Debra’s log: "Escape from New York".

On September 2nd of 2012 Debra and I sailed away from New York State, leaving our Home Port of Sodus Point aboard our sailing vessel Kelly Nicole. We sold our house, got rid of our stuff, said goodbye, and pointed the bow towards a new life. One without snow.

This page on our blog will be a collection of photos accompanied with Debra’s account of the trip. This is the actual account as written by Deb in her journal. Who knew Deb had a journal?

Day 1 9/1/2012
Lake Ontario too rough for crossing, so sit tight and work on getting really ready.  Paul running around like a crazy man; I’ll just stay out of his way.  I have the brilliant idea of using Jerry jugs for water.  Fill both in the cockpit with water from Katlynn Marina, 7.5 gallons each.  Since Paul is so busy, I decide to bring them down below by myself.  My current troubles with the stairs continues and I end up dropping the first jug from the top stair, about 4 foot above the floor, right on my foot.  You know its not good when something bruises immediately. Remembering past history, I sit down right away (better than passing out).  Eventually I work up the courage to wiggle my toes; all work 🙂  Thought I might have ended our trip before we started. Cocktails with the gang from Katlynn; will miss you all.

Woodworking 101. 


Ready for the mast drop. Fingers crossed.

Our sad empty slip at Katlynn

Enjoy the hose and the herb garden!

Day 2 9/2/2012
Up at 4 am, depart at 5 am to cross Lake Ontario from Sodus Bay to Oswego and enter Oswego Canal.  Watch the sun rise on our bow while we watch the moon set on our stern (any symbology here?).  Canal very picturesque.  Make the left turn into the Erie Canal.  Both tired so stop at 4:30 pm at lock #23 on Erie Canal after 56.7 nautical miles after scraping the hull in lock #8, introducing the mast to the wall in lock #5, getting a good workout in lock #3, losing a fender in lock #1 (but returned by powerboater “Wet Spot”, thank you!). Spent a quiet night tied up east of the lock in a park like setting.

Day 3 (9/3/2012):
Leave the dock about 7AM after great night of rest.  Traveled about 2 miles east along the canal. Stuck our nose out into Lake Oneida  but 2′ waves right at canal entrance with rigging laying across the boat, seemed too much for safety.  Found a slip at the Brewerton Boatyard long enough and deep enough to accommodate us, so here we sit for the moment, waiting for the waves in the lake to settle down.  On the plus side, we both got an opportunity to shower and Paul is working on power to, and mounting of, the chart plotter so we will know where we are going, without draining my iPhone and iPad batteries.  Dinner at Waterfront Tavern.

Day 4 (9/4/2012):

Up at 4:45 am waiting for light to travel.  Leave dock at 6:30 am to cross lake.  Doesn’t seem as bad as yesterday but Lake Oneida much rougher than anticipated, taking 4′ waves on the bow. Had one 5′ to test Paul’s woodworking.  Half way across the lake, the wave action settled down, thank you!!  Back into the canal about 10:30 am, than final 2 locks going up; all downhill from here 🙂 Only 4 locks today, 2 up and 2 down, much easier and made 58.8 nautical miles.  Stopped at 5:15 pm in Ilion NY due to storms on our stern.  Great dinner at Sorrentos.  Noisy location with trains going by quite often on one side of us, and cars rushing by on the Thruway on the other, otherwise a nice spot to stop.

Day 5 (9/5):

Up at a little before 6.  Paul changed fuel filter, after fixing priming pump 😦 so a little delay in our start, but necessary.  Stopped at 7:45 pm after 59.2 nautical miles and 10 locks, traveling much of the day with 3 other boats.

Day 6 (Thursday, 9/6):

Up at 5:30 am, leave at 7:15 am and go right through lock #8.  Somewhere between lock #8 and #7, I discovered that my diamond in my engagement ring was missing.  It was there the day before; doubt I will ever see it again 😦

Made it through the Flight of Five and spit out into the Hudson River shortly after noon.  What a workout!!!  Can’t believe people do this year after year.  Tried to stop at Waterford so Paul could get to West Marine to pick up the new dinghy, but all docking was reserved for some small tugboat festival.  So, on to Troy, but had to go through federal lock #1 to get there. Not a good experience as we had numerous issues.  Good thing the boat is too long to fit in there sideways, that is all I am saying.  Town dock in Troy is a piece of crap, but Paul was able to get a cab ride to West Marine, so we now have the new dinghy on the davits,  and we discovered a really cool brew pub right above our boat, so all worked out!  Not the most restful night of sleep….

Day 7 (Friday, September 7):
Up at 545am and underway at 630am.  Motored down the Hudson to Catskill and the Riverview Marine.  Worked like dogs to get the boat ready to have the mast raised.  Just as we got everything ready, the marina crew called it a day.  Not very happy when the owner told me it would be Sunday before they’re could accommodate us.  He came back later to tell us he found a guy to help on Saturday morning; stay tuned.  Pizza and beer for dinner 🙂

Day 8 (Saturday 9/8):
Up at 6am; enough sleep, I guess, since I was out cold at 9pm.  Checked the rigging again only to discover the lazy jacks on the wrong side of the bottom spreader on starboard, so got that corrected.  Mast is now up!!!!!  Working on rigging the boat.  As usual when trying to put sails on, the wind is howling.  So awaiting the storm to blow through later today.  Got all the wood off the boat, yippee.  She feels happier and much relieved to have that weight off her back.

Day 9 (Sunday, 9/9):
Up at 645am to get the sails on and finish rigging the boat.  She looks like home again and I can see her smile, or is that mine 🙂 Underway and back in the Hudson at 11am for a slow motor south; wind is right on the nose, of course.  Did 33 nautical miles to Poughkeepsie, staying at Shadows Marina; a little too fancy for our taste, and not enough sailors.  Went up to the restaurant for dinner.  They also have a night club here which is having a benefit for AIDS.  Lots of interesting costumes; a few I could have lived without seeing, but some very funny ones as well.

Day 10 (Monday, 9/10):
Up at 535am, but don’t depart till almost 830am.  Continue down the Hudson to New York City, arriving around 645pm after 70 nautical miles.  Stay at Liberty Landing Marina on the New Jersey side of the river, very nice, and pricey.  As this is the eve of 9/11, we can hear some kind of ceremony happening in the distance.  As darkness decedes, the twin beams representing the twin towers appears over the river in Manhattan; very humbling.  A single bright star is visible where the beams of light recede into the night sky; 3000 souls shining on us tonight.

Day 11 (Tuesday, September 11):
Sleep in today, after the coldest night yet (out with the quilt), with plans to depart early afternoon. However, Paul is working on electronics, so we shall see……  Have decided to complete the electronics install, a radar system, so that we know what other ships are around us and they see us, even in the dark.  Took a walk into Jersey City for a late lunch, which turned into an early dinner by the time we got there.  Long walk back after 2 Oktoberfests 🙂 Inputting waypoints into the chartplotter tonight, then off to bed.

Day 12 (Wednesday, September 12):
Depart marina and NJ around 10am for a crazy ride out the Hudson, past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty; awesome experience, just watch out for those water taxis!  Out under the Verrazano Narrows bridge and into the Atlantic Ocean, cool!!!  Not much in the wind department.  Put the mainsail up, but wind too much on the nose to be able to fly the jib.  So, we at least are motoring sailing.  Decided to stay between shore and the freighter traffic lanes, so need to watch out constantly for the crazy fisherman.  Just before dark, we have to change our heading, putting the wind right on the nose, so down with the main sail.  Spend the night motoring south, southwest, heading for Delaware Bay, taking turns at the helm.  Paul has one freak out about lights on one vessel, but otherwise, uneventful.  Spend most of the night looking at the lights of Atlantic City; thought we would never put the city to our stern.  Got to experience the bioluminescence; very awesome!!!

Once we get under this bridge, a new life awaits!

Almost there

I changed my mind! I want a split level in the burbs and a garden!!!

We put it all behind us

Our future is out there somewhere.

That would hurt

Sunset on our 1st night at sea

Day 13 (Thursday, September 13):

Sunrise over the Atlantic was amazing and couldn’t come soon enough, bringing some warmth with it.  Kelly called shortly afterwards to check on the old folks.  As she is asking if we got to see any dolphins yet, up comes an entire school of them; how cool is that???  Start making the turn into Delaware Bay around 7am.  Took the entire day to transit the bay, against the current.  Make the Delaware River near dark.  Decide that it is too late to transit the C&D Canal, so pick an anchorage south of the Nuke Plant.  As we are getting ready to drop the anchor, we realize we are in an oyster bed with pots everywhere.  We carefully pick our way back out of the supposed anchorage, dodging buoys so as not to wrap a line around the prop.  Once back in the main channel, we decide to call a marina in Delaware City, as we are both tired and need to call it a day.  Marina assures us they can accommodate us and water depth is sufficient.  I look the place up on goggle earth and marina is up a small creek.  Captain is not comfortable with that, nor do we think we will get there before it is dark.  Next anchorage selection is listed as a very difficult approach with strong currents, and we now have fading light.  There are two anchorages on either side of the main channel just prior to entrance to the canal.  We opt for the western anchorage at opposite end from a barge and it’s tug.  After dropping the anchor, we feel we are too close to shore for the tide swing, so back up with the anchor.  We move a little further away and drop the anchor again, taking two try’s to get a good set (manual windlass so Paul gets a good workout).  Haven’t felt well much of the day; tired and not eating right.  Grab something to eat, then I try to sleep for a few hours while Paul is on anchor watch.  Alarm set for midnight; the cruising life is not always that attractive.

Day 14 (Friday, September 14):
Five minutes before the alarm goes off, Paul awakens me; tide is turning and wants me on deck should the anchor drag.  Takes a good half hour for us to swing from facing down river to up river.  Barge and it’s tug are also swinging.  We appear to have room to both swing, so start to relax some.  Shortly after the tug’s stern has swung past our bow, he seems to be getting closer.  Is it just our imagination and/or paranoia?  It’s getting closer, too close for comfort.  Our anchor is probably under the barge, so pulling it up is no longer possible.  Paul is starting to think we will need to cut the anchor and 300 feet of chain ($1400) free so as not to be crushed by barge.  As we are about to go into full panic mode, the tug captain calls us on the radio and says that he is dragging, but is firing up his engines and will move.  He moved enough not to be too close, but announced that he will be leaving at 330am, before the next tide turn.  We are both still in the cockpit at 3am when the barge and tug depart.  Phew!!!  We both try to get some sleep, but not all that successful.  At daylight, we hear on the radio that the C&D Canal is closed due to fog, so will stay at anchor till we hear otherwise.  After an hour, the canal is opened to traffic, so we raise the anchor and head for the canal.  Just as we are entering the canal, a big bank of fog rolls down the canal and we can barely see the sides of the canal.  I hear a voice from shore, “I would go back if I were you”, so back we go and reset the anchor.  What Paul didn’t tell me is that he thought we hooked something when the anchor went down as things didn’t seem right to him.  Fortunately, the anchor came right up about an hour later when the fog cleared.  We joined 6 other sailboats heading west into the canal, at last.  We actually caught the current running in the right direction for our transit and arrived at the other end of the canal quicker than anticipated 🙂  After following the canal markers through the Elk River, we finally returned the old girl to the Chesapeake.  We head for Worton Creek and the Green Point Landing Marina.  After a little confusion with markers (right, red, return, Paul (yes, you need some sleep)), we make it to the fuel dock where we will spend the night.  Too far from anywhere to even get a pizza delivered 😦

Day 15 (Saturday, September 15):
The marina owners are so laid back, it takes all morning to finally get some fuel.  All fueled up, we head south toward Annapolis, where we bought our boat 6 years ago.  We finally have good wind and are able to get the sails up.  Finally, sailing the Chesapeake, awesome!!!  After about an hour, we lose the wind and need to get the motor running again to make Annapolis before dark.  After dodging crab pots and running aground, temporarily, in Back Creek, we arrive at Bert Jabin Yacht Yard, where the boat will stay for a week while we return to Rochester and the workforce.  Both tired and its getting late, we opt for pizza delivery.

Day 16 (Sunday, September 16):
We clean the boat up and prepare her to sit for a week without us :(. Paul takes a cab to pick up the rental car.  We pack it up with dirty laundry and electronics and head north.  We stop at Kate and Frank’s (their last delivery; Ginger will miss her biscuits from the UPS guy) to pick up the new ladder for the boat, which didn’t arrive before we left.  Then, on to Katlynn Marine to pick up the van.  We run into Don and fill him in on the trip.  Back on the road to the airport to drop off the rental car.  Finally get to the apartment 😦 around 10pm, exhausted.

Day 17 (Friday, September 21):
Take the afternoon off to get packed to head back to Annapolis.  After Paul gets home from work, we’re back at the airport to pick up a rental car.  Back to the apartment to load up the vehicle than we hit the road.  We finally arrive back at the boat, which was moved during our absence :(. Exhausted, we fall into bed.

Day 18 (Saturday, September 22):
Unload the vehicle and get everything settled.  Off to Giant for groceries.  Paul returns the rental car and gets a cab driver who is new to the area, so gets a longer ride back to the boat than was necessary.  Finally have the boat ready to head out around noon, but where to head for the night??  After looking at charts, we decide that we don’t have enough daylight to reach a good anchorage south of here and it doesn’t make sense to go over to the east side of the bay when we really need to get south.  So, we decide to spend another night in Annapolis and got help moving the boat to a location where we can get the boat out by ourselves in the morning.  We meet up with another couple, Bill and Christy from S/V Veranda, who have been cruising for years, but currently working in Annapolis.  We have followed their adventurers through their blog.  We picked their brains over dinner and appreciated all their advise.

Day 19 (Sunday, September 23):
Up early and weave our way back up the creek into the bay.  Of course, the wind is not cooperating.  On the advise of another cruiser and with a north wind, we head for Cornfield Harbor at the entrance to the Potomac River.  We get there before sunset and avoid crab pots into a nice anchorage for the night, as long as the wind doesn’t clock around.

Day 20 (Monday, September 24):
Heading south toward Deltaville.  Originally, we thought we would go up Jackson Creek, but changed our minds and went to Fishing Bay.  A nice anchorage and had the company of 8 other boats.

Day 21 (Tuesday, September 25):
A marathon day for sure as we head for Norfolk and the ICW. We make the Elizabeth River late afternoon.  Of course, there is a huge container ship heading down the river so Paul stays to the port side of the river rather than try to cross the river in front of the ship.  At the same time, 2 high speed military boats come heading straight towards us.  Paul drifts further to port so that we are on the other side of the channel markers.  No worries as there is plenty of depth.  Until, that is, we get a call on the radio to get back on the other side of the channel markers and get a visit from a gunship.  Nothing like a machine gun pointed at you to get your attention.  Didn’t have the courage to snap a photo.  Seems we drifted too close to the Navy ships docked there.  Oops!!  We got a slip at the Tidewater Yacht Marina.  Walk into Portsmouth for dinner.  We’re in the historic district; wish we had more time to explore.

Day 22 (Wednesday, September 26):
We have four bridges and one lock (seriously, thought we were done with locks) to deal with today.  First bridge won’t open till 830am, than every hour.  We don’t want to hit the first opening with the first rush, so we wait and end up making the 1130am opening.  Next bridge is only 3 miles away, but doesn’t open for another hour, so we go slowly to try to time the opening so we aren’t having to dance around with the other boats in a tight space.  It’s going to be a long, slow day.   We finally get through all four bridges and the lock mid-afternoon. Only make 12 miles today :(. Next deep anchorage is 45 miles, which we will never make before dark.  So, we shoot for the free dock at Great Bridge but land in a marina instead.  Oh well!!  The Atlantic Yacht Marina worked out just great.  Meet Rocky, from Webster, quite the character.  He has been traveling the ICW for 16 years, so got lots of good advise.

Day 23 (Thursday, September 27):
Away early with only one bridge to deal with, but it opens every hour and half hour, so easier to deal with.  We make the 45 miles to a good anchorage in North River, picking our way through a crab pot field till we find a space with enough room for us to swing at anchor.

Day 24 (Friday, September 28):
We leave at first light, picking our way back through the crab pot minefield.  We were advised not to attempt crossing the Albemarle Sound unless the weather was perfect.  Guess we lucked out as we crossed without incident.   Travel along the Alligator River, through the Alligator River – Pungo River Canal, and into the Pungo River.  We anchor in a great spot right after the canal, next to the same trawler as last night.

Day 25 ( Saturday, September 29):
Raise the anchor early, travel along the Pungo River, the Pamlico River, Goose Creek, Bay River, and into the Neuse River.  About 2 miles from our destination for the day, Oriental, we encounter a nasty thunder storm, our first while underway.  It’s raining so hard, we can barely see.  We slow way down and wait for the storm to pass, hoping no one runs us over in the mean time.  Once the storm passes, we head for the Oriental Inn and Marina.  Nice place with a tiki bar 🙂 and some interesting clientele.  At one point, Paul was sitting at the bar next to a dog, Skinny Dog.  Had a good dinner at the restaurant.

Day 26 (Sunday, September 30):
Today we cross the Neuse River into Adams Creek, through Adams Creek Canal, navigate around the confusing markers around Beaufort, past Morehead City into Bogue Sound to Swansboro.

Day 27 (Monday, October 1):
Raining this morning, with intermittent thunderstorms, or is that the Camp Lejeune firing range??  We will wait a while to see if the weather clears.  With no good anchorages between here and Wrigntsville Beach and too far to get to Wrigntsville Beach today now that we are weather delayed, we will spend another night here.  Not a bad place to be stuck.  We took a walk and found a pizza/Italian spot for dinner.

Day 28 (Tuesday, October 2):
Not sure the weather is all that promising today either, but we head out anyway.  We follow the narrow channel all day, one eye on the depth sounded :(. We make Wrightsville Beach and the Wrightsville Beach Marina late afternoon.  Walk down the street to the Mellow Mushroom for pizza and beer.  Yum!!

Day 29 (Wednesday, October 3):
Off this morning and make Southport by mid-afternoon.  Stay at the Southport Marina and get 2 loads of laundry done.  Walk into town and have a nice Thai dinner.  Nice town, liked the architecture.  On the walk back, we had a cat following us; was afraid it might follow us all the way to the boat….

Day 30 (Thursday, October 4):
Decision time.  Do we stay in the ICW and risk the boat in “the rockpile” (9 miles of a very rocky section of the ICW that we were advised to do at low tide only) that is Myrtle Beach, or go offshore and avoid the rocks??  We decide to wait for high tide, than ride the current out of the Cape Fear River into the Atlantic.  We leave late morning and time the currents fairly well.  Wind is light and on the nose, of course, so motoring as usual.  We are on a straight line course for Charleston, so end up about 12 miles off shore most of the night, but uneventful, thank you!

Day 31 (Friday, October 5):
At daylight, we find ourselves within sight of Charleston; got here much quicker than anticipated :). We opt for the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, across the river from town.  Very nice place, though pricey, but hey, we are on vacation :). Since the power hookups are only 50A, we decide to clean up, take the water taxi across the river, and walk to a store that had a 50A to 30A converter cable.  Did that turn into a long walk……  Call a cab to take us to the historic area for dinner, but get tired of waiting, so walk some more.  Had an interesting dinner at Barbara Jean’s, than back to the water taxi and home.

There is a dolphin in there somewhere


Our only photo in Charleston. We got really lazy with photos.

Day 32 (Saturday, October 6):
Sleep in and decide to take a day off from traveling to play tourist.  Had dolphins playing around the boat and docks all morning; how cool is that!!!  Just missed the water taxi so take a cab across the river into the historic district.  Head for the Blind Tiger Pub for lunch as I really liked the photos of their outdoor seating area and the menu had a number of options for vegetarians.  As luck would have it, the patio was closed that day as they were setting up for a wedding.  We had a fantastic lunch and will definately go back there someday.  After we eat, our waiter was nice enough to give us a tour of the patio and explain some of the history of the place.  Very cool!!  A walk around the historic area looking at all the cool homes, my kind of town.

Day 33 (Sunday, October 7):
We head back out of Charleston Harbor and back into the Atlantic.  Going to be another long overnight.  We pass the Savannah River at dusk and give a wave to Nicole; wish we had time to visit, maybe next pass.  We start to see lightning in the distance so check the radar.  Storm seems to be moving north over land; we should be OK (there was nothing in the forecast this morning). The coast guard then puts out a weather alert, issuing a small craft advisory, “seek shelter immediately, all sailboats should take their sails down!”  So, now expecting a nasty storm with strong winds, we take the sails down and wait.  No strong wind ever appears but we have lightning around us all night.  The weird thing was, we could see stars directly above us all night as well.

Day 34 (Monday, October 8):
Was supposed to report to the JAX office this morning; didn’t quite make it.  We spend a very long night at sea.  It is incredibly dark out here, in between flashes of lightning.  Really hoping we don’t run into anything in the water as we can’t see a thing.  Day break finds us approaching the Florida coastline.  We are headed for the St. Mary’s River.  We see a number of large freighters heading for the river as well. Just as we are getting close to the channel to make the run for the river, we get a call on the radio “sailboat heading south for the St. Mary’s River channel, this is the US Coast Guard, we are conducting a joint exercise with the Navy, please stay a minimum of 1 miles from the channel, after we pass, you may follow us into the river but maintain 1 mile separation”.  After looking around and realizing they were talking to us, we responded with a quick “yes, sir!” (one machine gun encounter this trip was enough).  What passed was 2 scary looking war ships escorting a submarine. Awesome!!!  We followed them into the river, with more than one mile of separation, and docked at the Fernandina Beach Marina.

Day 35 (Tuesday, October 9):
Exhausted from the overnight and in a town we really like, we opt to spend another day.  We take a stroll around town and find ourselves in an Irish pub, who would figure 🙂

Day 36 (Wednesday, October 10):
Leave late morning to make high tide at our new home, only 30 miles away.  Many shallow areas along this stretch, so take it slow.  Get to see numerous dolphins along the way; hope that never gets old.  We make our new marina late afternoon, with mixed feelings.  Trip was rushed, so we didn’t get the opportunity to enjoy everything we would have liked, and exhausting, so glad not to be traveling tomorrow.  But, it has given us a taste of the cruising life and has definitely confirmed that this is what we want to do full time, but at a slower pace.  JAX is where we are at, until…….

Lovely view of the nuke plant coming into town 😦

Tucked in for at least a year. Where next, and when?



2 thoughts on “Debra’s log: "Escape from New York".

  1. Great log of the trip. I notice your frame for when the mast is down. Did you have a plan for that or did you engineer it on the fly? If you had plans would you mind sharing them? Look like some saw horse brackets on there.Thanks Pat and Joan


  2. Strictly on the fly, though I wouldn't call it engineering. No plans, else it would have been engineered and cost twice :)I thought it was overbuilt until we hit bad weather and waves in that awful little lake. I still had to add tie downs to keep it from going overboard. Keep it as low as you can without banging your head on it. I spent way too much money on wood. More straps, less wood is my advice.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s