Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Day of Several “Firsts”

Days on cruise:  72

Distance traveled today:  106 miles

Travel time:  11 hours, 3 mins

Total trip odometer:  1,571 statute miles

After Mackenzie and Matt’s departure yesterday, we went grocery shopping and did laundry, then reverted to type and went to bed at 9:30 p.m.

This morning began as follows:

4:30 a.m – Bob wakes

4:40 a.m. – Cathryn wakes

5:00 a.m. – Cathryn whispers: “Are you awake?”

Bob:  “Yes”.  So we both get up, despite our plan to leave Delaware City at 8:00 a.m. in order to time the gigantic Delaware Bay so we won’t be bucking the 3 knot current and tides all day long.

5:10 a.m. – we drink our first cup of coffee

5:30 a.m. Cathryn says “I don’t want to wait til 8:00 to leave. What would you think about leaving at 6:00 a.m. instead?”

Bob:  “I need one more cup of coffee, but sure, we can leave at 6:00.”

Our peaceful Delaware City Marina spot for two nights:


So . . . we had a banner day today!  Tim, owner of the Delaware City Marina, a great guy who took us to the grocery store and West Marine yesterday, gave us advice and local knowledge about transiting the big, scary Delaware Bay, let us use his kayaks yesterday, and showed up at our boat at 5:55 a.m. and asked if we were trying to sneak out without being noticed!  He’d already helped one sailboat slip their lines at 4:30 a.m.  So he gave us advice about how to get off the dock and turn the boat 180 degrees in the narrow canal with a 3-knot current, which was spot on, so our departure went off without a hitch.

The Delaware River/Bay is huge, and we saw lots of boat traffic of all kinds and sizes.



The Delaware Bay was not as scary as we expected, but that was just dumb luck that we hit it on a good weather day. Many of our Looper friends traveled this section a week or two ago by radar in heavy fog, while we had sunshine, warmish temps, and waves in the 2-3 foot range with winds 10-15 knots.  Not bad at all!



We arrived at Cape May, New Jersey, our destination for the day, 61 miles later and fueled up at Miss Chris Marina for $3.69/gallon for diesel.  The docks are VERY shallow there, but we managed okay.

On departure from fueling, we checked the weather forecast for the next few days, discovered tomorrow might be the last decent day for a while, and agreed we didn’t want to be stuck anywhere on the Jersey shore for multiple days waiting to go outside in the ocean, or attempting to travel the VERY shallow, winding, never-dredged ICW along the Jersey shore which causes many people to ground their boats.

You’ve all heard what the Jersey Shore looks like?  Yup!


So . . . . we headed out to the ocean for the first time on this trip and committed ourselves to 40 more miles to get to Atlantic City, making for a looooooong day!

Seas were 3-4 feet initially, though more in the form of ocean swells than chop, then grew over the course of the afternoon to 5-foot swells mixed with chop and whitecaps, with autopilot heading swings in the range of 35-40 degrees. The waves started as beam seas then clocked around to following seas. We were uncomfortable without being frightened.  We’re more comfortable with big, rough water now than we were two months ago, and we have increased understanding that the boat is far more capable than our nerves.  And we were happy to have our more powerful engines that allowed us to go a bit faster than normal and thus smooth out the ride! We were never more than 3 1/2 miles offshore.

Below is the view approaching Atlantic City, mostly giant casinos including Trump Towers.


So at 5:10 p.m., 11 hours after our departure, we pulled into our anchorage at Brigantine adjacent to Atlantic City. The entry was shallow and tricky, but the cove is plenty deep, calm and has a great view of the monstrous and garish casinos nearby. We understand that after it gets dark we’ll enjoy a show of casino lights that will be impressive.


Wonder if we’ll manage to stay up til 9:30 tonight???

No comments: