June 27 2009
As I type this log we are motor sailing up the Jersey coast. We expect to spend tonight in Great Kills Harbour by Staten Island in the Lower Bay of New York Harbour. It is a clear sunny day with what little breeze there is pretty much on the nose. We’re running just a little east of our rhum line so that we can carry our jib. The ocean is relatively calm, but undulating as oceans do . It is a feeling I always enjoy.
Yesterday was full of surprises. But I’m ahead of myself. We left Solomons Island and Banshee on Monday morning. The wind , the current and the waves were all out of the north bang on our bow and we got beat up pretty bad. Our best speed forward was 4 kts and when the bigger waves slammed our bow we stalled at 2.5 kts. Wisely we put in at the first available harbour which was Harrington Harbour South in Herring Bay, about 3 hours south of Anapolis.
This is probably the nicest marina we’ve ever stayed at, complete with several beaches and picnic areas, swimming pool, tiki bars and restaurant, manicured lawns and flower gardens. Several years ago when we helped Larry and Kathy bring Sinn Fein north they stayed at Harrington North but brought us to this restaurant for a meal. The laundry facility was good and so putting in at noon allowed us the luxury of doing laundry , having a walk about, a relaxing happy hour and a good night’s sleep.
We were off again Tuesday morning shortly after six and made such good progress that Maxine continually updated our destination. We spent Tuesday night in Chesapeake City which took us out of the Bay and poised to enter the C & D canal at first light Wednesday morning. Skipper Bob (our guidebook and Bible) advised leaving one hour before high tide at Reedy Point which would have meant a noon departure and the impossibility of transiting the Delaware in daylight (this is to catch the currents in the Delaware River on a favourable basis. So against the best advice we left sharp at 6 am with a “damn the torpedoes’ attitude. Amazingly the currents still worked in our favour for about 2 3rds of the day . We were at our dock at Uuch`s Marina in Cape May fully fuelled at 18:00. Maxine however was too whipped to do anything. It was my turn to cook (read plastic card buys restaurant food) but not only did I have to cook, but I also had to fetch and deliver. The pizza I procured turned out to be excellent.
With the weather still on our side but threatening afternoon T storms for the next few days we decided to keep moving early each morning. So Thursday we moved north to Atlantic City and put in at noon at a dock ($1.50 foot can you believe). We toured Trump City, had a nice meal out and early to bed. Ditto Friday and we put into Barnaget Inlet around 13:00 Friday (yesterday). Well there is much debate about transiting this inlet at ANY TIME. We chose to do it on an ebbing tide with 3 to 5 foot rollers coming in from the ocean. The ebbing tide creates a rip with the waves and simply put one damned confused sea. The buoys marking the channel aren`t charted since they are moved regularly to deal with the shifting shoals. And, we were greeted in mid channel by 30+ cigar boats in a poker challenge race coming out the channel all at once at speeds that must have been 60+ mph. Holy shit !! And to add insult to injury with the ebbing tide they had the legal right of way over our upstream bound vessel. Every one of these 30 odd boats passed us in rapid succession within several boat length`s of us on both sides of us simultaneously. The noise sounded like being on the run way at Pearson International. The wake added to the already excited sea state in the narrow channel. Well, thinking back it was a one of a kind experience. (We really missed Niki here since she would have videographed this nightmare and possibly come up with award winning footage !! ). Again we took a dock because the forecast was for severe T storms and high winds. The forecast was right. It came about 20:00 hours and never have I seen such a black sky. Our dock cost $3.00 a ft (can you imagine !!) but when the wind hit I didn`t begrudge a single cent. And the swimming pool and showers were wonderful in the afternoon. And the early arrival allowed me to change fuel fitters, oil, and all that good stuff that keeps our Yanmar humming.
As I type this I have heard two reports from N Y sector US Coast Guard. One, expect 150 swimmers swimming across N Y harbour today plus 50 odd sailboats in a race plus a whole bunch of Kayaks traversing the harbour. Well after yesterdays cigar boat poker run, these slow moving obstacles should be a piece of cake. Two, there has just been a sighting in Long Island Sound of a pod of dolphins numbering over a hundred moving through the Sound. Wouldn’t that be something to see.
June 29 2009
We did take a mooring at the Richmond County Yacht club Saturday about 16:00 and were content to have our happy hour and supper on board. We had a relaxing night, turned in early and at 6:00 Sunday morning slipped our mooring. Up the Hudson from New York Harbour’s lower bay through the narrows, past the Stature of Liberty, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Yonkers. We left New York behind and finally settled for the evening 12 hours later at Newburgh. At Staniel Cay, Exumas, we saw a large yacht named “Le Grande Bleu”. She was so “Grand” she had a full size patio on her stern and both a sailboat and power boat on her mid decks. Both were likely in the 60’ range. We sailed past Le Grande Bleu in N Y Harbour.
Today we travelled to Catskills where we will dismast in the morning and become a power boat again. Tonight we have stripped sails and rigging and are ready to pop the stick fist thing tomorrow We will head to Troy Wednesday morning and enter the Erie Barge Canal for the trip home to Lake Erie.
June 30 2009
We moved into the crane dock at 8:00 this morning. The mast is down and ready for transport to Anchor Marine on Grand Island and we have the boat scrubbed, fuelled and ready to move first thing tomorrow. We will complete our transit of the Hudson and enter Lock # 1 Wednesday afternoon.. Larry McAulay will meet us in Waterford N Y to help us through the locks of the Erie canal. The tripm is close to over.