Saturday, August 22, 2009

Haverstraw to Kingston

Kristen here - Today is Saturday 8/22/09. We had yet another exciting journey up from Haverstraw. Chris checked the weather on Friday morning and it was decision time once again. There were supposed to be thunderstorms in the afternoon. I looked around at the sky and there were dark clouds hanging above us. I think they're following us. Chris has this theory that the farther our journey is, the worse the storm will be. With that reasoning Haverstraw to Kingston shouldn't be all that bad. I figured that things couldn't get all that bad on the Hudson, at least compared to the ocean!

I voted for leaving and we did so around 8:30. It was a bit cloudy but overall the morning was uneventful. I napped for a while in the morning while Chris and Poppi steered the boat.

Oh! I forgot to mention that the boat had it's old starting problem again when we left NYC. It started after a minute or so, but had the same problem that we encountered while we were in the Bahamas. Poppi, Chris and I have been brainstorming about what the problem could be, and now we have a bunch of new ideas and projects to tackle. The engine had been working just fine ever since I installed the new anti-siphon valve, so we thought that had been the problem. Maybe it was and this was just a fluke, or maybe it wasn't. We'll wait and see if it happens again.

There are a couple of other things I forgot to mention about our time in Norfolk. First was our wonderful visit with some blog readers. Chris, Karen and their three sons came to see the boat and then we all went to their house for dinner. Our kids had a blast sitting on a real couch and playing video games. We took a look at their catamaran and talked about cruising. They are planning on cruising in the next few years. Their kids seemed to have other ideas though. We had an awesome time just sitting and talking for hours. Thanks so much guys, and we hope you get out there soon!

The other thing we forgot to mention was our ride on the American Rover in Norfolk. This was a beautiful tall ship that was docked right in front of us. We watched the captain and crew go out many times during our stay, and got to know them. The captain invited Pelican and Miakoda to go for a ride. We had an amazing time. The tall ship actually put up all its sails and turned off the engine. We sailed up the Elizabeth river and learned about the sights. Chris talked to the Captain for the whole ride. On the sail back, there was a roving guitar player and singer that sang and entertained the kids. One of the crew taught Kaitlin, Ally and Emma about knots and kept them generally entertained. We had the most amazing time, and that's coming from people who are getting a bit tired of boat rides!

Ok, back to our trip to Kingston. Once again Chris pointed out a storm on the satellite weather. It was about 20 miles to our west and moving north. If it kept its path it would continue to run parallel to us for a while. There was a slight easterly component that was bringing it closer to us, but not too quickly. Oh god, I thought, not again!

So for a half hour or so we watched the path of the storm and tried to figure out if we would beat it to Kingston. We were trying to make it to the Hudson River Maritime Museum which is up Roundout Creek which branches off the Hudson. My guess, with our luck, is that the storm would hit us just as we entered the creek. With less maneuvering ability, that would be a big problem. If it hit us on the Hudson we would have much more room to head into or away from the wind. I decided that we should find a safe haven as soon as possible.

We passed a marina and gave them a call. No luck. They only had four feet at their docks. At this point we can see the line of clouds running parallel to us. A slight rumble of thunder is heard off in the distance. A little way up the river I can see some sailboat masts docked and moored. With the binoculars we can see that it is the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club. We gave them a call and explained our situation. They said we could take a mooring at no charge for a couple of hours to ride the storm out. Thanks!

Oh, and we had also called ahead to the Kingston Maritime Museum to reserve a spot there. We still had hope that we would be reaching there sometime that afternoon. The way this storm looked though, once it hit us, we would be stuck in it for a while. It was quite long and skinny, but it was traveling in the same direction as us.

So we grabbed the mooring and I sat and watched the storm approach. While we were waiting, the guy on the boat moored next to us hopped in his dinghy and came over. He informed us that a storm was approaching. LOL! We showed him our satellite weather. We talked about storms with him, and he informed us that boats had been hit by lightning at the yacht club before. "Come to think of it", he said "one was on this mooring". "Great!" I thought to myself. The storm appeared over the mountain on the west side of the Hudson. Big black clouds and, once again, multiple lightning strikes were seen to the north and south of us. We were all up top watching the storm and generally joking around about our tendencies to get into these situations. Yup, after a while it just becomes comical!

Then we saw the wall of heavy rain approaching. Up to this point we were ALL huddled in the lee side of the boat under the dodger. This was no small feat to squeeze into this last dry area of the cockpit. While laughing uncontrollably, we all started screaming and scrambling to get below before the heavier rain drenched us. While below we watched a movie until the rain subsided. I don't know what it is, but for some reason I like to be up top when storms are going on. I am always amazed by the power they hold. This time, though, I have had enough of watching storms and getting drenched.

Before the movie was even over, the heavy rain and thunder and wind stopped and we were left with just a drizzle. It was around 6:00 PM, so we decided to push on to Kingston. The rest of the journey was uneventful, and we made our left turn from the Hudson to Roundout Creek. Once we entered the creek, I knew we had made the right decision to stop earlier. This was a deep but narrow area. The dock we were assigned to tie up to ran parallel to the shore. The thing that made it interesting was that it ended about 4 feet from a bridge that was lower than our mast. Hope we make it on the first try! Once again, Chris did an excellent job of bringing us in and we made it to the dock with our mast in one piece! YAY! Also, he managed to miss the antique steamboat docked about 20 feet behind us. Talk about your tricky parallel parking jobs!

The steamboat was one of 5 that were here for the museum's annual steamboat day. The next day, Saturday, we decided to hang out to see the steamboats, the museum and explore the town. The museum had many displays about Henry Hudson and the Halfmoon. There were actually three Halfmoons since the first one was used by Hudson. The last of which sails up and down the Hudson today. It also had exhibits of ice boats, steamships, steam engines, brick making and ice making. We talked with one of the steamship builders whose boat was docked behind us. He had built two small steamships and was thinking about building one more. He gave us a tour of his engine and answered a ton of questions. Casey seemed quite fascinated by the whole thing. The engine was completely exposed so you could see all the moving parts. Water, steam and oil were squirting out from various areas of the engine. It was quite a sight to see.

In the morning, before we went out for the day, our carbon monoxide detector went off. This was quite odd because we didn't have anything running that produces carbon monoxide. The only thing we could think of was the exhaust from the steam ship that could be blowing into our boat. We went over and talked to one of the captains and asked if their exhaust produced carbon monoxide. "No more than a burning fire", he said. We aired out the boat a bit and left the hatch open. After a while the alarm went off and stayed off. We're chalking it up to the steamship exhaust.

After going to the museum, we decided to walk up the creek a bit and look for an old lock and waterfall. We heard someone mention earlier that those sights were up the creek no more than 1/2 mile. After a mile or so we gave up and headed back towards the boat. I had seen a Stewart's shopping bag earlier, and so we got talking about Stewart's. Chris looked it up on his GPS and we found that there was one .6 miles away. Well, that must have been as the crow flies, because I think we ended up walking another mile, most of which was up hill! It was worth it though! We had the best ice cream ever! Chris and Casey even got make your own sundaes! It was another mile back to the boat, so we figured we had earned it.

Well, half the reason we decided to stay today was because there was a 70% chance of thunderstorms. And you know what? It didn't storm even once! Go figure. You just gotta love our luck. Chris says there is only a 20% chance tomorrow, so I'm sure we'll get hit by a tornado or something. Next stop Albany!

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