Sheltering at Sea, Part 3: Staten Island to Atlantic City

Moon over Atlantic City

Sunday, April 5, 2000 HR (8 PM)

It’s not too cold. I’m not wearing my wool cap, and my nose and hands are warm. I’m in the stern cabin. Through the thick plexiglass port I can see a blurry moon.

We’re starting our second night in Great Kills Harbor in Staten Island. We arrived midafternoon yesterday. To Vov’s delight, we were able to anchor in the same spot he’d kept Nemo. The mooring field is empty-ish; there were a few boats moored, but most haven’t come out of their winter quarters yet. We could see a few people in the spit of land surrounding the mooring field, but they were distant and far off.

We used the time to catch our breath, and do some basic housekeeping. Vov fished, and caught five shad. We boiled them and ate them with mayonnaise. They were delicious, despite the mouthful of bones.

Fishing in Staten Island

It was surreal watching Vlad fish within the borders of New York City. Technically we didn’t need to, of course. We had plenty of food.

But it was a sort of test-drive for times to come… as was our laundry routine. Today was sunny, and we hadn’t had the opportunity to wash clothes for a week before we launched. So we washed laundry on the wings of the boat, and hung the clothes up to dry. To wash, we used buckets filled with seawater and biodegradeable soap, with our limited freshwater reserved for the final rinse.

Vov also repaired the rudder on my kayak; he’d brought his tools and fiberglass repair kit along with. Not something I would have thought of!

Meanwhile, I curled in my tiny cabin and worked. The aft cabin isn’t large enough to stand up in, although I can sit up straight (with crossed legs) in the middle, on the cushion that covers the entire floor. Most of the time I brace myself with my back against one wall and my feet against the far wall, balancing the laptop against my knees. It’s more comfortable than it sounds, and Mully often likes to crouch in the cave under my knees.

Today Mully explored the boat a bit more. He also ate (and by all appearances, greatly enjoyed) the shad. Now he’s with me in bed, alternately sitting on me, walking over me, and perched in very unlikely positions on the slanting walls.

Vov is asleep already in the main cabin.

We haven’t really talked about where we’re headed next, other than that the next sheltered anchorage is Atlantic City, a 90-to-100 mile straight shot down the coast. Vov thinks it shouldn’t be too difficult to do all in one go with the right wind, which should arrive very early tomorrow morning (between one AM and three AM). That sounds grueling, but he’s up for it; and not so long ago, during the Everglades Challenge, we were both sailing through the night as a matter of course. So he’s gone to be bed early to catch a few hours of sleep.

We both have a strong strong sense of urgency to get down south.

Staten Island to Atlantic City

Partly it’s the weather, which can be variable this time of year. Supposedly we’re getting snow again in the northeast, and high winds are on the way.

Partly is that we we won’t be into a really comfortable harbor until we’re in the Chesapeake Bay. And partly it’s the same uncanny premonition that’s driven both of us since before we met, the feeling that something bad was going to happen, and we needed to be prepared. What, exactly, that “preparedness” entailed we were still discovering. But heading south seems to be part of it.

Mully is restless. I need to let him out a bit more. But not just yet….

It’s quiet except for the sound of tires. Someone is driving on the spit of land close by. And the whir of the air vent that sounds like crickets.

The boat rocks in someone’s wake. It’s the last thing I feel before falling asleep.

Staten Island Sunset

Tuesday April 7. 2138 HR (9:38 PM)

Sound of tiller scraping across hull, lines slapping gently against mast. Beautiful full moon rising over the water. Wind blowing in background.

Yesterday was difficult. We sailed 95 miles from Staten Island to Atlantic City. It was sunny and clear (ish) but cold, with chop. Vov woke up and and launched at 0230 HR. I couldn’t sleep much after we launched, so I got up and tried to work. That didn’t go so well. I felt seasick staring at the screen, so I abandoned the attempt and clambered into the cockpit to keep Vov company.

We arrived in Atlantic City around 1730 and moored. It had been an… exciting ride. We’d averaged between 6 and 7 knots due south, but gone faster over the water when you factored in the jibing. (Jibing is like tacking, except you do it downwind, not into the wind). When the trimaran heels, only two of its hulls are in the water; the other one slices through the air above the waves. And (I would later learn), jibing is the most dangerous type of sailing. So all in all, it was.. exciting.

Today we rested. I worked (depleted all the batteries!) while V napped, showered, and strategized about the trip. For dinner tonight we had sardines and “rice salad” : Garlic, onion, corn, dill, rice, and mayo. I’m calm. Not yet sleepy. I work until midnight, until my laptop runs out of juice.

Atlantic City Sunrise

Weds April 8 0900 HR (9:00 AM)

Cool, overcast, light wind. Preparing to take shower, out on the wings. There’s enough privacy where we are anchored. To shower, we will heat water on the stove, and pump it through the 1-gallon manual pressure sprayer.

This morning when I woke up, there was a feeling of sunshine in the world beyond. Even though it was gray and cold outside, it felt like the sun was rising somewhere.

I felt Mully warm and solid against my stomach, a warm weight between my ribs and hipbone. He sleeps inside the sleeping bag in the mornings. We plan to sail to Cape May today, then anchor for a few days to wait out the winds.

A strong storm front is coming; 50-knot winds are predicted. It will be my first storm at sea (on a sailboat at least.)

Mully and sky

5 responses to “Sheltering at Sea, Part 3: Staten Island to Atlantic City

  1. As always, enjoying your posts. Years ago I sailed all the waters you are now writing about and it brings back wonderful memories. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Looking at your NJ map & remembering all the times my mother would speak of Asbury Park and Red Bank… Exciting voyage reading & delightful photo of faithful Mully!

    Liked by 1 person

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