Thursday was another glorious day—sunny, warm and dry. Our destination was Croton-on-Hudson, just south of West Point. We had never cruised up the Hudson, and we weren’t sure we were going to have another opportunity because we will be bringing Curiosity down to Florida in October and might keep her there permanently. So we planned to cruise north as far as West Point and then turn around and stop for the night at Croton-on-Hudson.
We pulled out of Jersey City at 8:10 AM and entered NY Harbor right in the middle of the morning rush hour. There were ferries everywhere. The Staten Island Ferry, the many, many New York Waterway ferries, and a bunch of other ferries. In addition, there were commercial ships and myriad pleasure craft. The Harbor was a zoo. But with the help of AIS, we threaded our way through the maze of traffic, which lasted until the George Washington Bridge. After that, it was beautiful cruising. The water was calm, the wind was light and the visibility was excellent.
A little more than an hour after we passed under the George Washington Bridge, we came to the Tappan Zee Bridge, which is undergoing a major construction project. A completely new bridge is being built right next to the old bridge, which will be decommissioned when the new one is done. When the new bridge is finished it will be the widest bridge in the world and will accommodate high speed bus lanes and possibly commuter trains.
Jim was aware of the project when we were planning the trip, so when we were within about a mile and a half from the bridge we hailed the tugs to find out if there were any special instructions for passing through the construction zone. We knew, for example, that at various times either the east or west side of the span would be closed to boat traffic. On Thursday, however, there were no limitations except that passing boats had to proceed at a “no wake” speed. We slowed down to 5 kts and went through.
As we neared the construction zone, we could really appreciate the engineering complexity of this project. There were at least three huge cranes on floating barges at the main span and numerous tugs and miscellaneous other boats milling about. They were trying to maneuver into place an enormous bridge section, being suspended by a huge crane. This required the tugs to move the barge carrying the crane with the segment into place and to keep it there so that segment could be lowered and secured. No easy feat. In fact, about a week before there had been a crane accident that closed the bridge for hours and snarled traffic for miles.
After the Tappan Zee Bridge, it was smooth sailing up to West Point. On our way, we passed the famous Sing Sing Prison.
West Point sits on a point of land on the west side at a bend in the river. When you approach from the south, the academy starts to loom above the water as you round the bend. It’s very impressive.
That section of the Hudson is mostly wide curving expanses of water with sloping tree-covered cliffs on the west side and lower tree-covered banks on the east side. Occasional small communities dot the banks, and water fowl dive for the numerous fish that jump out of the water. We passed a large sailing ship the Kalmar Nyckel, which is a replica of the Dutch-built armed merchant ship famed for carrying settlers to North America in 1638 to establish the colony of New Sweden. Apparently, after a falling out with the Dutch West India Company, Peter Minuit sold his services to Sweden and helped to found the New Sweden Colony in Wilmington, Delaware. Who knew??
Just before 3 PM, we pulled into the marina at Half Moon Bay. The marina is situated on the banks of Haverstraw Bay, a wide bay on the east bank. The depths across Haverstraw Bay were good, no less than 10 feet. The depths at the dock were less, but we were assured there was no problem in the marina itself. And so it proved to be, at least when we were docking (more on that later).
Steve, the marina manager, was very friendly and accommodating. After we docked, he came by and gave us information on local restaurants and other businesses, provided us with a map and gave us a tour of the property. We needed to get a few supplies, so we hiked over to the local natural foods market, Green and Grain. It was good to get off the boat and stretch the legs. We also had the opportunity to see a bit of Croton-on-Hudson. It was a nice community, but not too much there, at least from what we could see by foot. So we returned to the boat and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.
Dinner was at Umami Café. This was about a mile walk from the marina. Not too bad. At first we thought there would be a significant wait for a table because there were about 6 people waiting and the restaurant did not take reservations. But they were all part of the same party. After they were seated, so were we.
The Umami Café is an eclectic, Asian fusion/Mexican/American eatery. Very casual, brightly colored, loud and with a mix of people from families with young children to senior ladies. We ordered Peking duck quesadillas and umami salad. The quesadillas were different, but quite good. The salad had greens, jicama, papaya and an Indonesian peanut dressing. Very good. For a main course we split the bibimbap. Bibimbap is a Korean rice bowl with vegetables, grilled chicken and a sauce. Now, we had never heard of bibimbap before Tuesday of that week when we were watching a cooking show that featured it. When we saw it on the menu we had to order it. We loved it. We’re not sure it was the best example of bibimbap, but to our uneducated taste buds, it was very tasty.
It turned out to be a very pleasant evening. We enjoyed the cooler temperatures and our walk back to the boat.
Tomorrow we cruise down the Hudson to Staten Island and the Great Kills Yacht Club in Great Kills Harbor.