Going up the East River with the sights of Manhattan and the thrill of the ride through Hells Gate is always memorable. Al has done this seven times and I’ve done it five times. This was probably the least thrilling for both of us. It was a gray overcast day and we are focused on getting home as soon as possible. Still, it is New York!!
We began Tuesday, October 29th at a reasonable hour, 7:30 am, timing it for a swift trip through Hells Gate but not a terrifying one.
I didn’t take many photos on our trip up the East River; there are plenty on this blog from previous ones. But I couldn’t resist taking these next two.
Shortly after we arrived at Hells Gate.
We usually stop for the day in Port Washington, but with miles to go to reach home, we aimed for Port Jefferson. After 54 damp and gray nautical miles, we picked up an empty mooring (they were ALL empty) at 2:45 pm.
Tomorrow we will be home. One more leg of the trip to go.
We were awake at 2:30 am on Monday morning, October 28th and ready to depart Utsch’s and Cape May. In the dark. Al was on the dock handling lines while I was at the helm to back the boat out of the slip and into the fairway. There was enough light to see, just enough. My knees were literally shaking and knocking, but I did it. Leaving Utsch’s and Cape May Harbor required a vigilant look-out from both of us, picking our way through the channel using eyes, radar, and lighted buoys. Slack tide made the exit easier (we planned it that way.) By 3:30 am we turned northward for the very long day ahead of us.
Although the sun was shining, we knew that it was not going to be a perfect day for running up the Jersey coast. The conditions were certainly better than the past 24 hours and we needed to keep moving. It wasn’t dangerous, just very uncomfortable. The winds were 15-18 mph from the east, but it was the waves that made the conditions lumpy, bouncy, and confused. The stablilizers probably helped somewhat, but not enough in these seas. It was challenging to walk about the boat. Our speed was a sluggish 6.5 -7 because of the waves.
By mid-afternoon, things were a little calmer, but we still had a long way to go. A conference between captain and crew led to a revised plan. We decided not to go into Sandy Hook to anchor; instead we would continue to head past there and anchor in Gravesend Bay southeast of the Verranzano Bridge. Al had tried that bay on his solo return up the Jersey coast in May of 2016 and Active Captain had favorable reviews. It saves some time, especially for the next day’s trip, and with east winds the anchorage will have protection.
By 5:30 the current began to help us so our speed picked up to 7.5 knots. At 6:00 pm we passed the 100 nautical mile mark for the day. Chugging away…..
Just as the sun set, with just enough light to see, we spotted a boat coming towards us (Yes, yes, we know nearly everyone is going in the opposite direction from us. Call us “Wrong Way Watsons” this year. 😉😜 The boat looked like a larger Kadey Krogen. Our second Krogen sighting of the trip home???? Yes! A quick chat on the VHF confirmed it was indeed a Kadey Krogen, Bull Dog Sally. They were confused because AIS shows us as The Edge, but the Krogen Finder app shows us as “Kindred Spirit 39.” Al was thinking ahead when he entered our information there. Changing the AIS is more complicated and requires the manufacturer.
The fading light from the setting sun soon disappeared as we neared the tip of Sandy Hook and the channel into New York. The city lights allowed some visibility as we picked or way into the channel and across to New York.
This was actually a good place to anchor for the night. Easy in and out compared to Sandy Hook where you double your distance because you have to go all the way in and then back out again. The winds were from the east so that was good, too. Yes, it can be rolly at first because of ferry wakes, but between 9 pm and 6 am we didn’t feel a thing. And we slept well.
Saturday, October 26th was overcast but not too cold. After a little engine maintenance (changing fuel filters), we were ready to leave Chesapeake City. We needed to consider the Delaware Bay current, but we also needed to get to Cape May before dark. Our best option appeared to be a departure around 9 am. So we left at 8:25 am knowing we would have the current against us in the beginning and at the end.
There’s not much to say about the Delaware Bay that I haven’t already written about on four previous passages. It’s not my favorite stretch, you just have to get through it. At the beginning we were still bucking the current, traveling at only 6.6 knots. At 11:00 am we had passed over to the east side of the bay, outside the shipping lanes, and our speed increased to 7-7.5 knots. From 11:30 am until 2:00 pm our speed jumped to a constant 9.7 – 10 knots with assistance from the current and a little boost to 2000 rpms.
We snapped a couple of photos of lighthouses when the thought occurred to us to do so.
At 3:00 pm, our speed began to drop as the current turned on us. 7.4 kts …. 7 kts ….. 6.7 kts. Oh well, we had a good run for awhile.
Arrived at Utsch’s Marina and were all tied up in a slip by 4:30 pm. 58.3 nm, 8 hours.
We are settling in for a two-night stay to wait out a weather front that looks fierce – rain and high winds. We probably need a rest day as well.
We slept well and we slept late, past 7:30 am!! There was simply no reason to get up and rush.
A rainy day is a good day for chores. This little Kadey Krogen has a washer/dryer. Yes, a washer/dryer! Once upon a time I would have considered that an unnecessary luxury, but life changes and sometimes you see things differently. I wear heavy custom compression stockings 24/7 to control my lymphedema and they are supposed to be washed DAILY. How nice to be able to do this onboard.
After hours of dreary rain and heavy winds, the sun pushed it all aside. It was even warm, a condition I certainly did not expect on this trip. We needed to stretch our legs and decided to take a walk for ice cream.
Before and after dinner we studied currents, winds, and waves for the 115 offshore nautical miles we need to travel tomorrow. We considered various scenarios for the best time to leave. I have done this NJ coast leg three times and Al has done it five, but it’s still one of the toughest legs of the journey.
This isn’t going to be a cruising and relaxing trip. This is a delivery; get the boat and us home as fast and safely as we can. It is late October and there is no time for side trips and fun. I feel rusty, it’s been over 3 years since I have done any long day trips.
On Thursday morning (10/25/19) we slowly departed Chesapeake Boat Basin before dawn with just a little light at 6:40 am. We went very slowly because I was at the helm while Al handle the lines off the dock. It is easier for him to leap aboard than it is for me. Can you believe it? The first time we move this boat anywhere and I am the one behind the wheel. Geez. It was crazy. So we went slowly for the first 20 minutes.
It was pretty choppy south of the Potomac River and we wondered if the stabilizers were actually working for the first two hours. After some investigation of the control panel and a study session with the TRAC manual, Al determined the problem and promptly corrected things. Once the stabilizers were working, it felt much better, but by then we were past the Potomac and the seas settled down.
It became a beautiful day and we were like kids with a new toy, exploring and enjoying everything inside the boat as well as outside. We were also glad we had spent the time yesterday familiarizing ourselves with as much as we could.
We began the day intending to reach Solomons, about a 7-hour day, but everything was going so well that we decided we could push farther. We adjusted our goal and set course for an anchorage at the southern tip of Kent island. As we neared it, we realized we could make it all the way to Lake Ogleton, Annapolis where our friends Frank and Mary Marie live.
Mary Marie and Frank were waiting to welcome us in Lake Ogleton. Frank in the kayak to hand us lines to the mooring and Mary Marie on the dock snapping photos.