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.