Ships log June 9, 2010
Trip Start May 05, 2010
22Trip End Oct 01, 2010
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Whether our decision to drop back a day was a good one or not remains to be seen. We had seen two good weather days ahead and we needed 3 to make the run to Sandy Hook. The third day now called for winds up to 20 kts and seas 4 feet. All of this is well within our safety range, so I was not overly concerned. But, for the sake of what its like to spend nearly 12 hours on the open ocean we would prefer something a bit quieter. We will see.
We decide to leave around 0630 under fair skies. The trick to “day 1” is to hit Reedy Point (top of Delaware Bay) at high tide (or so) so you can get a current lift down Delaware Bay. With luck, you can get from 1 to 3 kts advantage. Predicting the tides in the C&D (Chesapeake and Delaware) canal is something else. We try to get to Reedy by 0900 and hope we get an avege speed of 7kts for the 18 mile run.
The trip up to the mouth of the canal is beautiful. As mentioned, its well forested and almost appears primal. This is one of the best places in the area and it’s a pleasure to cruise here. Farther north, there are spring fed rivers brining clear water to the area.
The water in the Chese is pretty suspect. This used to be one of the nation’s best fishing and crabbing grounds. It’s fundamentally a beautiful place, but if you look closer you will see dead fish and copious amounts of jelly fish. The problem….no its not boater flushing do-do…..no not at all. Its nearby factory farm chicken ranches who chose not to install proper sanitation facilities for chicken do-do…and lots of it. From what I understand, the major chicken producers won’t spend the money and gov has failed to go after them for fear of their threat to move to Mexico. It’s crap….literally. For this, the watermen loose jobs, there are few places to swim in the bay and in most places the water does not look that great. I have a pet peeve with all this corporate dumping, but Ill save that for a political blog.
We hit the canal and its clear we are getting a head current. Well….nothing much to do but slog it out. So by 0945 we are at the top of the Delaware. This is not a nice body of water. On the trip down the most exciting part is the nuclear power plant and several ships. I would say, its strictly a commercial place…..a place you want to get by. We run for about 4 hours and get a good lift. By 1600 or so we are at the foot of the Bay under clear skies and cool temps.
The final leg is about 5 miles through a canal and zowee, we are at Cape May, NJ. Ahead lies 120 miles of open ocean that some call the treacherous Jersey coast. You know this when you look at the wreck marks on the charts.
We anchor off the Coast guard station and settle down for the next day. Before long we talk about the impending weather coming in the day after tomorrow. Normally day 2 is Cape May to Atlantic city and Day 3 Atlantic City to Sandy Hook. Day 3 is normally an 11 hour run. We look at each other and wonder if we can make the 120 miles in one day…..tomorrow. This would be the longest run we have ever made, but would assure good weather. I run the chart planner on the GPS and see that if we leave at 0500 we “might” be into Sandy Hook by 930pm…..an hour after dark. That’s not bad. We decide to go.
So by 0445, we are up and firing up the engine. By 0515, we are motoring out the inlet and soon we in open ocean as we see the big red ball of the sun coming over the knife sharp horizon. The weather is prefect and we go. Its beautiful out….really nice.
The run is easy…..except for the hours. The problem/challenge is the last hour, the hour after dark that where we will be the most vulnerable. When you are tired and when its dark. We have been into Sandy Hook many times but not at night.
We are lucky, we get good currents. During the day the GPS computer pegs the ETA at first 11pm, then 9pm….then 1030. Finally it begins to settle down at the predicted 930. And by 9pm we are rounding the ‘hook’ in Sandy Hook and we can see the lights of New York. By 930, we round the break water in pitch black. But Sue flicks on the handheld search light and we are happy to see that the anchorage only has a handful of boats. We are anchor down…..the GPS shows 116 nm for the day. We are beat. We are happy. We are safe and sound.
A good night sleep was easy. Making the crossing up to Long Island sound means going through NY Harbor. This is an exciting trip for any boater. Our fist time was 3 years ago and it was “too eciting”….. dodging ferries, freighters and finding our way to the Battery. Too exciting. With experience, we learn that staying to the starboard side (right) works much better. Today the weather is poor (as expected) so we are glad the NJ trip is over. And, for once, the NY harbor trip is a cake walk. In fact, it was as if the place was closed. We did not see one freighter or ferry. In fact, it was too quiet. Entering NY harbor you see lots of unused loading capacity, deserted factories and other sad shells of yesterday. Its sobering the see so much of what was right with America now sitting idle.
Still we make it up the east river and pas the united Nations. What do they do there? We vow to take a tour one day and ask what the heck is going on.
By 1600, we are at our destination: Port Washington NY. We have arrived in LI sound.