Last day on The Loop. So excited to see home and Family. I can barely contain myself as we cross the lake in calm waters. We are done. Having left from Port Dalhousie Yacht Club September of 2021 and now arriving back in June of 2022 we think we are the first ones to complete the loop from this start point. We are welcomed back with comraderie, hugs and billboards from our friends Patti Jo and Doug on Miss Guided. Thank you for the journey. Thank you for the Friendships. Thank you for allowing us into your day as we can complete this journey. Someone once said just get out there and do it. JUST GO DO IT!
The cool spot on the loop. We love this little spot in Wilson. A very friendly group of folks always greet us at Bootleggers with a restaurant overlooking the marina. If you are lucky the band is playing on the patio just above you so you can enjoy the party from your boat. Pickleball is available but we have never played here. We wander around Clark’s Island and meet some folks from a recipricol yacht club. Only 1 more day and we are home.
We get to see Richard and Jim. ‘nough said. Beers and pizza and having so much fun remininscing that no pics were taken. We always enjoy this stop to see our dear boat friends from our very first journey on Conductance and her purchase. Apt Sea 2 was also on its maiden voyage and purchase to her new home when we met with 3 brothers and a friend taking her home to Rochester. A boater’s bond was formed and now we see each other whenever we pass through each other’s neighbourhood. Thanks for so many memories boys.
We decide to stay here in Oswego for a couple days for a break….and pickleball. There are great courts not far, a well stocked wine, beer store and grocery store available. We figure more boats may show up as there seems to be a front closing in on us which may stop our journey for a few days.
As it turns out we are here for 4 days with a wall full of boats. It’s chilly but we still have lots of docktails and meet new friends. Next Chapter, Sunshine State of MInd, Trouvaille, Gold Dust, and so many others join us for a fun filled few days waiting out for a crossing of Lake Ontario
Today we decide to push a bit to lock 3 on Oswego Canal. This will begin our journey north one again as we begin heading toward Lake Ontario. We have not stayed at Fulton NY before but thought it would be a nice place to hang out so that we can continue the journey. Getting through the Oswego was too far for the day but with only 5 locks left to do we will stop here and enjoy the new surroundings.
The wall at Herkimer is a secret spot we have discovered. It has small homegrown shops, a restaurant, and is free. Walmart is about a 5 minute walk away on the other side of the street so we head over there for a look. This stop is fabulous. The wall itself has no power but water is available from a spigot if needed. Stay to the east end of the wall for 7 plus feet as it shallows to the west end to 3 feet. We stayed here with a sailboat overnight and felt very safe. Very well lit and so nice to sit out on the chairs and tables for a sunset dinner. It is so close to town that this stop is worth more time to explore the history.
We provisioned for the next few days at the local grocery store, Hannaford, and routed our way to lock 8. You must go through the first 6 locks as you cannot stay at any lock. Lock 8 has a nice low wall to tie too. We will be staying on the upper side of the lock. Passing through the first 6 locks is a chore. The locks are close together and it is difficult to take pictures but it is none the less so pretty along here. Trees foreshadow over the black waters as you pass by. The leaves are a becoming full as they lay over the water casting their reflection. The history in these first few locks is seen in the old lock structure. One must take a moment and enjoy the beauty of this part of the journey.
We left early this morning to catch a ride with the tide. The Hudson River has a 2 knt current, or more, because of tides so catching it going your way for part of your journey is beneficial. Cruising through this area we are so happy to be back in the fresh water. I washed the entire boat while at Rondout and the wash water was black and salty. Scott spent the time uploading the pictures we have accummulated from pushing through these nice weather days.
We are passing beyond the Catskills today and leaving with the mountains covered in fog and rain clouds to our north. The journey up the Hudson is a nice leisurely cruise with the twists and turns of the basin. Shoals are more present so many more old lighthouses still stand. Although not manned anymore they are still used as an entrance beacon and fog light when needed. Looking at our marine app we find our old friends from Inked Mermaid are coming toward us. They are hanging out in the Hudson a few more days and seeing the sights before the big pig roast at Shady Harbor. Traveling with us today are Yolo and Taylor’d by 2 who we have not met personally yet but know there boat name from our marine app.
Scott notices that the starboard pod needs gear oil change. It has been plaguing us with a monthly change as the seals are leaking. It is our plan to get the entire boat lifted and seals changed out in the fall but until then a monthly change of oil is on our agenda. The electronics are flaking out a lot more now too. Scott needs some time to research alternatives. Our anchor windless needs an update as he doesn’t trust what we have even though the specs say it is fine for our new anchor.
Only 1 looper left the docks before us today. With over 30 Loopers at this marina there will be several who are looking forward to the Pig Roast at Donovan’s Shady Harbor scheduled this coming weekend. We will not be going as we will be on the Erie Canal already heading toward home
This part of the Hudson River has some of the most beautiful scenery. Again the mountains of the Peekskills pop their rounded peaks out to the sky with the green foliage spotted around the rock face of the sheer faces of the mountains. The combination of the natural colours adds to the smell of the fresh water we now have as we leave the salt for the last time. Heading up the Hudson transfers from salt to brackish, a combination of fresh and salt waters and then to complete fresh as the tributaries and watershed add the waters to the river. I can’t wait to wash the boat tomorrow. She will get a good scrub before heading into the murky waters of the Erie Canal. I want as much salt off her as possible before we head into the locks.
Rondout Yacht Basin is on the Rondout River. It has long floating docks for a side tie and we choose the starboard for the night. It is a short dingy ride to town. A small town with some restaurants where the Ole Savannah Restaurant has free docking for your meal. No power or water. We really needed to slow down to get stuff done so this would not work at this time. We do highly recommend this place though. The town has a wood building workshop, museum and the locals are super friendly.
We will be here for a couple nights because we did find pickleball but also because there is too much we have to do before we leave the USA. We need to research and order parts, catch up on bills and just do adult stuff that we have been neglecting due to the amount of miles we have been traveling.
We take a walk into town and a fellow boater sees Scott’s General Motors Springhill shirt. They start chatting and come to find out that the fellow was the head of the project Scott did while in Springhill for those 2 years. Small world.
I ordered grocery delivery from Walmart which is so convenient.
It will be a long day today. With the excitement of seeing the Statue of Liberty, crossing our wake and cruising the Hudson along New York City we are hoping the day the time passes quickly. The tide will be against us as well making the journey of 50 plus miles take longer.
Leaving at 7 am we travel back up Sandy Hook and turn into the NYC harbour. The entrance to the harbour is already busy with commercial tankers, ferries, all us early risers, and barge tg traffic. We pass the West End Lighthouse, go under the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and can see the city still in the distance. It is a hazy day too. Passing by Brooklyn to our port and New Jersey to our starboard we see the Statue of Liberty standing tall in the morning sun. Even her flame is bouncing light off and looks to glow. As we approach the base Scott puts our boat on Skyhook to keep her in position. Skyhook keeps us in place by monitoring our GPS position and using the engines to keep us stable without a captain. It works brilliantly and we are impressed with its ability. Taking photos of us crossing our wake with our new platinum flag is an unexpected accomplishment. Covid created us doing the loop again and here we are now complete.
As our day continues down the Hudson River we pass many famous sites. Battery Park on the east end of Manhatten, the new Freedom Tower in place of the twin towers, Rockefeller Park where many a movie has been filmed, the retired SS Intrepid aircraft carrier, Empire State Building, Harlem, Washington Bridge and so many more. The river has much traffic moving from one place to another but it is less than we have seen in the past. As we leave the city the Peekskill Mountains begin. The beauty of these ancient Mountains with the new bloomed leaves along the blue/brown of the Hudson is spectacular. We are traveling these waters with several other Loopers who left their various NYC marinas.
At Half Moon Bay Marina we find there are over 30 Looper boats and more coming. The marina is tight but doable. Be sure to radio the dockmaster before getting into the harbour. It is a one way, one boat situation. We are up front on a T head. The marina is close to restaurants, trails and the train to NYC to explore so many of these Loopers will stay longer periods of time. The staff is very helpful and helps us slip in. Heading out for a dock walk to meet the other loopers we are invited to a docktail. We are both tired and need a down day so we stay home. I made stuffed green peppers, checked my next grocery list and Scott rinsed the boat. We made new friends with our slip neighbours, DeeDee and Jon of War Eagle. We hope to meet up with them in a couple days when they head towards the Erie Canal too.
On our last open ocean voyage we are heading into the Sandy Hook area of New Jersey. Our friends from Sunset Delight whom we met in Marathon, FL live here. They suggested coming into Atlantic Highlands for a stop and a different view of New York City. Thank goodness the journey was another light wind day. How did we ever get so lucky to have had such calm winds from Portsmouth, VI? Since we started this entire journey has been dictated by the unpredictable winds, changing plans and aborting some of our journey. We welcome the stable air but it seems odd given the weather has been all over the map for months.
We settle in and find a pickleball court at the marina. Too bad they are so bad that the rubber asphalt stops the ball from bouncing properly. These courts will never be used for pickleball. Tennis, maybe but not pickleball. The ball barely bounces properly. Too bad because they look new and well taken care of but they were constructed wrong.
So we join up with Sunset Delight crew, Evelyn and Clark, and head out to dinner at the marina restaurant. It is an outdoor venue with a great menu. Scott had the salmon and I had an amazing burger. It is always such a great experience meeting up with loopers later on in your journey. New friends that become old friends in such a short time. After dinner the four of us went for a walk in the downtown area and then a nature walk in the highlands. It would be bike ride for another time. As we said so long to Evelyn and Clark we headed back to the boat to prepare for the next part of our journey. We will meet the Statue of Liberty and cross our wake ending our gold loop and becoming a platinum looper.
Atlantic City here we come. The winds are still so reasonable. We head out at our usual time of 7:30 am and start the 50 mile trek to Atlantic City. We do have reservations at the Golden Nugget Marina. The marina is onsite at the casino. The cruise is an uneventful day with 1 foot waves and swells low about 8 seconds apart. Scott kicks the engines up for a short time to give them a good run. We pass the folks that left at daybreak. Almost Home, Cat Bottomed Girl, and a couple others started their journey at least an hour before us.
Cruising along the Jersey shore we see lots of folks starting the day on the beaches. Stretches of glorious, sandy beach dot this shore. There are lots of mega houses as well. With the winds so low, as the day progresses, we do see more and more folks out enjoying the spring sunshine.
About an hour outside AC the winds begin to pick up and we do have some chop. The chop becomes abut 2 foot seas and the swells continue. Approaching the harbour of AC we are tossed around a bit but only for a short duration. The harbour is calm again and we find our slip at Farley State Marina at the site of the Golden Nugget. There are a bunch of Loopers already here and we chat with several. They say to use the pool and the 5 hot tubs on the 6th floor of the Casino. After settling in we head up to the pool and enjoy doing some laps and meeting Into the Mystic, another Looper.
Dinner is on boat and then out for the nightlife that has music blasting the marina. It’s all great. We wander around the Golden Nugget and take night photos of the marina and skyline. We did partake in some gelato from the casino.
As it turns out a boat once owned by Johnny Depp and AK Rowling is here. We noticed it immediately when we came in as it is very different than your average mega yacht. When Johnny owned it he spent $7 mill in renos. AK Rowling owned it for a brief period of 8 months then sold it to the current owner. It has a value of $20 mil. She is a stunningly beautiful yacht made to look like an old ship. Well done woodworking along the entire length of the ship for the guest areas and a pirate plank out front with esquisite hand carved woodwork in the freeboard. She is a beauty.
When checking when to leave Schaffer’s Marina check the currents of the Delaware Bay, and not the C & G canal. The currents will be against you while in the C & G but will become favourable on the Delaware which is a much longer transit. You want to time your exit along the canal to be in your favour heading to Cape May. We decide the best time to leave is when the C & G is against us and the Delaware is going to be against us for about 1/4 of the way. Then it will be in our favour and we will have a push from the tides heading out all the way to Cape May. It is still a long day at 8 knts. Scott decides to pick it up for about an hour while we transit the Delaware just to save some time but also the engines have not worked hard in a long time. We need to blow out some carbon. The bay is fairly flat water. We feel very lucky having so many days in a row to cover the Chesapeake and now the Delaware. Yes, this is the same Delaware that George Washington traveled. There are not many areas to duck in along the coast on the Bay so a good weather window is imperative.
A chop starts to build as we get closer to Cape May but it was still very reasonable. We are heading into Utch’s Marina. It is a bow in only as it is too shallow for stern in. The marina entrance is being dredged and we find 5 feet at the channel. It does deepen upon entering the marina. We find our slip and now I can’t get off the boat. Scott finds a step where I climb over the bow rail, find my footing at the step 3 feet away and then climb down the step. I won’t be getting off often.
At the marina we find so many loopers. We meet several at docktails. It was a fun night getting to hear everyone’s journey and where they are from. Cheers to a great night. We all headed back to the boat at 7:00, Looper’s need down time at home too.
It’s also my birthday so we head out to the nearest restaurant. Lucky Bones has an array of menu options at a reasonable price. Scott had the rack of ribs and I had an amazing cabbage and brussel sprout salad. We even treated ourselves to a chocolate chip cheesecake. After dinner we headed for a short walk and then back to the boat.
We did find pickleball and some folks to play easily accessible with an Uber. Great courts with okay competition but we are happy to have had a few games.