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Repairs, no place to dock, wind, waves. Our Long Island attempt and the people that helped us out.


Black line is what we wanted to do, pink line is where we actually went.

We made our way up the NJ coast, with the goal of heading to and circumnavigating Long Island before we spent time in NYC. But, that wasn’t Sweet Day’s plan and we didn’t make it very far. Sweet Day gave us some unexpected repairs, in places we were not prepared to do boat projects. The weather was not great for traveling in the ocean along the coast of Long Island. Several times we felt we weren’t sure how we were going to navigate the challenges ahead of us. But in every situation, a stranger would come to the rescue (and Mike), and helped us in these tricky situations.


Here is a post dedicated to those who helped us over the last week, and a reminder of how important it is to always choose kindness--it can make a huge difference.


Challenge: Engine was leaking coolant

The night before we were to depart from Atlantic Highlands to Long Island, we discovered two hoses in our engine were leaking coolant and we couldn’t move the boat until they were fixed. All mechanics were booked 8 weeks out and we were anchored out about a half-mile to shore.


We couldn’t have done it without:

Deck hands at Atlantic Highlands Marina: These guys were so helpful from the moment we pulled up to fuel up, pump out, and fill up our water tanks (which was huge because we would be using them much more this next week than we would have thought) before we moved to our anchorage. When we were not successful getting a hold of a mechanic ourselves, we headed back over to the fuel dock and they gave us some more contacts, including Jersey Shore Marine Group, which led us to Kevin.


Kevin with Jersey Shore Marine Group: Kevin was the only mechanic that asked us about our problem, even though he was booked out for weeks. We sent him some photos and he called us back offering to walk us through over the phone (he even agreed to Facetime!) enough steps where we could make the repair ourselves. And...he followed up to see how the repair went. All at no charge. Kevin, we could not thank you enough.


After figuring out what we needed to do, we took the dinghy to shore, walked five miles round trip to West Marine, dodged a few thunderstorms, consulted Kevin (and Mike) to make sure we were on track, and did the repair all in a day, ready to head to Long Island.


Atlantic Highlands Fuel Dock - Google Maps / Active Captain

Atlantic Highlands Anchorage - Google Maps / Active Captain

Jersey Shore Marine Group - Website


Challenge: We needed an emergency place to dock the boat.

After we replaced hoses, we headed to Long Island, but on our way, realized our alternator was giving 16 volts, which meant there was too much energy going to our batteries and it was unsafe for us to travel. Called 20+ marinas, and no one had space for us to dock the boat. (No luck getting a mechanic either).


We couldn’t have done it without:


Andrew with Scotty’s Fuel Dock: Andrew runs Scotty’s, which is a fuel dock and day dock for an adjoining (great) tiki bar. They don’t have overnight docking, but after he heard our situation, he didn’t skip a beat and said pull in and stay as long as you need to, no questions asked.

After we docked, and no hope of getting a mechanic who could help us unless we wanted to wait 2 months, we called Mike to help troubleshoot the issue. We then rented a car, took out our alternator and took it to two shops to get it checked out. After confirming our alternator was fine, we decided to replace our old starter battery, which we found out was causing the issue, which we celebrated with dinner and cocktails. We returned the car the next morning and continued our journey up Long Island.


Scotty's Marina & Fishing Station - Google Maps / Active Captain

Buoy Bar - Google Maps / Website


Challenge: Wind was too strong to travel where we needed to.

When we left Scotty’s the wind was too strong to travel as far as we wanted to in the ocean outside Long Island’s coast. So we decided we needed to pull into Fire Island inlet, which can be shallow and rough with the waves and hard to navigate without local knowledge.


We Couldn’t Have Done it Without:


Nick with TowBoatUS: TowBoatUS (which is like the AAA service for cars), has tow boats all around the US waterways ready to tow your boat if you ever get stuck. Due to the nature of their job, they are also experts on navigating their local waterways. So we gave the local TowBoatUS a call and asked for tips on how to navigate the inlet. Not only did we get some tips over the phone, Nick came out in his boat and personally escorted us to where we were staying for the night, helping us follow the channel. He also called us the next day and came out to help us through some tricky parts again!


Reynolds TowBoatUS - Google Maps


Challenge: Couldn't find a place to stay the night (again).

When realized we had to pull into Fire Island, we needed a place to stay the night, but couldn’t get a hold of a marina to dock, and there weren’t any protected anchorages from the wind.


We Couldn’t Have done it Without:


Flynn's Restaurant: When we realized we couldn’t get as far as we could because of the wind, we started calling marinas and no one answered. So we called Flynn’s, a restaurant on the water that looked like it had dock, and luckily someone answered and said tie-up for the night no problem. The restaurant was closed that night too so they said there wouldn’t be any deckhands available to help us tie-up, but don’t worry about paying for the slip.


Flynn's Fire Island - Google Maps


Challenge: Hard to get out of our slip.

We were in a tight slip in Flynn’s. When we were ready to leave in the morning, the winds were still strong, and without any dockhands, we were apprehensive about how we were going to get out.


We Couldn’t Have Done it Without:


Random guy on the dock: A guy happened to be walking on the dock when we started our engine, and offered to not only help take our lines off, but he hopped on our boat to make sure we didn’t blow into another part of the dock. Then he hopped back off the boat to the dock, right before we pulled out. Made the whole experience much less stressful then when we pulled in!


After all of this and continued weather preventing us from heading further East on the Ocean, we decided to change course and turn back to NYC. We tried, we learned a ton, (got a big black and white cookie) and most importantly, are so thankful for the people who helped us along the way.