From NYC to Chesapeake Bay
05 October 2007 | Sassafras River
Beth - below the 40th parallel
After taking one last stroll around while the laundry dried, we reluctantly packed ourselves up and headed down the Hudson River on the noontide. We circled around near the Statue of Liberty so that Strathspey and we could take pictures of each other. That was a bit of a trick because of all the traffic - pleasure boaters doing the same thing we were while commercial vessels tried not to hit anyone as they went about their business. We were a bit flummoxed by the fellows on the sailboat next to us who both went forward to take pictures, leaving no one at the helm - and they weren't operating a remote control either!
Our stop on Sunday night was Sandy Hook - an aptly named hook of land out past the Verrazano Bridge, where we gratefully dropped our anchor and made an early night of it. Next day we were off at 3 am to make the run down the Jersey coast to Atlantic City. The coast is supposed to be full of lovely beaches - but from our vantage point about 3 miles off shore, it just looked flat! The wind was fine though and we sailed most of the way, turning our engine off about 0930 and not on again till about 1600. The guidebook said it could be an exhilarating run into Atlantic City - and the guidebook was right! The tide and wind combined to make it a rollicking ride - not dangerous, but certainly exhilarating. We anchored just outside the channel in the glow of all the casino lights, and after a quick dinner we turned in early again. We went right back out again the next morning as soon as it was light enough to see the entrance clearly - about 0700 - and set our course for Cape May. This was the last stretch of the Atlantic Ocean that we'll travel in for a while and we rolled along comfortably on the swells.
The entry into Cape May was much more peaceful, and we found a number of boats anchored in front of the Coast Guard station. We joined them, chatted with the folks on Camelot II who had come straight down from New York City, and dinghied ashore to find the Lobster House - a well-known seafood restaurant and market. With bags of shrimp, swordfish, and a tub of crab bisque, we made our way back to Madcap at dusk, fired up the BBQ and dined sumptuously on our fresh and tasty purchases. Cape May is supposed to be quite lovely with an area of restored Victorian houses, but it will have to wait for our trip back up next year because we needed to push on in order to be somewhere near Annapolis for a visit to the boat show on the weekend.
We opted to travel around Cape May Point rather than go through the Cape May Canal because although we could probably clear the 55-foot bridge, we were happier not to risk that couple of feet we would have to spare. The trip around took a couple of hours, and our trip up the Delaware Bay was speedy. Mary and I had checked the tides as we always do and the flood tide moved us along at close to 7 knots most of the way. Reports say that it can sometimes be choppy and uncomfortable, but it was a smooth run for us. Rather than go through the C&D Canal (Chesapeake and Delaware) late in the afternoon when we weren't sure of anchoring possibilities, we opted to stop off behind Reedy Island. It was a secure little spot for a stay when the wind wasn't bad. I hoped to see a variety of migratory birds among the reeds but no such luck.
We woke up on Thursday morning to a thick fog so we delayed our departure till about 0900 - still time to catch the end of the ebb current running westward through the canal. Once again, the weather was with us as the fog burned off, leaving us with smooth motoring under blazing hot sunshine. No excitement in the canal and no wind made it a fairly tedious day so we were happy to make the turn into the pretty Sassafras River. We made our winding way up Georgetown where we anchored behind the mooring field for the night. The banks along the river are just tinged with autumn colour and among the reeds and bushes we saw several bald eagles - their white heads gleaming in the sunlight.
We went ashore with Bair and Mary to the Granary where we devoured wonderful cashew-crusted oysters and crab and corn fritters. The sky was full of stars and frogs were singing loudly in the marsh near us as we arrived back at Madcap. This was a lovely introduction to the Chesapeake Bay where we'll spend the next two weeks exploring.