Saturday, June 16, 2018

A Trip to the Ship Graveyard

Today's trip was an excursion with an actual destination - a ship's graveyard.  We had passed this on a trip back from NYC last summer and I immediately thought it would be a great place to Deb and Nathan on their next sailing excursion with us.  (Their son, Brian, seems to love all the different things to see when sailing.)

So today they joined me along with Fanny, a colleague visiting from Germany and we boarded the KYC launch and headed out to Seas The Day.

Despite the prognosis earlier in the week, we had relatively little wind and ended up motoring over to the Great Bed's Light where we had the requisite photo op (an annual occurrence for my cousin's family).

From there we headed up the Arthur Kill between NJ and Staten Island.  We soon encountered some of the interesting marine traffic in this waterway.

After the major traffic passed, I offered Fanny the helm, which allow me time to eat a quick bit of lunch.

Then we ended up at the Ship Graveyard.  I didn't take any photos this time, allowing the kids to enjoy the view.  Here is a photo from last year's trip.

From there we turned around and headed back down the Arthur Kill with Captain Brian taking the helm briefly while I went below...

Maryanne's favorite seat was on the pushpit...

As we started to cross the Raritan Bay back towards Keyport, the wind picked up just enough to pull out the mainsail... we might have just reached 3 knots on the trip back, but after a few games of Rock/Paper/Scissors, the kids settled in for a nice nap and we were in no rush for the day to end.

Finally, we had to turn on the engine and wake everyone up.  We motored back, then joined John for drinks on the KYC deck before Deb and Nathan had to gather the kids and head home.  

We finished the trip when John (my son) took me and Fanny to Neil Michael's Steakhouse in Hazlet, NJ for an early Father's Day dinner.  

GAR Note:  Fanny is an accomplished photographer.  While she only had her iPhone with her, she had some great shots and shared these four...

Deb also shared her favorite photos of Maryanne and Brian from the day...

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Photographing the Sailing Regatta

Keyport Yacht Club holds its Bill Volk Regatta early each June.  Although I understand essentially zero about sailboat racing, I love photographing this event each year.  It can be very colorful and the Raritan Bay offers lots of neat backgrounds for the photos.  In fact, this year I was offered a seat on the "official" photography boat but turned it down when I heard they were planning to sit by the starting area - there's only so many photos you can make looking in the same direction.

That meant taking Seas The Day out.

I was spoiled the first time I photographed this event in 2014 as Tom, one of the launch captains, took me out in his boat which could zip around the field, and he was great at helping me line up great shots.  I decided to take Seas The Day out with only a day or two's notice.  Since I couldn't find a skipper to help, I ended up both as single-handed skipper and chief photographer.

That meant that I was missing some shots when I was busy with the boat.  But that's OK as I still ended up with almost 300 frames.  My favorite 3 are above.  Below are a few more of my favorites with the rest at my SmugMug page.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Memorial Day Weekend NYC Trip

For Memorial Day weekend, we took Vicky's cousin, Mango and her husband, Fei, on a sailing adventure into NY harbor for the weekend.  We've done this excursion a couple of times before and it's always memorable (and frequently unpredictable).

Editor's note... Fei is an accomplished photographer as well. So for this trip I concentrated on providing safe sailing and let my photography take a back seat.  Not to mention that everyone had a smartphone and these were being passed around a lot.  So I'm not going to try to attribute photo credit... the three shots I took with my good camera are maked with my copyright, and I'll try to point out a few special ones that Fei shared.

Day 1 - Travel to NY Harbor

So the trip started with a launch ride from Keyport Yacht Club out to Seas The Day and from there we settled in for the trip across the Raritan Bay.  We had a late start and the wind was directly behind us so since everyone wanted a turn at the weel, I decided that the sails would stay in and gun it for the Verazzano Narrow's Bridge.

Turning north, we crossed NY Harbor towards lower Manhattan.

It's always a rush for me to sail right in front of the Statue of Liberty.

Each time we're here I try to grab my good camera and take a good shot.  But traffic right in front of the Statue is ALWAYS hectic - the statue ferries, tour boats, speed boats, tour speed boats and the occasional pirate ship are all converging (not to mention USCG and NYPD boats as well) - all are creating wakes and I'm never satisfied with my images.  Still, I keep trying.

So after passing the statue and Ellis Island, we rounded into the Morris Canal and docked at Liberty Landing Marina.  A quick tie up and we were ready for dinner at Maritime Parc, a standard stop for us (it's in our marina building) with fabulous views of everything we just sailed by.

Following dinner, Fei and I grabbed our cameras and I took Fei and Mango down along the Morris Canal to my favorite point for photographs.  Then Mango and Fei took off to explore Liberty State Park at dusk.

Day 2 - Boat Chores, Heat Stroke (almost) and Touring NYC

While we're docked, it's easier to do some of the boat chores than it is when bobbing on the mooring ball, so on Saturday I let the guests take the ferry into Manhattan and I set about filling and checking the propane tank for the season...

 Sprucing up the head...

Checking and topping off the batteries...

And making sure the fire extinguishers are all in order...

Normally, I'd try to do these tasks before taking off for NY Harbor, but Vicky is only with me for a few weeks and we wanted to get this trip in this weekend.

Side note... it was HOT.  Seas The Day doesn't have AC  and today I truly regretted not having that included when we purchased her.  No I didn't get heat stroke, but I drank a ton of water and stopped a couple of times to go searching for some shade or AC (I spent significant time browsing in the marina store).

While I was busy with the boat, Vicky took Mango and Fei across the Hudson and they did some sightseeing in Manhattan.  The two main stops were the Intrepid and Central Park, but they also seemed (from the WeChat texts) to hit Trump Tower and St. Patrick's.

 Fei's photo

Fei's photo

Clouds started to develop over the marina and I sent a text encouraging them to come back before the rain.  They stopped to get some provisions before coming back and I'm told at the last minute, Vicky ran and grabbed a bottle of "wine" with a nice drawing on it, but it turned out to be some raspberry something beer which...

... was NOT a hit.  Fortunately, I had a bottle of Merlot on board and we saved dinner.

During the afternoon, two families (brothers - each with a shiny red boat) moved into the slip across the dock.  The many many kids brought some life to our side of D Dock.  They returned while we were eating and a few minutes later I heard the one mother exclaim that she never has seen a cloud this intense (looking over our boat).

It was something else... this seething boiling cloud constantly being lit up from internal lighting.  My guess was it was 75 miles away or so and radar indicated that the Asbury Park area was getting clobbered at that moment.   I was able to catch a strike or two.

Day 3 - Rain, Hypothermia (almost) and The Cloisters

We awoke to the sound of rain coming down in buckets.  We were originally going to leave today and sail home, but as much as I wanted to, I couldn't do it... it was miserable.  After a few trips to the marina store for their free coffee (I hadn't had time to set up my coffee stash for the season yet), I was wet and shivering, so we called it off for plan B.

Plan B was to take the Liberty Landing Ferry across to the World Financial Center, and then Uber up to see The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Plan B was quickly replaced by plan C when we saw the sheer number of people lined up to visit the Met today.  We found an accessible entrance with somewhat shorter lines but decided that even if we did get in, it wouldn't be that nice and we made Plan C to head up to The Cloisters.  

This was successful and we became members of The Met through the Cloisters.  I'll see if I get to the museum itself in the next year.

They had some sort of weird "Catholic Fashion" exhibit going on... that was a bit distracting, but all the other famous artwork (especially the Unicorn Tapestries) was still there.

So we returned, and tonight it was so cold outside that we cleared off the salon table and had our feast indoors.

Day 4 - Sailing home

So on Memorial Day, it was cold, but at least we were dry.  So we buttoned up Seas The Day and headed home... first passing the Statue again, then continuing on through NY Harbor.

Around 11:00 AM, we were treated to fighter jets flying south.  I'm guessing that was part of  the Fleet Week/Memorial Day celebration taking part in the city.

We had thought about heading home via the Arthur Kill for a change of scenery, but there were several large container ships going through the harbor and aiming in that same direction.  We decided not to play chicken with the big boys and headed south for the bridge.

From there, we headed west across the Raritan Bay... eating sandwiches, cleaning some of the brightwork, catching up on messages and enjoying the 2 hour trip until we finally reached the Keyport #1 buoy.

We found and picked up our mooring ball (noting some twisting still going on - have to talk to Dan about that), then battened down the hatches and headed into KYC for some beer, wine and items from Keyport Fishery.