One year ago today we cast off our lines from the dock in Muskegon, MI, and headed out on our adventure. And what an adventure it has been! As we reflect back it is incredible the things we have seen and experienced and we thank God for this opportunity. We have now traveled just over 5,000 miles, been to Bahamas and back and are now on our way to Boston, MA.
A special thing we did today to commemorate our year was to tackle the infamous New York East River into Long Island Sound. We really have kind of been dreading the East River because so often you hear horror stories about the current going through there, especially at Hell Gate, but after researching it and the current we timed it perfectly and flew through with no difficulties. We followed another boat, Taylor Jay III, who we found out have done it a number of times before, so it was helpful to go with them. But, since we entered just as the tide was switching and therefore going to a flood tide (current going with us) it worked great. And it was actually very beautiful as we passed through the city and saw amazing bridges such as the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. Also on the river were many ferries scurrying their passengers around, work boats, other recreational boats and we then came to a wider part of the river and a sea plane landed right beside us. Shortly after it landed another one took off. We had no idea they did that on the East River!
We are very glad we survived the East River and are now at the beginning of Long Island Sound on a lovely mooring ball in Port Washington, NY. We will probably spend a couple of days here and then start moving up the Sound toward Connecticut and Rhode Island on the way to Boston. We continue to hear about the beautiful areas we are going to see, so we are definitely looking forward to it.
In last week’s blog I wrote that we hoped to leave Annapolis this past Monday, June 24, and we did. We fueled up and filled our water tanks at the City Marina just out of Spa Creek and we headed up the Chesapeake Bay. We made amazing time up the Bay with a slight south wind behind us and entered the C&D Canal connecting Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay at 2:15 pm already. We intended to stop at an anchorage at Chesapeake City on the canal, but since we were doing so well we decided to keep going to an anchorage at Reedy Island just outside of the canal. We also had a favorable current in the Canal and we raced through it going 9.0 – 9.5 knots SOG (Speed Over Ground).
We had met up with Mark and Chris again in Annapolis (you can read about them in last week’s blog), and since Mark was headed our same direction we decided to travel together. His boat is shorter so cannot go as fast, but he makes up for it by leaving earlier and just staying at it. He arrived at Reedy Island a bit after us but we celebrated the 65 nautical miles we had gone that day over dinner on our boat.
On Tuesday, June 25, we both left at the same time and headed down the Delaware Bay toward the Atlantic. This is probably the most boring 64 nautical mile stretch of water in the entire world, but thankfully we had a current with us for over the first half of the day. With the current, the headsail out, motor still on, and a 7 – 8 knot wind just ahead of the beam we maintained a 9.1 – 9.2 knots SOG! At times we even flew along between 10.0 – 10.5 knots! Of course as the day went along we slowed a bit, but we were glad we left the motor on with the headsail out to take advantage of the current as long as possible.
Because of our mast height being too tall for the bridge on the shortcut into Cape May we had to go all the way down the Bay into the Atlantic and enter Cape May from the ocean side, whereas Mark could take the shortcut and go through the canal into Cape May and was able to shave 15 nautical miles off the trip for him. Because of that he arrived first at Cape May and was peacefully at anchor when we got there. After fueling up again at a nearby marina we dropped our anchor and had a wonderful evening.
The only way to get up the coast of New Jersey to the New York area is to be out on the ocean. The span from Cape May to Sandy Hook/Atlantic Highlands area that is the most protected area from being out on the ocean is about 108 nautical miles, so too far to do in one day. We split it up into two days, with the first day going to a beautiful anchorage area in Atlantic City, NJ, which was only about 38 nautical miles. It was so nice to do this leg, which we did on Wednesday, June 26, without having to leave at the break of day. We did leave at 8:00 am, and as was predicted, we took advantage of an offshore wind of 10 – 14 knots and had both sails up and flying and the motor turned off by 8:45 am already. We were sailing!
Unfortunately the wind continued to decrease throughout the morning and by 11:15 am it was down to 2 – 4 knots. By 10:45 am we were only moving 1.5 – 2.0 knots under sails alone so we fired up the motor and took the sails in. By shortly after 2:00 pm we had the anchor down in the Brigantine anchorage in Atlantic City and settle in for a relaxing rest of the day. We had anchored next to a 40’ Jeanneau named Cour Volant which said on their transom that they hailed from Grosse Pointe, MI! A delightful young couple, Anna and Rob, returned from their boat in early evening and came over and we had a great conversation with them about both of our travels. They also are headed up the east coast to Maine so hope to see them again at some point.
On the trip to Atlantic City we passed the 5,000 nautical mile mark on our trip! WooHoo!
Mark had stayed at a marina in Atlantic City that night so we didn’t see him. Because we are able to go faster than him we took off the next morning to head up to Sandy Hook/Atlantic Highlands area, just south of New York City, and he headed to Barnegat Inlet about half way up the New Jersey coast. Our trip ended up being 81 nautical miles and was quite uneventful, albeit long. We left at 6 am and had some decent offshore wind until about 8:15 am. We had put the headsail out at 6:15 am already but as the wind was only 3 – 4 knots by 8:15 am we rolled it back in. We still maintained a 7.0 – 7.4 knot SOG and were able to arrive at Atlantic Highlands anchorage by 5:00 pm. As we rounded the Sandy Hook point we were able to see New York City to our north. How cool to see it again!
Oh, at about 12:30 pm as I was inside the boat I heard a loud chunk under the boat. Come to find out, Sharon had seen a large fish just ahead of us and was not able to steer around it. For some reason it didn’t dive or swim away and we ended up running over it with our prop – Sharon saw it behind the boat after we hit it. It must have been diseased or already injured as typically they will dive down. We don’t think we have ever run over a fish before! Poor fish!
That brings us to this morning and our venture into the East River. It was only a 17 nautical mile trip to the river entrance, and we had to wait to enter until 1:30 pm to have the flood tide so we fueled up, pumped out our holding tanks and topped off our water tanks at Atlantic Highlands fuel dock and left there at 10:00 am. To not get to the East River entrance too early we had to go quite slow, but it worked out great. At 1:30 pm, right behind the other boat, Taylor Jay III, we entered the East River and we flew through, as I related above.
All in all, it was a very successful trip here. It’s also amazing that we left Annapolis just this past Monday and by Friday evening we were into Long Island Sound already.
We will now be planning our next few stops up Long Island Sound and see where we end up in the next week or so. Boston is looking closer and closer all the time!