whew…our first overnight sail and getting to the Chesapeake

We have had some sleep, and some much needed warmth.  It is funny how the body adapts to what is at hand when necessary.  There are a few things on this trip that have been surprisingly important.  One of them is a good, old-fashioned, water bottle.  The kind your grandmother had in her linen closet.  Michael and I picked up one for each kid thinking they would need the added warmth during the night while on our night passages or at anchor.  But actually, whoever was on watch ended up using them inside their jackets or in their lap.  What a difference!   So we boil some water, fill the bottles and whomever is on watch tucks in the water bottles, and voila! Instant warmth, instant comfort, you have easily got another hour or two at the helm in you.

We left Manhasset Bay Sunday morning at 9:30am timing the tide change at Hell’s Gate in NYC’s East River.  And, while it was a little rough getting there at first it was worth it!  Once we turned the corner into the East River the tide was with us and we FLEW through NYC!  Our plan was to be in Sandy Hook by nightfall and we got there by 2:30pm! WOW, and we had very clear skies, a great forecast of west winds 5-10 knots, just my speed.  This was our very first night sail.

We shut the engines off at 4:30pm Sunday right past Sandy Hook, NJ and sailed until 3:30 am Monday when got to Atlantic City! 

Throughout the night we had the most wonderful visitors.  The clicking and squealing of a porpoise escort although we never saw them you could hear them all night.  The constant baying of a certain kind of bird or gull.  I swear at times it was on the boat with us but we never saw it.  I have been poring over my “Birds of North America” Audubon guide searching by call.  It had a very distinct coo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hooooo. 

My Aunt Sherri asked me if it was scary sailing at night.  I always thought it would be but it was the calmest and most comfortable I have ever been on ANY sail EVER.  It was beautiful, quiet, calm seas, just the rush of the water past the boat.  The blue-white light from the moon was like my own personal spot light.  There was not a single other boat along the NJ coast that night.  We were all alone.  The coast of NJ was well lit, we stayed between 1 1/2 -2 miles off coast, well out of the shipping lanes.

Atlantic City was so well lit, with amazing buildings that changed colors.  It was fascinating to watch.  Certainly gave me something to look at while sailing.

The coastline hooked a little and the wind was on our nose at that point.  We motor-sailed to Cape May and were there by 8:30am, entered the Cape May canal rather than round Cape may and entered the Delaware Bay/River at 10:30.  Once again, the tides were with us and the winds were with us and we felt good.  Our shifts allowed us some restful naps so we decided to go for crossing the bay (huge) and entering the Chesapeake/Delaware Canal.  Crossing this bay took us all day, but it was well marked, open and allowed some much needed napping.  We got there around 4:20pm, right before sunset.  We turned up into the canal, nose into the wind, dropped the sail and started motoring down this very nicely lit canal…It was like being on a highway.  Going under the bridges is always hairy.  The chart SAYS it is 130ft of clearance but when you are about to go under the optical illusion of diminishing perspectives really play with you.  Especially in the dark! It always seemed like we were going to scrape.  But of course with a overall height of 47 feet we have no problems.

We had the current with us and were cranking along at 8 knots through most of this canal.  This put us into the top of the Chesapeake Bay. 

I will pick up from here later.

love to all.


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