47 Days Looping
1003.5 Nautical Miles Total (1154.8 Statute Miles)
165.5 Nautical Miles This Week
14.5 Hours Underway This Week
11.7 NMph Average Speed
Monday – May 27th – 0 NM – In: Cape May, NJ
On Monday we spent the day in Cape May. Brenda was not feeling well, some intestinal bug we think she got from seafood in Baltimore. I did some maintenance around the boat in the morning and watched a technician climb the mast of the large sailboat next to us.
Around noon, Brenda was feeling a bit better and it was a great day, so we walked the mile or so into town. Cape May has a huge number of Victorian area houses and all are beautifully maintained and landscaped. We enjoyed the walk to the center of town which is a large pedestrian mall area with shops and restaurants.
While Brenda put on a brave face, I could tell that she was not feeling well, so after a quick walk down the main street, we called an Uber and got her back to the boat, so that she could sleep the rest of the afternoon. Nothing worse than not feeling well on the water. I broke out the bike and took a ride over the canal we had come in on to West Marine (more for something to do), and worked on the blog a bit. Brenda was still not feeling well in the evening, so I went across the street and grabbed a sandwich for dinner, then had a call with my friend David in South Carolina (I had sent him a bottle of Rye Whisky from the distillery we visited in Baltimore) and we shared a drink, then Brenda and I turned in by 8:30.
Tuesday – May 28th – 0 NM – In: Cape May, NJ
We had decided to stay in Cape May until Wednesday, as Tuesday was supposed to be bad weather. The forecast was right! On Monday night we got some heavy rain. The front hatch over our bed leaked, and I woke up wondering if I’d wet the bed until I sat up and felt a drip on my head. The gasket around the glass had shrunk with age, and left a gap. So, on Monday morning, I found a replacement on-line and ordered it for delivery when we get to New York, then did some quick repairs with some silicone sealer and plastic bags to hold us until then.
We got some more rain in the late morning, but by about 12:00, it had cleared up. Brenda was feeling better, so we took the bikes and rode into town, and walked around visiting the shops. At 1:00 we took a guided trolley tour of the historic homes in Cape May, which was very interesting. There are many historic Victorian style homes and hotels all with interesting paint jobs.
After the trolley tour, we went to Stewart’s (a restaurant owned by the old soda company) which was in an old bank and had an ice cream. We then rode the bikes up and down some of the streets that the trolley tour went down to get a better look at the houses.
We then rode down to the beach and took a walk to pick up a few shells for Brenda’s shell collection, then along the ocean front drive back to the boat.
When we got back, Brenda was pretty tired so she took a nap until about 6:00 and we went to a local diner for a light dinner, then to bed early to get ready for our first “Open Ocean” section of our trip.
Wednesday – May 29th – 38.7 NM – To: Atlantic City, NJ
Wednesday dawned clear and calm. We cast off at 7:20 AM before the wind came up, and headed down the Cape May Canal and into open ocean toward Atlantic City NJ!
The ride up to Atlantic City was not bad. Brenda would have enjoyed it more if she had been feeling better, but all in all it was a pretty good ride. We stayed about 2-3 miles off the shore, and saw a bunch of amusement parks as we headed up the coast. We could see the large casino building of Atlantic City from quite a distance, and it seemed to take forever to get there, with the buildings getting larger and larger as we approached. We passed Margate City, NJ where my niece and her husband have a summer home, (we were supposed to stop there but with the propeller strike, it put us behind schedule) and rounded the tip of Atlantic City.
As we were turning into the Absecon Inlet past the Absecon Lighthouse, we saw a Coast Guard helicopter hovering and a police boat standing just off the Atlantic City pier. There was a rescue swimmer hanging off of the helicopter and he lowered into the water, then then the police boat moved in.
As we got into the narrow inlet, the waves picked up, and we had a Coast Guard patrol boat racing out (probably toward the incident) to deal with so we missed the ending in the water. (We never heard what happened)
Once we got into the harbor in Atlantic City, it was pretty smooth, and we called the marina at the “Golden Nugget” Casino, and were in our slip and tied up by 10:30 am.
After the slightly rolly trip up, Brenda decided to lay down for a while and I walked around the docks, and into the casino to have a look around. I passed a slot machine that had a Frog theme, put in a couple of bucks, lost it, and left.
I can’t speak for the other casinos in Atlantic City, but the Golden Nugget was a sad testament to a dying culture. The casino was pretty empty with most of the occupants older people (70’s-80’s), sitting at slot machines, smoking and wasting their golden years. The place reeked of cigarette smoke and was a bit threadbare. Very depressing. I talked to some of our fellow Loopers who had gone to the famous boardwalk, and they also said that it looked like it must have been something in the 70’s and 80’s but was dated and run-down.
In the late afternoon, we got a bit of a treat when a Navy Seal team in their “Interdiction Boats” pulled in. There were 4 of them. Very high tech! We watched as they tied up right behind us, then chatted with them for a few minutes. They had been out in the ocean off of New Jersey doing maneuvers and were in Atlantic City for the night.
These boats have high power night vision, radar, twin engines, can do something more than 50 mph, can run semi submerged, have kevlar shielding all around, are radar and heat signature stealthy. It’s cool to see our tax dollars being put to good use!
Brenda wasn’t very hungry, so we just ate leftovers on the boat, and as night fell, took some photos of the lit-up buildings including the Ocean Casino with a huge “beach ball” on the roof.
That night we got another band of heavy rain and thunderstorms just after dark, quite spectacular! Once that calmed down, we turned in as our plan was to leave Atlantic City early, to head for New York City, which was a 97 mile off-shore trip.
Thursday – May 30th – 91.3 NM – To: New York City, NY
We woke up at 5:30 AM on Thursday, to get an early start as there were thunderstorms predicted for our route in the late afternoon and we wanted to be well clear of them. When got up and looked outside, there was thick fog! So thick I could not see the end of the dock 200 feet away. So, our plans for an early departure were put on hold. While we were getting dressed, we turned on the radio, and heard a few of our fellow Loopers who had left, but turned around and came back due to the low visibility.
We got ready, and walked down the dock to chat with some other Loopers, and decided to wait an hour until 8:00 to see if the fog would lift. During the hour the fog would thin for a few minutes, and then come back in. So, at 8:00 we decided that we’d leave and put the radar skills I’d been practicing to the test. We cast off and headed out of the harbor. When we got into the main channel out to sea, we took it slow, and watched carefully for other traffic and relied on our chartplotter (GPS map) and radar to get out of the inlet, and into open water. We went out about 2 miles, then turned north and headed up the coast.
The waves were fairly calm, just gentle rollers, and there was almost no wind. We ran at 8 knots for about an hour until we got used to running with little visibility, and then pushed it up to about 16 knots. Visibility was 1/4 mile. The radar experience was fine and we were able to pick out the navigational markers, and the few other boats out on the water.
We saw a few others on radar, but didn’t really see many up-close until afternoon. The fog started to lift about 1:30, and we were able to see the shore line about 1 1/2 miles away for the first time. at 2:00, the fog came back in, and we had to negotiate a group of ships maintaining the trans-atlantic communications cables that come off the shore of New Jersey. No close calls, just lots of traffic moving in odd patterns.
At 3:00 as we were nearing New York harbor the fog started to lift again, and we had about 3 mile visibility. We picked up a large private yacht that we had seen on radar running a little farther offshore than us for most of the day, and they turned to go into New York as well so we followed them in. At 4:00 we went under the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and entered New York Harbor. We also crossed into New York state for a few minutes, giving us our 6th state!
There was lots of traffic from barges, ferries, water taxi’s and other miscellaneous boats, which made for the roughest water we’d experience all day. We passed Staten Island, and Lady Liberty came into view through the fog! As it was foggy, and the rain was starting to show on the radar, we didn’t do a pass then, but cruised past Ellis Island, and turned into Liberty Landing marina (which is on the New Jersey side of the Hudson river) where we were staying for the night. Liberty Landing is a large marina, and given the expense of real estate in NYC, they pack in as many boats as possible so getting into the slip was tight. But, we got in without incident, and ended up right next to “The Journey”, fellow Loopers we’d met in Solomons Island, MD a week before.
As we tied up, the rain started, but only lasted for a few minutes, and when it stopped we walked around Liberty State Park which is where the marina is and is the old New Jersey Railroad station. Most of the Statue Of Liberty Ferries leave from here, and it’s a busy water taxi stop for people coming from lower Manhattan to New Jersey. The view from the marina and the park of Lower Manhattan, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty is spectacular! We took a bunch of photos, and then as the rain started to spit, we headed back to the boat.
When we bought the boat 2 years ago, we hired a training captain, Geoff Gow, to instruct us. Geoff spent 10 days with us on the boat, and we became friends. Geoff is now doing computer security consulting in NYC, and we had arranged to meet him for dinner that night. Geoff’s friend Kathy came along, and her friend Dawn lives on a boat at the Liberty Landing marina. We all went to dinner together at Liberty House Restaurant, a very nice restaurant just next door to the marina.
Geoff and Kathy arrived by ferry from Manhattan at 6:00, just as the skies opened up with a torrential downpour. They ran to the boat, getting soaked, and we handed out extra umbrellas and then walked to the restaurant. Dinner was great, excellent food, and it was great to catch up with Geoff. Brenda enjoyed chatting with Kathy and Dawn getting in some girl talk.
At 8:30 Geoff and Kathy had to catch the last ferry back to Manhattan. The rain had stopped, so we walked them to the ferry, and said our goodbyes then walked back to the boat and turned in for the night.
Friday – May 31st – 35.5 NM – To: Croton-on-Hudson, NY
Our trip up the Hudson river to our next stop was fairly short, so we slept in a bit. We didn’t plan on leaving until 10:00, but “The Journey” who was docked next to us, asked us if we wouldn’t mind leaving before them to make it easier to get out of their slip as they were pretty wedged in. We agreed, and on a bright sunny morning, cast off at 9:00.
Because we hadn’t gotten a good look at the Statue of Liberty when we came in due to the fog, we headed the 2 miles back down the harbor, and did a slow pass for a photo opp! The tour helicopters were buzzing all around and we had to wait to get a clear shot.
After cruising past the Statue, we turned around and headed back up the Hudson and began the inland portion of our trip. It was really cool to cruise next to all of the large buildings. There is some spectacular architecture in New York and we got a really close look, including the Empire State Building.
As we continued up past midtown, and toward the George Washington Bridge, the land on the New Jersey side started to rise into the cliffs that line the Hudson river. There was so much to see! Manhattan on the starboard side, and New Jersey on the port. We went slow, partially because of the large waves that the ferries were creating, and so that we could see everything. We passed the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, and some more interesting architecture on the Manhattan side. The New Jersey side, was starting to get more residential, with houses at both the base and tops of the cliffs. The volume of ferry traffic drops off quickly, one you pass about midtown, and the river became much calmer.
We passed under the George Washington bridge, which was jammed with traffic on both the upper and lower decks. We felt fortunate, to be in nice open water. The Hudson widens out after the GW bridge, and the commuter and Amtrack rail lines start to run along the river, so we got lots of views of trains running beside us. On the New Jersey side, the shore of the Hudson is mostly cliffs and is a large park. There are occasional buildings but most of it is just steep cliffs and wooded shoreline. We passed Yonkers, NY and turned to see a last view of the GW Bridge and New York City. All the way up the river, we had been crossing back and forth from New York to New Jersey as the border goes right up the center. Just after Yonkers the border turns west, and we were officially in New York state.
Our next view was of the new “Mario Cuomo” bridge, which was known as the Tappan Zee bridge. Parts of the old Tappan Zee are still sitting on barges next to the new bridge as they are still working on disassembling it. We caught up with “Summertime Blues” who had left Liberty Landing about the same time we did, just before going under the bridge, and we took photos of each other as we went past.
After passing the Tappan Zee bridge, we could see the land change in front of us, and we started going into, Hills! The boat has never been near real hills and mountains before, and being in the flat South Carolina coastline, it’s been a while since we’ve seen real mountains. We really felt like we were back in New England!
We passed Sing Sing prison, and rounded the point and turned into Half Moon Bay where our marina is. As we came into Half Moon bay, we caught up with “The Journey”, and slowed to let them get tied up before we came into the marina ourselves. We got a nice protected slip, right in front of the breakwater wall.
Half Moon Bay Marina is popular with Loopers as it’s MUCH cheaper than New York City, and is a calm safe harbor. The Marina sits right next to a train station, so many people leave their boats there and take the train into New York, or fly home due to it’s easy access to all of the New York area airports. We planned to stay in Croton-on-Hudson at Half Moon Bay Marina for 10 days so that we could drive home to South Carolina and check on the house, get haircuts, and prepare for the next leg of our journey.
After settling in, we visited with some of the other Loopers who were already there, we ended up with 6 boats by the end of the day. We took a walk into town to get a few things for dinner, and then went back to the boat and cooked dinner on the BBQ.
After dinner, we sat up on the fly-bridge so that we could see over the wall, and watched a spectacular sunset. The sun dipped behind a cloud, and all you could see was a red glow on the water until it re-appeared below it.
Saturday – June 1st – 0 NM – In: Croton-on-Hudson, NY
Saturday was a work day. We had ordered a replacement hatch for the one that was leaking over our bed and we wanted to install it before going home. In the morning we removed the old hatch, cleaned up all of the old caulking, and filled in the old screw holes and low places with caulking. While that was drying, we went to Enterprise Car rental and picked up our rental car. We were given a list to choose from. Dodge Caravan, Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion, or BMW X3. Humm…. Is this a trick question? We took the Hyundai.. not! Once we figured out how to get the folding side mirrors to open on the BMW, we headed to a local hardware store for some silicone caulk, then back to the boat to finish the installation of the hatch.
For the rest of the day, we did some cleaning on the boat, packed up our dirty laundry, got most of the rest of the stuff we planned on taking home ready. In the evening we drove to a local Tavern that was recommended by the marina for dinner, then went to bed early in preparation for our 12+ hour drive home in the morning.
Sunday – June 2nd – 0 NM – In: Croton-on-Hudson, NY
Sunday, we woke up early, packed up the car and at 6:30, headed south. The morning was misty, and we took one last look at the boat from the top of the hill before we headed out.
The drive home took us just over 12 hours with a few pit-stops, the same distance that’s taken us 47 days by boat! We rolled into Murrells Inlet at around 6:30 pm. The house was fine, Rich from Condo-Care has been checking on the house and taking care of watering the plants, and everything looked great.
Next week: We are home through Thursday and planning to drive back to New York on Friday.