Delaware City, (Sunday 6/4)
We left the Delaware City Marina early in morning, wanting to get to Cape May before the winds picked up and the weather got bad. So, we left early but not quite as early as many of the sailboats in our marina who had a long day ahead. Ah the benefits of cruising at 18 knots versus 8 knots!
We pulled the boat away from the dock, cruising through the harbor entrance, and out into the Delaware River. We left Fort Delaware to our port (left) side and headed south into the shipping channel without incident or any traffic for miles. It was a very calm day and the sun was shining bright and we were happy that conditions were about as perfect as they can get on the Delaware River.
It is easy to navigate this area as the channel is very wide to accommodate the large containers and tows that take this route up to Philadelphia, and because you can use the Hope Creek Nuclear Power Plant as a reference point; you can see it for miles.
It was a pretty easy day, passing several communities on the southern banks of the river (in Delaware), and lots of low lying areas on the New Jersey side. There were quite a few boats on the water, mostly recreational fishing boats and sailboats, several were ones that had left Delaware City hours before us. We passed by the Ship John Shoal Lighthouse which stands 50 feet above the water, but seems much larger as it is visible for many miles.
The closer we got to the Cape May Canal entrance, the more boat traffic picked up, and so did the waves. The area where the Delaware Bay empties into the Atlantic Ocean frequently has higher waves than anywhere else along the river, and today it was as expected. Fortunately, it was not nearly as bad as the rough seas we encountered 2 years when we had our “unfortunate” incident. Denise breathed a sigh of relief when we had less than 8 miles to go, and was delighted as we approached the entrance with the only challenge was the ferry ahead of us.
We entered the Cape May Canal and were greeted by the pair of dolphins that usually hang out there, and the “welcome” station on the northern banks at the David Douglass Sr Memorial Park.
As we moved further up the canal towards the ferry terminal we could hear some cheering crowds and an announcer. We realized there was a road race in progress and the finish line was right along the waterway. This was the third athletic sporting event in the last week, and with no races scheduled until November, Denise was feeling like there was a message here.
As we cruised past the ferry’s and moved further into the canal we encountered a whale –watching boat that was hogging the center, and right behind him was a Coast Guard patrol boat. It was a busy Sunday morning in Cape May.
Knowing we would need fuel eventually, and not wanting to pay New York prices if we didn’t have to, we decided to stop and get fuel before getting to the South Jersey Marina. We located Miss Chris Marina up a side creek, and navigated the very calm waters into their fuel dock. It was very shallow and we kicked up some sand in the process. However, we were able to pull into the dock and fill up the tank which didn’t take very long because we were only half empty.
Within 20 minutes we were back out into the Cape May Canal and moved through the harbor, negotiating around a marked shoal area and some very confusing red & green markers (which switch sides at this point). Then we came down the fairway to the marina that is bordered on both sides by commercial fishing boats; this was very unnerving, but Mark was able to manage quite well while Denise prepped the boat for docking. We were greeted by a very competent dockhand who was most helpful in assisting us get tied up and then let us be to settle in.
Safely in port, we grabbed some lunch on board, then Mark washed the boat while Denise cataloged pictures and posted the last blog. Ah, the feeling of being caught up!
Before long it was time to head to 6:00 pm mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea. We had attended here two years ago and really liked the church that sits right in the heart of Cape May. The marina has a shuttle service now (they didn’t two years ago) and took us the 1 mile to the church and came and picked us up. It was quite windy and a little chilly after mass, so we were grateful for not having to walk back to the marina.
We had a quick dinner on board the boat, watched another episode of “House of Cards” and called it a day!
Cape May, (Monday, 6/5)
We started the day off with a big breakfast at the Saltwater Café – the restaurant located at the marina that gives you a 10% discount if you are staying at the marina. They are only open for breakfast and lunch, so we decided to give them a try and we were glad we did; the food was really good.
Today was a work day… a real work day! We both had work to do for our clients as well as lots of administrative items to do for the business . But before we got down to it, we had laundry to do. Unlike other marina’s laundry facilities, this one is first class! It has very several very efficient washers and several dryers that actually dry the clothes in a single 45 minute cycle. This means it takes a lot less time to do the laundry. It also has a large flat panel TV that you can watch while waiting on the clothes to be done. Two years ago we crammed about 10 of us in here to watch American Pharaoh win the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown of horse racing. Today, sadly Denise watched the news conference telling of the horrific workplace shooting near her home in the Orlando area.
And then the rain came. It started raining around noon and continued off and on all day and into the night. Not wanting to venture out, we opted for a dinner of leftovers and worked into the evening.
Once again we cannot say enough good things about this marina. We were so impressed with it during our stay last time, and they did not disappoint this time either. Everything here is first class and it is a standard others should all seek to replicate. Of course, it helps when the boats they let in the marina are of high caliber as well.
Tomorrow we will head north to Staten Island, NY via an off-shore passage into the Atlantic Ocean. The rain is supposed to stop during the night and the wind is supposed to be calm in Cape May, but a bit breezy by the time we get to Sandy Hook at the tip of New Jersey. For this reason we are leaving very early in the morning and hope to be there before the big waves and winds kick in. We have a contingency to pull in if it gets too rough, but there are limited acceptable entrances back into protected waters along the New Jersey coastline. For this reason many cruisers only make this passage in the fairest of conditions. But we have to leave the marina as they have a huge fishing tournament this coming weekend, and our slip is already rented.
So, we will be up at 5:00 am to leave as early as we can see in front of us, and hopefully have an uneventful passage up the New Jersey coast.