Stony Point, Iona Island, and Blair Mountain

On the most beautiful of all July days, we drop anchor in the north side of Stony Point, New York. It’s not hard to describe this place. It’s just hard to imagine its splendor unless you are here. On one side is a working stone quarry next to a defunct, rusted out stone quarry. Across the Hudson, a massive ship is unloading something that requires many cranes. Next to that is a nuclear power plant. Believe it or not, all that industry does not even begin to take anything away from the loveliness of this sweet little cove.

We are alone.

The Stony point wreck.

While raising the anchor, our 42-year-old windlass suddenly decides it isn’t up to the task. Unable to either raise or lower the new Mantus anchor hanging from the bow pulpit, we have to deploy our spare and stay another night. No problem. We want time to visit the Stony Point Museum.
During the Revolutionary War, the British recognized the importance of this rock outcropping jutting out into the Hudson River and a fierce battle was fought here. A museum on the site honors that battle.
But before we visit the museum, I have to diagnose the windlass problem. Within a sweat drenched hour, I have the broken part in my hand. I call the Good Automatic Windlass Company in New Jersey and have them FedEx the part to our friend Blair Buscareno, who just happens to live a few miles away. The XO bravely volunteers to ride her bike up Bear Mountain to his house for the pick up. She tells me that on the way back, some of the roads were so steep, she had to walk her bike down them!

The new part.

After installing the new part, we haul anchor and head to Iona Island which is just four miles away. The plan is to meet up with Blair at the nearby municipal wharf.
We find the anchorage go about our usual routine. The XO gathers in the dinghy so we don’t sink it again, while I slowly head toward the shore until the depth sounder shows 12 feet, which is a good depth to drop anchor. Unfortunately, in less than an instant, the depth went from 104 feet to 2 feet. Before I can react and put it reverse, the gauge reads zero. Yup. We’re on the bottom.
“Are we moving?” the XO inquires.
“Nope,” I answer, and throttle up in reverse.
Slowly, Ginger Lee begins to creep backwards. Mud roils up in the water surrounding her. Finally she is free.
“Okay. Let’s not do that again,” I state the obvious.
We move to a better spot very near the dock where we will meet Blair. The XO, now very confident in her solo dinghy handling, heads off to collect him while I tidy up the boat a bit.

Blair Buscareno.

Many years ago, in another life as a young rock and roll musician, I met Blair. He was a fan of the band I was playing in. My wife has a similar story. She was a young musician as well. The dude showed up at so many gigs it was impossible to not notice him. But this was the very first time I sat down and had a real conversation with him. He knows a lot of the history of the whole Bear Mountain area. It was an enjoyable evening. Hey Blair, thank you for helping us out.  SOCOBO 8/4/17

The Bear Mountain Bridge. The XO has renamed it The Blair Mountain Bridge.

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