The wide Delaware Bay

You stay over there
and I'll stay over here

Peanut butter and jelly day.

Nightfall at the Delaware
and Cohansey rivers

We claim thee in the name of
queen Anchor

Biggest pottery kiln we ever saw

Finally, the Chesapeake City
fixed bridge

My pals from Tow Boat US

October 19, 2014

Thank you to everyone taking the time to peruse this little journal and especially John shoemaker for using his magic powers to make it appear. I hope it's not too wordy. If you want to let me know anything or ask a question, just send me an e-mail or call me on the cell.

SUNDAY through WEDNESDAY: At Cape May and officially waiting for a "starter" to arrive at Utsch's Marina. Unofficially, We're resting and finding ourselves to be quite contented with marveling at the past few days. It rained a lot on Saturday and a lot again on Monday. We did get our mail here, which took some going through. Then the starter didn't come in, due to "Columbus Day" until Wednesday. We did do an oil and filter change on Monday. That felt good. We had 110 hours motoring since leaving and put in 17 and 22 gallons of fuel. I think that worked out to using 11oz per hour. We met some nice people here, both the family owned workers at the marina and boaters alike. Ate at the "Lobster House" three different ways: The restaurant, the Diner and bought some to go for taking with us. Then there was "Lucky Bones Tavern". All providing fine sustenance. Starter's in. Installed, and we have no reason to stay any longer especially because the weather is predicted to be ok for tomorrow.

THURSDAY: Finally. We are going to go again. Anxious and antsy pantsy because it's all new again. What will happen is an unknown. We pull out at 9:10 am hoping to catch some tidal flow. Skipper Bob's says to leave two hours after low tide to catch the flood all the way. We try. The Cape May canal has those bridges that are the go, no-go for masts over 55. we're 49.5 (but when did I measure last) and we're going under that bridge: and we do, and another one. All clear. It's a dinky little unattractive canal, but way better than going around the horn, so to speak. There is the monstrous Cape May/Lewes Ferries up ahead. We are suppose to favor the side close to them as their prop wash fills up the other side, according to the guys at Utsch's. Close to the ferries we go and one just we go by. The whole panorama becomes water now. The Delaware Bay. Where to steer, where to steer. There is a "red" way out there. Wayne, at Utsch's said nothing to get in our way here, just steer towards "Ship John Shoal". That's like thirty miles up. Chart book says steer a 322m to get into the channel. I don't really want to be in the channel, as there are big things in the channel going fast. We pick a heading and begin looking around to see what makes sense. Soon It all makes sense. JEEPERS...a military jet!! I think he buzzed us or something. I get that Gomer Pyle feeling yet once again. Wow. How much water is too much. The ocean didn't seem this large because we could always see the close side. There are no sides to this Delaware Bay. The one we left is getting way small. But the big guys are out there and it's pretty self evident where to go. It's not very deep cutting the corner on the channel. Like a constant 9 feet to 25 feet with a few 6 or 7s thrown in to scare you. This becomes a relaxing sunny scenic day. The bigger swells we hit coming out are gone, the wind is subsided and it feels like we must go forever. We had left over flounder sandwiches from the Lobster House for lunch. The day moves along until we see the Salem Nuclear power plant way up there. Although most people said we'd make it to Chesapeake City easy: not us, we're not going to make it unless it was the last ray of daylight. Don't want the last ray of daylight to have to depend on to get anchored somewhere. We're going back to the "Cohansey River". I know we went by it 40 minutes ago, but we were told it's a great place to anchor and we can be back there way before dusk. We have shrimp, and stuffed crabmeat flounder to eat. It's important to get stopped. Here we go, into the Cohansey River area where we are going to round a spit of land and drop anchor behind it. Sure enough there's a grid iron of crab pods. Lisa is watching the screen and I'm steering. Steering in and around, around and in, through a wider than you can see area of these...well, the chart says oyster bed. So be it, the water starts to do what the chart says and soon enough we drop an anchor in a depth of 22 feet. We are not moving. It is still daylight. Ugh, anchor needs a walk. Dingy down, reluctantly, and because of the current, I'm worried about not being able to row effectively. Ok, I'll try and then Lisa and the Pankie are in and we are headed to some spot of unknown density and dryness. Looks like grass growing right through the water to me. Nope, we find a spot and sure enough there is sand there. A whole bunch of it there, after you get your feet muddy and wet to enjoy it. A really neat spot. Desperately secluded, we're the only vessel in sight, anywhere. Ooow, that's intimidating. What if, ...oh forget it. Anchor's island. We named it in honor of "Queen Anchor the Great". She ran like crazy, back and forth a number of times. More smells than one can count. There's every kind of dead water life one dog could ask for to roll in here. Lisa watches carefully. Now it is getting dark so back to the boat and all that food from the "Lobster House". Hey, here comes another sailing vessel quietly lurking in, to anchor a few hundred yards behind us. No communication was had, but I saw no cannons either. We're good. And we're done: a magical poof here and the day is over.

FRIDAY: Up in the night to watch the boat swing from one tide to another. Ugh. I guess all's okay. Back to sleep at 4:30 and we do not wake up until 8:15. Again reluctantly, dingy down for the Queen. In we go. This time I bring the phone for a picture. Didn't find the same grassy spot to land, so got my keen stuck way down there in the muck. Lisa laughs but her turn is next. It's hard to get in there, but we do and Anchor is very pleased for a number of reasons. Mostly reason #1 and #2. We're back and put away the dingy, do coffee, evaluate the tide, but for what. We are going north and we'd better go. We have 19 miles to the C&D Canal. We think we can get out without the crabpods if we just go forward into the Cohansey River Channel and straight out towards the main channel. The magic of a website leaves me calling a guy named "Hitch" at the Greenwich Marina up the river. He says, Yes you can", so we try and it works. That saved us a little time and we are gone, northbound. Oh, I should mention...on the way out we see we could have landed the dingy on dry sand if we'd only rowed a little further around the bend. So be it. Another day like yesterday, except we had peanut butter and jelly. The rest was pretty much the same. However, the river is getting narrower and the traffic is getting closer together and we only have a few miles left to our turn. In fact, we can see the first bridge over the C&D clearly. No big deal, we turn in and we are done with the Delaware and pointed west on a large impressive 40 foot deep ditch. "Watch out for big ships", but we don't see any. We can make it to the Chesapeake City anchoring basin or the free City dock without much time worry, now only, traffic worry. Will it be crowded? It is Friday night. Nope not trawler and two sailboats and it is quiet and peaceful. We're in and done, but it is almost dark. Quick, like a Chihuahua, dinghy down and we row a short distance to a little dock. She's happy again. Back to the boat for crackers and cheese, salad and Clam Chowder...yep, the last of the "Lobster House" booty. A seafood poof and the day is over. Another milestone. Oh, Dennis you ask? He is still in Atlantic City, with a mechanic getting his engine squared away. But he assures us he is still determined to get south on the Chesapeake Bay. He likes the Golden Nugget. He's made new friends there.

SATURDAY: Very quiet night on the anchor. Finally achieving some free nights feels very good. ( a sideline success story: Anchor did it on deck last night. She didn't want the hassle of a middle of the night dinghy ride either. Good girl ) I didn't go crazy with anchor chain here becasue I didn't want to swing more than the others guys if I swung at all. Its hardly an active water here. We go to town and have a great breakfast and mill around. Lisa finds a yarn store and we wander for an hour or two, Hey, it's getting blustery better get back. Sooo, our boat has moved a little. The nice folks on the dock say,"is that your boat". It has been dragging a little. It's okay we'll go reset the anchor with some more scope. Row, row ,row your dingy, try to catch your boat: Merrily, merrily, crap!, our boat is nestled quite nicely deep into some mud at the end of this basin. I'll just row out the plow anchor a hundred feet or so, attach it to the winch and crank ourselves right out of here. Crap, tide doesn't come up for a number of hours and when does it really come up here. If it is coming up, I must be successful quickly or we'll contiune to blow into rocks. Hummm, now Lisa reminds me of the 83 dollars I spent upgrading the "Tow Boat US" service to unlimited. Could be a prudent move, aside from the ego bruise. I call. Nice lady, polite and informative and asks a few questions and within 30 minutes we have a powerful inflatable in front of me with two guys tossing me a line. A bit of pull, pull, pull and we are free and anchored again with a bunch more chain out. A bit muddier because of handling the lines and anchors. These guys were very nice too and after doing the paperwork, they bid us farewell. No cost. I must sulk for a while, because I easily could have put more chain out anticipating this chance. Probably the weather forecast called for the gusty conditions too. I just didn't. Sulk, sulk sulk. Okay done. Lets go eat. we do, and poof today is over.

SUNDAY: Wow, this wind won't quit. At 4:17 I'm up, worried. It's really gusty. How many times will Tow Boat US respond before my "unlimited" is up? At daylight we run the engine to charge up, we re-set the anchor, and take the other anchor to shore, keeping the boat in sight. Don't want to spend all day worrying about dragging again. Hey, here comes Rudy, who we talked to last night who is on the City dock with his "Grand Banks". He says the guy in the sailboat is leaving now so may be I want to try to come over where it is more protected from this nasty west wind. I'm the only boat in this nice peaceful basin turned washing machine now. Absolutely. "Be careful the water's going out", he says. We made it, but I'm sure we were pushing some bottom out of the way. We are now tied up, and in our boat, at the Chesapeake City dock, but we're not totally floating yet. That should happen shortly. Seneca Lake never did this. So if we leave tomorrow, it means doing it at the right time for sure, I believe. Pre-poof, as this day, day #35 out of Watkins Glen will be over in the near future.

stay tuned as Terry and Lisa try to keep the boat afloat.


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