Thursday, August 2, 2007

We Woke Up In A City That Never Sleeps!

Port Washington, New York
40 49.6N 73 42.9W

WOW! What a day. We left Sandy Hook early this morning and sailed/motored up to New York City. The first major landmark was the Verazzano Narrows Bridge, huge, spectacular and as soon as you go under it you can see the towers of Manhattan off in the distance.

As we progressed up the harbour through the commercial traffic the Statue Of Liberty started to come into view and then almost suddenly we were right there, astonishingly in the era of terrorism you can still sail right up to it, we were in company with another boat so spent quite a while motoring around in front of it for one of the great the photo opportunities of the world. It was very strange to be here, somewhere so familiar and have sailed there rather than flown.

The tides on the East River are pretty fierce, so we unfortunately had a to tear ourselves away, we motored on past Ellis Island and up to The Battery for more photographs and then right off the ferry terminal, 100 metres from Battery Park, our engine died! There we were no power, no wind, lots of ferries and commercial boats and four knots of current washing us towards the rocks! First job was to throw the anchor over which thankfully dug in and stopped us, next thing was to think how much money it would cost to get towed to a marina in NYC and pay for the repair bills. Nothing motivates like the back pocket so it was time for swearing and spanners.

Luckily I soon worked out that some idiot had turned off the port fuel tank valve in Atlantic City and not turned it on again (once I find out who sneaked onto the boat and did that he will be in dreadful trouble!) and so we had simply run out of fuel. I turned the tank back on, bled the fuel system, and a much sweatier, smellier but greatly relieved person emerged on deck to give Linda the good news. Meanwhile she had been sitting on deck watching ferries flash past 3 feet away swearing at the bloody idiots anchored in NYC, and waiting for the arrival of a SWAT team to take down the terrorists! We had radioed on Ch16 about ten times that we were immobilised, had called Coast Guard and Water Police but on one of the busiest harbours in the world not one response!

We lifted the anchor, which thankfully wasn't attached to any dead bodies and then returned to relaxed cruising as we motored under the Brooklyn Bridge, past the UN, the Empire State, Roosevelt Island etc etc and through the infamous Hell Gates and out into Long Island Sound. As an aside there is a ludicrous anti terrorism law saying you can't get within 150 yards of the UN building in a boat or they will intercept you and can use "lethal" force but you can drive underneath it in a truck on the public freeway! Thus the delegates are saved from yachties throwing stones at them (I am guessing a rocket launcher has a range over 150 yards) but are still subject to the threat of a truck bomb!

We are now in Port Washington, the town they filmed Meet The Parents in, and will stay here a few days while we explore New York City on foot and pick up the next set of visitors.

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