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 🙂


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