What a day! We had spent an uneasy night because of the proximity of too many small sailboats and some wind-against-current swinging. As soon as it was light we weighed anchor and moved Escape Velocity to a better spot closer to shore and far away from any moorings.
We were congratulating ourselves on a perfect choice of anchorage with no nearby boats when we heard a voice calling out from very close. We looked around. No boats. And then we saw the man in the water out for a morning swim in a red swim cap and hand paddles. He said “Good morning!” and Jack went out on deck to chat. This was a first for us, and we were struck with how hardy New Yorkers are.
He told us there was a front moving in and that we’d have a rough hour and a half but then we’d have fine weather. He also told us that next Saturday there is a charity swim across the river to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and we’d have a front row seat. The whole time we talked he was treading water in high winds and current. I was tired just watching him. Finally he swam off and we lost track of him in the waves.
Winds stayed 15-20 knots all day with occasional gusts in the mid-20s. I was bordering on seasick but we both just lay about and read and watched the horizon. Serious weather was moving in.
By early afternoon we felt like we were riding a bucking bronco. Two squall lines moved up river, one on each bank. We got just a few sprinkles but lots of wind.
Things calmed down a little for the rest of the afternoon, but the winds stayed up and consequently the river was choppy. We bounced. By 4:30 the weather radio was warning of tornados and a line of violent thunderstorms. We rechecked all the ports and hatches, checked the anchor and waited. We saw lightning over the ridge to the west, and suddenly it was on us. The wind slammed over Nyack and into the river like a freight train and we couldn’t see the bow from the cockpit. The storm moved at 40 miles and hour, said the radio, and we could believe it.
The wind blew in the mid-30s for about half an hour and the rain came down in sheets. Oh good, I thought, our decks will be nice and clean. The storm left as quickly as it came and the wind dropped to almost nothing as we watched the clouds move north.
My stomach was so grateful but I was still queasy enough to ask Jack to make dinner. We watched the sky clear south of us.
And by evening we were treated to an amazing sunset. Some days the view from the back porch is like a movie.