A boring tour of New Jersey
02 October 2007 | Cape May, N.J.
Yesterday (Monday), we left Horseshoe Cove at Sandy Hook and headed down the coast. As we headed out, we met up with 4 other boats heading out, three of which were also Canadian, all from Toronto. But only two were traveling together, and their chatting on the VHF was pretty well non-stop, so it kept us amused. The wind, forecast to be east 10-15, was south-east, so it meant we were close-hauled most of the day. With swells of 4'-5' it was not the most comfortable day, but we were able to make reasonable time, although we had to motor-sail for a good part of the day. Our destination was Barnegat Light, a small harbor with a man-made inlet where we spent a night last spring. These man-made inlets are not fun. They have very strong currents and breakwaters that are usually not visible at high tide. Last spring our entry and exit were both uneventful in slack water and little wind. But yesterday as we entered, it was not so smooth. With the tide running out at 4 knots and the wind blowing straight in, the standing waves were steep and very close together. So at 2 knots headway, we took quite a shaking as we worked our way in. But except for one wave that came over the stern into the cockpit, it was fine. Inside, we anchored in a nice cozy corner of the harbor and settled in. Since it was 5:30 pm, we didn't launch the dinghy, but just began supper... grilled pork chops with mango chutney, sweet potatoes and rapini, and fruit and cheese for dessert. We were well entertained as two of the other Canadian boats were chattering on the VHF as they had their first experience with an inlet. And during the day, they were very surprised by the 4' swells,"Its not like Lake Ontario!". But they made it in safely and anchored not too far from us. This morning we at least had the outgoing current with us, but with the onshore wind still blowing, it was even more rough in the exit. Bur we were through without incident and heard the others on the VHF as they left, so they made it through safely. Then we settled down to another boring day of watching mile after mile of beach and beach houses slowly slip past. The only diversion was to watch Atlantic City pass, with its wild skyline, and watching a catamaran that left Barnegat with us as they continually changed sails, jib up, jib down, spinnaker up, spinnaker down. Of course, we did much the same... wind up, engine off, jib out, wind down, furl the jib, engine on again. But I did get a chance to read for a few hours, something I haven't done for a while. And by early evening, we were able to coast into Cape May and anchor in the limited anchorage space and plan tomorrow's last leg of the boring trip from New York to Chesapeake Bay. But in Cape May, we anchored in the very poor mooring field (off a Coast Guard training base) in company with 8 other boats, four Canadian, and settled down to Butter Chicken with Basmati rice with, as usual, a nice cold Chardonnay. Tomorrow its up the Delaware River to the C&D canal, then into the upper reaches of the Chesapeake, where we will spend two weeks cruising its many remote anchorages and pretty villages. That will put the New Jersey coast where it belongs, in the far reaches of our minds.