29 October 2020
We left Gloucester, MA at first light on Sunday October 19th and headed for the Cape Cod Canal. Conditions stayed good right into Buzzard's Bay so we decided to keep on going through the night to get inside Long Island Sound before seas picked up.
We had never done this stretch at night before and it turned out to be a little more challenging than we expected. Winds and chop increased, we had a foul (adverse) current, and it was a moonless, dark night. We were confused for awhile by what appeared to be a line of uncharted red buoys that seemed to be close and which we couldn't seem to get past. We felt pretty foolish (but relieved, nonetheless) when they turned out to be the lights from the Block Island Airport 10 miles away.
We relaxed again once we were past Block Island, for the rest of way into Port Jefferson, Long Island. We anchored there for the night then headed straight back out the next morning, seeing a possible weather window to get down the NJ shore. Timing our trip through NYC with the current in Hell Gate, we got out into NY Bay around sunset. Fog started creeping in and, by the time we made our way out of the Bay, visibility was terrible.
There were times all night that we could barely even see our running lights on the bow. Thankfully our electronics enable us to see the positions of other boats and allow them to see us. We did have a couple of occasions when we needed to communicate by radio to clarify intentions. The otherwise pleasant conditions made this the easiest trip we've ever had down the NJ coast. The fog lifted by mid morning and we were then faced with the decision of whether to stop that afternoon in Cape May, NJ and continue on via the Chesapeake Bay, or to keep on going offshore while the conditions were still favorable and go into Norfolk, Va. We chose the latter.
Calm seas and light winds prevailed all the way down the Maryland coast and we went into a marina in Portsmouth, Va. around the middle of the afternoon on Thursday October 23rd, after a 54 hour run.
By Saturday we were ready to go again. We chose the Dismal Swamp over the Virginia Cut for its wild beauty and to avoid commercial and weekend traffic. After the push of the previous week, it was nice to be able to just relax and enjoy the warm sunshine. The 2 other boats that were with us on the way in both stopped at the Visitors Center, so we were by ourselves for the rest of the way through to our anchorage in the Pasquotank River.
Our trip across Albermarle Sound was rainy and windy but very tolerable. We were again grateful for our new cockpit enclosure!
2 more full but quiet days of travel in the ICW got us to Beaufort, NC where we fueled then made an afternoon departure for another run offshore. Keeping eyes on the progress of Zeta, we set our sights on Georgetown, SC. and enjoyed an easy, beautiful night/day passage. We're presently anchored in Duck Creek awaiting the passing of Zeta's winds. We'll hit the 1,000 mile mark on our run tomorrow!
From here we plan to continue on down the ICW to Hilton Head where we look forward to seeing Eric, Sara and the kids during their visit there.