May 17, 2007, New York , New York
Well, we made it back to the Big Apple, but we spent the past three days weathering some nasty winds at anchor in Great Kills Bay just south of New York harbour (more details on this later).
Not having spent any money on the boat in North Palm Beach , the great gods of mechanical devices decided that we had to make a modest donation to the boatyard in Portsmouth . Thank goodness, nothing like the money being invested on some of the yachts being commissioned there (see photo). Anyway, with fresh anodes, a hull cleaning and a few other parts later, we were ready to tackle the Chesapeake Bay . Once we got past the choppy seas at the entrance of the bay (no fun!), we had water as smooth as glass for most of the next few days.
Because we hadn't yet visited much of the east side of the bay, we went to Oxford , MD for a couple of nights. This is a wonderful town with very well cared for old colonial homes and gardens. The town founders laid out the streets in such a way that it optimized community access to the waterfront. Each street ends at the water where park benches and small beaches are available to residents and visitors alike. Very civilized! From there, we crossed the bay to return to Annapolis and were joined there by Paul and Lise of s/v Nantelise . We spent the next few days visiting, eating and being nosy tourists. Having rented a car helped a lot. We even used the car to cross the Chesapeake again to visit St. Michael, another reputed mecca for boaters.
On May 7 th , we scooted over to Rock Hall , MD where we took advantage of the town's free docks. The next morning, we headed to Chesapeake City where we anchored in preparation for transiting Delaware Bay . We had calm seas all the way out the Bay and arrived in Cape May , NJ to anchor in front of the U.S. Coast Guard Station. For some strange reason, they didn't appreciate having Canucks blocking their harbour entrance so they asked us to move north of their Station. Through the evening we heard the new recruits as they practiced patrolling in their fancy boats during the night in dense fog. Kind of fun to watch the light show when they decide to pursue an errant duck.
The weather has become much cooler and we are now getting regular doses of fog which delays our travel. As Haligonians and having a radar, we are quite used to fog; however, the waterways are so narrow and you must change course so often that the radar is only marginally useful. At the anchorage in Cape May , we met Lena and Ron on board s/v Discovery and after sunset we all got together with Paul and Lise to discuss "fogology" and the next day's trip up the coast. We decided to take the inside route along the New Jersey IntraCoastal Waterway, Lena and Ron went out at sea with two other boats with radars and Paul and Lise, the wise ones, decided to stay another day at anchor to wait out the fog. Within three days we all made it safe and sound to Manasquan Inlet , NJ . While Mystic Bond ploughed its way through mud for many hundreds of yards, Nantelise grounded a few times and Discovery, well, they discovered that you don't see too many boats fishing at sea if you don't have a radar in dense fog.
As an unexpected but very welcome bonus of meeting Ron and Lena , they made arrangements for us to stay at their Yacht Club for a few days at Point Pleasant , NJ . This was quite a treat as the marina had beautiful showers, laundry room and picnic facilities in a large waterside condominium complex that was very pretty and protected. We also met several other very pleasant folks on the docks while we were here. I wonder if that's why they call it Point Pleasant ?
While in Manasquan we visited with friends Sarah and John for three days. Manasquan is a neat place with its own boardwalk. As Canucks we were not familiar with the concept of the Boardwalk and Sarah and John educated this uninitiated couple to the subtle culture of this New Jersey institution. They also treated us to wonderful food, plenty of drinks and even took us to visit Philadelphia one day. The Franklin Museum there was awesome and so was the entry price for the Tutankhamen exhibit which we decided to forgo. Instead, we walked around the historic district and got a chance to see where American Independence got its start.
On May 14 th , a short but pleasant open water passage brought us past Sandy Hook and into the entrance to New York . With winds gusting to thirty knots that evening and predicted for the next two days, Nantelise and Mystic Bond rafted together in Great Kills Harbour and settled in to do some socializing and several boat projects until the winds calmed down and we could time our passage through New York harbour on a favourable tide.
Around four o'clock on May 16 th , just as we were starting to plan a relaxing dinner, the winds picked up to well above 45 knots within a matter of minutes. On the other side of the bay we saw a tornado funnel starting to form and we began dragging anchor rapidly towards the rocks on shore. Olga took command of the engine, Andre raised the anchor and we motored to the lee side of the bay in a very heavy 4-5 foot chop. Even our John Deere struggled to get us across against the wind as we still had s/v Nantelise rafted to us. Both boats were pitching and yawing every which way so it was a good thing we had added some extra fenders between the boats a few minutes earlier. After a half hour crossing, we made it to a safer anchorage and the boats were secured. As quickly as it began, the winds subsided back to around 15-20 knots. Thanks to a bit of good luck and good seamanship, we managed to come out of this unexpected adventure with both boats unscathed. Needless to say, once we mopped up the floor from all the spray that had come aboard during the crossing, we poured ourselves a well-deserved drink!
Our next stage now is to return up the Hudson River then go through the Erie Canal to reach Lake Ontario and Canada.
Spring has been good to us and we hope that all of our northern friends are all able by now to get out on their boats and/or work in the garden.
Olga and Andre on board m/v Mystic Bond