Wierd winter, isn't it?
We have had double digit sub zero weather between Christmas and New Years when we are normally lucky to have snow on the ground, and now, here we are in early to mid January, when it is normally cold enough the freeze the balls off the brass monkey, and we have had one week of very mild weather and are forcast for yet another!
Very odd. I guess Global Warming is having some very strange effects on climate.
We are in the process of making detailed plans for the retirement cruise this fall. We have bought, borrowed or stole several cruising guides and have been pouring over them to decide where we will be going, where we shall stop, what are alternates and what factors will be used in deciding the alternates.
Since we have a 6' draft, we have decided to stay offshore as much as we can, but we would also like to travel in daily hops as much as possible to give Periwinkle, our dog, comfort stops on the hard. The ICW will be our weather alternate.
To that end we have tentatively decided, weather conditions depending, to make our start early on the morning of 30 August, and we are hoping that our friends from NOONAN KNIGHT will join us as crew. We will head for Shelburne on the South Shore of NS arriving in the early evening. If we don't have a good 48 hour weather window we will steam into Shelburne Harbour to await one. Otherwise we will stay at the Government Dock on McNutt's Island at the mouth of the harbour for an early start the next day.
We should leave Shelburne NLT 0900 on the 31st in order to get to Brazil Rock at the SE point of NS at low slack so we'll get a kick in the stern for the first six hours of our trip across the Gulf. Then, 40 hours later we should be in Glouchester at midnight to clear customs first thing in the morning. We'll spend that day exploring the Glouchester waterfront; getting some R&R; and perhaps even having a meal that none of us had to prepare.
Next morning we will two basic choices. We could leave Glouchester to transit Cape Cod Canal and anchor at Cittyhunk. Then we'll make either two long daily jumps or three shorter jumps to the East River and NYC. Which will depend on whether or not we had to wait for the weather in Shelburne. The alternative would be to make shorter daily trips and visit places like Marblehead, Boston, Woods Hole, etc., and take an extra week in arriving in NYC. The latter course of action has the fact that we won't be rushed and will allow our friends from NOONAN KNIGHT to book their tickets home from NY with more confidence at making the connection to recommend it.
Our plan is to spend 2 days in NYC if the 79th Street Marina has a transit mooring available for us. And then when the currents are right we'll set off outside the Jersy Coast for Norfolk - another 48 hour trip. We have several friends in the US Forces that are posted in that general area and we are hoping to persuade them to come down and visit us while we are in the area.
We will then put the covers on the sails and head down the initial portion of the ICW in short hops. One of the things that we have had recommended to us is that we should be traveling from Monday to Friday but then by Friday forenoon we should be looking for a quiet anchorage in which to spend the weekend and leave the waterway to the weekend boaters. I am told that my sanity will suffer less if I follow this plan. Plus, if we choose our anchorage well we will be able to spend a little more time in specific communities and maybe meet some of the local people.
From this point onward we will have direct courses planned on the outside with ICW alternates if the weather is too bumpy or is right on the nose. Besides the positive points of a quicker transit and not consuming as much, if any, fuel, the one disadvantage of going off shore is that we will be bypasssing a lot of the countryside that we were hoping to see. Plus it will still be at the tail end of the hurricane season and we don't want to get too far south too quickly only to get caught in some kind of weather unpleasantness.
To do this planning we have been making use of paper and electronic charts as well as cruising guides. The one for the ICW that we have been using is "Managing the Waterway" which I have found to be really helpfull for a first blush. We have also ordered several other books which we will use to either confirm or reject the details of the plan.
Meanwhile I am awaiting an opportunity to start to work on NELLEKE again.