Saturday, 26 July 2014

The Chinese philosopher and military strategist Sun Tzu (500 B.C.) has said that if you wait long enough by the bank of a river, you can see the bodies of your enemies floating by. Even though Sun Tzu would probably turn in his grave, you could rewrite this to: If you wait long enough by the bank of Hudson, you can see practically everything floating by!

Because the current is so strong on the Hudson, all the things that end in the river will move fast either one way or the other. Often on our dinghy ride we have to navigate round big detached planks from the part of the marina that was destroyed by Sandy, and when a plank hits the boat it sounds like it goes through the hull. We also have to navigate round garbage, dead floating rats, and used condoms, and it’s very disgusting when the last mentioned attaches itself the line from the dinghy.

This week, we have realised that people sadly also ends in the Hudson. Last Friday, a body was found further up the Hudson at the beginning of Harlem and was taken to the marina at Street.
Since 79th Boat Basin is owned by the state, dead people are usually take there for the coroner’s inquest, and the staff is used to body bags arriving at the marina: “We get most of the people that jump off Washington Bridge and the killings in Harlem,” I was told. And apparently, they get quite a few every year.

This week we have also contributed to the list of things floating by. Saturday night you were able to see a red unattended dinghy floating down the Hudson. Unfortunately, I hadn't tied the dinghy as well as I normally do, and suddenly Henrik said: “We have a problem”, after which
I looked back and saw the dinghy floating away towards the marina. We called the marina to ask, if they would tie it to the bridge when it got there, but instead it took a turn with the current around the marina and continued past it.

Only then did we realised that we were actually on a movable floating vehicle, so we quickly got the flopper stoppers out of the water and starting racing after our dinghy that now had disappeared. When we reached the marina, we saw one of the marina’s boats sailing the opposite way – with a red dinghy tied behind it!

We sailed back to our mooring and tied onto that, after which the difficult part came: Getting the dinghy back! There was a strong current, and our poor saviour had to both steer his boat against the current, make sure he didn't sail into us, loosen the line to the dinghy and give

us the line. We managed in the second try – and we were so grateful! Since then I've really made an effort to tie the dinghy properly, so you won’t again see an empty red dinghy on the Hudson!

Signe Storr freelance journalist and friend of Boatshed