First Leg of the Trip: Sailing South from New York, New York

The New Colossus, Emma Lazarus:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Statue of Liberty from the ocean

See the Photo Gallery…

My feelings tonight as I write this are complicated and mixed. But I’m feeling pretty good now. I cooked a lot of food today, vegetable risotto with braised chicken, beef stew, and pineapple calamari stirfry. It’s all going to be frozen to feed me, Captain Alex, and Enrico for the first leg of our voyage. This is a huge learning experience for me, I’m learning how to someday be a private chef on a boat. I am working hard without being paid… but I’m being fed really well, and haven’t spent a dime yet. I’m kind of like an indentured servant. I’m hitchhiking a ride, to where to I can’t quite be certain. I’m learning.

Tomorrow at 7AM, the ship is leaving Long Island and setting sail through New York City. I’m very excited, this adventure is starting. The crew is just the three of us, Alex, Enrico and me, and we seem to be fairly quiet and serious. I think people probably get along better that way in such close quarters like this, or maybe I just don’t know them yet. Captain Alex is a true sailor gypsy man, glass eye and everything. He walks with a limp and has a heinously broken collar bone from a life spent at sea, but is in incredible shape for being in his sixties. I will surely learn a lot from him about boat handling. Enrico is an Italian adventure seeker and world champion fisherman, like minded to me in some ways, he’s a really cool guy. He has a masterful command of English and Spanish.

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This trip will probably be isolating and I’m going to feel all kinds of emotions. Currently the boat is moored at an 11 million dollar mansion on Long Island, 20 minutes outside the city. It’s Alex’s friend, and the house is like a resort. It’s the best property around, a point of land with water on three sides, an ugly view to the blocky mansions in Port Washington and smog drenched high rise slums across the sound. There’s constant air traffic overhead, but everyone seems to like this city. New York, land of the free, greed and corruption, money and power. I think it’s cool though that me who lives with little money and doesn’t get paid gets to stay in the most opulent mansion and nicest property around. I think some of my uncertainties are simply because I’m in New York. Looking forward to the sail tomorrow


I write this from a very low point in my life… Or maybe it’s a high point. This sailing life is a wretched one. Actually, I feel much better now, I always feel better for a few minutes after I puke. I’ll say it, I know people like to say they never get seasick, but I’ll admit it, I’m seasick. The ship is somewhere off the Delaware Bay, way out in the open Atlantic. We’ve been running with the engine, but also currently under full sail and there’s no land in sight.

Sailing Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay Sailing Atlantic Ocean east coast USA

It’s beautiful out here, I just wish I wasn’t sick. I’m trying to overcome it. I’ll be brutally honest though, everywhere that is not here is where I’d rather be. Driving my truck, or riding my bike up a big mountain. Moving and exploring the land. In the desert, in America, at Panamint Springs. I already miss my family, and my loved ones. Already I miss places familiar knowing how far I’m planning to go. But they will still be there, this is something I’ve always dreamed of doing. Laying around some guys boat as it takes me far away from home? It seems glamorous I know but… it isn’t always. I really have no idea what I’m doing…

In fact, I was even too sick to finish writing this, and writing while seasick is foolish anyway, but now, much later, we’re 50 miles off the coast of Norfolk Virginia and the Chesapeake and I’m starting to feel human again.

Sunset at Sea

The Atlantic water is a deep dark teal, still nearly black but clean now. The sun is hanging low and the wind is in the east. Yesterday was much different, we left through brown waters in New York City and it was a dramatic departure. The numerous skyscrapers surrounded us and were gleaming in the morning light. The sea was calm and I wasn’t sick in the slightest. The October air was chilly but the sun was warm. I lay listlessly on deck for countless hours, sitting by Enrico mostly in silence and letting the entire day pass by. The Jersey shore slowly rolled away, houses, highways, one water tower after the next trailing into the distant horizon. An explosion of noxious black tar Jersey smoke filled the air in a plume from the distant shoreline and I waved the cities goodbye.

Brooklyn Bridge in New York City

The Brooklyn Bridge was in fact built before the automobile was invented! Intended for use with horse and buggies. Amazing.

Chrysler Tower in New York

Chrysler Tower

Empire State Building

The Empire State Building

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We didn’t need to change course to head out to sea, slowly New Jersey’s coast bent west and left us. I sat watch from 6-9PM, sunset and darkness. For hours I sat and stared at Atlantic City, one enormous red casino in the distance changing colors from red to purple to blue- back to red. Occasionally a magnificently lit freighter would pass. Then I woke up at 2AM to watch until 4, the night sailing has been sublime! The sickness began in the morning…

catching a Wahoo, deep sea fishing, world class fisherman

Now this is a badass shot




It’s 13:30 the following day (what day is it?) and this sailing life is a glorious one! I am sick no more or at least I hope, trying to overcome! We are finally making our way south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and the air has magically become, soft, warm and blissful. We’re entering the south. The water is growing bluer gradually the further south we sail, now it is a deep azure, a perfect Atlantic blue. Dolphins were jumping alongside the boat this morning, they were happy and carefree. Then I noticed a refrigerator floating in the water directly in our path. We changed course to avoid it: perhaps the dolphins were trying to warn us? Then Enrico and Alex caught a gigantic wahoo! It was pretty amazing seeing them in action (they are badasses). We attacked the fish with a machete and hacksaw, filled a five gallon bucket full of steaks and I chopped the head up working on a fish stock. We also caught two bonito and I reeled one in! It is absolutely beautiful right now, I can’t believe how calm the ocean is. You can hardly tell where it meets the ethereal sky. This is definitely a peaceful way to live, with fresh wahoo steaks for dinner tonight, I am finally really enjoying this. I am learning A LOT out here (about life). Tomorrow we will pull into Wilmington, North Carolina to wait out some foul weather.

dolphins alongside the boat

Possibly my new favorite animal

dolphins jumping alongside the boat

calm ocean at Cape Hatteras

“The sea could only be calmer if you put it in a glass and set it on a table!” -Capt. Alex, haven’t heard that one before!

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