Week 17-21 2018 Florida ICW – New York – Maine
23 April – 27 May2018 1170 nm
Week 17, 23 – 29 April 2018 Buckhead Creek, Georgia through South Carolina to North Carolina and Mile Hammock Bay.
Last week we left Florida and continued ICW north through two states with very different landscape.
Florida is really the state of palm trees, but we still see a few in protected places further north. The vegetation is state by state becoming more like back home in Sweden.
Due to weather and some repair work we are still heading north in ICW instead of sailing to Bermuda or offshore to the north.
Originally we were told that ICW was to shallow and the bridges to low for a 47 foot sailboat. But having a centerboard and a mast head cutter rig we just pass the two limitations. OK we had to turn the VHF antenna upside down to fit in.
23 April Monday Buckhead Creek, Georgia – New River, South Carolina 34 nm, and three bridges
We had a somewhat disturbed night due to the gusting gale combined with strong tidal current. It’s really not easy to anchor in tidal water and try to imagine what the wind will do to the boat. Maybe it’s not even possible to calculate with all those combinations that are possible.
The rain started well after twelve o’clock and still at breakfast it was pouring down. Our hope, reading the forecast yesterday, was that the rain should have been gone by the morning didn’t happen!
We made a slow morning and listened to the rain. After breakfast we decided not to stay but weigh anchor and motored out in the rain and the decreasing wind. Eleven o’clock we were back in the fairway of ICW in a south easterly breeze and a mild rain.
We got counter current in our first inlet from the sea, where we had to change to another “river”. Half way out to sea there was a man made channel cutting through an island, “Hell Gate”. Sounds exciting but at high water it was an easy pick.
Turning North West into shore again we got following current. Unfortunately, especially in spring time, the flood tide is shorter and not as strong as the ebb tide going out due to the rivers. The rain stopped after an hour, but was hanging there for the rest of the day just waiting to return.
We passed through Savannah’s eastern part with lots of boat related businesses.
Difficult to anchor and have access to shore and on top of that very far from downtown made us continue. A bascule bridge opened and let us through and we motored through an industrial part of town to a more recreational area. We anchored already just after five because it was time for a hot shower before dinner.
Less wind makes anchoring in tidal water much easier, but during slack the wind dominates before the current decide which direction the boat will swing.
24 April Tuesday New River – Long Creek, S. Carolina 65 nm and four bridges
We were up with the roster and were heading north at seven o’clock before breakfast. Much dryer weather and even a bit of sunshine in the afternoon. Our two days in Georgia was overcastted and rainy, which of course effected our impression of the state. Georgia we will remember as a nearly empty coastal region, except for two small villages in the south and Savannah in the north. Vegetation change from Florida’s palm trees to Georgia’s pine trees.
In Florida we made good progress to north most of the time, but in Georgia and South Carolina we travel on rivers that meanders through the landscape and added to that are all detours out and into inlets, changing rivers. This makes our progress to the north much slower.
We look forward to ICW north of Charleston where ICW is almost parallel to our main direction north east towards Canada.
Today we had following current half the time and counter current the rest. Some parts were very shallow, but today we were lucky to have two meters high water passing those parts.
The last fixed bridge for today we passed at high water and were again lucky this time to find an elevation scale on the fenders, telling us that the bridge had 64 feet free height above actual water level. Very nice to know when you have a mast top 62½ feet above water. The difference is almost impossible to judge from deck, making passages without confirmation about the height a bit nerve wrecking.
We tried to stop and shop in Beaufort, but the 60 feet dock was occupied by two small power boats very unprofessionally placed (or the opposite!). No way could we squeeze Moon in between those boats.
Anchored just outside to be able to use the dinghy without the outboard, but a guy from the marina just beside us shouted that it was not allowed. We phoned the marina and asked about a slip for two hours, but no they were fully booked. There were hundreds of feet free on the outer dock, but booked. Being before noon we thought two hours was ok, but no.
A bit pissed off we left Beaufort as the next swing bridge opening and saved the shopping for Charleston.
Anchored shortly before seven in Long Creek, some twenty five miles south of Charleston.
25 April Wednesday Long Creek – Charleston 25 miles and three bridges.
After a calm night we felt ok again and thought we deserved breakfast on anchor, sitting in the sun in our cockpit. Not a cloud in the sky but a chilly fresh wind. Then we motored the first ten miles in counter current to get almost two knots following current the remaining fifteen miles into Charleston. Today the landscape change again. We got a feeling of traveling across Sweden in Göta Kanal.
We anchored shortly after noon outside City Marina where we could tie the dinghy paying 5$ for a day. We had lunch on board and then took the dinghy in to the marina. With the backpacks we then walked the town and admired the special architecture in town, both the French and the more southern America style. Took lots of photos of nice houses including the slave market, another earlier dark period of the white American history.
Jasmine and other very nice smelling flowers were in full bloom and contributed to the nice impression we got of the town.
We went by the big grocery store and bought urgent needed items for the galley of Moon.
We tried to get back to Moon before the tide changed. It’s always good to be able to adjust if we have got it wrong when anchoring close to other boats in wind against current. Difficult to judge where their anchors are!
Back in the boat everything was ok, but the boat behind us had got another boat just some meters off when the tide changed. Fenders out but luckily the couple arrived later when we had dinner in cockpit, and they pulled the anchor and moved to a better place in the anchorage.
26 April Thursday Charleston – Georgetown 59 nm and three bridges.
Woke up as usual just after six o’clock. Decided that we had got our most urgent needs yesterday and the rest could wait until Georgetown. Instead of dinghy into the marina, we stored the dinghy on deck and weigh anchor and continued our ICW tour north.
Breakfast under engine out to sea in Charleston harbor. Just as we reached the ocean, the ICW has a channel to the north just inside the coastline.
Entering the channel we saw the swing bridge and suddenly we remembered that it didn’t open between seven and nine o’clock. Due to our change of plans we had forgotten to check opening hours. We had to wait almost three quarter of an hour before the bridge finally opened.
Counter current and ebb tide made our progress a bit slow, but very exciting. The channel was very shallow and we were travelling with lowering water! Already after half an hour we ran aground. We were overtaken by a powerboat and silly enough we moved Moon to starboard to make room for the powerboat. Gently Moon raised and stopped with the propeller still running on normal revs. Good thing that we have a pressure bearing, reliving the gearbox and engine from axial forces.
There we were with still half a meter less water until low tide and Moon four to six inches above normal waterline!
We know that we were close to deeper water so we tried with full rudder to turn Moon into the fairway running the engine at “extra” revs. Slowly she turned, but faster and faster and suddenly, when we were almost perpendicular to the fairway, she came free and we were very happy. Being stuck had meant ten hours waiting for higher water and a lot of work protecting Moon from “falling” towards the deeper bottom in the fairway.
We continued as if nothing had happened, but got hiccups every time the depth sounder showed less than six feet.
Two hours later, close to low tide, the depth was down to six feet and our speed came down a knot with our normal rev on the engine. We were probably driving through mud! We were thankful for the fact that it was low tide and getting stuck would not have very dramatic effect as earlier today. This is the shallowest part of ICW we have encountered, and unfortunately we are passing during low water.
Late afternoon we reached the inlet from sea to Georgetown and we followed the inlet into town for almost ten miles. In Georgetown we moored at the free town dock, took our back packs and walked to the grocery store. Back in Moon we unloaded and stored everything, before we made a short walk to one of the restaurants on the boardwalk along the harbor.
Back in Moon it was already dark, but there was a 1000$ fine if stayed on the dock after midnight. Solution; leave the dock and anchor 50 m off the dock!
22 April Friday Georgetown, S. Carolina – Bowen Point, N. Carolina 66 nm and 16 bridges.
Again an early start, this time well planned to take advantage of the north running current in Waccamaw River. We got one knot following us the whole morning and when we reached the point where the water runs north, the tide changed and we got following current. The timing was planned, but still a surprise that it actually worked out!
Late afternoon when we passed several inlets to the sea, the current changed for every inlet, giving us current in both directions. Until noon we drove along the river in a pristine nature with numerous of ospreys. Have never seen that many in one day!
After lunch we had houses and people around us instead of wilderness and wildlife!
The ICW became very narrow and it became difficult to find a place to anchor. Annika found a restaurant ten miles further north with a free dock if you had a meal in the restaurant. We called them to check that this was valid information, and yes we were welcome.
Dinner for two is 50% less compared with normal marina fee, and then you still have to eat!
We moored at the dock two hours later, had a beer and a light meal in the restaurant before we went to sleep.
28 April Saturday Bowen Point – Mile Hammock Bay, close to New River Inlet 75 nm and nine bridges.
Left the restaurant dock before seven and had breakfast under engine. Absolutely no wind, but sunshine and almost slack water, sometimes life can’t be better!
Coming out on the big water, Cape Fear River, we got strong current against for ten miles before we turned east through a headland. Now ICW continue north, just inside the ocean with many inlets along the route. This means changing current every time passing these inlets, and another effect from the inlets are moving sand on the bottom, changing the fairway sometimes rapidly.
In one of the inlets the marker in ICW was oddly placed, but we kept close to the middle of what we thought was the fairway but we touched the bottom briefly in spite it was close to high water..
We had red on the web that this part of ICW was crowded, and being Saturday we can confirm this is not an overstatement. We unfurled the Yankee, both to gain speed but more to show all the small boats running south against the sun that we were coming. All these small boats want to run in the middle of the fairway, in spite they draw next to nothing. Another reason for us to tell them that a big sailing vessel is coming their way. Yes we are about the biggest size among normal sailing boats that can transit ICW due to height and draft, and that’s because our rig is a masthead cutter rig and of course our centerboard. Most boats in our size have higher mast and a deeper keel.
In any case the Yankee showed to have good effect and we had no problem with boats not leaving us room to use the middle of the fairway in spite fast and heavy traffic.
Coming to our first swing bridge for today we were totally wrong in timing. The bridge opened only on full hour and that had just happened. Annika called the operator on VHF and of some reason he opened the bridge for us, we even didn’t have to slow down, although we furled the Yankee of course. Maybe it was because it was Saturday?
Twelve miles further north we had another swing bridge that opened only by the hour and we would be late for the five o’clock opening even if we used full throttle, having the current against. This was not good because after the bridge we had another fifteen miles to the only decent anchorage in the area and by then we would be running out of daylight.
Hoped for the same treatment as at the previous bridge, but this time it came an abrupt answer telling us to wait for six o’clock opening. We anchored in front of the bridge off the fairway and had dinner. Exactly six o’clock the bridge opened and we were through in no time as the bridge still was opening.
Now it was a race against the darkness. Not really dark because the full moon was already up since half past six. When we in the dark came close to our last inlet for the day a guy from the marina we just past called us and sad something about not navigating ICW in darkness and that the passage in front of us was dangerous shallow, as if we didn’t know that looking at the chart and our earlier experiences passing inlets. When we asked him about the position of the markers he admitted that he had never used this part of ICW and had no information! OK we thanked him for his concern and were happy we had almost high water.
It was shallow but no problem except for the current that pushed us sideways when we slowed down. Radar, plotter depth sounder GPS and a tablet aided us through the difficulties and soon we turned into our chosen anchorage.
There were already nine boats, but being an old military harbor there was room for probably twenty boats. We had no problem making our way through the fleet and anchor between land and the fleet.
It was very nice to shut down and go to bed after our normal position report was sent in.
29 April Sunday Mile Hammock Bay
Slept like dead after the extra long day yesterday.
Had already yesterday decided to stay in the bay until Monday to have a rest. We have been moving north using long days for more than a week and need a stopover. The wind is northerly and that is another reason to wait. All boats except one left after sunrise. Unfortunately the military have kept the ground and it’s not allowed to go ashore.
We used the day to look at the forecast and try to decide how to proceed. Three options are on the table; continue ICW to Norfolk or leave ICW in Beaufort and sail offshore to New York or Bermuda.
We don’t have to decide until Tuesday, but offshore to New York is the most obvious chose.
Tomorrow we will go to Spooner Creek and fill our water tanks, top up diesel and visit Walmart to be ready for any of the alternatives on Tuesday using the latest forecast as the final input.
Week 18, 30 April – 6 May 2018 Mile Hammock, N Carolina – Manhasset Bay, Long Island, NY 506 nm and 12 bridges, whereof 9 in New York
This became the week we left ICW after 1000 nautical miles through a fascinating landscape, if ever so flat. The nearness to nature and protection to weather and wind has its advantages when wind out at sea isn’t favorable.
We didn’t even think that we would fit in due to our mast height. But when we measured our mast and turned the VHF antenna upside down we were only 62½ feet high and bridges are supposed to be 65 at MHW (which really wasn’t the fact!)
One of our first fixed bridges was lower, but thanks to our upside down antenna we could come under. The depth shouldn’t be a problem as we only draw five feet thanks to our centerboard (also that wasn’t really the fact!).
We have now passed 102 bridges of which 58 have opened for us without much delay.
April didn’t invite us to an ocean passage to either Bermuda or north along the coast, and we were lucky to be able to continue north on ICW 1000 nm. First of May a weather window developed as we were close to Beaufort and its inlet, making us skip the last twenty bridges and 200 nm to Norfolk. Instead we took to off at sea and sailed 440 nm to New York.
ICW was impressing and fascinating. It gave us a picture of the North American coastal area that we didn’t have a clue about.
The southern part is really the Palm Coast and coming further up in Georgia, S. Carolina the swamps and rivers dominate with its much bigger trees. Lots of bugs, the small ones that mosquito nets have trouble to keep out!
Of course lots of motoring and a few groundings in mud or sand, but the trip was very much worth the efforts. Our average progress the days we were on the move was little less than 50 nm during those 21 days from 26 of March to 1 of May when Moon again got blue water around the hull.
30 April Monday Mile Hammock Bay – Spooner Creek 31 nm and 2 bridges.
As we woke up, three of the four other boats in the bay had already left. We were only going to Beaufort to be in position for the offshore passage, so we were in no hurry.
But as always when you are up and running it’s difficult not to get going.
Anchor up took a bit longer time than usual because the sticky black mud that adhered to the chain. The wash down pump had to be engaged for the first time in ICW to get rid of the mud before the chain was allowed to enter the chain locker.
This delay made us miss the bridge opening for the other boats from the bay that we almost had caught up. Now, when we came around a curve, we saw them on the other side of the bridge just as it was closing. But we only had to wait fifteen minutes for the next opening.
Further north we had a fixed bridge and as the tide was high it was a relief to see a height scale at the foot of the bridge telling us that the free space was 64 feet.
Shortly after noon we were at Spooner Creek where we had arranged by phone to get diesel and water. It was more a water issue rather than diesel, but the price was low, $2.77, so why not top up the 68 gallon we had room for. We have once been running the water maker in ICW, but the pre filters clogged very fast and we decided not to do that again. That’s why we needed water.
We were allowed to stay at the fuel dock for two hours and that gave us plenty of time to visit Walmart by foot. The guy also told us that it was common for the ICW travelers to use Spooner Creek as an anchorage, which made us decide to stay on anchor over night and not use the rolly anchorage in Beaufort 4 nm further north.
On anchor we used the time to prepare Moon for offshore conditions. Cleaned all hatches from salt to prevent leakage if we got sea water on deck. Took away all lose items and stowed them in lockers. You get lazy when you week after week travel on flat water.
Finally we had a shower and later a nice dinner. Lamb in the oven and a glass of nice red vine
1 May Tuesday Spooner Creek – Beaufort and offshore towards New York, one bridge.
Had to use the wash down pump again because the bottom mud was even stickier than yesterday.
Coming out of the creek into ICW there was a fresh breeze that we hadn’t noticed at all in the protected creek. We unfurled the Yankee and had a lazy sail towards Beaufort. We were not supposed to come to the inlet before ten o’clock due to incoming current before that.
The last bridge for us to pass in ICW was in Beaufort. Our luck was still there and the bridge showed 64 feet on the height scale.
Sunshine and 15 knots of wind from south west gave us a quick ride out and around the reef south of Beaufort before we could turn north. All we had to do was to adjust the sails and follow the wind – very nice.
During the night the wind decreased and the following current disappeared. But the high swell disappeared together with the wind and therefore we could continue sailing without the engine all night. We sailed only four knots, something we are unused to because normally with so little wind the swell makes Moon roll too much and the pendulum of the mast makes the sail flop and lose the wind. So normally under these conditions the only option is to engage the engine. Instead we now sailed in soundless conditions through the night. Very relaxing, especially for the free watch sleeping.
2 May Wednesday On route New York east of N. Carolina and Virginia. No bridges!
The sun entered a cloud free sky while the full moon had still two hours to reach the horizon. Not much wind but coming up the coast we have the apparent wind 100 degrees to port and are thanks to that making five knots in “no wind” on flat water.
Really a perfect start for us, having lost our sea legs during more than a month in ICW-
The wind vane has come to use again. We have almost forgotten how to trim it!
Unfortunately the wind disappeared totally for some hours and we had to use the engine.
Now we got flies everywhere on the boat. The leeward side of the sails became almost black. We rapidly closed the boat before we got too many inside. During the afternoon we probably killed more than two hundred of these, not so harmless creatures. They bite you if they get a chance! We were more than 30 nm offshore when this happened.
After lunch we got new wind from a more southerly direction and we poled out the Yankee and shut down the engine. Sailed even with a full main, something that is not very common due to flapping sails in light wind due to the swell.
After dinner, when Björn just had gone to sleep, the wind increased. Only to wake up and get dressed to reef the main. Lowered one reef, something we always normally do before night!
Back on track the wind vane had now no trouble to keep Moon on course to New York.
The wind kept blowing all night and that compensated for our slower speed the night before.
3 May Thursday On route New York east of Chesapeake Bay and Delaware.
Slept good in a silent boat that rolled a bit with perfect pressure on the sails. It’s really good when wind pressure on the sail keeps the sail fully filled even if the swell rolls the boat a bit.
It has become quite cold. Only 11C in the water and we need our thick bed covers during off watch. The one on watch had to wear cold weather gear during the night in spite our hard dodger gives us much comfort. During daytime it’s still very warm, so around sunrise and sunset it’s pretty difficult to have the right clothing.
The coastal water is relatively shallow but still we meet and get overtaken by many big ships heading for the many coastal towns and of course New York. We have still not been on deeper water than 40 m. Normally we had followed the coast closer, but tailwind makes a straight course to New York much easier for a two people crew avoiding having to gybe. In this case we also had to cross several traffic separation zones into the harbors if going closer. AIS is as always most helpful, and in this case with so many ships nearby, a most necessary item on board.
The whole day we had the same wind direction and strength as we had when taking one reef in the main yesterday evening. Very convenient to have the wind vane guiding Moon without any adjustments needed.
The wind decreased during the afternoon and turned more southerly. We got some problems to keep our course off the coast without having to gybe. We didn’t want to gybe because the wind was to come back to south west later. We met a tugboat that travelled closer to land than the normal ships route. He called us using VHF and we explained our trouble with the wind direction. He understood, we think, and altered his course towards land and we could pass port to port without having to gybe. Only an hour later the wind came back from south west and we could resume our straight course towards New York.
Just before midnight the wind decreased and we had to start the engine and furl the out pooled headsails. But only for an hour before the wind came back again.
Another calm night with an average speed of four knots in a wind that was hardly noticeable.
We both heard on our watch a “lonely” sound out from the sea and couldn’t imagine who produced that sound.
In the morning, when we almost overrun a Loon coming up with a mussel, we understood what we heard, and of course we recognize the sound of a Loom, very common back home. But we didn’t thought of a Loon outside this crowded coast and in sea water.
4 May Friday Great Kill Harbor, Staten Island, NY 440 nm using 3×24 hours at sea.
We sailed rest of the night to five o’clock when the wind finally died. We furled the headsails and lower the main to prevent it from flopping from side to side in the swell.
When the wind died we had only 15 nm left to the turning buoy towards Staten Island where we had planned to anchor. We were actually quite pleased with no wind conditions, because if the wind and directions had been keeping on, we had got it on or bow. Navigating these shallow and tidal waters with lots of small fishing boats was easier done under engine and no wind. Topping up our batteries after three days of sailing wasn’t so bad either? Shortly before turning around Sandy Hook we came upon a Northern Right Whale with its smooth finless back. It was swimming slowly parallel to our course in only 6-8 meters of water.
We anchored at the head of Great Kill Harbor bay among a lot of mooring buoys exact three days after we left Beaufort.
The weather, especially the wind, couldn’t have been better after our thousand miles on flat water in ICW, gotten rid of our sea legs. Not too much sun and a full moon almost all night during our three nights.
We lit up the Refleks furnace after we set the anchor firmly in a bottom with very good holding and then we had a most welcomed shower. Customs answered and for once wrote our cruising permit number directly in the system and could see that we were Moon with Annika as captain. Now we are “officially” in New York State!
We had a short nap and woke up around three o’clock. Still no wind and the temperature was summer! Inside Moon we had 28C in spite we had shut down the furnace when we went to bed! But it’s easy to ventilate the excess heat together with moisture from our showers. We spent the rest of the day recovering from our three days with irregular sleep, writing and some internet browsing to make a plan for our days in the Big Apple.
5 May Saturday Great Kill Harbor, Staten Island – Manhasset Bay, Long Island, NY 35 nm and 9 bridges
Some wind during the night but very warm. Björn was on deck in the middle of the night attending a noisy halyard and didn’t need any extra clothing in spite the wind!
After breakfast and some studies of the tide along east river though Manhattan we decided to weigh anchor and drive through New York and anchor in Manhasset Bay on Long Island.
The route passing State of Liberty and all other icons like Brooklyn Bridge, UN building and more was as cool as we had imagine. Our perfect timing with the tide (plus three knots) didn’t make the trip less fortunate.
Hell Gate where Harlem River and East River split was not horrible as in the pilot books.
The weather was almost perfect for photo shooting with a sun that sometimes came out of the clouds. We almost saw King Kong climbing on the famous Empire State building! Yes there are many pictures of New York in our minds.
Felt almost not real to do this trip in our own boat on these famous waters under all well known bridges we have seen in so many films and TV series. The wharfs and parks were full of tourists and we felt very privileged to be able to see all this without having to squeeze in between lots of people. This will be a challenge when we do the tour of the town by foot!
The spring has advanced and the trees have got little more than mouse ears. Some cherry blossom like trees are in full bloom and it’s really nice.
North of the last bridged we were suddenly on the countryside when all the high buildings disappeared to the south. Drove along Long Island where enormous villas lined the shore.
Behind cape number three we found Manhasset Bay with Port Washington. Anchored shortly before four o’clock, just as the southerly wind started to blow and the tide changed.
Lots of free mooring buoys, but we used our anchor just outside the mooring field.
Had a plan to go ashore for dinner, but we later decided we had enough sceneries for one day!
6 May Sunday Manhasset Bay, Port Washington Long Island
Some rain during the night but not enough to clean the boat from all pollen the spring have brought in the air. Lucky none of us are allergic!
Took the dinghy into the dinghy dock after breakfast to go shopping and investigate where to do laundry later. Found a West Marine store and bought a new US curtseys flag. The old one bought seven years ago in Hawaii is completely worn out in spite we only used the Alaska flag when we travelled in the windy part of US!
Found the laundry and on the way back to the dinghy we bought some food.
Back in Moon for lunch and after noon we did a lot of writing and studies to be prepared for our trip downtown tomorrow.
Week 19, 7-13 May 2018 Port Washington – Port Jefferson, Long Island 36 nm.
7 May Monday Port Washington and train to New York
We drove the dinghy in to the dinghy dock after a slow morning. Locked the dinghy and walked to the train station. On the way we checked in to the town harbor office. The guy in charge was very polite and told us that our boat “was the nicest yacht that ever visited the bay”. Even if we know about the polite manners here in US, it’s still nice to listen to such friendly words!
From Port Washington train station to Penn station it took forty minutes and then we were downtown New York. The station is in the “cellar” of Madison Square Garden.
Two blocks away we visit the Mecca for photographers, B&H Photoshop, a must for every serious photo guy visiting New York. We managed to escape with only a new binocular for Moon.
Then we had lunch together with a lot of downtown working people. Interesting to see and listen to the people and the way they talked to each other, some seems more like a monolog. Really a good reminder how the rat race effect people and how spoiled we are not to have to compete in that race. Even if you win the rat race – you are still a rat!
The price level is really unbelievable. We used to think that a pint in Sweden or Norway was the most expensive in the world, but paying eight dollar for a pint in NY beat most other countries, especially with the exchange rate we have today and the smaller US Pint.
But we are here to enjoy so paying 110$ for the elevator up in Empire state building was not to be avoided. Although we could have saved the extra 40 for the upper level which had no free air access and the windows was not good for the photographer.
What was really good was our timing. We choose to have lunch before Empire and we had plenty of room and not many tourists up there. They were obviously having lunch!
Coming down we met the crowd, and the guides confirmed, even the morning before lunch had been crowded. Timing is obviously of great importance if you want to have access to the front of the balconies and shoot with your camera and not get your angels disturbed by other tourists.
Coming out on the streets again we were aiming for Brooklyn Bridge, but the time was running fast and we opted instead for Penn station and the train “back home”.
We saw Brooklyn Bridge close up during our tour with Moon along East River and that was probably closer than in between hundreds of tourists that would have been the case today.
We sat on the train back to Port Washington an hour after we left Empire State building and then walked back to Moon in the nice late afternoon weather. We looked at the menu outside a Greek and Turkish restaurant, but we were too tired.
Back in Moon the sun was close to the horizon and we got a nice final of the day in our cockpit before starting to prepare dinner.
8 May Tuesday Port Washington
Absolutely no wind during the night and only 9 C outdoors when we woke up. The sun rose on a clear sky and soon the temperature became more like spring.
Had a slow breakfast and continued at the dining table writing and “surfing”.
Later Annika took the dinghy and cleaned the hull from yellowish dirt that had accumulated during our ICW trip. Using Oxalic acid the yellowish layer just dissolves and can easily be flushed off.
After lunch we decided to postpone laundry until tomorrow and instead finish the cleaning of the hull.
Half past five we were sitting in the cockpit and looking at the setting sun when a light south easterly wind started to ripple the water. Temperature sank rapidly and we went down to prepare dinner.
A very quiet day on anchor!
9 May Wednesday Port Washington
Again a night without wind. The wind yesterday evening disappeared shortly after sunset and the sun rose even today on a clear sky over a mirror like water.
We read about dense fog only hundred miles to the north. It seems to be some sort of climate border south of Newport as the coast further north is so exposed to fog. Lucky we have been exercising our skill using the radar! We are prepared to meet lots of fog up in Main and Canada, getting worse the more north we get.
After breakfast Annika took a close look at our engine. This time it was the valves that needed some checkup. It turned out that most of them needed a small adjustment to meet the 0,35 mm play that the manual define.
Lunch and then the dinghy with all laundry into the village. Waiting for the laundry to be ready we used the time to visit several shops and later we hit the grocery store for a more serious shopping to be able to leave tomorrow.
Back in Moon we stored the findings and started our hydronic heater to get hot water for a shower. Waiting for the water to heat up we had a beer and some broad beans on the foredeck and then stored the outboard and the dinghy to be prepared to leave tomorrow.
After our shower we had a well earned dinner, a readymade chicken together with baguette, cheese and other sides.
10 May Thursday Port Washington
Today was the day we had decided to leave New York and Port Washington.
But first we had breakfast and then we were to fill water at the dinghy dock before high water at nine o’clock. During breakfast we got e-mail from friends that are sailing north from Chesapeake and were right now thirty miles south of Great Kill Harbor on Staten Island.
We decided that if we are going to meet them, Port Washington was probably the best choice, meaning we had to stay and wait for them. OK we needed water even if we don’t leave so we moved into the dinghy and pump out dock. We used the high pressure in the hose to hose down Moon. Lots of pollen all over and then rinsed the hull from residuals of the oxalic acid treatment. Back at the mooring field we used our anchor again and not a buoy.
After a sandwich we launched the dinghy again and drove back into the village for a walk and some internet at the library. Coming out of the library the asphalt was wet! We had managed to time the rain very well.
Found a bakery with nice and not so “organic” priced bread. The trip back to Moon became chilly in the wind, being dressed for a walk in the sunshine. Down in Moon we lit the furnace to get our body heat back to normal.
Nanny had sent e-mail telling us that they anchored safely in GKH and were scheduled to go through New York tomorrow, eventually all the way to Port Washington.
With the furnace “humming” it was nice with a hot cup and a piece of the new baguette.
Did some cleaning up in Moon during the rest of the afternoon before dinner and a film.
After dinner we suddenly saw lightening just north of Port Washington. The weather alert told us about rain and lightening combined with wind gusting 40 knots!
We were only affected briefly. Only a short gust and then calm again. Most of the thunderstorm was north of us, but we could see lightening for an hour.
11 May Friday Port Washington
Back to normal morning weather with a sun from a clear sky and no wind.
After breakfast a light northerly wind started to build. Not good as we had planned to clean the hull from the remaining dirt along the waterline. OK it will be done another day!
Annika did some investigations into why our data bytes, on the internet, kept running out in spite we were not using anything. For most people, being on a land line, this is probably something people not even notice, but being on aerial with limited space it’s definitely something that’s bothers you. Didn´t find any obvious reasons for the losses. Have to start shutting everything down when we are not working on the net to try to avoid losing our bytes.
After our lunch salad we saw on marinetraffic.com that Nanny with Magnus and Liv had continued past the Statue of Liberty and would probably arrive in Port Washington around four o’clock.
Later we used our own AIS to show them our location and to be able to more in detail follow their progress. They made good progress in following current through East River, more than eight knots for quite some time.
We used the fine weather to remove fasteners for the canvas around the superstructure (the canvas is winter cover to prevent indoor condensation) that we tried to glue with an adhesive. We have obviously to continue using epoxy that we used for the same attachments around the cockpit. We have at least tried an easier method without success. There are no shortcuts when dealing with boats!
Nanny came after four pm and shortly after their anchoring procedures we were in their cockpit with a beer talking about the life of cruising people. Fun to meet in person after having had only e-mail contact before. They are from Gothenburg, our home town, and left the same day we left, but ten years later. They left Gothenburg 2015, first of May.
They left Bahamas for Charleston when we were in Miami and continued to be well ahead of us along the ICW, until we made the offshore passage from Beaufort to NY.
Later we changed boat to have dinner in Moon and the conversation continued throughout the evening and it was really fun.
12 May Saturday Port Washington
A quiet night without wind but some rain. The rain continued until noon when it became more off and on. The water was like a mirror and the sailing school had some trouble to get their boats moving in the rain and no wind.
Had a slow morning and after running the hydronic heater we cleared the galley from all traces of the dinner yesterday. We had no hot water yesterday evening so it had to wait until we had hot water after breakfast.
No ambitions to work outside in the rain. Magnus and Liv are also working indoors. They have had a repair in their hydraulic steering and that still give them some headaches. Hopefully it’s only air in the system that hasn’t been thoroughly vented out.
Between showers after noon we took the dinghy to town to do some internet at Starbucks and do some shopping. Back in Moon the furnace was still burning with smallest flame and made a comfortable climate inside after our chilly, humid trip “offshore”.
Six o’clock we took the dinghy 50 meters over to Nanny where Liv served dinner for the four of us. Again a pleasant and fun evening
13 May Sunday Port Washington
Quiet night but some rain. Dark clouds covered the sky when we woke up, clouds that became a bit brighter after breakfast.
Annika decided suddenly after breakfast that it was time to open a Facebook account.
Very surprising. When this was up and running we decided to leave Port Washington and start our trip to Newport. The weather doesn’t look good for the next week, so we have to use the weather windows when we have no strong wind against. Weigh anchor and spent quite a time rinsing the chain from sticky mud. Wished Nanny fair winds and left the harbor.-
The plan was to go only 15nm to the next bay, but when we came out to sea we felt it was silly not to use the following current and continue to Port Jefferson, another 15 nm to the northeast. This will also make the next day more comfortable and not too long.
Arrived Port Jefferson just after five and already at six we had had a shower and dinner was on the table.
We spent the rest of the evening finalizing our weekly blog and finally a film to keep us awake, not to go to sleep too early.
Week 20 14 -21 May 2018 Port Jefferson, Long Island NY – Newport, Rhode Island 96 nm
14 May Monday Port Jefferson
We woke up to a quiet morning with low clouds. Lit up the furnace which we had turned off last night because it became too warm in the sleeping compartment. There is no thermostat so with no wind and a cloud cover it becomes too good.
Little wind from north east where we are heading. There was a good forecast for Tuesday and we decided to stay in this protected anchorage for the day.
Annika used the day to try to understand FaceBook, which we so far had not used. Now when almost everybody we know is connected to that “fake news world”, we finally have decided we have to join in.
Björn was occupied to write a letter to OCC, that we joined a month ago, about our “qualifying trip” (minimum 1000 nm) from Japan to Alaska. We could have chosen any of more than ten trips over the last years, but looking at the members list it was fun that we didn’t chose an Atlantic trip, which was the most common and of course the obvious trip for an European based club.
After lunch Annika went up the mast and turned the VHF antenna up again that we turned upside down before ICW to get under the bridges. We don’t have any bridges to pass where the antenna makes any difference.
Being up there she also used McLube dry lubrication to grease the sheave for the main halyard which had become quite noisy lately. The sheave has a bronze bearing to a stainless shaft, but even so makes some irritating noise when using the halyard. Now it’s absolutely quiet.
Then we launched the dinghy and cleaned the waterline from some slime and growth before we took to the beach for a long walk on the peninsula. We got some shots of Ospreys, Red Winged Blackbirds, Mockingbirds and of course some Canadian Geese.
Back in Moon we secured the dinghy on deck and made everything ready for an early start tomorrow.
Had a nice sunset, sitting in a warm cockpit, before we started to prepare dinner.
15 May Tuesday Port Jefferson – Stonington Harbor, Connecticut 60 nm
We had a light fog when we woke up shortly after six o’clock. Weigh anchor fifteen minutes later to get going before the current in the entrance became too strong in the narrow channel in to the port.
We had almost half a mile visibility in spite the fog and the wind was almost neglect able. Motor sailed with full sails in one knot counter current, making five to six knots over ground.
We ran the water maker for the first time since we tried it in ICW with bad result. Now we have changed all pre filters and cleaned the strainer and we now got perfect water in the relatively clear Atlantic water that comes with the rising tide. We specifically didn’t want to use the water maker in outgoing tide because of the sewage smelly water from New York, the second worst since Pusan in South Korea!
Just before noon the wind picked up and we shut down the engine and sailed more than seven knots for a short while before the wind died and we had to engage the engine for, as it turned out, the rest of the day.
The good thing was that the fog disappeared and we got all our water tanks filled.
Shortly before the chosen harbor we saw our first Eider since we left northern Europe thirteen years ago. We are really coming closer to home!
Five o’clock we anchored in Stonington Harbor and had a beer in the sunshine sitting in the cockpit admiring some Ospreys in the sunray. Getting below to prepare dinner we got a weather alert on the phone; thunder, heavy rain and tornados! OK we are used to the US way to warn you for almost nothing but this was a little more than usual. Sure enough the sky west of us became black and we could see lightning in distance. Strong wind picked up, but only for a short time, and the rain started as the thunder came closer. We only got hit by the out squirts of the front, but the thunder kept on for an hour.
We were happy to have arrived to the anchorage an hour before hell brook lose!
Nanny, our Swedish friends wasn’t that lucky. They were still out there when the front hit them, luckily they had been prepared and reefed all sails and could ride out the 50 knots wind, before they in the rain could come back on course and anchor in New Haven, still in heavy rain. Making us feel even luckier with our fortunate timing. They are only thirty miles west of us and still such a difference.
The forecast calls for north east and rain tonight and tomorrow. Our heading to Newport is very much north east, meaning we have probably to rest in port for another day.
16 May Wednesday Stonington Harbor
Quiet night after the thunder went north east. Morning came with no sun, but without rain and wind.
We launched the dinghy after breakfast and made a trip in to the village. Tied the dinghy to the “town dock” and strolled around for almost two hours. It was a nice sleepy little village this time of the year.
Most pleasure boats were still on the hard, but we found several where people were working to get them ready for the season.
Back on Moon the predicted wind shift had come and it became somewhat uncomfortable as we lifted the outboard and dinghy back on deck. We pulled the anchor and moved closer to the harbor to get protection from the now easterly waves. It was much more comfortable and easier to prepare lunch in a boat that didn’t “jump around”.
The new anchoring spot was close to the fairway and before dark, when the wind had almost disappeared, we moved back to our original spot for the night.
17 May Wednesday Stonington Harbor, Connecticut – Newport, Rhode Island 32 nm
We were up and running already at six o’clock to get out through the narrow and tidal effected archipelago east of Stonington before the current became too strong against.
Instead of the strong head wind yesterday we now had no wind and light fog. Almost all winter clothing was needed for the helmsman. We pulled the anchor and now we really have come to the northern hemisphere. No mud, only kelp that is so typical for higher latitudes. On top of that we have rocks on the shores. We feel that we are closer to home!
We managed to get out at sea between all the markers and rocks without too much current and then turned to a more northerly course along the coast.
Mist with visibility of one mile and we used the navigation lights all day. Lots of fishing boats along the coast and later when those were gone, lots of floats some of them under water all time due to the strong current when passing the two capes.
Coming into Newport there were lots of activities in conjunction with the Volvo Ocean Race. We were advised by the Coast Guard to go around the fleet of race boats, and others involved in the spectacle, to get to the harbor. This of course meant that we came close and got some close-ups of the race boats when they prepared for the daily inshore race-
Finally we got into the harbor and found a spot in the crowd to put our hook down and we managed to set the anchor to be prepared for the coming strong north easterly wind tonight. Had a late lunch after all anchoring procedures were done. Later we launched the dinghy and drove to the nearby dinghy dock. Newport is extreme in aspect of docking fee up to $5 a foot, but to anchor and use of the town dinghy dock was free.
Walked around the town and looked at all famous buildings from long ago. We also saw some yachts that we normally only see in yacht magazines. This is really the place if you want to see big sailing boats.
Back in Moon after seven o’clock it was time to prepare dinner using our findings from the town supermarket.
18 May Friday Newport
The wind started around four early morning and created a need to check the boats around us. Our closest neighbor, a big Spanish sailing vessel, had anchored in the opposite direction to the strong wind and was now close to our port side. After a while the wind turned even more and the Spanish boat came further out from us as we had set our anchor very hard for this new wind direction. We went back to bed when we had decided that if they drag, it will not affect us and our anchor. The wind had swept away the fog and therefore we could sleep without the foghorns disturbing us the whole time.
Due to our late night work and somewhat disturbed sleep we had a slow start this morning. Breakfast at nine and then we stayed indoors for the whole day in the windy weather. The fog and absolutely no wind yesterday are exchanged to clouds but no rain and 15 – 20 knots of wind.
This wind makes it uncomfortable and very inefficient to continue north and we have another reason to stay in Newport for some days except the weather. Annikas brother is right now sailing his yacht from Bermuda to Newport, ETA Sunday morning and of course we would like to meet him and his new boat before we continue north.
During the afternoon we visited the “Race Village” looking at the race boats. More or less to have done it, but of course it would have been awkward to be in Newport and not visit the Volvo Race. They have been very unlucky with the weather this year. Two days ago they even had to close the village because of the thunder storm. Our expectation, created by memories from the same event in Gothenburg many years ago, was long from fulfilled. This was a cold and a bit boring story.
The trip to the village was not meant to be done by foot. No shorelines walk way and nothing prepared for pedestrians along the road. As most places in US; cars are the priority and people don’t walk.
We were back in Moon around seven to start dinner procedure.
19 May Saturday Newport
The night had more normal wind, enough to keep us in wind direction in spite the current.
Cloudy and rain “around the corner” when we woke up.
Ten-ish we had the rain on top of us and we spent the morning indoors waiting for the weather to clear to be able to go shopping. We plan to be able to avoid shopping for the next two weeks so some planning is needed.
We have no reports about the progress of Sea Breeze, Annikas brothers sailing yacht on route to Newport from Bermuda. Hopefully they will arrive tomorrow.
There were wind for the race boats in there inshore races during the day, which we watched only from our protected cockpit. Just as the daily races finished, the rain together with fog came drifting. So even if they in total are unlucky with the weather, there is some luck involved.
Even if the wind came down late afternoon it was still not fun to go ashore. We stayed in the boat in continues rain and made us productive with other items.
Cooked dinner on the “humming” furnace and had a nice warm evening in the cold rain.
20 May Sunday Newport
Woke up at four when the wind came up from south west. Our anchor was set to meet the north easterly gale two days ago and because of that we wanted to make sure we didn’t move too much if the anchor reset in the new strong wind direction. During the previous gale the boat next to us re anchored and doing so they came much closer. That boat was now our concern, but it turned out ok, even if it was much closer than we normally are comfortable with. Having checked this we went back to bed.
During this procedure we saw the AIS signal from Sea Breeze, approaching the coast slowly, not to arrive in both darkness and fog. When we woke up later at eight o’clock, we saw Sea Breeze passing us like a ghost in the fog.
Breakfast and VHF contact with Sea Breeze and later we took the dinghy to say Hello. We didn’t want to irritate the customs and climb up on the boat, so instead we went ashore for some shopping until they had got their clearance.
Coming back to Moon we had lunch and did some must do things before the dinner together with Sea Breeze tonight in town. Had a shower and then over to Nanny and our Swedish friends for a “see you soon beer” as they are leaving tomorrow morning. Then over to Sea Breeze just nearby. We were now three Swedish boats on a row in the middle of Newport harbor! Maybe not every days event.
In Sea Breeze there was some bubbles served because Johan, Annikas brother, was celebrating his birthday.
Later we all went in to a restaurant where a table was reserved.
Very nice party with lots of good sea food. In fact too much for those who can’t resist eating.
Coming out of the restaurant, the sky had cleared and the night was quite warm!
Easy to find Moon on the mirror like water with her two anchor lights.
Week 21 21 – 27 May 2018 Newport, Rhode Island – Sheepscot Bay, Maine 213 nm
21 May Monday Newport
Sunshine and no wind when we woke up.
Breakfast while we looked at Nanny’s attempt to pull their anchor. They were going to leave for Martha’s Vineyard after having visited the fuel dock. The anchor had obviously got trapped and Annika took our dinghy to see if she could be of any assistant.
Liv and Annika in the dinghy took a rope with a short chain in between and slide that down to the anchor. After several attempts they managed to free the wire that had entangled the anchor. Big relief!
It’s funny how worried everybody is for the holding when it’s sometimes more complicated to free the anchor!
Annika came back and Nanny left for the fuel dock.
After some indoor work we took the dinghy to Sea Breeze and then in to town to go shopping with the crew of Sea Breeze. Spent most of the day until afternoon in the shopping mall, getting a sim card to Johan, Annika’s brother, which took considerable time. Then lunch and later a visit to the grocery store to fill two trolleys with food.
Taxi for the findings and most of the crew, while we walked back to the harbor, getting some of our well needed exercise.
Back in Moon we had a lazy afternoon until we around seven took the dinghy to Sea Breeze for dinner.
Lamb rack, very deliciously cooked by Jo, the chef.
22 May Tuesday Newport – Martha’s Vineyard 42 nm
It was not without some fear after Nanny’s problem yesterday we weigh anchor. But we had no problem what so ever. The chain and anchor came up without any mud or clay.
We motored across and rafted on Sea Breeze to have more control over our timing, because the plan was that everybody should have a look at Moon after breakfast, using their dinghy. Now everything got done in no time and when Björn had got an espresso from the coffee maker in Sea Breeze, we were ready to head off to Martha’s Vineyard. Sea Breeze had still to get their Cruising license, something that got missed or forgotten when they cleared customs Sunday.
No wind, but we had to make water and charge batteries after several days on anchor and were actually pleased with the conditions. Motor sailed to get an extra knot, well needed in opposing current. Coming half way the tide changed and we got two knots following current along the northwest coast of Martha’s Vineyard, arriving in Vineyard Haven shortly after four pm.
Anchored close to Nanny, just outside the breakwater, in between “hundreds” of mooring buoys.
Magnus and Liv came in their dinghy and we had a pleasant evening with lots of talk, we had more or less not met in Newport because of weather and we occupied with Annika’s brother and his big boat.
Sea Breeze came and anchored outside the mooring buoys during the evening, after they finally got their license to be able to sail US waters.
23 May Wednesday Martha´s Vineyard
Quiet night with a lot of rain. Woke up to a cloudy sky where the sun had started to get through.
Nanny left for Boston and we spent most of the day touring the island with our relatives on Sea Breeze. Used the busses and visited Oak Bluff where we had a coffee and then Edgartown. Very touristic and prices adjusted to that. Had lunch in Edgartown on a veranda overlooking the protected waters off Edgartown.
Spent the afternoon on the bus looking at the lighthouse at the south west cape and then back to Vineyard Haven and Moon. The day was finalized over dinner in Sea Breeze and that was the end of our social event with the crew of Sea Breeze
24 May Thursday Martha´s Vineyard – Rockport, Cape Ann, Massachusetts 83 nm
We were almost ready to pull anchor at sunrise to time the tide in Cape Cod Canal.
Motored slowly nearby Sea Breeze to say good bye. We had no wind through the first sound where we had almost three knots following current. The sound change direction several times making the current pushing you sideways sometimes. Without GPS it’s a challenge to keep on track!
Across to Cape Cod Canal we had almost no wind and motored slowly not to come before the tide changed in the canal.
The canal is ten miles and lined with trees all the way, except for the north entrance that have industries and a power plant. Swell from the ocean met the tide from the canal, making the entrance full of braking waves. We kept close to western shore and as soon as we got out we turned left before the markers, following a local fishing boat out of the turbulent water.
A cold northeasterly made it impossible to sail towards Cape Cod, 20 miles to east, and we followed the coast sailing with only headsails in 60 degrees of wind.
The predicted south westerly came after an hour and we hoisted the main and got full speed in increasing wind from behind.
We decided not to sail to Boston, which had been a dead downwind sail, and instead head for Portland, either over night or a stopover on Cape Ann late evening. The sea state became quite rough but Moon kept on “flying” along, making eight knot through water.
The wind increased to almost gale force the last dark hour before we could turn in between two red and green lighted markers and in leeward of the cape lower the sail. Ten o´clock the anchor was set and we could rest after a full day and 83 nm from Martha´s Vineyard, in spite a very slow start the first twenty miles.
25 May Friday Rockport, Cape Ann – Richmond Island, Maine 58 nm
We woke up just after sunrise and weigh anchor before breakfast to get going at seven.
We had very good and stable wind the first hours, but then it starts to decrease. We waited, but finally we engage the engine. Only ten minutes later the wind came back in full force, stronger than during the morning, for half an hour. This time we waited until the wind came back.
Rest of the day we had good wind almost close to gale, but with not as high sea compared to yesterday and got full speed all the way to Richmond Island where we anchored shortly before five. The bay is supposed to be rolly, but we anchored close to a causeway protecting us from the south west wind.
26 May Saturday Richmond Island – Sheepscot Bay 30 nm
Overcastted and little rain when we woke up.
The bay was in fact an island with a broken causeway to mainland. The island protecting from south east swell and the causeway from south west to north…
We didn´t roll at all where we had anchored, but another sailboat had anchored closer to the entrance and looking at that boat we understood the comment about a rolly anchorage! Don’t understand why they didn’t go further in to protected water behind the causeway. Plenty of room where we anchored.
We got going before breakfast to get to our planned anchorage before the rain.
No wind and long swell gave us quite a rolly trip. We are very happy that we have our centerboard that stabilizes Moon much better than a “normal” heavy keel.
Lots of lobster floats to keep track of.
We are now in cold waters and lots of “new” birds, seal and whales are around. We are really heading the right way.
Shortly after one o’clock we anchored in our bay behind three rocks protecting the entrance to the sea.
The tide is now three meters making it more important to keep track of the depth.
27 May Sunday Sheepscot Bay.
The predicted strong wind during the night became a no show! Absolutely quiet, but offshore we could read up to twenty knot from northeast, the reason for us to stay in this cove.
We move a bit during high water slack because the protecting rocks are almost under water.
We had fog last night but today there is almost a sun in the sky.
We will stay in this bay, waiting for southerly wind on Monday. We are in need of some rest after all our social contacts the last week and three days of long “hard” sailing in cold weather.
Yesterday we had contact with John and Cheryl to plan our visit to their new house some miles north of the Canadian border.
We met them first time while wintering in Lagos Portugal 2005 and later in Malaysia and Thailand where they visited our repair of our new boat.
They have sailed a big 50+ Oyster which sold the other year after more than ten years on the Oceans. They are now landlubbers with a new house.
We have many new friends in conjunction with our cruising life, but John and Cheryl are in fact the first we met that we still have in contact.
John have made some preparation for us to clear customs in St Andrews and reserved a mooring for Moon. We hope the customs are as nice and effective as their colleagues on Canadian West coast where we have been using their services many times.
Annika & Björn