Friday (6/6/14) up early for showers at the Marina and breakfast at one the hotels on the water. Leave around 10:00 AM for cool day of motor sailing up the Chesapeake to Chesapeake City. Chesapeake City has some free docks and a small bay off the C&D Canal that connects the upper Chesapeake to the Delaware. We get in around 5:00 PM and anchor for the night.
|Chesapeake City Bridge over the C&D canal|
Saturday we are up early at 6:00 AM and discover, that most of the boats anchored around us had left. Didn’t even hear them leave. We are gone by 7:00 AM. I assume boats left early to avoid the current flowing south.
|More C&D Bridges|
|Current going our way on the Delaware Bay|
We had the current against us for a couple hours up the C&D canal, but once we got on the Delaware we were cruising fast for Cape May.
We are getting a 3 mph boost towards Cape May and rode the tide most of the way down.
Only in the last hour or so before reaching Cape May did the current turn against us. Could not of planned it any better, except I didn’t. Just dumb luck to be at the right place, at the right time. We anchor in Cape May off the Coast Guard Station around 5:00PM. Being a Saturday there is a lot of weekend boat traffic from sport fisherman. A few of them don’t understand the concept of a no-wake zone, but it calms down just before sunset.
|Sanderling arrives Cape May|
Sunday morning after working on some boat chores, Sanderling shows up from their over night sail up from Norfolk, Virginia, off the Delaware coast. I had just lowered the dinghy so I offer a quick ride to shore so Chrisy could walk their dog who refuses to pee on their boat. Fortunately, for me he apparently feels the same way about dinghies. Then Linda and I head to Utschs Marina to fill some diesel cans and go out to lunch.
That evening we head to dinner with Roger and Chrisy at the Lobster House. That afternoon Linda and I had noticed that they have a dinghy dock which saved us a long walk from the marina.
Monday we sleep in and walk to down town Cape May, which is about a mile or so away.
This is our third time anchoring at Cape May, but we have never actually been to the Cape May that the tourists see. Still the off season, so not a lot of people, just mostly retired old farts like us. Of all the beaches we have been to on the east coast, Cape May is the only one that charges to step on the beach, Six dollars a day per person. We decide to forgo a short walk along the beach. We have lunch at a nice little Mexican place and walk back to the harbor and then back to the boat.
|Cape May "Cottages"|
|Economic use of lettering to indicate "Closed"|
Tuesday (6/10/14) we are up at 6 AM and quickly head out for Atlantic City. Good day of sailing and we get into Atlantic City around 2:00 PM.
|Atlantic City Light House lost amongst newer buildings|
We stay at the municipal marina for about $1 a foot, no showers and no power on the dock we are on. Right after we arrive fog follows us in from the Atlantic ocean. Foggy the rest of the afternoon and the next day.
|Fog rolling in over the Casinos|
|Fog coming up the harbor|
|Trump Taj Mahal|
We walk to the Boardwalk. Atlantic City looks rather depressed. We were told unemployment is near 15%. There are large swaths of land behind the boardwalk casinos that is vacant. Looks like they tore down blocks of apartments or row houses for “Urban Renewal” but never got to the renewal part. With many other states now having casinos, business has dropped off. Casinos had closed and a number of others are slated to close in the near future. We walk into Trump’s Taj Mahal and the place looks a little thread bare, kind of like that thing on his head. Hopefully his head doesn’t smell as musty. Walk back to the marina and have dinner at the Ale House.
|Harrah's disappearing into the fog|
That night the fog lifted a bit, to just very low clouds. This helped to answer a question we had sailing south, overnight, off the coast of New Jersey last fall. On a clear night you can see the lights of Atlantic City way up and down the coast. One thing we could never figure was something we thought looked like a huge drive-in movie screen since the colors kept changing, but we were too far away to actually see what it was. Turns out it was Harrah’s tall hotel building that has a row of colored lights between each floor which they program as a bill board display with moving images. From way out in the ocean at night it can be very confusing. Soon as the fog lowers they turn it off, since not many people will be able to see it.
Thursday (6/13/14) we are up at 4:45AM to leave early. Unfortunately a head emergency took an hour to resolve, so we got a late start. Left by 7:00 AM in very thick fog, less than 1/8 mile visibility. Once we get out on the ocean the waves and wind are on the nose slowing our progress. This makes it unlikely we can make Sandy Hook before sunset. So I decide to head back into the municipal marina for another day. Worked on a number of maintenance projects.
|Another boat heading north|
Friday we try again, still foggy but not as bad as yesterday. We leave by 6:00 AM. Winds are favorable for motor sailing, but still had pretty good swells rolling out of the southeast. Fog lightens up, could see the shore a couple miles away for about half the time heading north. By six o’clock we were approaching Sandy Hook and a squall line of thunderstorms were starting to roll through the area south to north. We change plans and round Sandy Hook in heavy rain. I put all unattached electronics in the large Faraday Cage (oven) for lightening protection. Fortunately thunder and lightening, was fairly distant. We head down to Atlantic Highland guided by our chart plotter in the torrential rain. We got the anchor down at 8:00 PM just after the rain started to let up.
|Sailing by lower Manhattan|
|Night time view from our mooring|
Saturday morning was nice and clear and we motor sail to Manhattan to the 79th Street Marina to pick up an old friend, Ron Clark, at the Marina for the trip up the Hudson and Champlain Canal. After a walk in NYC and an early dinner we all head back to the mooring to get an early start the next morning. Again we are lucky with the tides and current.
|Bear Mtn. Bridge just south of West Point|
We ride the rising tide and current almost all the way to Poughkeepsie. We again tie up at the dock at Mariners Harbor Restaurant, like we did last Fall going south. Free overnight dockage with dinner. I don’t know if because it’s early in the season or the recent heavy rains, but the dock is remarkably free of bird crap. Last Fall we had to take our shoes off before climbing back on the boat because the dock was literally paved in bird poo. Anyways, it was a nice surprise.
|Walkway over the Hudson|
Ron, Linda and I make a reservation for dinner and climb up the hill to the “Walkway over the Hudson” the old railroad bridge turned into a pedestrian walkway 200 feet over the Hudson. We enjoy the spectacular views of the Hudson and then head back down for dinner.
|Mariners Harbor Restaurant and our boat from the Bridge|
|Ron and Linda walking back|
|View south toward Storm King Mtn. and West Point|
|Taking down the radar|
Next morning I make pancakes before we get underway. Unfortunately no free ride today. We have some current against us for most of the day and arrive at Hop-o-Nose Marina on Catskill Creek around 3:00 PM, for mast removal. After fueling up and pumping out the holding tank we tie up under the mast crane. Ron and I immediately head to the shed where I left our disassembled deck frame, for the mast, last Fall. I am pleasantly surprised to see it right were I left it, marked “Manana June 2014”. Since it is late in the day we only get the sails off and folded. After we shower we head to their “Creekside” restaurant for dinner. Their food is excellent as usual.
Tuesday (6/17/14) morning we are up early getting the mast ready to be pulled and reassemble the deck frame. Linda gets a ride to Walmart with Eric, a fellow with a 38 foot Erickson sailboat from Virginia. He is taking it to Lake Champlain for the summer without the mast. He is looking to avoid the hot Virginia summer. We take a break and have lunch at the Creekside restaurant. By early afternoon the mast is in its cradle on the deck and tied down and ready to go. We go cool off in the swimming pool and then have dinner on the boat.
|Ready to leave|
Wednesday morning we leave but have even more current on our nose. We pass through Albany by mid–afternoon and enter the Federal locks at Troy late in the afternoon. We make it to the free wall at Waterford for the night. We get one of the last spots on the wall. The floating docks are full with power boats, we are the only sailboat. After dinner we walk into town and have ice cream at Stewards.
|Ron at the helm|
|Ron first lock, the Federal Lock|
In the morning Ron and I walk up towards the Erie Canal lock to see the remains of the old stone locks next to it that is now a series of waterfalls that controls the water level of the next section of Erie Canal. There are a few miles of the original hand dug Champlain Canal from the early 1800’s, before they damned the Hudson, which now comprises half of the present Champlain Canal.
We have a slow day because the recent rains have created a pretty strong current against us. Late afternoon we head into Fort Edward by Lock 7 for the night. They have a free wall and again we get one of the last spots. Could have had space for many more boats, but the power boats leave a couple boat lengths between them. The lightening rod on our mast is only about a foot from the boat in front of us. Unfortunately the owner was not on board. I would have preferred making him nervous, watching us pull up to him with our lance pointing at him.
|Ron getting bored listening to boater talk.|
We get invited over to one of the picnic tables for cocktail hour with the power boaters. One of the boats is a trawler that we had previously met. Most of them are doing the Great Loop, via Lake Champlain and when they find out we are locals they pepper us with questions on Lake Champlain. Going to Burlington is high on their lists.They all decide to leave around 10:00 AM the next morning, except for our friend on the trawler. They plan on leaving around 8:00AM. We plan on leaving at 9:00.
Friday morning we get up and each take showers in the Women’s bathroom since the men’s is closed. As we get ready to leave around 9:00 we hear the power boaters on the radio changing their plans about leaving earlier. We quickly shove off just ahead of them and are the first boat in the lock. I figure if they waste as much space in the lock as they did on the town wall there would not be room for us in the lock.
Finally around 3:00 PM we reach Whitehall and Ron’s wife Ginny is waiting there to pick him up. Linda and I do the last lock down to Lake Champlain by ourselves.
|Lock 12 doors open to Lake Champlain|
We motor to Fort Ticonderoga for the night. In the morning we wake up to about 10 fishing boats around us, at least they are quiet.
|Entering Mallets Bay and home|
Saturday we motor home to Mallets Bay Boat Club. Beautiful sunny cool day, it’s great to be back on Lake Champlain, but it feels a little strange that our 280 days of living on our sailboat is over. We have gotten quite comfortable living the cruising life and it feels rather anticlimactic being back in Vermont. Back when we were both working, sitting at a desk, after a few days of sailing we would both have the feeling of pitching and rolling. We no longer have that sensation.