Navigating Erie Canal, Hudson River to New York City and sailing south to Hampton, VA

I know it took me more than wanted to put new post on this blog. Reasons for that were far more serious than me just being lazy. I’ve never anticipated to be 33 and get sick to the point my life is in danger? I always thought of myself being active and therefore healthy… Well, that is obviously not entirely true! Thanks to great great people I got second chance to live.

Back to our sailing adventure. Like I wrote above it took me way to long to write about sailing on the Erie canal and now we are to far from there and I want to write few lines about it as well. I will do my best to cover the Erie canal adventure in more details some other time.

The Erie Canal and Hudson River

As you can read on Wikipedia, for example, the Erie canal is a waterway consist of man made canals, rivers and lakes which connect small town of Tonawanda, the Great Lakes, and Hudson River just north of Troy and Albany, the Atlantic Ocean. This was the most important passage in North America’s history which made possible for USA and Canada to rapidly develop their young nations and economy.Erie Canal It also helped many people to run away from the Old World in order to avoid in most cases religious prosecutions. Today, the Erie Canal is not in commercial use anymore. New York State made a great decision when they put this passage back in use for recreational use so people can enjoy beautiful scenery, hospitality of local people and many lockmasters on their way just as we did. Let me put it this way; our plan was to motor along the canal for a week or two and get to NYC as soon as possible. We ended up staying on the canal for over a month!

In one of my previous post I put a map of my erie canal bicycle route which was incredible adventure on its own.

Sailing down the Hudson river was an adventure as well. Just south from Albany we stepped our mast up and continued to Saugerties from where the river gets wider and tidal effect so clear. Hudson is big and mighty river and if you don’t take tides into account sailing on it can be very unpleasant and rough. Places like Bear Mountain and Catskill area are beautiful so you might find yourself exploring longer than anticipated just as we did. Further south and just couple of miles north from George Washington Bridge we anchored overnight with NYC skyline on the horizon.

NYC to Hampton, VA

Two months later and we were on our way again. Terrible illness, hospital and recovery made me swear to myself never to return. I have never got the Big Apple nor ever seen myself live in it. At first, couple of years ago, I was impressed with it. I tried to live there for a couple of months but finally it became obvious that to me this is a place for visiting only! By the time I got strong again we could not leave as Superstorm Sandy Hudsonwas on its way and we had to move our boat to the “safe” place. Idea was to put it on a mooring ball so it can swing and be away from other boats. After days of research we picked the Great Kills on Staten Island. It was a wise decision as we were one the few surviving boats in that bay after the storm. We had some damage but we were able to continue again by the 11th of November.

It was cold and windy when we left the Great Kills bay and continued south along the Jersey Coast. First night we anchored in the Shark River bay with another sailboat from Canada. Next day we continued south with relatively strong north wind and choppy seas. By 1300 hours we were in Barnegat Inlet from where we went inside through shallow waters to the anchorage just north of Little Egg Harbor where we had to stay two days as the weather got bad again. Coming out from Little Egg Harbor inlet can be tricky business. If you have strong wind as we had Jersey Coaston you nose shallow water can help swells to build up to 15 to 20 ft easily! It was not pleasant at all and a bit dangerous! Once we were out North winds and long waves helped us to sail into the Cape May inlet just after sunset. There are several expensive marinas in the bay and a canal which leads to Delaware Bay. At first we thought it is going to be easy to sail north to C&D Canal. Next morning when we got to the Delaware Bay we realizes it’s not going to be easy at all. We went back and waited for the next day and little less wind. Delaware Bay is relatively width on its southern part and with northern winds can get really choppy and unpleasant. Once you get further north it Chesapeake Citygets more narrow so the waves are not as big as they were at its mouth and sailing becomes more pleasant again. I’d say that after the Erie Canal anchoring at the mouth of Cohansey River was the first night to have perfectly calm water. It was beautiful and peaceful as was the C&D canal and on the free docks in South Chesapeake City, Maryland the following day.

Leaving C&D canal behind us was a bit sad. It got cold again and were back into the wilderness of choppy seas and relatively strong winds again. Chesapeake Bay was one of the places I wanted to see when I first came to USA. But I missed it. The area is beautiful and the place of significant role in the American history. The area where one of the first american settlers found their home. After a relatively peaceful night in Worton Creek we continued south to Annapolis where we left out boat on mooring ball for a Annapolisweek and left to Dayton, Ohio for a Thanksgiving holiday. Annapolis is the second most beautiful town I visited in USA after Boston. So much history here. Thousands of sailboats, pleasant people and European-like architecture, narrow streets, shops and cozy restaurants. The place to stay!  In our case it was just a quick stop and couple of days later we were on the move again. As we had enough of cold we were fast and in less than two days we were in Hampton, VA. Our mast needed some repairs so we decided to do it here in Sunset Marina. From here we will continue south through the ICW and more about this part of our sailing adventure in one of my next posts.


2 Replies to “Navigating Erie Canal, Hudson River to New York City and sailing south to Hampton, VA”

  1. Hi my name is Donna and I just wanted to drop you a quick note here. I came to your blog via Navigating Erie Canal, Hudson River to New York City and sailing south to Hampton, VA from Google. That’s a great story!

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