The C & D canal, Delaware Bay, and the entire state of New Jersey passed by without me stepping foot on land. To make up for lolly gagging in the Chesapeake Bay, we traveled 251 nautical miles in less than 3 days. There comes a point in exhaustion that can not be made up for with any kind of sleep or caffeine. Sometimes just powering through seems like the best option when there is no such thing as catching up. With a goal to reach New York City by the 4th of July, the consensus was to make an overnight trek off the coast of New Jersey… skipping over the state all together. So we did.
Five miles off the coast of Jersey, 50 feet of water underneath Louise, wind blowing us towards the “Big Apple”, and waves shoving us westwards towards Jersey. In 22 hours we traveled 120-ish miles from Cape May, NJ, to Staten Island, NY. Patrick (Simrad auto-tiller) drove us through the entire night off shore. My love for Patrick strengthened to that of a human. Patrick – you are something else, thank you for your help. Katie and I do two hour shifts on overnights. For the most part, we are both awake in the cockpit all night. It’s too hard to fall asleep on overnight passages anyways. The adrenaline of being in the pitch black on open water alone, is plenty enough to keep your mind alert. We were both so tired, but the glow of New York City gave us a compelling focal point. Sometimes the thing that scares me the most, is not being two somewhat in-experienced sailors on the open ocean – but what Katie and I are capable of making happen when we put our heads to something.
Suddenly we are on a series of trains, ferries, and subways trying to get to Brooklyn to surprise one of my best childhood friends on her 25th birthday. Like true rookie tourists, we navigated our way through the sweaty jungle with luggage, an oversized camera, and a 50 pound dog. Reggie found his placement quickly on the subways, appropriately spreading his appendages for balance as if he were on Louise. I lost my balance several times, and had to look to Reg for advice. Fortunately, the subways are so packed with humans that they block your fall when inertia flings you forward. The view consists of armpits, necks, chest hair and the occasional breast in your face. Every single human was either looking down at their smartphone, or at their feet. I am curious as to the possibility of us all becoming robots. When each individual comes with a hand held computer, there is no reason to look any where but at it. The only time I saw people talking, was into their headphones to someone on the other side of the line. The only time I saw someone smiling or laughing, was when they were looking down at their smartphone. I’m not gonna lie, I got really weirded out. Do we even have brains anymore? We are all guilty of staring at these things too much. But holy shit, the world is changing and I am slightly frightened to change with it.
A woman pushing a stroller with a fake baby, pushes her way through the crowded subway station in search of a place to dump an un-used fake diaper. A ravenous drifter with an eyepatch, relentlessly bangs on the telephone pole on the street corner where we wait to cross. A little boy who seems to have lost a parent or two, curiously lingers over my shoulder attempting to take my phone from my hand. Musicians preform on every block. Wait, these people are really talented, why isn’t anyone stopping. Why aren’t I stopping? Because stopping means a good chance of death by stampede. Three hours, and 157 different kind of smells later, we arrive at Olivia Gilmore’s doorstep. SURPRISE! Happy Birthday. I love you. Where’s the vodka?
We spent several days wandering Brooklyn, the neighborhood of a few close friends. It’s fascinating how many people choose to live in a jungle, where nature and silence do not exist. I had to remind myself to walk through the city not as if I had was fresh off a sailboat, but as if I were a little kid who had never seen such a sight. I’ve been to NYC several times in my life. But this time, was different. Not comparable to prior visits, I felt like a true foreigner whose brain didn’t believe her eyes. Friends, incredible cuisine, culture, music, art, and entertainment reminded me of what brings people in, and what keeps them there. The opportunities are seemingly endless, which is what makes New York City – New York City.
The thought of waving goodbye to the Atlantic ocean once we head up the Hudson River, is very, very, VERY bittersweet. Neither of us are in a rush to leave the jungle. New York City, you have marked our journey’s progress. We have both dreamt about the day we would wake up to the cities skyline from the cockpit of Louise for over two years. I am not going to bother explaining how remarkable that was, because honestly I don’t really know how.
Lots more City photos to come….. and if your bored …. www.jessietakespictures.com