Tag Archives: Absecon Inlet

A Long, Long Day!

Atlantic City, NJ to Annapolis, MD

Tuesday (9/14) – Annapolis, M

Before heading out this morning, Denise had managed to get a speed run in around the casino and park grounds, including a few loops around the parking lot at the adjacent park. And when she returned to the boat we noticed that fog had appeared. 

Morning fog in AC

Just yesterday we had been talking about how the weather conditions would be conducive to it, and that we had not had to deal with this since leaving Maine.  We spoke too soon. But fortunately, it dissipated rapidly and by the time we wanted to leave, it was all but gone.

Our intention was to get from Atlantic City, through Cape May and up the Delaware Bay as conditions there looked good as well.  We had identified several stopping points for the night, including possible anchorages if necessary.  Our hope was to be able to make it to Annapolis, but we were not going to make any overnight arrangements until we were sure we could make it that far.

With fingers crossed for a forecast to hold, we left Farley State Marina at The Golden Nugget in Atlantic City just before 8:00 am. Although there was a lingering haze, it did look to be a nice day and the Atlantic Ocean had certainly calmed down.

Leaving Farley State Marina
Leaving Atlantic City – USCG Station
Entering Absecon Inlet
Harrah’s Casino

We found the Atlantic Ocean to be quiet calm with less than 1’ swells and no wind or chop on the water. It was a pleasant change from yesterday and we have never seen it so calm.  Denise prays for days like this here.

Calm on Atlantic Ocean

Just after 9:00 am we passed a trawler that looked familiar; it was “Grump Stump” whom we met at Somes Sound in Maine in July.  Unfortunately, he was too far away to get a good picture.  Just like yesterday, we hugged the coastline and shortly after seeing “Grump Stump” we passed by the numerous amusement parks at Wildwood.

With the calm seas we were able to cruise at 20 kts and make good time.  At 9:45 we entered the Cape May Inlet and headed through the very familiar harbor, passing the USCG Station and turning right, then left to enter the Cape May Canal.

But first we had to make a fuel stop. We turned up the Cape Island Creek and stopped at Miss Chris Fishing Center for a fill-up. Forty minutes later we left and headed back through the Cape May Canal on our way to the Delaware Bay.

Soon we passed by the ferry terminal and at 11:00 am we entered the Delaware Bay, greeted by an entire school of frolicking bottlenose dolphins.

Ferry Terminal
Entering Delaware Bay
Dolphins at Cape May Canal

We were also pleased to see the marine forecast had held and we had calm seas in this body of water as well.  Additionally, we had the current in our favor as we made our way up the Delaware and we were able to make good time.  By 12:30 we had passed the “Ship Jack” (aka Ship John) Light and we were looking good to make it to the Chesapeake Bay today.

Calm on the Delaware Bay
Fishing boat on the Delaware Bay
Ship John Shoal Light

Before long we rounded the point where the Salem Nuclear Power Plant is located, and made our way across the channel to position for entry into the C&D Canal. We were now out of New Jersey and entered the state of Delaware. Here Captain Mark negotiated around a fuel ship and took a left turn into the Canal Entrance.  It had taken us 2 hours instead of the usual 2.5 hours to get up the Delaware Bay.

We cruised the C&D Canal with relative ease, although now we faced a 2 kt current against us. Along the way we left Delaware (it really is a small state) and entered into the state of Maryland. We passed by Chesapeake City (a possible stop for the night), and continued under the Chesapeake City Bridge into Back Creek (one of many in these parts). It was 2:00 and although we had already traveled a long way, we were pretty sure we would make it to Annapolis, another 2.5 hours away.

We exited Back Creek and entered the Elk River to very calm and flat water. Here the western coastline is hilly with nice houses, then the Elk Neck State Park, then more houses, until the park that leads to the Turkey Point Lighthouse.  On the eastern shore we pass the Buttonwood RV Park, a landmark we use and think it has to be the most expensive RV Park in the country, with its spectacular view.  You can learn more about this place here.

Near Elk Neck State Park – Homes on Elk River
Buttonwood Beach R.V. Resort
Turkey Point Light

About this time we heard the boom, boom, boom, over the boats engine and remembered we were not far from the Maryland Proving Ground, a U.S. Army facility on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. We were finally on the Chesapeake Bay!

We were now pretty sure that we could make it to Annapolis and Mark called the Southern Annapolis Yachting Center (SAYC) and secured a two-night reservation. We had been told of this place by several of our cruising friends. It is located on Spa Creek, but on the Eastport side of the creek, and past the downtown moorings.  We had to go under the Spa Creek Bridge with its limited opening schedule, but if our timing was good we would be able to sneak under at a lower tide and not require it to be opened.

But first we must get there. We still had 2 hours of cruising on the Chesapeake Bay and it was very calm.  We did pass by several tugs pushing barges, but it was the USCG Cutter that we passed that was the most exciting.  We always play the “guess that boat type” game when in these situations, and Captain Mark scored 100% when he suggested that it was a buoy tender.

USCG Buoy Tender

Eventually we passed the intersection with the Patapsco River (to Baltimore) to our west, and Rock Hall on the eastern shore, where we have stayed many times. Here the wave action kicked up a bit as it is known to do. The windy breeze was a welcome relief in some ways as it had been hot all day and we were really missing the tinting on our old (but leaky) windows in the main salon. However, we knew that we did not have long to go so we endured and pressed on. Finally, we passed under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and we could see the numerous container ships at anchor just south of it.

Leaving the Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Ships at anchor Chesapeake Bay

We took a right turn through the channel to the Severn River and saw several groups of sailboats in racing or evening sailing classes near the US Naval Academy.

We cruised through the harbor and made our way under the Spa Creek Bridge and into Spa Creek.  We pulled into the slip at the Southern Annapolis Yachting Center and was greeted by live-aboard resident Dave, who helped us with the tie up.  It was just after 5:00 pm and we had cruised 117 miles in 9 hours.  We were tired, but so very happy with the progress we made today.

Dave – at SAYC

After getting settled, taking showers, and having a cocktail, we walked the half mile to Boatyard Bar and Grill in Eastport for dinner. Not wanting to wait the 45 minutes for a table, we chose to immediately sit at the bar and ate a terrific meal. We had been here before, as have several family members, and it did not disappoint this time either.

Boatyard Bar & Grill
At Boatyard Bar & Grill

After dinner we walked back to the marina and settled in for the night. We were both totally exhausted and could not stay awake. Finally, at 8:30 pm, like a couple of old folks, we went to bed – it had been a long, long, day!


Oh No – NOT AC Again!

GKYC – SI, NY to Atlantic City, NJ

Monday (9/13) – Atlantic City, NJ

At 7:00 am this morning we watched our friends Bill and Barb (“High Spirits”) leave GKYC and head out of the harbor.  We had shared contact information and they had agreed to let us know how the Atlantic Ocean was once they rounded Sandy Hook and settled into a course that would run down the NJ shoreline.  In the meantime we ate breakfast and readied our boat for our departure, confirming the forecast and current buoy observations were as expected.

Bill & Barb (“High Spirits)

At 8:00 am Bill called and said the seas were 1 -2’ as forecasted and things were going well.  This was encouraging and with that information we said goodbye to our friends at GKYC one more time.  Our hope was to make it at least to Cape May, but we knew if it got rough we could pull in at Manasquan inlet and run the inside portion of the ICW down to Atlantic City, adding about 1 hour to our expected 6 hour trip. The forecast did call for waves to be a little bigger around Manasquan (2’-3’), but from there south they were forecasted to flatten at Barnegat Inlet, be back at 2’ south of Atlantic City, and even more calm as we got closer to Cape May.

The Raritan Bay was pretty calm and we were through it in no time, rounding Sandy Hook in 45 minutes and had a nice view of the lighthouse. 

Sandy Hook Light

We ran close-in to the shore, using the land to block the winds and keep the seas a little calmer.  Around 9:30 am we passed by Asbury Park with things going well, and soon thereafter passed Bill & Barb (“High Spirits”). There were many boats on the water, including a few we have seen in our travels this summer. We communicated via VHF with one (“Course Change”) whom we saw in Bucks Harbor, ME.  

Before long we passed Barnegat light and things started to get a little bumpy, as expected.  By the time we got to Manasquan, things were not great, but tolerable. Remembering they were supposed to get better, we decided to press on. But it stayed bouncy, and then it started to get worse, not better.  At one point we slowed our speed because the waves were now bigger and more frequently spaced apart. Instead of 2’ waves 6 seconds apart, we had 4’ waves 2 seconds apart and it was not fun. 

As we approached Atlantic City, we had to decide to continue on to Cape May and expect the same conditions for another 2 hours (even though the forecast was supposed to be better), or call it a day at 85 miles and go south tomorrow.  We quickly checked the forecast for tomorrow which looked even better than today’s forecast, so we decided to take our chances and call it a day; even though it was only 12:30 pm. 

At the very last minute, Captain Mark made a quick right turn and we entered Absecon Inlet (Atlantic City). We called Farley State Marina at the Golden Nugget and secured a slip for the night.  We have been here before and this is the one place we really did not want to get stuck. Aside from the crowd that comes to gamble at the casino, the area outside of the marina and casino grounds are not too safe (as told to us in 2019 by a security guard).  But the main reason we do not want to get stuck in this state is because it is a bad place to be if a hurricane comes, and there is no easy access to an airport.  We were pushing to get to the Chesapeake Bay should we have to worry about either of these things.  Plus, by getting to Cape May, it completes one more large-body of water crossing, relieving Denise’s anxiety level and allowing her to better enjoy the rest of the trip. We were now counting on the fact that tomorrow’s forecast would be more accurate than the one for today, and that we would have calm enough water to get out of New Jersey.

Approaching Farley State Marina

Once we got our slip assignment, we secured our boat, ate lunch, and attempted to check in at the marina office. But the dockmaster was fueling another boat and we ended up doing it all virtually (via the Dockwa app and text messages).  Although we were disappointed we did not get to Cape May, we used this opportunity to get some chores done. The boat was covered in salt, so Mark washed the boat.  Meanwhile, Denise did some laundry. She did not mind the fact the laundry building was a quarter mile away in this very large marina, it was that it was so bloody hot, with no clouds or shade. After 2.5 hours and 6 trips back and forth, it was finally complete and it was time to cool off and relax.

Marina laundry facilities

Meanwhile, one by one other boats started coming into the marina.  One was a Sabre 42 (“Surf Rider”) that ended up in the slip to our right, and another was a sport fisher (“Electric Bill”) that docked to our left.  Other cruisers we had passed during the day also came in and we heard from Bill & Barb (“High Spirits”) that they too pulled in and anchored at the nearby anchorage.  Every crew on these boats all said the same thing: It was much rougher than expected and we were tired of being out in that mess.  We no longer felt bad for changing our plans.

We spent some time talking with Jay & Sherri (“Surf Rider”) about our Sabre/Back Cove boats, as well as some other boaters and people on the docks.  During this time, “Rob”, the first mate of “Electric Bill” came and brought us each a huge piece of fresh Yellowtail Tuna they had recently caught.  We had already planned to eat dinner on the boat, but our entrée choice was now changed to enjoy this great gift.  We cut up the fish for dinner and the remainder went into the freezer for 2 more meals in the future.  Then, with some rice and a salad, we had a delicious meal of seared sesame tuna to enjoy.

Fresh tuna for dinner

After dinner we ended up talking with Jay & Sherri (“Surf Rider”) about their intended plans, our plans for tomorrow and overall cruising the east coast.  Like us, they intend to leave tomorrow but at a later start time.  We bid them safe travels and went in for the night.

A final check before bed of the marine forecasts for tomorrow looked good, so we set plans to leave no later than 8:00 am in the morning.

A side note:  I failed to include in the last post (GKYC) that Mark was able to deduce and repair the dinghy fuel issue we experienced in Essex.  His theory that it was the fuel pickup tube in the gas can proved to be correct. Within 15 minutes he had repaired it and put in a fix to prevent it from happening again.  It is so nice to have a captain who can repair things when we are cruising.