Saturday, May 26, 2012

She wore a brand new jersey

It has been hard to get that song out of our heads in this part of the world. Delaware... New Jersey...

Sunday 21 May. Shortly after 0700 I was unplugging us from the shore power and attending to the lines; it will be good to get back to floating docks Maryland, because the tidal range is so small, docks are fixed; mainly pilings. That means that the fenders need to be horizontal against a piling; and a clove hitch is used to tie to the pilings. Soon we were heading down the Severn and round the early fishing fleet by the William P Lane Memorial Bridge. There must be some fish in the Chesapeake because there are a lot of people fishing..........I haven't seen any catching however yet, apart from the ospreys. As is was a Sunday there was considerable small boat traffic but not many of the big boys; just a couple of commercial vessels heading up to Baltimore. Our course took us up the Tolchester Channel and into the Elk River; it was a blowy day, sometimes over 20 knots. We found out later that in the south Chesapeake it was blowing 35 knots and there were 7 to 12 ft waves; essentially it was impassable down there. For us eventually the channel narrowed and turned into the C&D Canal; it is 150 feet wide, 40 feet deep, and no bridges for us to worry about. Soon we are travelling through leafy Maryland and then Delaware. There was one AIS target coming towards us and it turned out to be what in Panama we call a "bath tub" - a huge 800ft car carrier. After an 8 hour trip I turned into our marina for the night; Summit North. Off the canal in a backwater the guide tells me to watch the depths - I had timed our arrival for a rising tide. Good job too, as I nosed in extremely slowly we had only 6 inches underneath for a hundred feet, thankfully there was more water at our slip, right at the back. There weren't many Nordhavns here that's for sure. I would explain at this point that, since we want to get ashore quickly and easily to explore is not our intention to anchor out much on this first East Coast foray.

Monday 22 May. Today was going to be all about the tides. We needed to run down the Delaware River which can see 3 knots of tide, so we waited at Summit until high tide was approaching (1020), then left to plan our exit from the C&D into the Delaware at high slack (1236). After the run down the Bay, we entered the Cape May canal with an incoming tide (around 1800) because depth can be an issue. Well, the plan was good to start with. At Cape May I had called ahead; the marina with the deep water is South Jersey. Calling the marina they had a tie inside the fuel dock with someone on the dock to take the lines. From my visual analysis it looked tight, once inside the docks I needed a quick turn to starboard and then a reverse into the starboard tie, something that I have done a hundred times. Looked ok but by the time I had run to the stern helm station we were moving away fast; reverse was very difficult and the bow would not come round; regrouping I tried again; the angle was better but we just could not get near that dock and were getting very close to the pilings opposite; at that point I was getting worried that my thrusters would time out which they did (3 minutes of cumulative use and they reset in 15 minutes time). It was then extremely difficult turning into the current and the wind; we were out of the dock but then lying in the tight fairway on the other side of the fuel dock. With no thrusters it was too tight to turn into the wind and current; I worked crabwise down the channel and got the stern to the fuel dock for a dock line; she came round and soon was safely alongside the dock. Tricky! Inspecting the inside fuel dock tie afterwards I saw that there was probably a 5 knot current directly across the end of that dock, no wonder it was extremely difficult to reverse firstly into and across the current and then try to thrust the bow into it. Life is all about lessons isn't it? Sometimes we think that we know just everything. But then, looking back a couple of years, did we really know anything at all?

Cape May is a really good place and it would be good to spend some time here. Susie went off into town to explore but I seemed to have injured my knee so I lingered on board for the day, doing some forward plans. Which inlet do we head for? I was changing the plan every time I looked at it; there are issues with the Atlantic inlets around here and also we have a problem this week, yes, fog. In the morning it was pretty dense and you could tell how reluctant the cruisers were to leave. We hauled out mid-morning and headed for the closest stop, Atlantic City. A short run to the marina at the Golden Nugget; fortunately we were with fellow travellers on Twowowie - Fleming 65 -  and so we went off for supper with them. After supper we wandered the Casino; I have to say that I don't really understand the folk who frequent these places. I have a lot to learn. In the morning the fog persisted and it was a quiet run up the coast; I was "revising" the plan............Manasquan inlet? .... Shark River? ... actually it was a good plan just to head to the anchorage at Sandy Hook; fellow cruisers Richard and Judy on "Knucklehead" saved us a spot there and it was great to set Rocky in the mud and just chill out. Just 14 miles from the Big Apple and here we are in the middle of nowhere.

In the morning I was washing persistent mud off Rocky and when he emerged from the water there was rope and a very old anchor wrapped round him. Well, we waited a bit for some tide to carry us up into New York Harbour. It was an interesting trip since here we were entering one of the busiest harbours in the world and we had visibility of just an eighth of a mile! We had just a three hour trip and in the first two hours we didn't see another vessel apart from on the radar!

Well, we are now safely tied up at Lincoln Harbor Yacht Club. And I  can see across the Hudson River to the Empire State Building. Time to go exploring I think.

1 comment:

  1. David and Susie,

    Enjoyed your postings. I am a friend of KNUCKLEHEAD and he mentioned your blog. On your links page, is conspicuously absent. It is a fabulous interactive cruising guide, particularly on the East Coast. Give it a try.

    No connection...just a happy user of many years.

    Robert Calhoun Smith, Jr.
    Hatteras 58 LRC
    Annapolis, Maryland