Friday May 28, 2021
It was sunny early and we left Sabbatical tethered to the mooring ball and took the dinghy in and hoofed it out to Graul’s Market for provisions. We encountered a lot of law enforcement with their blue lights and found out that we had just missed the vice president’s motorcade on her way to the Naval Academy graduation. The weather started to change as we loaded our groceries onto the boat, but it was still tolerable so we returned to the dock and grabbed some lunch at a baked potato shop. Great food – simple concept. Later, it got ugly and it blew and rained and turned colder. We spent an unpleasant night bouncing and bobbing in the wind. We were planning on leaving on Saturday, but it was not to be with the wind keeping pace, so we just stayed on the boat all day Saturday and rocked and rolled. Annapolis harbor has sea walls on every side but the open north and the wind and waves were rolling in from the northeast and bouncing off the walls creating an uncomfortable situation for everyone in the mooring field. Also, our house battery bank was losing power and the generator didn’t seem to recharge it much when we would run it for a couple of hours.
Sunday May 30, 2021
The weather was just more of the same and it seemed like it was freezing to us. We were tired of being bounced around and called into the Annapolis Yacht Harbor to see if we could get a protected slip. They had one available and it only took us about 10 minutes to move over there and tie up. It was a very good move! We got plugged into shore power and the batteries charged up fully, refilled the water tanks, pumped out the holding tank, Jane did laundry and the hot shower was glorious! Even the weather started to abate. We arranged with the other Loopers there to walk over to the Boatyard Grill for dinner. It was a lot of fun getting to know them better and we slept much better that night.
Monday May 31, 2021
The weather agreed to cooperate and we backed out of the slip from Annapolis Yacht Basin before 0700. Once out in the Chesapeake, we found glassy water and a very light breeze. We weren’t sure how far we would go, but we had a number of options between marinas and anchorages. We talked to Mick Anderson on Phantom and decided to follow him on into an anchorage part way down Delaware Bay at Alloway Creek. It was further than we originally planned to go, but it would put us in good shape to catch the current on Tuesday to ride down the Delaware Bay to Cape May. We were getting a good push up the Chesapeake and hit 10 miles per hour as we passed the Bohemia River entrance. There was no commercial traffic in the C&D Canal to contend with. We reached Alloway Creek and proceeded up the creek past Phantom and set the hook in 15 feet at high tide (+5’) on 100 feet of rode. Mick came over in his dinghy for dinner and we enjoyed getting to know our Scottish friend better.
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
We were up early to catch the tide and off anchor at 0558. It was only 56 degrees. Is this really June? We exited the narrow creek channel by the nuclear power plant and caught the push south to Cape May. A number of other Looper boats were passing us and some behind us to make a nice flotilla as we dodged a few ships both inbound and outbound. We anchored off the Coast Guard Station at Cape May by 1300. I launched the dink so we could get to the grocery store. It’s not a long ride into the South Jersey Marina, but still a bit of a hike with our folding grocery cart to the ACME grocery. We stocked up and then hit the wine store before dragging it back again. At least we got our steps in. After stowing the groceries and delivering some we picked up for a couple of the others that were anchored, we took the dinghy back in to meet with a bunch of other Loopers for docktails and to go out to dinner.
We broke into smaller groups for dinner and we went to the Irish Pub with Mick, Captain Crusty and Dorothy from Magic, and Skip and Allison from Legacy. It was a fun night but we turned in early so we could get going early. During engine checks, I found the steering reservoir pressure down to 12 lbs., but I got pumped up to 22 on the first try.
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Off anchor at 0500? What the??? I guess we’re nuts, but we followed Phantom out of the Cape May inlet to an ocean of glass.
Our original plan was to make all the way up the coast to Sandy Hook, but by 1000 the seas were picking up a little and Mick called to say he thought it was going to deteriorate and that maybe we should turn in at Atlantic City and continue up the New Jersey ICW from there. So that’s what we did. Once we were on the inside, we took the lead so we could report depths to Mick since his draft is deeper than ours. We made it through all the shallow areas without a problem, but we were getting tired. Finally around 1600 we were getting some help from the tidal flow and picked up to 9 mph. With Mick’s help, we picked out the anchorage at Glimmer Glass and hoping that we’d be able to make the Glimmer Glass Bridge opening at 1730, but we were stopped short in the Manasquan River by the Brielle Railroad Bridge. We could only just tread water and wait it out.
We finally got though the historic Glimmer Glass Bridge on the 1830 opening and rafted up to Phantom after Mick had set his anchor. It is an excellent anchorage if you don’t mind the noise of the trains. It didn’t bother us because we were exhausted after the 105 miles and a 14 hour day. We did enjoy Mick’s company for another dinner together and know that he’ll be taking a different course tomorrow once we make the turn at Sandy Hook.
Thursday, June 3, 2021
We released from Phantom at 0550 and the Glimmer Glass Bridge operator was ready for us to exit right on time. We followed Phantom out the Manasquan River into the Atlantic Ocean. It was slightly rolly, but not bad at all and we were able to have our breakfast on the fly bridge. At 0920 we were rounding Sandy Hook and bid farewell to Mick as he made for the East River on his way to Connecticut. By 1048 we were docked at the Great Kills Yacht Club for two nights. We were glad to be set somewhere for even just a short visit after being on the run since Annapolis. After showering in the club’s excellent facility and a nap, we walked up for a nice dinner at a very nice Italian restaurant.
On Friday, we caught the express bus into Manhattan and then the “C” train to meet our good friend, George Go, for lunch. After that, the three of us proceeded to walk all over the city. My blisters will heal eventually. Short though it was, we loved out time with George.
He took lots of photos of us. Later, after we returned to GKYC and had recuperated from all the walking, Jane and I walked up to Cole’s Dockside Restaurant for dinner. We knew that Mike was bartending and sat at the bar. Dinner was great, but Mike’s magic at the end of the night was amazing!
Saturday, June 5, 2021 We took our sweet time leaving the dock and it was an easy ride up to the Statue of Liberty. Herb on Phanthom (not to be confused with Phantom) was anchored behind the statue. We were about to anchor, when we got a radio call from Wanderer who wanted to swap taking boat photos with Liberty in the background. We of course obliged and putted out to meet them for the photo op.
Then we went back around to the anchorage and dropped the hook. There were lots of wakes from the boats in the harbor and we were getting rocked around so at 1600 we pulled the anchor and headed up the Hudson River with a nice tidal push from behind. We passed the George Washington Bridge and the Tappan Zee Bridge and anchored at Nyack just north of the mooring field. The calm evening was a night and day difference from getting tossed around at the statue.
Sunday, June 6, 2021
The anchor came up clean as a whistle and we continued upriver to anchor at Half Moon Bay among maybe a hundred other boats. They were mostly day-boaters or weekenders and by the end of the day, most were gone. We rode in on the dink and found a good Greek restaurant for lunch and then hiked a long way in 90 degree heat to the grocery store. Once we finally got back to Sabbatical and put our stuff away, we ventured in again to meet a group of Loopers at a brew pub. We were glad that it was air conditioned.
Monday, June 7, 2021
I changed out the engine zinc during my daily engine checks. We made our way across the river to Panco for diesel fuel. They had been out the day before, but the delivery truck was there when I called to check. We took on 204 gallons at $2.90 per gallon. It might be a long time before we see a price that low. It was a very hot day and we were chilling towels in the ice chest to drape over our necks to stay cool. At 1330 we were passing West Point. At 1850, we anchored almost the exact same spot at Port Ewen as we did in 2018. It is a great place to drop the hook and we were happy to have made 55 miles for the day.
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
We knew the current wouldn’t begin to help us until 0915, so we moseyed around and pulled up the anchor at 0950. As we passed the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge there were about half a dozen police boats and we realized it was a search and rescue operation. More like search and recovery really. It appeared that someone jumped from the bridge. It was a shorter day for us to travel as we made our way to the Town of Athens free dock and arrived before 1300. Selah Way and Agape’ were there, but no one was aboard either vessel. We already knew David and Amy from Selah Way, but had not met the crew from Agape’. It’s a very small town and we wondered where they might be. None of the restaurants in town were open. We walked across the park and up the main drag to the wine store and restocked. We came back. They still weren’t there. We walked out to the convenience store to buy ice, but they were out and there was nowhere else in Athens to buy it. We got back to the dock and still the boaters were missing. We started to imagine what may have happened. Did someone have a medical emergency? Did they get arrested? After a while, here they came back from the east side of the river in the dinghy from Agape’. They had been over at the brewery on the other side. So they didn’t get arrested. But we found out that they did get to have a talk with the deputy. Apparently, they had already been there for one night. In the morning, some “lady” had come down to the dock to berate them for staying overnight. I guess we weren’t paying any attention to the sign that says “No Overnight Docking”. So this one-man-woman-welcoming committee called the Sheriff on our Looper friends to enforce the docking rules. Well, the only deputy they could send was to pull Officer Friendly out of the elementary school. He came by the dock and basically said he didn’t see that they were causing any problems and David explained that his boat was broken down and that they were trying to fix it. No harm, no foul. Officer Friendly left them alone. So then it came to pass that David was in the convenience store to buy beer and bacon. Two of the main food groups. Well, at the same time so was the local judge. And they got to talking. The judge and his buddy came by Selah Way that evening for happy hour. It was a fun time with lots of laughter. Long story short, the judge is going to work on the town about changing their docking rules. We enjoyed meeting the judge and his friend and getting to know the crew from Agape’, Paul and Michelle Cote from St. Augustine. They both went to Flagler and were active in Young Life, so we know lots of the same people.
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
We were able to get off the Athens free dock without harassment today even though we didn’t leave until 0945. In an abundance of caution, both the other boats left earlier. Slack tide for Shady Harbor Marina in New Baltimore, NY, was noon and we arrived right on time, stopping first at the fuel dock for a pump out of the holding tank. We would be here for a week. During the week, we would be able to get provisions, change primary and secondary fuel filters, replace a hose from vented loop to sea cock and have a diver change out our shaft zinc. We would also lower our mast so we can get under all the low fixed bridges along the Erie Canal and in Chicago.
The next day, we received the sad news that our good friend Cissy Walker had passed away. She put up a hell of a fight for 11 years and it’s an understatement to say we will miss her. The best ships are friendships. Sail on, Cissy.