Swimming off the back of Saxon Blue

Saxon Blue's Blog
Harvey Jones and Andrea Stokes
Sat 25 Sep 2010 00:54
40:49.954N 73:44.289W Friday night

We had another good day of travelling today (80 odd miles) and got lots of other stuff done on the way. Andrea and I were up ready to raise the anchor at 0600 but it wasn't quite light so we had a cup of tea and waited for 20 minutes. I think the difference is that we've been heading mostly West so the sun comes up and goes down a bit later each day. It was muggy and a bit misty as the sky lightened and we got underway.

The first bit of navigation was tricky through an area of shoals and rocks so I was glad I'd plotted it the night before. As we got clear of that, the mist got thicker and then the Coastguard Bark Eagle loomed up out of it with people on the foredeck ringing the bell as a fog signal. She looked beautiful sitting there. For the next hour or so, we were concentrating on dodging ferries and fast fishing boats, some of them paying scant regard to courtesy. By the time Kali and Sam emerged at about 0800, the mist had cleared and we'd gone past the busy entrance to Long Island Sound so things calmed down a bit.

I spent some time checking that the air-con was going to work which it sort of did but with some problems that we'll need to add to the warranty list. The day just got hotter and hotter, as did the water temperature which was about 26 degrees C at one point. I spent a while reading a book by Farley Mowat, a Canadian environmentalist. I've read about him but I was surprised at how well and persuasively he writes. His descriptions of the people of Newfoundland were perfectly pitched and married up exactly with the admirable qualities that we found there.

As we motored West along Long Island Sound, the traffic began to pick up again until we were surrounded by yachts, fast motor boats and huge barges being pushed by cool-looking tugs. The sky is dotted with planes - in fact, each time we think we can see a star, it's actually another plane. We're anchored up in one of the last bays before we get to New York city itself as it was too late to attempt to find our way through the maze and into a safe harbour in the city itself. There is a 100 odd foot gin palace in front of us and a string of mansions along the shoreline, most with their own pier and dock. There are marinas and mooring buoys further into the bay so we can see masts over there. In all directions, there are lights, both those on the land and many navigation marks in the water. The whole area oozes prosperity.

We got the anchor down just before dark and I couldn't wait to get into the water for a swim after being so hot all day. It was lovely to cool off and I had a good look at our waterline all the way around. I only found one tiny scratch after all that ice so that's impressive. I gave the white boot-top a quick rub off just so we look our best as we enter the big city. It was strange to be actually in the water after looking at it for so long. Strange, too, that we were swimming just outside one of the world's biggest cities when we'd not swum in all the pristine places. Sam was complaining that the water wasn't deep ocean blue - fair enough but it was a lot clearer that the English Channel.

I was surprised how tricky the navigation is around here. There are rocks, islands and shoals everywhere so no wonder the chart is littered with wrecks. I suppose we're coming into New York via the tradesmen's entrance but, still, it's not as clear as I was expecting. I think tomorrow is going to be testing, what with the natural hazards plus the other vessels everywhere. I don't think I'll get to see too much of the sights as we come in - I'll have to keep concentrating. It's exciting, having sailed so far to think that we're about to enter one the world's truly great ports - perhaps the quintessential gateway city.


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