Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Jersey

Weather seems to be a constant factor on our east coast travels. We wait for good travel days and it makes a big difference.  We did try to venture out earlier this week only to be hit with 4-6 foot waves....so we turned back and enjoyed a day at the dock.  Someone once told me.....wait for good weather and then leave the next day as it'll be even better! 
Our last leg of the Chesapeake Bay was uneventful and we entered into the C&D canal. The anchorage in Chesapeake City was full by the afternoon and you can see our boat in the far back of this photo docked at the free wall. Later that night there were a total of ten boats anchored out and most left with us at 6:00 am the next  morning. 
In the middle of two large waterways!
In Chesapeake City there is a museum that explains how the Delaware and Chesapeake Bay were connected many years ago.  There were two locks built in the early 1800's and this is the original pump house that would pump water into the canal. 
They claim its the largest water wheel around.  

Morgan found a small boat called 'Paddle to the Sea' where a school put together a boat and floated it down the river hoping anyone that found it on the shore would put it back into the water to continue it's journey. This particular one was put in near Plymouth, Pennsylvania.
Chesapeake City, Maryland was a quaint town with historic buildings and interesting shops lining the streets. 
We decided to put together our own boat to sail down the river!  We found a piece of driftwood, carved our info into the boat, Morgan sewed a sail and we let it go with the other boat from Chesapeake City, Maryland. 
We hope it makes it around the loop...haha!
Sunrise on the morning of our Delaware Bay crossing. 

We traveled near the shipping canal all day and saw a lot of freighters along the way.  This particular one raised an enormous wake under the bow as it cut through the water. 
This lighthouse was in the middle of the Delaware Bay.  There was a loud long horn that sounded every 30 seconds to warn vessels of the shoaling in that area. 
Waiting for the good crossing day allowed Captain Craig to take a short power nap on the bow of the boat.  We had great weather and calm seas the entire day!  The Delaware Bay is known for being quite treacherous in areas.  We were very fortunate to have such a great day to travel. 
We were happy to see the New Jersey shore as we entered into the west inlet.  Loopers be aware that you should stick to the portside of the channel when entering.  Skipper Bob's claims to stay away from the ferry's, but locals will warn you of shallow waters on your starboard side.  

New Jersey has proved to be the most challenging navigable waters yet. My advice to all loopers, travel the ICW during high tide only.  The waters are rather skinny in so many areas and the anchorages don't seem to hold a lot of depth with a 5 foot tidal drop in most areas. 
As we came into Cape May, New Jersey the winds started to pick up. Our first anchorage founded us in too shallow of water so we pressed forward to a nearby marina.  Two miles south of the marina we grounded the boat IN THE CHANNEL!!!  Every boat that stopped said it wasn't our fault and that NJ does not maintain their ICW.  Loopers DO NOT cruise the ICW unless you are in a high tide!!  We are literally 50 feet from a buoy in this photo as TowBoat pulled us out.  When you are cautioned to HUG the buoy or FAVOR it...don't take it lightly as you'd be better off hitting it!!! The irony here is that Craig looked at me during this last stretch and commented on it was puzzling that no one else was traveling the waterway at this time. Once towed out, we watched an actual boat from Sea Tow being hauled that had run aground and had a crabpot re-rod embedded in his shift. 
Loopers FYI - Mile Marker 386A (still keep the buoy on your starboard side just stick close to it).  
Once into a safe harbor in Avalon, NJ we watched a storm pass through to the south.  Robert from the TowBoat company reminded me so much of our brother-in-law, Mark, who owns many car towing businesses in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.  He was very professional and a great guy just like Mark! Morgan drew a picture of his boat while he 'dredged' under our boat for quite some time. He actually caught up with us on the waterway the next day and continued to offer great advice!
The next morning we traveled through NJ ICW wandering around their hairpin turns and marshy areas lifting a ton of bridges and hoping for deeper waters.  This picture from the stern shows the community in Ventnor City built around the ICW and a small lift bridge in the middle.
It's one thing to lift your boat from the salt water, but we've never seen the keel out of water too! 
Atlantic City was going to be our destination, but was strongly advised not to stop there due to the high crime rate in the area.  It was great to see all of the casinos lining the skyline. 
We lifted a dozen bridges or so in such a short period of time. They were all very narrow. This one was at 20 feet and Craig claims we can clear 17 and 1/2. It seemed close, but not close enough to ask for a lift.  There are heavy fines if you ask for a lift when it's not needed! 
Very fun to see these up close!
We were happy to get into Beach Haven, New Jersey on Long Island.  Once settled we toured the town and Ryann loved the phone booth!  "Do people really use these" she said to me!  It's hard to imagine people not having cell phones to her. 
We enjoyed playing Putt Putt Golf on this hot day!  It was a perfect way to spend Mother's Day! 
Long Island, NJ has a great beach that we loved walking and playing on!
'Boat bruises' is the only way to explain Ryann's bruise on her head.  It happens to all of us daily.  She was in her bed almost asleep when she turned too close to a side railing in her bed.  She remembered doing it, but went right back to sleep after the bumping.  
We watched another beautiful sunset at the park and have had a lot of fun here over the past few days. 
Ryann is the proud new owner of her own bike now!  It's even her favorite color, PINK!  I am now perfectly situated between my two guys, Jaxon and Craig where I can so conveniently take photos all the time! Luck will have it, the bike was sitting roadside for trash pick-up as the rear brakes were stuck so we removed them. 
 Jaxon was the big winner at the 'kids casino' a.k.a. local arcade in town.  They had slot games set up exactly like you would see at the casinos in Las Vegas except your winnings were in tickets, not coins.  
 A jetty at Long Island Beach was a great place to watch the sunset each night.
 A live horseshoe crab came up for a short visit. 
 A little game of 'slow ride' to see who would cross the finish line last without touching the ground.
Prior to leaving for this journey I told Craig that I couldn't wait to see the many different sunsets each night...I have not been let down at all!!!   
If you have time, PLEASE take a look at our friends, Pete and Anna's blogspot www.blueyondergreatloop.blogspot.com. There's an awesome video posted that sums up the trip and really touches on the experience of doing the great loop. We love it and miss them so much. We were even in the video!

1 comment:

  1. Hope the weather opens up for your trip up the coast. When you see the NYC skyline as you round Sandy Hook take a look towards Highlands. Give us a call, we might be able to hook up, we will be rolling through with the moving truck on Saturday night.