Sunday, 6/22/08                                                                                Day 141

Today was okay.  We left the dock at 12:40pm after a morning of preparation.  Going out to the monstrous Chesapeake Bay, we saw lots of big ships.  We passed wharves where huge cranes lifted boxes onto cargo ships, coal docks where other ships were loaded up from a nearby facility via conveyor belts, and a fleet of Navy ships.  We passed the USS Wisconsin, a battleship, a tons of ships with a few guns and lots of electronics, and a couple of different types of big cargo ships and landing craft.  Josh had the camera and took around 100 pictures.  It earned him the name "Shutterbug" from Mr. Rick.

When we were at the mouth of the Chesapeake, past the huge Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel, the wind picked up to 25kts. and the seas were at least 6ft. high, all against  the forecast.  We weathered it all the way until now and it's still going on.  We were all a bit seasick.  I'm tired now and Mom says to just go to sleep because Dad says he's going to stay at the helm until this stops.  It's 9:30pm.  Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Monday, 6/23/08
                                                                                Day 142

Today was a pretty boring passage day.  We didn't catch any fish, but did get one big bite.  I brought in the rigged Ballyhoo and it was completely messed up.  The head was hanging by a thread and the tail was missing!

It was overcast and chilly all day, but we did make good speed (over 6kts.).  Mom, Josh and I played cards to pass the time.  Solitaire, Knaves, and Gin Rummy were the games we played most.  Mr. Rick is very funny and calls Josh funny names.  He is commonly called "Grasshopper," "Shutterbug," and "Bro" (which he copies from me).  For dinner, I had a barbeque chicken sandwich with some chicken we grilled yesterday.  It was tasty.  I'm going to stay up with Mom and Mr. Rick for a while tonight.

The Night of 6/23/08

I stayed up with Mom and Mr. Rick on watch last night.  We talked for a while about how I could, legally and illegally, make my garage into a casino, get my friends to be Blackjack and Poker dealers, and get kids from school to come gamble.  It made us all laugh a ton.

At around 11:00pm, we spotted land.  It was Atlantic City, NJ.  After I went to sleep and Dad took the helm, we sped up to 6kts. and heeled over a lot.  I was having trouble staying in my bed and not rolling into Josh.  It was good though.

Tuesday, 6/24/08
                                                                                Day 143

Today wasn't that interesting, but it was a good day.  We finished our passage and sailed into New York.  We came around Sandy Hook and went across the harbor with a bunch of big barges and cargo ships.  This is the first time I've seen barges like this since the Mississippi River on 2/27/08, I think.

We anchored in Coney Island Creek, NY.  We were right near the amusement park and could see the ferris wheel and some other rides.  We quickly settled in ad the adults had some wine.  Josh had just finished the book Shiloh, so he and I watched the movie.  It was pretty good.

For dinner, we ate soup and biscuits that Dad made from scratch.  We got ready for bed and took showers soon after and now have been told to stay in bed and wind down.  It's all good here in Coney Island, NY.

Wednesday, 6/25/08
                                                                        Day 144

Mr. Rick had an extra day with us after the passage before he has to fly home, so we did a real fun thing.  We left Coney Island Creek around 8:00am and headed out into the harbor towards the Hudson River.  I hand-steered us all the way to The Narrows, just past the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.  The Verrazano Narrows Bridge is a big suspension bridge- 2000ft. wide and 217ft. high.  We could see it from Coney Island Creek last night when it had was all lit up.  It was cool.

We passed through The Narrows into another big harbor full of cargo ships, some tankers, and barges.  And there, smack in the middle, was Lady Liberty on her giant pedestal.  We approached her and got some really, really good pictures of us by the statue.  It was awesome and I couldn't help but feel joyful as we cruised in past her as close as we could be (150 feet off the island's banks).  It was awesome!  Then I realized we're going to be doing this four times in one month's time.  This is #1, #2 is with my Grandma who lives in New Jersey very close to here (driving distance from NY), #3 with some people coming to visit us in New York, July 2nd - July 5th, and maybe a #4 with some other people, but #4 is not certain.  That's funny - to do a once in a lifetime experience 4 times in one month's time.  Suddenly I think of the ferry drivers that take tourists to the Statue of Liberty.  They do this once in a lifetime experience a dozen times a day!  But that's just New York.  I told Mr. Rick "America is a country of wonders and wondrous things, and New York City is America's most wondrous city with some of America's most wondrous wonders."

After seeing Lady Liberty, we travelled up the Hudson River, motorsailing the whole way.  We saw the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, apartments galore,  as well as many more skyscrapers, and even Skadden, Arps' New York office. (Skadden, Arps is the law firm my Dad worked for in Houston and still works for sometimes).  That was all cool.

We tied up to a mooring ball in the West 79th Street Mooring Field, part of the West 79th Street Boat Basin, dropped the dinghy and went in for an afternoon in the city.  We paid for the mooring ball and walked a couple of blocks to Zabars famous deli.  We ate lunch there - paninis, knishes, a blintz, and a piece of crumb cake for dessert.  Zabars alone was an experience.  There were 2 long tables lined with chairs.  You got your food at the counter and then everybody sat together at these long tables with everybody else. The food was yummy, yummy, yummy!

From Zabars we walked to Central Park (this is all Manhattan).  We walked all through the park on little paths next to big trees, big rocks, and big "lawns."  On the Great Lawn, there are about ½ dozen baseball fields.  Mom, Dad and Mr. Rick were a bit tired, and they sat on a bench while Josh and I went and played baseball with some other kids.  It worked out fairly well and we all had fun.

We walked through the park some more, but soon headed home.  Mr. Rick, Josh and I waited at the marina while Mom and Dad ran back to the boat to get the shower stuff.  We took turns with the one shower, and went back to the boat for supper.

Today was great, great, great!!  Mr. Rick leaves tomorrow.  I'm glad he came.  We had fun.  He was our first overnight guest this trip, as well as our first guest this trip with the rank of Xtra Passage Crew.  Some more people are visiting us soon, so that'll be great.  I can't wait!

Thursday, 6/26/08
                                                                                Day 145

We said good bye to Mr. Rick this morning and set off from the 79th Street Moorings.  When we dinghied in to put Mr. Rick ashore for the train to the airport, we all got soaked.  A couple of waves broke right over the bow and there was nowhere to go to stay dry.  Dad had to run back to the boat to get us fresh clothes!

As soon as we got back to the boat, we got underway, down the Hudson River and across the bay to Atlantic Highlands, NJ.  We have some friends from our last cruise who live in Little Silver, NJ, up the Shrewsbury River from Atlantic Highlands, NJ.    We had some mildly bad weather during the trip - haze, gray & overcast skies, small squalls, etc. - so I stayed downstairs with Mom working on the website for almost the entire ride.

When we got to Atlantic Highlands and got the anchor down, we started getting our plans together with Bill and Beverly Van Winkle, the friends we met on our last cruise in 2005.  On January 1st, 2005 in Houma, LA, we met Mr. Bill and Ms. Beverly and ended up talking and going to Outback Steakhouse for dinner.  Tonight they picked us up in their converted lobster boat Prime Time.  They took us up the Shrewsbury River to their house in Little Silver, NJ on the water.  Mr. Bill took us in his car to West Marine and drove us around town, showing us the houses of some of the famous people who live in his area, including Bruce Springsteen.

When we got back to their house, we ate a great dinner of flank steak, corn on the cob, and potato salad with brownies and vanilla ice cream and berries for dessert.  They have a huge backyard and there are lot of bunnies.  Mr. Bill, Dad and Ms. Beverly even saw a fox.  At dusk, Josh and I caught fireflies.  We had a great time!  Today was really great!

Friday, 6/27/08
                                                                                Day 146

Today was pretty boring.  We stayed in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, but spent the whole day in the public library.  Mom and Dad had some work to do on the internet, and the public library was the only place we could find wi-fi.  Josh and I did some school and read our own books to pass the time.  Mom took us to a yummy Chinese place for lunch.  She says they have the best egg rolls!  Mom and I also worked on the website a bit.  We had to leave at 5:00pm because that's when the library closed.  Nothing else significant enough to tell about happened today.  Whatever, who cares.

Saturday, 6/28/08
                                                                                Day 147

We moved the boat to Perth Amboy, NJ today and saw my grandma.  We arrived at the Perth Amboy Municipal Marina where we docked actually, at around 11:00am.  Grandma met us there soon after and took Mom, Josh and me shopping.  First we did 9 loads of laundry at a Laundromat!  Then we went to Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Kinko's, Pathmart, and AC Moore.  At AC Moore, we bought some more Polymer clay.  It's a special type of artificial baking clay.  We have a how-to kit for making things out of it.  I've made about 2 dozen beads, some miniature food, and more.  We also went to Friendly's for ice cream.  I got a banana split.  It was tasty!

The last place we went was to Grandma's condo.  I got to see my cat Fluffy who we had to give away to Grandma for the cruise.  We also saw two of her other three cats and her Great Dane named Ladye.  Ladye is a bit wild, loud and big.  Once, I was sitting on the couch and Ladye jumped on me and pinned me down.  She thought she was playing.   I cried out for help, but Josh was petting Fluffy and Grandma was showing Mom something in the back, so I was at the mercy of that big, heavy dog.  Finally, I got her to get off.

When we got back to the boat, we ate dinner with Grandma and turned in.  Today was pretty good.

Sunday, 6/29/08
                                                                                Day 148

I think that today was a complete and total disaster.  Josh and I wanted to go fishing with a bunch of other people on a public fishing pier by the marina.  We spent all day getting gear ready and trying to get bait.  We were able to get only three little bait fish called Kellys.  The bait shop was more than one mile away and we had no car.  In the end, Josh gave up on me and I tried to fish with those three little Kellys, in vain.  The bait was all gone in 5 minutes.  It made me so mad and completely ruined my day.

In the evening, Grandma came over with her friend MaryAnn who wanted to see our boat.  We had cocktails and showed off our shells from the Abacos among other things.  Grandma stayed with us when Ms. MaryAnn left.  She is going to stay with us overnight and sail with us up past the Statue of Liberty and to the West 79th St. Mooring Field tomorrow.  On 7/1/08, in the morning, Grandma is going to take the train home.  It will be great to have her with us!  Unfortunately, today definitely was not.

Monday, 6/30/08
                                                                                Day 149

Today was great!  We spent the morning at the dock hanging out, but spent the afternoon sailing up the Hudson River with Grandma.  We even successfully fished around Lady Liberty!  Unfortunately, Grandma was seasick the whole time.

In the morning, Josh and I opened our birthday presents from Grandma.  My 12th birthday is only one week away, 7/8/08, but Josh's 9th birthday is over one month away (8/24/08).  Grandma wanted us to open them anyway.  She gave us a set of Disney movies on DVD, a set of documentaries, a kit on building tiny planes out of some cardboard pieces, and a huge book about Knights & Castles.  Josh spent all morning making his planes, and made all of them!  I made some beads and a wizard out of polymer clay (see 6/28/08).  We had fun.

When we left Perth Amboy, NJ, we sailed out of Raritan Bay, through New York Harbor, under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, past Lady Liberty, into the Hudson River, all the way to the West 79th St. Mooring Field.  We had great success fishing right around the Statue of Liberty.  We caught 2 Bluefish!!  The first one was 18 ½ in. long and the second was 16 ½ in. long.  We put 2 lures out near the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to try to catch Mackerel by the trash-lines ( places where currents meet and flotsam & sea foam collect ), and Stripers in the currents rips.  We were using a silver Drone Spoon and a pink squid with a big weight in the front.  Soon after we got under the bridge the first Blue hit the squid.  I reeled it in all the way all by myself.  It was the big one.  As we were approaching the mouth of the Hudson River, past Lady Liberty, Josh reeled in the second, a 16 ½ in. one, on the Drone Spoon with a tiny bit of help from me. As he was fighting that Bluefish, which was flopping at the surface, a ferry passed us and all the passengers watched Bro fight the fish.

I took a little taste of the Bluefish, and it is going to be delicious!! We are going to eat it with steak and veggies.  Today was awesome!
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