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Date: 27 Sep 2010 03:23:00
Title: Moored among the casinos

39:22.628N 74:25.590W Sunday night

We were up early again and left our New Jersey marina at 0630. The Hudson was quiet to start with but we still passed a massive combination of barges being pushed by a single tug. The tugs have a high-rise bridge on top of the usual one so that the skipper can see over the barges in front. After that, we passed a cruise liner called Norwegian Dawn that we saw previously in Halifax. As we carried on towards the sea, we passed Ellis Island where millions of immigrants were processed and then the Statue of Liberty. The statue is more attractive in real life and has a lovely green patina. It's hard to get the scale of it, though and it was too early for anyone to be wandering around it to give it some perspective.

As we headed out to the open sea, the locals were getting about and we saw plenty of sport fishing boats anchored up. I thought the view of Manhatten over the top of Coney Island was particularly impressive as you could see the whole skyline in one go, even though we were well out to sea by then. As we headed out, the sea got a bit lumpy and stayed uncomfortable all day with the waves coming from the port quarter. It wasn't windy enough to sail and we had too far to go so we motor-sailed all day making good time but getting pitched around all over the place.

I got a good snooze in before lunch but it was hard to sleep properly with the motion. After lunch, Kali got some kip and I carried on with just the genoa poled out and the engine running. As we neared Atlantic City, the weather got worse and we could see lighting out to sea. By the time we came into the entrance channel, it was blowing around 20 knots on the beam, dark and raining. Not nice. We found the first buoys OK but the later ones aren't charted because they get moved all the time. That's OK but they're not lit either so you have no idea where to look for them in the dark. With that and the waves, it was all a bit too stressful for my liking.

Things calmed down as we got inside the breakwaters and then we just had to work out where the tight turn is into the inner harbour and the marinas. We found an easy to access hammerhead pontoon and got ourselves moored alongside just before collapsing with hunger and tiredness. As we did so, the rain started to hammer down again so we didn't bother going up to the office or restaurants but just had a lovely chilli from the freezer.

This place has to be about the strangest we've seen in the USA. We're in a huge marina that's half empty and part of the Trump complex of casinos. All around us are massive square hotels with neon signs. They're all casinos of almost Las Vegas proportions but without any of the crazy charm. Some are lit with neon stripes and one is entirely covered by a moving billboard of slogans and cartoons. The lights are so bright that the sky itself is lit up and the clouds look as though they're illuminated from inside. It's ironic that they can light every inch of their buildings but not their navigation marks. It boggles my mind that people can be so gullible as to pay to go on holiday to a place whose only purpose is to take all their money before they leave but, hey, it's a free country.

Harvey

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