Thursday September 13, 2012
Don’t feel so special Johnny Depp, we found Worlds End as well.
Now that we had our mast back up and were technically a sailboat again we could have done a little sailing down the Hudson but continued to motor on. When we left in the morning we were surrounded by the Catskill Mountains which were large rolling hills filled with trees. The change of scenery was nice and we finally began to feel like we were in a new place, seeing things we didn’t see on a daily basis in our normal lives. And now that we had space again in the cabin (the 9.9 motor and the table were no longer on the floor) Matt was gung ho about cleaning and organizing. This suited me just fine since it was mandatory that I stay behind the wheel. Using autopilot and having the Nook in my hand was just an added bonus. As he started to clear out our tool bag which was a nightmare to find anything when you needed it, he also decided to switch around where half our things are stored. I think the only things that didn’t get moved were my clothes and the food.
While enjoying my ‘couldn’t put down’ book I’d steal glances up every 60-90 seconds to make sure we were keeping course and change the autopilot accordingly. For the first few hours it was only hills surrounding us and then occasionally they would be spotted with small homes. The further we continued south though, the larger the homes would grow. It went from ‘Oh look, shack’ to ‘Oh look, homes’ to ‘Oh look, really nice homes’ and by the time we got to Kingston there were mansions surrounding us. It was the most scenic day we’ve had so far and Matt missed almost all of it while he was cleaning below.
The time we were coming upon the nice homes was also the time the sun was getting low and we needed to start thinking of a place to anchor for the night. We were in between Waterway Guides at the moment and relying on Skipper Bob’s Handbook all our information. Just as I pulled it out to have a look I saw that we were coming up on a harbor listed, but it was only 4:30 and we still wanted to get a few more hours in. Searching ahead further there were two places listed in the 10-15 mile range that we wanted to hit that night, but both were restaurants that you could tie up to overnight should you choose to dine there. Their lobster and crab menus were more than our macaroni budget could afford and we’d have to pass them by. What I did see though was another sailboat that we had been a few miles behind all day and figured they’d have to anchor as well so we should follow them and see where they ended up.
Trying to catch up to them I started cutting corners and (safely) hugging buoys instead of traveling down the middle of the river. Still taking time to appreciate the mega mansions and estates in Poughkeepsie we tailed this boat until the sun went down and they were still going. I’m not a huge fan of navigating channels and rivers in the dark but we had no choice to keep going as well since the banks at this point of the river went from 90 ft to 5 ft in just a few seconds. After another hour when there was barely enough light in the sky to see, our lead boat noticed another boat anchored off to the side and cut over to join it. Inspecting our charts the area didn’t look big enough to hold three boats and we continued on. Just a mile or two past that when things were getting really dark I kept seeing a signal on our AIS but could not see the boat listed headed toward us in the water. Getting really confused and curious I brought up the AIS data on it and found out it was a 56 ft pleasure cruiser and when we finally made out it’s lights in the dark we could see it was anchored off to the side. Consulting the charts once again it looked like a good area and we dropped anchor in the dark, setting it into the muddy ground.
Getting an early start the next morning we wanted to get to a listed anchorage about 20 miles north of NYC to ensure we could then make it there decently early Friday. In a racing mood still I was cutting corners again trying to make this passage as short as possible. We were still surrounded by large granite hills full of trees with McMansions dotted across them. Just five miles in from where we had anchored was Pollepel Island with the ruins of Bannerman Castle. The years and weather had had taken their toll on the building but there are still tours of the castle and the island. After passing that I was checking the winding river on the chartplotter to see how to cut the angles best when I saw that we were coming up on what was called Worlds End. It seems to me that you would associate that name with some desolate place that was gray and dark but this area had gorgeous rocky bluffs and a nice bay for marinas. Still haven’t been able to figure that one out yet.
Just after we went through Worlds End we came up on one of the places Matt was most excited about seeing, West Point. When we came up to it from the north end of the river it didn’t look like much, and definitely not as historically important as it’s supposed to be. I snapped a few photos of a church and a statue that were barely visible, and sat back, a little disappointed. But after rounding a sharp corner the original building from 1802 was sprawled out across the river and was actually a little breathtaking. Way to redeem yourself West Point!!
The rest of the afternoon didn’t have a lot to offer, a few large bridges and and a big bay. Many of the other sailboats out that day were going along with full sails up, but we were tired and didn’t want to have to go through the work of raising ours. Plus at the end of the bay was the spot we were anchoring for the night. After dropping hook at 4:00 it was nice to finally be able to relax and I sat in the cockpit enjoying a margarita. There was also free time to download new photos and generally not have to be glued to the wheel. Since we also had plenty of daylight left I was able to grill a nice dinner of bbq chicken which was a nice upgrade from the can of soup we made the other night at twilight. Debating on cleaning up in the Hudson or taking a cockpit shower I chickened out at the last minute and resorted to a late night cockpit shower. All that’s left now is an early bed time and heading to New York City first thing in the morning!!