Monday, 29 August 2016

SO much to explore - Washington DC, Annapolis…NEW YORK…Long island…Staten Island .

On the NE coast via inland waterways- there’s SO much- Washington DC, Annapolis…NEW YORK…Long island…Staten Island - to explore.

Washington here we come ….    US east coast is SO different from OZ east coast sailing on the Inter Coastal Waterway (ICW) & bridges.   Our mast is 72’ but mates said “we can go up the Potomac river, under the Wilson Bridge, to Washington DC if we ring the bridge operator “. Guess what he opened the main city bridge at 2 am & under we went to anchor under Obama’s helicopter route to the Pentagon!!  Our adrenaline pumped, it’s impossible to judge the height from the helm or deck!!

DC is such a cultural haven of modern art, big politics and founding history - 2 weeks went really fast. Everyday we dinghed to the Capital Yacht Club for tips, cold drinks & met friendly liveonboards. 

We'd walk 4 blocks to The Mall -the rectangle of Smithsonian museums, The Capital/Congress, Art Museums and Lincoln & Luther King sculptures on the lake – all free entry.

At the new Amerindians Museum, Hawaiian week we loved the live music performers, women canoe sailors recounting their journeys in Hawaiian Islands, regional food, artifacts of indigenous settlers- and story of the 19c US takeover of Queen Liliuokalani’s Kingdom.

We ate fresh crab legs then strolled in the summer heat around the lake, to pay our respects to Lincoln and King as leaders in changing their nation. 

Sitting on the steps of the 1960’s civil rights speeches looking ahead at The Jefferson Monument- sent shivers up our spines.  

The Memorial Day party wasn’t what we expected. The noise of the bikies Mall ride of 1000 Harley's all weekend left us deaf & bemused. The street parade of US history was more entertaining.

The stunning Beaux Arts Gallery, collection of impressionist painters, with no crowds was moving. 

The Hirshhorn gallery & garden  sculptures of US is designed to evoke history, struggles and freedom.

 As diehard West Wing fans we too visited the Capital & Whitehouse to stare past security fences to imagine the Oval room antics.

Next stop was Annapolis MD a charming harbor…. WE waved the bridge operator goodbye, to motor 30 miles up the Chesapeake River, famous for Indian lands, British battles and crabs.  

On entering we picked up a buoy 50ft from the town- damn good- $35 a night showers & laundry in the heart of this 17C village.  

Leslie & Terry our cruising friends from the Bahamas welcomed, showed us town & took us for best crab cake lunch at Middleton's tavern & on a terrific fun weekend cruise to St Michaels Annual Boat Festival across the bay.  

We’ve never seen a display of period boats on water. From restored 1800’s oyster boats to 1970s classic motor cruisers in a small village- have to admire those early fishing & sailing pioneers eh.

A surprise was meeting Gwen & Guillaume of Slow Waltz here , mates of good friends at a great old bar enjoying tales of our Caribbean cruising, tasting local brews & Maine mussels.

Again we waved goodbye to begin our first canal trip at 7.15am motoring the C&D canal.   We got to see a working Tallship Kamar Nykel in full rig sails pass us. This canal is 12m long  full of barges & 6 bridges, to arrive at the end by 1.30 pm. Then!! A VHF radio gale-force wind warning stopped us, quickly anchoring on the Delaware river in rain, thunder & 25kt. Yep we stayed the night to rest before the Atlantic Ocean.

Grand Victorian Mansions line the Cape May coast New Jersey our next stop at a B&B historic destination are grant and magnificent.

WE took our usual ‘step -go ashore, walk the town & follow the crowd - Can we come in? 
It’s the Beer festival, is it dress up?  Gwen & Guillaume arrived so we joined them for dinner .

WE have to say WE Enjoy and Revel
in being part of the boating community:
Everyone always waves, gives helpful tips & support, has a thirst for sunset drinks, welcomes us as friends and are open to adventures with all kinds of people Like & NOT like US!!!  WE like to reciprocate too! Thanks to our cruising mates!

Next morning we left to sail overnight behind Slow Waltz on the Atlantic for 110 nms, in 12-15knts on a reach, to make the sth entry into Sandy Hook, New York state at sunrise, our first sight was barges in the NY harbor.

Life’s IS exhilarating seeing NYC skyline in the horizon … but too expensive to visit at $250 US a night in a marina. Mates gave us tips to get a mooring at Great Kills Harbor, Staten Island (a train/ferry ride to NYC). Yeah we lucked it!  In time for Sheryle & Phil’s long-awaited arrival to celebrate her 60th birthday & our cruising Pinnacle for 2 wks. Love it when a plan comes together! (Even with Laryngitis). 

Let our holiday of NYC fun begin!!  We had a great plan- on July 11th Bday when the sun’s up- cruise up to the Statue of Liberty!  We floated with fishing charters & ferries in front of her. It’s a tricky tidal passage the East river, Manhattan which Bruce handled brilliantly!!!!!!  

Steering thru the currents from Battery Point to Governor’s Island, under Brooklyn & Wilson Bridges, past United Nations Bldg., Queens and the infamous Ricker Island (massive prison). WE High 5’d it thru scary Hells Gate in an ebb tide which wasn’t churning at all.

Sunny skies above, 5 hrs later we turned into Long Island Sound to arrive at Port Washington in time for our party  - champers, AHOY  “pin the spout on a whale” & Shez’s Birthday French Bistro surprise.
 Oh what a Night…

The LIRRail is 45 mins to Penn stn., plus our NYCgo pass gave us lots of choices (& Lorna’s must see tips).  We stayed away from Time SQ .  At the MET cabaret fundraiser- off Broadway performers sang moving personal tributes to Orlando victims.
The Highline walk in 90f heat was v.relaxing above street level. The Guggenheim is fantastic yet we liked the new Whitney Gallery 5 levels of glassed light rooms filled with mod art statements.

Gina wanted to follow the tracks of Patti Smith & Robert Mapplethorpe’s NY lives in the 70’s & their bohemaina musical & artistic roots, so we went to iconic places like John& Yoko’s Dakota Bldg, Hotel Chelsea & El Quiljote bar of poets & Woodstock musicians fame.   

Café Wha where Hendrix songs are still played & the Decker bldg. Warhol’s Factory studio. Long live the 70’s revival!

A big wave goodbye, to Sheryle & Phil on the water taxi after a hoot of a special holiday together!

Next week our NW friends Roni & James came on board for a week, giving us heaps of cheek, sailing the Long Island Sound & visiting her hometown of Connecticut. It’s wonderful to cruise with sailors who know the lands.  

They took us to storybook Thimble Islands with colonial homes on rocky treed islets to anchor in this magic place and to visit their friends who run a swish B&B overlooking the water.  OMG James also helped work on the Heads(loo)- yes true mates.

We drove together to Mystic Seaport an authentic historic village boat museum and spent the day having loads of fun & instructions on learning how to make barrels, be rescued by a life rope, rope making and working on oyster boats. Sadly we said our goodbyes too soon til we meet again.

All season we planned to reach Sag Harbour to catch up with oz mates Maryvonne & Shane who live on Gem and are captain/host on Tabula Rasa, a 65ft cruiser.

What a chance to see the Hampton villages, homes of rich & famous americans and enjoy their local vibe.

They really looked after us! -making us welcome on a safe mooring & took us on a great tour of THE HAMPTON villages “Portsea on steroids “, telling us true stories of residents like Jimmy Buffet, Calvin Klein, J Lo & a night at a beach fire with local boaters to play. 

We’re SO jealous, they’ve discovered the best of worlds, sailing & working & playing hard on both boats between Sag & Florida 6 mths yr. round!! Now with Miss Rigby as crew too!

We wanted to stay longer BUT our decision to sell WYUNA this season means  it’s time to head Sth again, (to get ready for Annapolis Boat Show- go to Catamaran Company Yacht Sales and add Wyuna  -For Sale).  

Now we’re are back in Great Kills Harbour and really hoped get together with Glenda & Mark (Oz/NY’rs) old friends.  Hurray yesterday we had  a special Sunday lunch on board, relaxing & exchanging jokes of OZ vs US ways, (like we say root & they say raht – spelt route), dilemmas of our 60,s, debating the state of our nations & simply enjoying our friendship.

YES it’s true 5 yrs of sailing adventures in paradise & our last HaRa on Wyuna is coming near, we can’t wait to sail overnight to Cape May this week, then inland to Annapolis by 1 October.

We,ll have to take it from there, having applied for a visa extension our dates are in THE  air.  

We will let you know by FB & email our plans to come home to our families and mates!!


Gina & Brucee xo

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