpit too wet for Henry to play in. We would have been stuck below, which would have made me quite sea sick, for the entire day.

Instead of returning to the dock, we headed for an anchorage we had been told about the day before. When we got there we really wished we had known about it when we first arrived in Atlantic City. It was sheltered and peaceful. A little oasis of nature amongst the hustle and bustle of the city.

We enjoyed the rest of the wet day inside the cabin, watching TV, napping, playing with Henry, and resting up for the big sail ahead.

Sea Sickness = Memory Loss

When I last updated the blog, my memory had lost an entire day! Andy was reading the updates and told me that I had completely left out our stop in the Harbour of Safe Refuge...

Of course, he was right! I had completely forgotten that when we came in from the storm we had not reached Cape May, and came into the Harbour of Safe Refuge (aptly named!) in Lewes, Delaware. We docked at their city dock for the night. I felt rotten, so I went to bed early. It was the next day that we took the short, three or four hour trip to Cape May.

I think I'd better make my postings a little more frequently, my memories not what it used to be, and it's never been great!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Another Day in Atlantic City

It must be a virus I'm fighting. I woke up this morning feeling like I'd been hit by a truck! Of course, being up with Henry six times last night certainly didn't help!

Since I was feeling so lousy, we decided to take a day off from our travels. Andy did baby duty, and I slept in until 11:00am!! What a much needed treat! I felt quite a lot better waking at 11:00 than I had at 6:30am!

We took advantage of being docked in the touristy waterfront area today. We met a local named Paul, who also had a sailboat docked here. He gave Andy some 'local knowledge' about a few of the inlets between here and Sandy Hook. Then we went to lunch with Paul and a couple named Pete and Peggy who pulled up alongside Paul's boat while we were chatting.

Henry has been very difficult to put to bed lately...teething?... I'm not sure why. But after an hour or so of trying to get him down for an afternoon nap we gave up and went to see the aquarium. It was quite neat to see the Atlantic sea life up close like that! We quite enjoyed the tour of the aquarium, put Henry to sleep!!

We took another walk in the evening, then Andy cooked a lovely dinner and we watched a movie. All in all we had quite an enjoyable day. Henry wouldn't go to bed tonight either....but eventually dropped off around 10:30pm, a couple of hours after bedtime. I'm not sure what's up with his aversion to sleeping! I'm sure we'll figure it out. This is only one of many challenges we'll face.

Cape May to Atlantic City, New Jersey

We were undecided whether to make the remainder of the trip to Sandy Hook in one jump or split it up. One trip would mean another overnight. Our decision was made be the fact that we realized we were pretty much out of formula for Henry, and Sandy Hook, from what we've heard, is just an anchorage, no shopping available. And so we decided to break the last leg into two days and go as far as Atlantic City today.

We had a pretty good trip to Atlantic City, although I was feeling quite 'under the weather'. I'm not sure if it was just residual exhaustion and nausea from the day before, or if I was fighting a virus. Either way, I'm glad we decided to split up the trip.

We arrived in Atlantic City and searched for an anchorage, to no avail. We ended up docking for the night at the public docks in front of some restaurants and an aquarium. The fee for overnight here was $1.50/ft. instead of the $4.00/ft at the local marina!!

Once we were settled in we ventured out on the local bus in search of a grocery store to pick up the much needed formula. Atlantic City was not at all what we expected! Andy was expecting a little version of Las Vegas, since he'd heard about their casinos. What we found couldn't be further from it! Atlantic City was a run down, impoverished city with what the bus driver reported as a very high crime rate. She said that young people there were lucky to see 20 years old without being shot!

We made our outing a quick one, buying our supplies in a little spanish grocery store, and bussing it back to the waterfront asap. The touristy waterfront area was quite a departure from the rest of the city. We got ice cream at a little shop on the water and called that dinner. Big mistake, since the sugar in the ice cream had Henry up and down like a yo-yo all night...and he had a proper dinner too!