Arriving in New York by container ship

My alarm went off at 5. I woke up, rubbed my eyes, and looked out the window. Lights! Land!

The captain told us that we’d be passing under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (which connects Staten Island to Long Island) sometime between 5 and 6. So if we wanted to see the approach, then we’d need to be up by then.

I grabbed my camera, Stephanie bundled up, and we headed out onto the deck. The view behind the ship was dark except for a few lights on the horizon. The air was humid. We climbed the stairs to the wings on either side of the bridge for an unobstructed view forward. The other passengers were already there. After nine days spent crossing the Atlantic, the lights of Manhattan were just coming into view.

Lights of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, seen from the Hanjin Palermo
Lights of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge ahead
Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, seen from the Hanjin Palermo
About to pass under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

We were treated to a stunning “blood orange” morning twilight behind Manhattan as we entered New York Harbor (aka Upper New York Bay). We were also able to spot Lady Liberty, quite minuscule in the distance, before making a sharp turn away from the city and into the narrow tidal straight of Kill Van Kull.

A blood orange Manhattan twilight, seen from the Hanjin Palermo
A blood orange Manhattan twilight

Silhouetted Statue of Liberty, seen from the Hanjin Palermo
Silhouetted Statue of Liberty
Lower Manhattan skyline at twilight, seen from the Hanjin Palermo
Lower Manhattan skyline at twilight
Stephanie and Justin enjoying the approach from the wings of the bridge of the Hanjin Palermo
Enjoying the approach from the wings of the bridge

We went under the steel arch Bayonne Bridge (which connects New Jersey to Staten Island) with only a few feet of clearance. An interesting aside: once the Panama Canal expansion project is complete (which we saw in progress last year), the bridge’s height will constrain the size of ships that can access the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal. Apparently the Army Corps of Engineers is considering a proposal to jack up the bridge to increase its height by 40 percent (or 60 feet).

Dramatic sunrise over Kill Van Kull, seen from the Hanjin Palermo
Dramatic sunrise seen from Kill Van Kull
The Hanjin Palermo about to pass under the Bayonne Bridge
About to pass under the Bayonne Bridge

With the aid of several tug boats, we made a sharp right turn into Newark Bay, followed by a sharp left turn towards our wharf. It’s funny because technically we were arriving in New Jersey, not New York. The sun was coming up, and it was looking like it was going to be a spectacular day. What a perfect welcome.

Map of our approach to the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal in New Jersey
Map of our approach
The Hanjin Palermo making its final turn towards our wharf at the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal in New Jersey
Making the final turn towards our wharf
Two tugs arrive to help nudge us into our berth at the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal in New Jersey
Two tugs arrive to help nudge us into our berth

By 7:30 we were docked—and ravenous. We went down to the officer’s mess for a big breakfast, and then immediately up to the clearance office to be admitted back into the United States. It’s hard to believe that we’d been out of the country for nearly a year. We actually made it all the way around the world! With one last stamp in our passports we were officially back—almost. Our transport wouldn’t be picking us up until 1, so Stephanie took a nap, I finished packing, and then we went down for our last lunch aboard the ship before they turned us loose.

6 Comments

Mom

We are so happy to have you home from your world travels. The Blog was wonderful and Skype is great but nothing beats a real live hug from my son and Stephanie!

Geli

awesome ….goosebumps… only by watching these pictures…wow..what a big,big finish after your adventure !!!

Welcome back! Thanks so much for sharing this great adventure online with the rest of us!

WOERLY Franz

Dear Stephanie and Justin, marvellous photos. Thank’s. I’m going to send you somes. I’m back to France after meeting with (little) earthquake in Washington and Irene stopped me 4 days in Queens NY waiting for a plane… Great travel! The bestwas HP. I hope you search for job is lucky. Franz

Franz, you definitely have some interesting stories to tell about your time in the US! Glad to hear you finally made it back to France. Maybe we’ll cross paths again one day.

Candace

Interested in using one of your photos:
1hanjin-palermo-kill-van-kull-bayonne-bridge-big.jpg
in post: Arriving in NY by container ship. Please email to take specifics, thanks.

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