It’s September already! Where did the time go? We remember thinking the time for us to leave would never arrive, and here it is 10 weeks later already! And the things we have done and the things we have seen! I have to quickly share that at 1:15 pm today, just after entering the entrance to the Delaware Bay we saw our first dolphins from our boat! That is something we have looked forward to for so long, and there they were! There were maybe three or four sets of three or four dolphins off to the side and behind the boat a ways, but they were going up and down and it looked so cool. We got some video of it, but they were almost too far away for it to be a good vide. We think we’ll have more opportunities for pictures and videos of dolphins in the future.
This past week has been another interesting one, but with not as much moving. But even though there wasn’t as much moving, the distances we put in were longer as we wanted to get along the New Jersey Coast and into the Delaware Bay. From the Sandy Hook area south of New York City, to Cape May is just over 100 nautical miles with fewer, and crazier, inlets so we wanted to get it over as quickly as possible.
The last blog ended with us arriving at Horeshoe Cove off Sandy Hook Point. It was a well protected area and we ended up staying there three nights as the wind and waves on the ocean side of the point were more than we wanted to do. While we were anchored there, and on the day before we left, we were joined by Dan and Tina aboard their Catalina 445 sailboat, Bella Cay, who also are going to be on the Rally with us down to Miami. They came from Toronto and followed our path to New York City from Oswego, New York.
So after staying in Horseshoe Cove for three nights, we left with Bella Cay on Sunday morning, Sept. 1, at 6:00 am to make a dash down to Atlantic City – a mere 80+ miles away. The forecast was great with three foot or less waves and a 5 – 10 knot SE wind, so it looked promising. We had a temporary delay in leaving as, even though we had seen two other boats do it in the three days we were there, we ended up grounding ourselves on sand and got stuck within five minutes of our leaving. It was low tide, and we ended up in a spot we shouldn’t have! We did get the boat rocking and were able to get freed, so that is good!
The rest of the day ended up being great! It was sunny with only three foot swells, which actually calmed down to almost no waves at all in the afternoon. We did put our mainsail up and even though the wind was only in the 5 – 8 knot range from the east, it did help us somewhat. We motorsailed down the coast smoothly and easily while reaching speeds of 8.0 – 8.2 knots most of the way. The coast of New Jersey is very interesting as it looked like one long beach with many, many cottages/homes along the beach, with most of them being all the same color tone of white/gray. There were also a number of smaller cities or towns along the beach and it seemed like each one of them had a huge ferris wheel. Maybe a New Jersey thing?
We wanted to end up at Atlantic City, but unfortunately, there was a power boat show about ready to start so none of the marinas had available slips for us, and anchorage possibilities in these coastal towns were quite poor. So we ended up going about 7 – 8 miles further to Egg Harbor Inlet in Longport, New Jersey to the Seaview Harbor Marina. It was a crazy entrance to the inlet with a 2.5 knot current against us, the wind picking up from behind us creating nasty waves and throwing the boat around in the turbulence, and as we entered we saw another sailboat washed up and wallowing on the beach that we had to pass by. Oh my!
But we made it in, and what a beautiful and accommodating marina it was! It was also very expensive ($4 a foot a night) but we had traveled 91.4 nautical miles in 12 hours, arriving shortly after 6:00 pm, so we welcomed any slip. It had also been almost two weeks since we had been in a slip and plugged into shore power, so we stayed. In fact, we ended up staying two nights in order to get things cleaned up, the boat washed (yikes, the saltwater makes it messy and grimey!), laundry done, and just have a time to take a breather.
On Tuesday, Sept. 4, our first attempt to leave our slip at Seaview Harbor Marina only took us in reverse about three feet until we realized it was low tide and we were once again hitting bottom. The depth sounder was only reading 4.6 – 4.8 feet, we are 4’ 9” deep, so we obviously needed to wait for the tide to rise! We finally left with an extra foot of water under us at 11:15 am and we were on our way again. We originally intended to leave without Dan and Tina, who also stayed at this marina, and anchor off the southern edge of the Delaware Bay off the point of Cape Henlopen, but because of the delayed departure we followed Dan and Tina to the Cape May Harbor where we anchored in the south side of the bay in front of the Coast Guard Training Station.
We stayed in Cape May Harbor for two nights and had a delightful time. On Wednesday we walked way into town for coffee and scones, although the temperatures were still in the high 80’s, low 90’s and high humidity. Hot!
Our intention was to leave with Dan and Tina at 6:00 am on Thursday, Sept. 6 to head up the Delaware Bay. Anchored by Dan and Tina and us was a Beneteau 45 sailboat with a couple, Luc and Corinna from Montreal, Canada. They joined us for Happy Hour aboard Bellay Cay, Dan and Tina’s boat, on Wednesday evening and decided to join us for the trip up the Delaware Bay. Luc understood currents and tides better than any of us, so instead of leaving at 6:00 am, he helped us understand it would be better to wait until 8:30 am, then go way outside the shoals around the point of Cape May at which time the tide would turn around and help us surf all the way up the Delaware Bay. This would prevent us from having to push against a 2.5 knot current all morning. So that’s what we did. I’m now typing this from the middle of the Delaware Bay, and our goal is to get up to the C&D Canal, which connects the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, and anchor about 12 miles down the canal in an anchorage basin by Chesapeake City. I don’t know if we’ll make it, but we’ll see. Stay tuned! (I’m kind of thinking we won’t, but I may be pleasantly surprised!)
If we don’t make it, there is an anchorage area just before the C&D Canal on the Delaware Bay, and then we would head to the basin in the morning. The next couple of days are supposed to be a bit rainier, so it would be nice to be in a good spot. I also heard something about a potential hurricane….?
P.S. We saw our first dolphins from our boat today in the Delaware Bay! There were about 3 – 4 spots where 3 – 4 dolphins were all swimming together. I got some video, but it was too far away to look good to post. But so cool to see them for the first time!!