We experience quite a variety of cruising as we head out into the ocean to get up the New Jersey Coast, pass by the Statue of Liberty in busy New York Harbor, and head up the Hudson River with its history and beautiful scenery.
Click the Google Map button below to open the map in a separate window. There you can zoom in/out, and click on the icons to see pictures and more info on the various places along our route.
Atlantic City, NJ
June 10, 2022
We take See Level out into the Atlantic Ocean to go up the Jersey Coast!
All of our previous travels along The Loop have been on inland waters – the ICW, rivers, bays, and sounds. There is such a thing as the New Jersey ICW, but it shoals in so quickly that it just can’t be maintained very well. So most people (including us) pop out to the open Atlantic ocean from Cape May and run up the New Jersey coast. The key is to wait for the right conditions. Everyone sets their own criteria of what is acceptable; boats can take a lot more, but it’s the humans that don’t tolerate it. There were about a dozen of us at South Jersey Marina planning on going ‘outside’ up the coast from Cape May, and combined with others leaving from other marinas there was a pretty good line of Loopers strung out along the coast.
It was a glorious day to be out on the water, with sun and light winds and gentle rolling swells. Dave was in his element, loving the open water and the ease of navigation. See Level actually prefers higher speeds in these conditions, so we obliged her. By prearrangement we were running with Off Leash, who we had been cruising with since Delaware City. Starting out in the back of the pack headed for Atlantic City, over the course of the morning we moved up toward the front by late afternoon.
Almost all were headed for Farley State Marina, and it turned out there were 30 boats arriving in the space of around three hours! The radio was quite lively with chatter as all hailed the marina as we filed into the basin. The guy manning the radio at the marina was like an air traffic controller, giving slip assignments and directions to each boat, holding some at the entrance while bringing others in to keep fairways moving. Half a dozen young dockhands were scurrying around the docks with walkie talkies, helping to secure a boat as it came in and then running off to the next slip the Traffic Controller had assigned them.
As for Atlantic City itself, this was definitely our least favorite stop of anywhere we had been on the Loop as far as towns. We had the whole afternoon after getting settled, so decided to walk the two miles through some rather seedy neighborhoods to the The Atlantic City Boardwalk (of Monopoly fame). But we found it to be way past its prime, beyond kitschy and well into tawdry, and the ubiquitous smell of pot downright nauseating in its intensity. The pluses were that it was still a beautiful beach, we found a Rita’s to share a pineapple-mango gelati, and a guy dressed in full leather Batman regalia walked right past us. Except he had a sword, and I’m pretty sure Batman never fought any pirates.
Back at the marina we caught up with many other Loopers we’ve met along the way, met some new ones, and compared notes on travel conditions for the following day (unanimous that it would be a ‘go’ day). Twenty-seven boats would be making up a Looper-palooza headed for NYC.
Great Kills Harbor, NY (Staten Island)
Another day of great conditions for an outside fast run. But this one was to be one of our longest at almost 90 miles. It was great almost all the way, and we arrived at Great Kills Yacht Club on Staten Island in the late afternoon just ahead of some rain that had moved in. A long time Looper is a member at this Yacht Club and arranges for transient dockage for Loopers. All the members are incredibly welcoming and love to chat with Loopers, of which there were several over the three days we were there. It’s a small marina, but very well protected and quiet, and with NYC being notoriously expensive for marinas the price cannot be beat. We were joined here at the yacht club by some other crews we had met previously – Off Leash, True North, and Shadow.
We went into NYC one day, taking the iconic Staten Island Ferry past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We would be driving See Level past the famous Lady the next day, so this was reconnaissance in some ways. We walked through the financial district of Manhattan, saw the famed raging bull statue and the NYSE building ironically on the same day that Wall Street officially crossed into a bear market.
We really wanted to get to the 9/11 Memorial and the new World Trade Center, having last seen it when it was still a couple of fenced off giant holes in the ground. The many names engraved in the surrounding walls of the waterfalls were moving. The gaping holes were still there and still haunting, but the water flowing into them lessened the starkness of it. (Many are critical of the memorial design, but personally I think it appropriate that it was more haunting than uplifting; the enormity of the human devastation and how the world changed in the few hours of that morning should always leave a lump in the pit of one’s stomach.
We saw the iconic Brooklyn Bridge and the crowds walking past colorful street vendors heading over the bridge. A bench on the grounds of City Hall were a good place for our afternoon cappuccino break. Battery Park had clusters of blue chairs that might have been for sitting or might have been an artists statement that few pondered as we circled back to catch an express bus back to the marina..
Cruising past the Statue of Liberty marks our 100th sortie (trip) on See Level !
June 14, 2022
Sunrise start – and what a sunrise it was! Mother Nature put on an incredible light show for almost an hour as we prepped, dropped the lines, and departed Great Kills Harbor. We had buddied up with Baker Street Blue to travel together so we could do the reciprocal photo shoots with Lady Liberty.
It was a gray and windy day as we approached the Statue – not ideal but our reality this day. This is an iconic Looper thing to do, getting pics of your boat with the Statue of Liberty in the background. After a couple loops around each other, we were both ready to continue on up the Hudson River to get away from the chop and the difficulty maneuvering in it.
The Manhattan skyline and further north had some amazing works of modern architecture contrasting with the more traditional brick and brownstone. Passing under the George Washington Bridge and then the Tappan Zee, suddenly the landscape dramatically changed from buildings and industry to steep green cliffs as the river narrowed around us. It was still a little choppy, but slowly got better and the clouds dissipated. We did find a lot of flotsam and jetsam to be maneuvered around, including some decent sized logs, and finally arrived at Half Moon Bay Marina in Croton-on-Hudson.
Once again we found ourselves with many other Loopers there – I counted at least 23 on Nebo including a few anchored nearby – which made for nice socializing by just walking the docks, including our friends on True North and Baker Street Blue. But there wasn’t much right within walking distance: a small grocery store, a couple restaurants, CVS, etc. The marina was nice enough, but not as spectacular as all it’s advertising. The worst part was that they had a beautiful pool– but it was only for the condo residents and not for marina guests. We just had to walk past it all the time. Everyone agreed that was a rude tease.
Our travels from here up the Hudson River marks a whole new chapter of The Loop. For one, we will be moving into fresh water. For another, we won’t need to worry about waves for the most part until we get into the Great Lakes. Winds also won’t be quite as much of a factor unless they above 15 mph and gusty, which happens much less often. Rivers have a current that flows in one direction. The Hudson River, however, is a tidal river. That may sound like an oxymoron, but physics and laws of nature preside. While the river flows north to south, the tidal effects from the Atlantic and NY Harbor overcome the weaker downstream flow. The good news is that you can time a transit to have the current giving you a push up the river. We chose to time our departures to maximize the advantage and reduce fuel consumption. With some areas seeing as much as a 5’ tidal change, it also means attention to route planning is required to make sure you don’t run over submerged rocks or other things that are harder than fiberglass. Bottom line: while the actual transit part will be easier for this next leg, the transit planning becomes much more of a mental exercise. Even more than Wordle.
Traveling up the Hudson River is some of the most beautiful cruising we have done to date. The Valley has inexplicably managed to avoid the urban sprawl from NYC. After New York Harbor, the landscape changed rather quickly to tree- covered cliffs on both sides dotted with an occasional small town or some kind of small industrial complex. The homes in the towns appeared modest and vintage: peaked roofs, shutters, clapboard or brick, maybe a little gingerbread trim. We passed West Point shortly after leaving Croton, gray and imposingly on a high cliff and towering over the river and around a bend. Trains were a frequent sight, Amtrak on the east side and freight trains on the west. About halfway along the days’ route were the ruins of Bannerman’s Castle.on Pollepel Island, an actual castle built by a Scottish immigrant who made his fortune in military surplus and supplies. Rather odd to see pieces of castle come into view as we drew closer, with both of us on the binoculars to confirm we were seeing what we thought we were seeing.
It was a beautiful day to be cruising, with conditions near perfect. The scenery just kept getting prettier and prettier. Hudson River is known for its lighthouses, free-standing structures on rocky bases in the middle of the river and we passed by the first iconic one, Esopus Meadows. Still don’t know why it’s called ‘meadows’ when it’s out in the middle of the water, with no meadow to be seen on either shore. As we turned into Rondout Creek to get to our marina in Kingston, the Rondout Lighthouse marked the beginning of the channel.
We had planned a one week stay at Rondout Yacht Basin to see some of the local historical sights and also because we needed to return to Dover, DE for a couple days (explained below) and we could rent a car easily here. Our friends on Baker Street Blue had also arrived earlier, and there were several other Loopers that we knew that came and went over the week. Kingston NY has a very rich pedigree in Colonial, Revolutionary, and War of 1812 times. We explored the historical maritime museum with our friends on Baker Street Blue and True North, then enjoyed happy hour at Old Savannah restaurant.
There was a great deal to see in the Kingston area, and the rental car was well worth it. Some of what we did:
- Culinary Institute of America.
- FDR Home and Presidential Library in Hyde Park — really enjoyed this and learned a lot.
- Vanderbilt Mansion, the smallest of the many Vanderbilt family homes.
- The town of Rhinebeck, NY, home of the oldest continuously operating Inn in the the country.
- Uptown Kingston, where we found Four Corners from Atlas Obscura – the only intersection in the US. to have Colonial-era buildings remaining.
- The large Kingston Saturday Farmer’s Market
- Enjoyed the pool on a hot afternoon, as this marina had one that we could do more than just look at.
- Really good donuts at Half Moon Coffee.
Car trip to Dover, DE
for a special Occasion
Had a special event to attend, Scott’s Change of Command. Mentioned above as the reason we had held up in Kingston for the week, we just hadn’t seen much purpose in getting too far north only to turn around and drive further back south. Plus Rondout was a good well-protected marina at which we could leave the boat for two days.
We left for Dover in the morning. Chuck and Margie drove up from Virginia Beach for the event also, as well as Devin and Holli from Maryland. The next morning was the Change of Command ceremony, and it was easy to see how proud Dave was. Afterwards Scott pretty much had to get right to work as the new leader, so we all said our goodbyes and headed back to our respective homes.
Early departure on a gray and drizzly morning to time our travel with the northward current and also beat some late afternoon weather coming. Our friends on Inconceivable, who we had Loop-frogged with from Georgia to Norfolk, had caught up to us and we left Kingston just behind them.
The towns were a little smaller and a little closer together now, with industrial sites in between along the way, but it was still beautiful. We passed by the Saugerties Light, under the Rip Van Winkle Bridge (not sure what the connection is), and the Athens Light on the way to Coeyman’s Landing Marina. There’s not much to the town of Coeyman’s other than a rather run down residential district, so this was just an overnight stop. They did, however, have their own resident swan, Hudson. He actually has his own Facebook page.
As we continue northward on our Loop, we will start getting into the NY Canal System locks. Our pace is going to pick up; we will have more travel days but cover shorter distances each day. For now, we will be traveling with Patty and Gary on Inconceivable as continue up the Hudson and head for Lake Champlain, then on into Canada. This will be a side trip from the ‘traditional’ Great Loop route, traveling past the Erie Canal into northern New York State, then Montreal and Ottawa before rejoining the ‘traditional’ Loop route in the Great Lakes. I will try to post more frequently, as we will be covering so much new ground and new sights. The Loop just keeps getting better with each stop.
Okay, except for Atlantic City.
Pops’ Stats Corner*
- Tot days covered this blog: 13
- Travel days: 5 by boat, 2 by car
- Miles traveled this period:
- by water: 259.9 nm / 298.9 sm
- by car: 430 sm (round trip to Dover)
- Tot Loop Miles since leaving St. Augustine FL: 1588.6
- States visited: 2
- Tot states on The Loop so far: 9
*’Pops’ is how the family affectionately referred to Dave’s dad. He had an amazing mind for any kind of statistic, earning him the nickname Numbers from the Stillwater high school coaches for whom he kept team stats. This regular feature of the blog is named in his honor — because it’s the kind of thing he would do.