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The Hudson

The Hudson could be a great psychiatric patient with her many moods and multiple personalities.

Heading north, it’s a little astonishing how quickly the metropolitan feel of Manhattan gives way to a more wilderness feeling, with the occasional statue, bridge, military academy, nuclear power plant, airline controlled water landing site and riverfront small town sprinkled along the way.

There’s the terminus for the Hudson in New York Harbor. As I said elsewhere, it’s an amazingly busy place to observe, let alone drive your pride and joy through.

Coming up on Manhattan

After passing Manhattan we came upon a familiar looking part of the river, unremarkable in appearance, but significant nevertheless.

It was where Sulley landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson.

The site where Flight 1549 had landed

There was a childhood book my grandmother and mother loved to read to my sisters and me, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge by Hildegard Swift. I think more than a few of my contemporaries would remember this book.

The George Washington Bridge with the fabled little Red Lighthouse

I had forgotten the story until we passed the under the George Washington Bridge. There was the little red lighthouse, and there was the big grey bridge.

We continued past the north part of New York City up the Hudson. The scenery turned from urban to bucolic with the beautiful weather we were having.

Further up the Hudson from New York City, the scenery quickly shifts to a more wilderness feel
Someone was kind enough to take our picture as they passed us

I remember as a youth crossing the Tappanzee Bridge several times traveling back east. The new one we traveled under was finished only 2 years ago.

The new Tappanzee Bridge

It reminded me of another bridge I traveled under as a very young person. Technically, I was 3 months old, but the stories and pictures make me think I remember it.

That’s a story for later this summer.

A few hours later we stopped for the night at Croton on Hudson (see my most recent posts for more on that).

Two days later we continued past Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, where I had worked as a Field Service Engineer on a turbine overhaul there. It was probably about 40 years ago when I had last seen the place.

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. I worked on the unit in the foreground back in the early ‘80’s.

We continued on past West Point. Having been next to Annapolis for a couple nights, I thought it was interesting how different the two places looked.

West Point…. very much a fortress appearance

We then anchored behind Pollepel Island for the night. Pollepel Island is famous for some guy trying to build a castle on it. He was partially successful.

Bannerman’s Castle. We anchored behind it one night.

It was very quiet with the stormy weather we had.

The view from north of West Point from our anchorage, looking south through a depleting rain squall

The next morning we continued up the Hudson towards Albany.

It was a long motor up. Timing the tidal flow could make our trip increase in speed due to the push from the flood tide.

Or it could slow us down depending on how the tide and river worked against us when going upstream. Many people don’t realize how far up the Hudson the tide goes.

In our case, it worked well the first half of the Hudson, but worked against us on the second half. We could have chosen to use the tide to help us out but the time we would have traveled would have been mostly late in the afternoon or after dark.

As it was, we made the most of the situation and enjoyed the view.

One of the many lighthouses closer to Albany

Before exiting the Hudson, we picked up some more fuel. We can carry 750 gallons of fuel. It takes probably a half an hour to put 200 gallons in.

Selkie teaches us to be patient when treating her well.

We now had enough fuel to get us through Canada, in case we didn’t want to pay Canadien fuel prices.

Our last night on the Hudson we stopped at the Albany Yacht Club. We washed the boat down to get rid of any residual salt as well as the pollen that had been accumulating on Selkie.

We topped off our water tank. We carry a 300 gallon water tank, and using a dedicated hose and water filter causes us to fill at about 3 to 5 gallons a minute depending on the water pressure. We put in about 150 gallons in Albany, which took about 45 minutes.

Patience. Patience.

There was one more task we had to do before we left the next day.

Selkie’s mast with antennae on top is 23’ from the waterline.

We were going to pass under bridges that were around 21’, so we made adjustments to be able to fit.

I scrounged around the yacht club, found some old lumber, borrowed the club’s circular saw, and made a special post to support the mast in a lowered position.

We then lowered Selkie’s radar mast.

We tied everything down securely.

Selkie looked a little odd with her mast down, but we were starting to see many boats who had done the same thing, including many sailboats with elaborate trusses holding their masts off their deck in a horizontal position.

That evening, to celebrate our long day and the work we had successfully completed so far, we went to a fun restaurant for dinner. Lib had an excellent salad and I had a hoagie. We shared.

The next day we cast off for the Troy Lock.

Almost to the Troy Lock

I’ll post about all the locks we went through, as well as the locking process later.

Suffice to say that going through the Troy Lock, we started to understand the locking process, and how Selkie was going to behave. This lock was going to be the first of more than 200 locks we will go through before we finish the Loop.

We emerged from the Troy Lock relatively unscathed, but wiser for the experience.

We also were, for the first time, in a non-tidal river, where the water flowed only in one direction. We were also no longer at Sea Level.

We continued on to Waterford, where we docked for the day. We were officially in the Erie Canal!

Selkie resting after her journey up the Hudson River

We had a great trip up the Hudson. Our confidence in Selkie continued to grow as we learned how she operated.

It was now time to head west. But that’s for another post.

By Tad Sheldon

I'm a retired Silicon Valley Technologist and Director. I teach skiing as a 4th (5th? 6th?) career for fun, and am passionate about Boating. I'm even more passionate about my family and friends. I volunteer occasionally for non-profit Boards, and currently serve as the Secretary of the Board for Western Division of the Professional Ski Instructors of America / American Association of Snowboard Instructors.

6 replies on “The Hudson”

Enjoying your posts on this wonderful journey you are on. I imagine as the miles and the moons add up, so too will your appreciation and perception of how it has affected your thoughts and feelings going forward. Gods speed, old friend.

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Finally caught up with your Blog. It will become my favorite morning ritual along with coffee. Your journey makes me laugh, brings a tear and warms my heart. You are a natural storyteller. As we pack for the Lake House, knowing we won’t see you, we wish you Godspeed and the occasional hoagie! Thanks for taking me along…..🥰

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Fun to catch up. I can hardly wait until the two of you create a book about your trip…but it is fun to follow you for now,

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