When hell(‘s gate) freezes over… (in NYC)

It’s never the passages that stress the living heck out of me. It’s the short jaunts through hectic places.

Today? I nearly killed us.

A slight exaggeration, maybe, but as we came out of Hell’s Gate (through the East River, along Manhattan, and under the Brooklyn Bridge) the boat traffic suddenly got CRAZY. I’d been merrily steering us through 3-5 knots of current, navigating past tugs and barges and all other traffic no problem, when Z started melting down (overdue for his nap + working really hard on top teeth = not his good time of day).

I was so focused on trying to soothe him and help him fall asleep that I stopped paying the 110% attention that you need to pay around here, and looked up just in time to see a ferry literally barreling down on top of us.

Cue evasive manoeuvers and non-lady-like sailor words.

Granted, I *technically* had the right of way, but in our tiny 33’ sailboat going 8 knots with current sweeping us down the river and his giant heavy ferry charging straight at our Port beam, I didn’t exactly have time to start a debate.

I swung the wheel hard to Port, he cleared us by 100’ and then another water taxi was revealed directly behind him, also coming straight for us. We did one of those hallway dances (“I’ll go right… no you go right… I’ll go left…  no you go left!”) before finally passing starboard to starboard, again way too close for comfort.

It’s hard, in these moments, to realize how vulnerable we are, how one simple wrong move could be the end of everything, and how much responsibility we carry. It’s not just Jon and I anymore…  now it’s the little guy too.

We do pretty well with balancing the baby underway, but I definitely need to keep working on how to meet his needs and keep us safe in tense situations. Today was a strong reminder of that.

On the upside? We’re through Hell’s Gate and tied up on the Hudson now! This puts us in a much better location for jumping south, when the next weather window materializes. It also puts us a nice protected, warm location for tomorrow’s forecast 1” of snow (!!!). Was bound to happen eventually…

But for now… glass of wine, quiet reflection, and early bedtime 🙂


How do you eat an elephant? (in Port Washington, NY)

(One bite at a time)

(We’ve made it through Long Island Sound!)

Night watch in Buzzard's Bay in November -- BRRRR

Sailing with Zephyr - six month old baby on a boat

I literally haven’t wanted to check the weather for the New Jersey coast because Buzzards Bay and Long Island Sound felt like such huge stretches to get through. Maybe especially because when we came through here in 2014 we had a couple truly awful days of fighting tides, awful seas and wind that always seemed to be on the nose!!

So while we loved New Bedford and thought we might be there a while longer, when a perfectly windless weather window came up Sunday night we decided to go for it!

Leaving at night is a little weird feeling — it’s hard to tell how far away lights are and you get extra attached to your nav instruments — but watching the sun rise over Block Island with nary a breath of wind was 100% worth it.

Think maybe he’s teething again?

Sidenote: Have I mentioned I like motoring? I’m like a fair weather sailor who reeeally likes going new places so sometimes has to sail 😉 But especially when the lows are below freezing (our new reality), motoring means the diesel stove can be running and the boat can be toasty warm. It actually got hot last night and we had to crack hatches to let more cold air in. Standing watch in the cockpit with warm air just billowing out the companionway is a pretty great feeling too 🙂

Chilly watch with 6-month old baby Zephyr all bundled up

Anyways, we reserved a slip in Port Washington and snaked our way in here super late last night, shining flashlights to make sure we didn’t run into any unlit boats at anchor. The glow of NYC lights up the area quite nicely, and the staff made it easy by letting us tie up wherever we wanted.

Sadly the $16/night days are over (New York is living up to its reputation with prices in the $70-$100/night range) but it sure was nice to wake up at a dock with easy WiFi for my 8 am meetings and hot showers for everyone!

Zephyr crunched the numbers & determined we can’t afford to stay here forever

Zephyr’s continued to be a little champ… he spends most of the day in the Boba wrap with me, the Onya carrier with Jon, or desperately trying to crawl inside on the floor. He even managed some jolly jumping while underway on this last trip (best. invention. ever)!

I will admit there’s some irony to the baby sleeping through the night while his parents are awake every 3 hours, especially since we haven’t figured out how to get sleep during the day (it’s hard to be on watch AND on baby duty, which means off watches are spent on baby duty… a conundrum I’m sure we’ll spend many more days working on!).

Pouring rain at Capri Marina in Port Washington, NY - thank god for the rain cover on the Onya!

Anyways, so far we’ve managed to balance cruising in November while working with a baby and having some fun… so fingers crossed it continues!!

Trying to catch up on sleep after our passage while Zephyr is wiiiiide awake

…but first, family nap time!


First passage in 4 years — and first ever with the baby! (in New Bedford, MA)

The funny thing about trying to sum up a passage is that it was 30 hours lived in approximately 15-minute increments.

Some of those increments? Incredible. Blue skies, flat seas, baby napping in the wrap, hot coffee in hand, tunes playing, heater running, miles ticking down.

Others? Shitty gunwhale-to-gunwhale rolling motion making us all grumpy and hungry because cooking is nearly impossible, overwhelming tiredness (there’s some irony in the idea of Z sleeping through the night while his parents are up every 3 hours on watches), autopilot being fritzy just as the sun set and we were the furthest from shore (and therefore furthest from any bailout options), storm clouds rolling in and wind picking up just as we come out of the Cape Cod Canal and into Buzzards Bay (it was rough when we were here 4 years ago, and apparently that hasn’t changed!!),and the weight of the stress of the last few weeks / days / hours catching up to us, big time.

But! We made it!

We’re tucked into the nicest marina in New Bedford, with staff so friendly you kind of want to stay forever, and a $16/night price tag (including power and water) that is a far cry from the $4/foot that some New England marinas charge!

We’ve found the local diner for anniversary breakfast (6 incredible years married to this guy and it feels like the adventures are just really getting going) and explored the awesome New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Yes, we had some rough moments getting here, and yes, it’s a low of 28°F/-2°C tonight and I’m not sure when our next weather window will appear and how we’re going to balance weather and babies and temperatures and working and getting south over the next few weeks… but that’s okay. The messy middle is what makes for a good story, and we are living the heck out of every day right now.

Life is good.


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