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Mar 29

Shang Du and the Yacht Basin – by Franci

If asked what the average day for us is like, there really isn’t just one answer. The ‘average day’ changes for each different location. At the islands the ‘average day’ usually involves a scuba dive, or a snorkel at the least. Sailing (for me) usually involves putting out the fishing line and –if the weather allows- spending time on the bowsprit seat.

Because there is so much to see in New York, the ‘average day’ involved an outing and an activity : ). Unfortunately, this also meant a very long dingy ride to and from the boat. We were anchored in the Hudson river, at least a mile away from the marina because we weren’t allowed to anchor in the middle of their mooring field. So even though we were technically anchored at 79st Marina, out boat actually lay alongside 96st ;P.

The dingy rides were tricky because both the wind and the tidal currents of the river had to be taken into account. When the current and wind were in our favour, we sometimes even managed to overtake the bikers riding along the riverside path. Although, I think that happened only once. The worst case scenario (and we had this once or twice), was when it was freezing cold and even though the current was for us, the wind was blowing strongly against us. The current and wind fought each other creating big waves and in our over-loaded dingy, we got soaked. This scenario actually went a lot better when the wind was in our favour, not the current, because then the wind blew all the splashing water away from us instead of toward us.

Sophia pumping up JJ before we lower him into the water.

The path going right round the edge of Manhattan provided us with distraction on these long dingy rides. Especially if the current was against us, because then we went right next to the side where the current is weakest. The path always has some joggers and bikers going along and it was fun to wave and smile at them and to see who waved and smiled back. It was also very satisfying to occasionally overtake a jogger while puttering along, be it ever so slowly ; ).

Because of the strong current and the unsettled nature of the water we always hoisted up the dingy onto Shang Du first thing after arriving back at the boat. It always surprised me after climbing from the rolling dingy onto Shang Du to feel how steady she is, almost rock solid.

 

Of course, we didn’t spend our entire six weeks in New York sightseeing and commuting on the dingy. We tried taking a few days off each week for my Dad to work and for us to do some school or catch up on some other tasks (like blogging), or doing laundry at the marina. They have one big washing machine and one big dryer, free of charge. Since we then had large, bulky, winter clothes, it was very nice not to have to wash by hand! The machines did take about a whole hour to complete a cycle. Sometimes one of the machines were a tiny bit faulty and you had to put them in for even longer. So when taking washing you knew you were going to sit there for a while.

One particular cold ‘stay at home day’, Marike, Karin and I took our laundry to the marina and each had a shower and did school while we waited. We all ended up squeezing into the room with the washer and drier because it was just soooo much nicer than sitting on the bench outside! We had the heater in the shower next door on as well, which really helped. What didn’t help was the fact that the one jacket I had brought was in the wash and the other had been forgotten in the cockpit. Karin was the only one actually wearing a jean, Marike and I were in shorts, as our jeans were in the wash. So I guess we were just asking to be cold ; P.

Around the little marina there were always Ducks and House Sparrows. These provided us (okay, probably mostly me), with snatches of entertainment while others were tying up the dingy or checking for packages at the marina. All of the Ducks, except three, were Mallards. Of these, one was white with bare red skin on his face; another, a soft brown female with a twinkle in her eye and a soft, downy appearance; and sometimes a darker female as well. After naming the white duck a few times and then forgetting what we called him, we settled on Harold; the sparkly-eyed brown duck is Gloria and the other one Denise. I find it interesting that out of all the ducks, Harold and Gloria are the only ones who actually sit on top of the boats in the marina.

Pretty sure this one is Gloria 😉

From where Shang Du was anchored we had a beautiful view of the Riverside Park next to us. We had the privilege of watching the sky catch fire as the sun slipped in behind the buildings for the night. Over our six week stay we saw all the trees on the bank go from green to golden. I think of anyone living in New York, we had one of the very best views :D. Not the easiest accommodations (thanks to the dingy ride), but one of the best views 🙂 .

 

 

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