May 27, 2016 – Big day today – we entered New York harbor. For the record, this can be a pretty busy area- ferry boats everywhere. We took some fabulous pictures of the New York skyline, Statue of Liberty, and Manhattan. Some of these are in this post, but the next post will have many more.
We had studiously searched various sources to make sure we would not enter any secure areas, travel at speeds and in ways that met the rules in New York harbor, and most importantly, avoid any meetings with Homeland Security and the NYPD. And yes, there are a number of Coast Guard and NYPD patrol boats in the harbor.
As we were slowly headed past Manhattan toward the East River, one of these delightful US Coast Guard vessels approached with blue lights blazing and machine gun mount ready on the bow of the boat.
“Had a USCG inspection lately?” came the call. No sir – actually never had one. So, two Coasties hop on the boat and do a safety inspection right at the southern tip of Manhattan, with the Staten Island Ferry and many other ferry boats cruising past – I am sure all of the passengers on those ships knew we were security risks and about to head to Sing Sing! After all, a boat hailing from South Carolina, the birthplace of the Confederacy! Nevertheless, a very scenic location right at the tip off lower manhattan – if you are not having the Coast Guard check out the boat……
After 20 minutes of looking at life vests (14 of them for the 2 of us onboard) documents, and fire extinguishers, we were released back to the wild with no violations. Actually they were really good guys and answered lots of questions about where to go and what to do. Must have been a slow day at the Coast Guard Station. For the record, they do have the machine gun, fires 7.62mm rounds at, one surmises, a very rapid rate, located just below deck and at the ready when needed – fortunately not to put holes into Evening Star!
Feeling very, very safe with our new certificate onboard saying we just had a safety inspection and passed with flying colors, we headed out to Long Island Sound. We had some extra time in the schedule for our trip from Cape May to New York, to allow for weather delays that weren’t all needed, so were able to take a day and head up the sound. This is a pretty big body of water with Greenwich CT, Oyster Bay, Rikers Island, Montauk, etc. on the sound. We headed to Manhasset Bay, and Northport NY. They were between 25-50 miles away, and made for a good day trip. To reach Long Island Sound we had to go on the East River side of Manhattan, under the Brooklyn bridge, past Roosevelt Island and the UN. Lots of heliports and pretty wild to see how close they come to buildings and elevated roadways. Also of note was the strong current in the East River. Going out to the Sound they were favorable but it was much slower going coming back.
We spent the night in Northport, a small town on Long Island. Just what you would expect, a cute town with nice waterfront shops and parks. What wasn’t expected was the 8+ foot tide. We were tied up to a fixed dock, and at low tide we could step off the dock onto the very top of the boat. Amazing, and the shoreline was mainly sand with some rocks, so lots of beaches on the shore. We must have had a half dozen conversations with passerby who wondered about our trip – “all the way from Hilton Head Island?” they inquired. Anyhow, everyone we met on our Long Island stops were very nice and helpful towards a couple of boaters from the south.
Next day we headed back to the big apple to stay at a marina directly across from the new world trade center building. Yes, we had another brief hiccup in the engines (was it Roberta ?or Michelle? …we’ll never tell!) but it will not deter us from meeting Mike’s daughter Kelly, her chum Ally, and Mike T (Army bud of Bob), who will join us for the next few days.