N 41 32.9 W 73 59.6

June 3, 2001

79th Street, New York, New York, to Croton Point to Newburgh, Hudson River, NY

The Gypsum Baron south of Croton Point
We waited until after lunch to depart from 79th Street, thanks to a strong ebb tide. The current here was impressive indeed. You hear it moving past the boat's hull when below and it registered up to nearly 3 mph on Titania's speeed indicator. During the night she traveled twenty miles according to the log, thanks to that current moving by. It's relentless, powerful and it's something you don't ignore when it approaches half your own boat speed. It finally slackened to a knot and we decided to leave. After a couple hours our speed over the ground picked up as the current slackened and finally reversed. Then we were going almost twice as fast- increasing from 3.6 to 6 knots. Because of our late start we decided to just travel about 20 miles up to Croton Point for an anchorage. The visibility was limited by heavy haze and with a forecast of rain we didn't relish going at night up the river.

We reached our anchorage behind a low forested spit of land deposited in the river by a small creek. Behind it out of the main channel we found almost no current which made for much more relaxed anchoring. Still, remembering Reedy Point, we deployed our rode weight! As the day faded we looked around and enjoyed the relative quiet of this spot- the constant din of the stream of cars on the parkway next to our 79th Street mooring had been getting a little tedious we realized as we now listened to bird calls and a few late but stubborn peepers calling. We got an early start the next day to catch that elusive flood tide upping anchor at 6:30 am..

Above West Point looking north; Storm King Mtn to the left; Pollepel I. in the distant center
Some geological event of presumeably considerable consequence created what has been called America's only true fjord, a long tidal arm of fresh and salt water that reaches deep into New York State. Perhaps 20 miles above New York City the Hudson leaves Haverstraw Bay and passes between a series of hills and heights that plunge up to 1400 feet down into a channel as much as 260 feet deep. We motored up through here pushed by a favorable current past Anthony's Nose, Dunderberg, and Bear Mountain. Each had a cover of gray mist hanging low over its top. You could watch the wind driven stratus flow over the mountains, moving through the strangely stark dead trees on their upper slopes. Tendrils and ragged edges of cloud hung down and mist patches gathered in the hollows of the slopes. The trees that cover these hills give an illusion of lushness and softness but in the areas where for some reason the forest has died, you can see the stark lichen covered rock dark and basaltic and hard edged that forms these brooding highlands. These are mountins still, ancient worn down stumps, roots of something that once must have towered above the water like the Rockies.

Storm King lived up to its name as its spirits conjured up a thunderstorm just after we left it astern. It was a fairly mild storm as these things go, a bit of rain which we missed the worst of and some wind. A roll of thunder told of the ghosts of Henry Hudson's men playing nine pins up there as Washington Irving put it in his tale of Sleepy Hollow. Then a curtain of whitish gray rain moved across the narrow passage astern and closed it off. We were spared the worst of it catching just its fringe.

Anchored just above Newburgh & I-84
At 5 miles per hour you have time to see and savor this landscape. A boat is proably the best way to see the scenary here that has delighted and inspired artists and writers for centuries. Silver and gray light seeping through the low turbulent clouds showed us glimpses of a series of hill tops ranked alongside the river to the east- I suppose the edge of the Catskills. Here and there a small torrent of white water rushed down a hillside and fell into the brown river. A fair amount of debris, logs and sticks testified to the runoff from earlier thundertorms. We passed West Point brooding in its massive gray stone fortress against the steep river bank. Here too a graceful reminder of the past lay at a dock, the sloop Clearwater ( whose photo is on last fall's posting down by Tarrytown) her wings folded this wet Sunday morning. After West Point the river opened and widened slightly and we left the strange ruin of Bannerman's Aresenal astern where we stayed last year. We ducked into an anchorage on the western shore about an hour later as the tide slackened and got ready to run against us, and are hoping for a longer day tomorrow.