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Last update August 03 2015
It is the first of the month of July, four days before the 4th of July. Around nine we want to leave.
When hauling up our anchor, we see that it's not our anchor coming up, but a treetrunk that's wrapped around our chain. John looks at it and decides that cutting is the only solution. After 20 minutes sawing and half way through the soaked trunk breaks, we finally got rid of this obstacle.
Time to go to Philadelphia (Philly)! The river meanders slowly to the northeast. After 6 Nm we set out to find a good anchor spot. Camden is not eligible as this city opposite Philly is called the murder capital of America. Not really the place to be. Meanwhile JoHo is already north of Philly, but still we have not found a place. When crawling back against current we make several attempts, but unfortunately to no avail, it is clearly not our day. There are only marinas where your boat can be put up at $ 3 per foot per day ... that's $ 120 per day, which we do not want to pay.
What now? The options are returning to Essington or try to go to New York in 3 days. After consulting the weather, we decide to go back to Essington. Fun to be there with our friends, but how do we get into Philly on the 4th of July? The group of old and new friends are surprised when we come back in the afternoon. Once ashore "Internet John" hears why we are back and immediately offers us a ride to Philly for the next few days. Super, thanks man, that's fast and easy arranged.
The day before the 4th of July Internet John drops us in Historic downtown Philly for us to tour around town. He advises us to stay in the center, he wouldn't want to be in the suburbs himself either he says... comforting.
It's crowded in Philly, there are many events, but first we arrange tickets to Independence Hall. Our alotted access time is 15:00, glad we can see it today at all. Until then, we stroll through the center. We notice how many strange (mad in the sense of impaired) people roam here freely. They crawl from under bushes, crab gum from the street, talking to themselfs or scream at the top of their lungs... At some points in the city, the atmosphere is even grim.
I've been here once before, but could remember little more of this city, probably because of this atmosphere, not being really attractive.
By the time we arrive at the Liberty Bell there is plenty of music everywhere and I pick up two free WaWa Welcome America 4th of July caps for tomorrow.
Philadeplhia is the birthplace of America, here they signed the independence around the 4th of July in 1776. A new country in the New World. At Independence Hall a Park Ranger talks about what kind of things played in 1776, around the 4th of July.
Next day it finally is the 4th of July or Independence Day.
Early in the afternoon Internet John drops us in Philly. All events are around the Benjamin Franklin Parkway today, a large square in the center of town. Everywhere we find booths with appetizers and drinks, sometimes even for free! Of course they do not serve alcohol, this is Pennsylvania... Everywhere there is music but on the main stage, where it will start at 18.30.
We get a good spot to admire Zella Day, MKTO, Miguel and the Roots. Even the Mayor of Philly raps at the end of the show, around midnight together with an artist, what a party! It ends with a huge fireworks display, which we enjoy with hundreds of thousands, what a day it was! After all this Internet John brings us back safely to JoHo.
After a very short night with four hours of sleep, we leave Essington around six. Due to tides and heavy rain in previous weeks we rapidly sail down the Delaware River off to our next destination. After a long day of over 70 nm we arrive at dusk in Cape May. With some spontaneously given local information from Towboat US, we made the anchorage in the dark. We thank you, obviously there are still a lot of nice, helpful people in this world.
New York City Skyline
The next day we are off early again, leaving Cape May for Atlantic City, where we stop early in the day to walk through town. The anchorage is great, but the city is in decline. There are few casinos open. Not really worth the trouble. But we have seen it.
It will be a short night in Atlantic City, we sail in to the Atlantic Ocean early again due tide hours and after an hour we are unlucky, FOG. In this small world we are called up a few times on the radio with the announcement from some freighter that he's going to catch us from behind, that we want to keep our course please. Nice to know as we heard, but did not see him.
By the time we entered Barnegat the sky is open again. Barnegat entrance is easy to follow, but after the entrance we are momentarily lost, confused with the many buoys. And it appears our chart is not up to date in this area with many walking sandbanks. Eventually we follow another boat and after a big curve we see how this narrow channel continues and all of a sudden the bouys make sense again. Late afternoon we set sail again to Tom's River. Here live Tom and Linda from catamaran Cavu.
The days that follow, we enjoy the company of Tom, Linda, and their friends Dave, Anna, Susan and Anthony. We may borrow Tom's car (a red Jeep Wrangler, nice!) looking for a fabric business. We score fabric and foam to renew our seats inside JoHo. On the way back we stop at an Aldi, yes really, the German supermarket chain. For the first time we find soft drinks, juices and goods that are not sweetened with corn syrup. That stuff is in almost everything here in the US, and it's definitely not healthy.
We undertake many activities with Tom and Linda. Sailing Escape, Dave and Anna's Sailboat around Tom's river. Happy hours and eating out with this group. Unfortunately, we have to follow our plan to see some more (New York, New York) and therefore we have to say goodbye. Fortunately only temporarily this time, we are invited back to join this nice group of friends again, which we'll do in August.
July 12th finally is the day, in the distance looms the Manhattan skyline. Still 10Nm to go and we are already like two school children on a fist trip in our cockpit.
Who is the first to spot the Statue of Liberty? Yes there she is!
What an incredibly special feeling to sail here with your own boat.
I keep taking pictures, we run a few laps before we sail to our anchorage behind the Statue of Liberty. The canal is narrow but the anchorage is large enough for 10 boats. Absolutely superb, from our anchorage we see the back of the Statue of Liberty and One World Trade Center.
Early next morning, we go ashore but we don't know where to go. I ask the way to a man from the Engineers Corps. He and his friends then give us a lift to the NY Waterway ferry, near the luxury apartments. Quite pricey, $ 20 round trip per person.
Anyway, we are in NYC and walk all day through Manhattan. View many highlights and then go to the 79th street to see if this place is the better place to anchor as everyone says. Then the answer is clearly NO, all boats roll all the time. You have to anchor if your boat is larger than 40 feet, and then you have to motor more then a mile with your dinghy (sometimes against 4kts flow) to get to the dinghy dock. Cost per day $28. This is not a better option for us, even though it is central. End of the day we take the subway back to the ferry, what a day.
The next day we leave this anchorage as we want to go further north, to Port Washington and for that we to go on the East River to Hells Gate. If we do not do it today, we have to wait for over a week before we have the tide on a Christian time with us.
JoHo sails off the channel past the Statue of Liberty as the fire brigade just starts to test their waterhoses. Big jets emerge and in no time, everything is in a thick fog. John quickly closes the cockpit and stays dry, JoHo and I are completely soaked (I was filming and taking pictures on deck).
If this is the beginning, that's promising for today, bah!
When we enter the East River we sail under the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridge, in the distance is the Chrysler and Empire State Building. After the Queensboro bridge, we see the UN building and the notorious Hells Gate. The tide and wind are pushing JoHo through Hells Gate, the rest we motorsail with the tide along to Port Washington on Long Island. Just before entering we hear a strange beep from the motor, but we can not figure out what it is. After stopping the engine, we sail further, John looks into the engine compartment and after starting we don't hear the sound anymore.
We pick up a free mooring alongside SY Wandering Star (which we know from the Caribbean) and we are invited directly, with a bottle of wine we dinghy to their boat (and back only late at night).
We stay a few days in Port Washington. The engine is test again but John cannot find anything unusual. I do grocery shopping and laundry. On July 16th, we go with Sim and Rosie SY Wandering star for a day trip by train to NYC. This is cheaper, $ 16 round trip per person but still... The biggest part of the day we walk around and in the afternoon we do the Highline. This is an old railway line which they have converted into a "garden in the sky". You can go walking or relaxing on the many chairs and benches. Everywhere you will find art among the trees and plants, a top idea. Late afternoon our ways separate. Sim and Rosie have to do a few things before friends will come tomorow. We continue until after the evening rush hour in the city.
Given our schedule, we want to be back to Tom and Linda in the beginning of August and we still want to see more of New York, it's time to go back slowly to the south. On Saturday, July 19th we go back through Hells Gate and the East River to Liberty State Park. This is the place where we want to stay for the time being. To our surprise, we see a Dutch sailboat at anchor. We do not see many Dutch boats in the US and so we go there and meet with artin and Ellen SY Acapella, former KLM employees.
There is a click and they tell us excitedly about the perfect entrance this place offers to the center of Manhattan what they have found. Along with Martin and Ellen we cycle the next day to Jersey City where we take the PATH (train) to the WTC in NYC. Easy and cheap. A ten-ride card costs about $ 20, which is a $ 4 round trip per person. Look now, that's affordable if you want to do this for a week or two.
So we are cycling for days in NYC, after a while we know this city inside and out. Also, I discover that every day some attractions and/or museums are free. So we settle July 21st for free tickets for the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Even now it still makes an enormous impression. images, photos and sounds moments of that day. Outside you will find two pools with waterfalls that were once the foundation of the Twin Towers, all of it is impressive indeed.
Well, our former New Amersterdam remains a special place. In downtown you will find the Stock Exchange, Battery Park and the many skyscrapers with their dark streets and hidden parks with art.
Close to Trinity Church you'll find a NYC timeline on the sidewalk, the old Federal Building was where all money and value was stored. Inside this building you still can see the old vaults.
We do so much and see so many of the free museums to Central Park, it's too many to mention, but a brief summary; from Apple store on 5th Avenue, many more impressive stores, the St Patrick's Cathedral (they are refurbishing, although it is a beautiful church as is), cycling through Chinatown, Little Italy, Chelsea, SoHo, Greenwich Village, Central Park and even a piece of Harlem.
Times Square is complete madness, in the nineties there was only one building with giant screens. Now everything around Times Square is full of screens. You don't know where to look, dangerous in/for/with all that traffic. We took the time to quietly enjoy it all from a corner of the square.
The month is almost at its end and we are still in NYC. There is so much more to write about, but don't, just one look at our pictures says enough. Almost every day we are surprised by this huge, beautiful city. Free entrance at the MoMA (Museum of Mordern Art), and from concerts to outdoor cinema. One jumps out, July 31st we see the film '' Racing Extinction '. This film shows how we humans are destroying parts of our planet and the possible consequences involved. We do not know how it all connects, but scientists are getting a better picture every day and it doesn't look good. Sailors, cruisers see this happen for years, by changing weather patterns but also on the basis of what is still alive and what has disappeared in certain areas.
Basicly we can still make some changes to the disappearance of our biodiversity.
Certainly not all, but some species could survive if we humans want it to.
But that means changing our life style.
Immediately and massively.
The faster we do this, and the larger the mass that joins the greater the effect and the more animal species can survive.
Make a start, watch the film and see what you can do yourself.
Keep in mind that it always comes down to money.
If there is no demand for a product, there is no production.
Think about the future of our planet, we still only have one.
On this note we want to finish this month.
I finished a special photobook, about our travels 10 years JoHo's travel from 2001 to 2011.
Curious ? Then click the link.
And if you're interested in sailing the BAHAMAS, BERMUDA, MALDIVES, BONAIRE, SURINAME or ARUBA have a look at our books at SAILADVENTURES where the books are available online.
You can always mail us for more info on these cruising grounds or cruising in general, we'll gladly help you out.
JoHo is at anchor in Liberty State Park, New Jersey, USA at 38°57,1' N - 74°53,1' W.
Our floating home and office is always ready for us to work for ourselves as writers and editors compiling cruising guides on our way.
Remember to live life to the max, it can be over before you know it. That's our motto.
John and Jolanda