A significant milestone took place on Oct. 12 - we crossed our wake completing the official Down East Loop! The Down East Loop actually begins and ends in New York City. In between we cruised 2500 miles from June 12 to October 12. Of course, we still have to travel all the way back to Florida and we are now on our way home!
We started this leg of our trip leaving Fairfield, CT at 8 a.m. on Columbus Day. Our original plan was to get to City Island, NY which we were looking forward to visiting. We took off on a beautifully sunny day with temperatures in the low 70’s. It was perfect! And we were especially happy that the seas were calm the whole day. We made such good time that we were due to arrive at City Island by 1:00. After checking the currents, we realized that they would continue in our favor all through New York City. This was especially important as we had to travel down the East River and pass through an extremely turbulent area known as Hell Gate. This is where the East and Harlem Rivers meet. It is known for being a very challenging passage especially if the currents are not in your favor and if the winds are kicking up. In our case, the currents were in our favor and there was little wind (and very little boat traffic due to the Columbus Day holiday). So once again, we changed our plans and decided to go straight through NYC to Sandy Hook, NJ.
The passage through Hell Gate was turbulent with many conflicting currents and eddies. It took the full concentration of the captain to ensure that we didn’t veer off course. There is a blind elbow turn of 90 degrees which can be pretty scary if a barge is coming from the opposite direction. But we encountered no such problem. We can only imagine what a wild ride this could be under different conditions!
The cruise down the East River was spectacular.
We passed Gracie Mansion, the United Nations and cruised past the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building before reaching the mouth of the harbor.
We cruised under each of the monumental bridges spanning the East River including the amazing Brooklyn Bridge.
We also passed the new World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty as we did at the beginning of our voyage.
Arriving in and leaving New York City is the most wondrous of feelings and doing so in a boat is an experience not to be forgotten.
From there we proceeded down the New Jersey coast to Sandy Hook – a long, elbow-shaped stretch of land extending out into the Atlantic. We found a good anchorage inside that elbow and there we set our anchor at about 5 p.m. It was a long travel day, but a good one. We could see some nice homes from our anchorage and only two other boats were in the area. We settled in for a quiet evening. The only excitement was the significant rolling caused by a passing ferry every few hours. This subsided by 11 and we had a restful night aboard Zendo.