Day 2: Cape May to Atlantic City
We “slept in” this morning until 7:15 am after getting to bed later than usual in Cape May. The kids were still asleep, so Ann and I had breakfast and got the boat ready without them. We pulled out of Cape May at 8:00 am and headed towards the inlet into the Atlantic Ocean.
The trip today was 38 miles along the Eastern Coast of the US. The most direct route took us about 5 miles offshore. We could still see the land the whole time. As soon as we left the inlet, I could feel the waves, although the ride was pretty flat. I don’t know if we even had 1 foot waves, but you somehow could sense that this was no longer the Chesapeake Bay. As soon as we turned North, I spotted dolphins, and called out to Ann. Elana and Benny showed up around that time. We slowed down and tried to get close, and we saw plenty of them but were not able to get any good pictures. The rest of the day, we were surrounded by dolphins all around us. Spectacular site! The trip took less than 2 hours.
So far, we’ve been extremely lucky with weather. However, tomorrow’s forecast in New York looks a bit dicey with a reasonable chance of thunderstorms starting at 3:00 pm, so we are planning on leaving the dock in Atlantic City no later than 6:30 a.m., which should get us in well before noon. I decided not to fill up the fuel tanks here, as we have around 420 gallons left and 95 nautical miles to go tomorrow. The trip to NYC should require about 250 gallons, so we can easily do that, and then we’ll fill up there.
Under normal circumstances, the weather is a casual conversation topic, but when boating, it is everything. A bad day can be really serious if the weather is not right. We check the weather forecasts all day long.
The trip to Atlantic City was easy and uneventful and very different from boating in the Chesapeake where I’ve done most of my water travel. I really like using the radar in the ocean. I took a 2-day course in marine electronics at the Annapolis School of Seamanship last year which focused on radar, and the open waters of the Atlantic make the radar extremely useful, to the point where I think I would seriously miss it if I didn’t have it. I always get into gadgets, and this boat offers limitless opportunities for me to geek out. Ann seemed surprised that I read the entire 400 page manual for my chart plotter/radar/AIS multi-function display. Well, maybe not too surprised.
Once we got settled into our slip in Atlantic City, I washed down the boat and then headed to the Borgata to play some poker. I played 2-5 from 11:30 to about 4:00 pm and had a decent winning session. If I hadn’t lost my chips in one of the first hands when my QQ ran into AA, it would have been a very big winning session, but I spent most of the time just clawing back and was happy to book a modest win.
Later, our friend Aliya from New Jersey met us at the boat, and we went to Buddakan at Caesars for dinner.
Back at the marina, we have a great view of the Borgata at night, and are ready to turn in early because we need to start very early tomorrow.
Now if that damned band would stop playing that loud reggae music right by our boat, we could get some sleep! Oy.
Day 3: Atlantic City to Chelsea Piers in Manhattan
Concerned about the forecast for thunderstorms in the afternoon in NYC, Ann and I set an alarm for 6:10 a.m. this morning. We got up and immediately got the boat ready to go. At 6:25 we were under way. Our route took us along the East Coast of the United States, about 2-3 miles from shore in many spots. This was to be our first test of mother nature – the first time we were committed to several hours in the open ocean, which we believed was a completely different boating experience from previous outings. However, the weather was fantastic. The waves, to the extent that we had any, were 1-2 feet at most. The ride was relatively smooth. And there were dolphins everywhere, a wonderful sight I don’t think I’ll ever get used to. As we pulled out of port, we took one last look at Atlantic City, and I got a gorgeous shot of Ann on the bow putting the lines away as we headed into the sunrise at Atlantic City inlet and turned to port to head North to The Big Apple.
About an hour into our trip, we passed by the Shore house of our friends from New Jersey, Shery and Michael Jay who came out to the beach early, around 7:30 just to wave and see us go by. They saw our boat, and we saw two small people who we thought were them in the distance waving, but we couldn’t be sure. Text messages confirmed that they saw us, and I was kicking myself for leaving my binoculars below deck in the crew quarters storage area. That’s what happens when you leave port half asleep early in the morning. We’ll try to see them better (with binoculars!) on our return trip home.
After about three uneventful hours of boating, we approached the Verrazano bridge, which I remember crossing (by car) as a child when we drove to Brooklyn to visit my grandmothers. It was a bit nerve racking coming under the bridge because of the heavy amount of large ship traffic with no clear indication of where recreational boats such as ours were supposed to go, but it all worked out.
After crossing the bridge, we got our first real view of Manhattan. What a skyline! Still makes me sad to see New York without the twin towers. I don’t think I’ll ever get over 9/11. Every time I see New York I think of it.
Several moments later, we passed the Statue of Liberty. I wish they had a public dock where we could stop by and visit, but I’m pretty sure that only the tour boats are allowed to stop there. Anyway, we got our money shot, which is what really matters when you are a dedicated blogger.
As we made our way to Chelsea Piers, Ann noted that you could see the Lincoln Tunnel in our navigation chart on the plotter, and that I should take a picture. So I did.
This marina is known as a rough water marina. The boat shakes back and forth non-stop, and docking in this rough waters was a new challenge, but also confidence building, as I pulled her in slowly and smoothly with no hiccups. Starting to feel good about this docking thing, always the most stressful part of boating. If I can dock it here, I can dock it anywhere. It’s up to you, New York, New York!
After tying up, I spent a good 30-40 minutes washing the boat. There was salt on the metal rails and on the cleats, and the ocean water really did a number on the dingy and the rest of the big boat, so I gave her a serious hose down. I had to connect two fifty foot hoses to each other and wash from both sides as well as from on the bow to really clean everything. Came back on the boat sweaty and exhausted and downed a cold beer and relaxed before we headed out to explore New York. Although we arrived at NYC around 10:40 am, it wasn’t until 2 pm or so when we were fueled, emptied of waste, tied up and washed. There’s lots of work to do, but it’s a labor of love. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
After a quick shower, we took to the streets. The first shot here is at the entrance to Chelsea Piers. It had been a dream of mine to come here on a boat ever since my early 30s when Ann brought me to the city on my birthday, and we hit golf balls at Chelsea Piers driving range and had a nice dinner in the city. Today, I finally realized that dream. Hope she doesn’t take me to Thailand next for my birthday because getting there by boat will be a bigger challenge!
Every time I come to New York, I discover a new site that I had never heard of. This time it was the High Line. An amazing walking park in the city that covers many blocks, above ground. It’s a peaceful oasis in a crazy bustling city. I don’t think it’s been around that long, but somehow in all my recent trips to New York, I missed it.
Ann and the kids wanted to try out a famous vegan restaurant called By Chloe, and I wasn’t too enthusiastic about that. Luckily, I had been in touch with a former student of mine, Nick who I met at the Chelsea Market. We got some Hummus at DizenGoff restaurant and took it back to the boat where we sat on the flybridge, ate dinner, and he taught me about the ins and outs of statistical horse betting.
Tomorrow, we have tickets to see School of Rock on Broadway. I’m sure we’ll explore many other parts of the city as well, and I will sneak in some meat or dairy food whenever I can get away with it. We are going to be here 3 nights, and I’m going to take a break from this blog, which I always intended to cover our travel days more so than our multiple nights.
We have our eye on our departure day, which is Friday. Some concern about the forecast, so hoping there is a good window of time to get to Norwalk, CT. Also trying to time the tide at Hell Gate because apparently there is a reason they call it that. Between the projected thunderstorms (BTW, today they never came), and the rough currents in Hell Gate we have our work cut out for us. Finally, as it turns out (small world!) the dockmaster at the marina where we’re staying in Norwalk is Nick’s grandfather, so we look forward to seeing grandpa there.
So that’s it for the blog for a few days. Looking forward to a few days of fun, and then we’re back on the water on our way to Boston!