On Sunday morning, August 23, we weren’t quite sure what our plans were. Should we stay and explore Cape May for another day or should we head out a few miles off shore and continue northward? Finally, we decided we’d continue north since we have decent weather. We raised anchor around 9:15 a.m., and slipped from our spot just off the Coast Guard Station. We would be heading directly into a relatively light wind all day. But, conditions still seemed somewhat benign.
Our outside passage of thirty-six nautical miles was just fine. Seas were a little choppy with 3-5 waves from our starboard bow quarter. Cindy felt a little queasy and laid down for a little, which helped a lot. Thankfully, neither of us have had a bad case of “mal de mer” since starting cruising. I dropped my fishing lines in the water for the first time in months, but we had no fish to show for it at the end of the day. But, we really weren’t in very deep water (40-50 ft most of the day) so my disappointment was negligible. Around 4:00 we pulled into the Atlantic City inlet, and by 4:30, had dropped anchor in about 17 feet of water just off the inlet. It was Sunday afternoon, and recreational boat traffic was horrific. Boats and their wakes everywhere!
After making sure the anchor was secure, we quickly showered and jumped into Dalí for a quick 1/2 mile trip around a corner to the Golden Nugget Casino and Marina. They provided a free courtesy dock to tie up to while we patronized their establishment. Our first order of business was to head up to the third floor of the marina, on which is found a Chart House restaurant. From our table by the window, we could actually see Beatitude at anchor. My sea bass was among the most delectable dishes I’ve ever eaten. Cindy’s favorite, the short ribs, was outstanding as usual. After dinner, we made our way across the skybridge to the casino, where we played the quarter slots for a little bit. It took me maybe 3 or 4 minutes to lose my $20.00. Cindy, on the other hand, played for about 30-45 minutes and walked away with $45.00. So, fortunately we left $5.00 ahead for the night. (I know, we’re hight rollers.) I then used the excellent wifi lounge to do some blog work before we headed back to our home vessel for the night.
On Monday, we were up early. We weighed anchor at 6:15 and bid Atlantic City a fond farewell. I sometimes feel like pinching myself to see if this is all real. What a blessed life we lead! As I write this paragraph, we are three miles off the New Jersey coast in gorgeous sunshine and beautiful undulating ocean waters. There’s not a soul in sight. It’s just us and God’s great creation. I can’t think of anything else that is like being out on the sea on a glorious day. (The only thing that could make it better would be if I was sailing rather than motoring. This morning the winds are light and variable, less than five knots).
The journey up the Jersey coast was uneventful and offered stunning scenery. Fishing lines were in the water once again, but once again, no action. We were able to relax throughout the entire 53.5 nautical mile trip parallel to the sandy beaches of the Garden State. It was a good thing the trip itself was relaxing, because the docking was anything but. We were instructed to pull up to the fuel dock to check in and get a slip assignment. The current through the Manasquan Inlet is horrendous. As we pulled up to the dock the swiftness of the current was obvious. I was offered one of two slips: One was a T-head, but I would have to navigate a narrow railroad bridge opening with the drawbridge only opening half way in this treacherous current. The other was a narrow slip right off the fuel dock. The 2.5 knot current would be pushing me into the slip and the 10 knot wind would be pushing me to the right toward other boats. I was excited about neither, but I chose what I thought was the lesser of two evils, the nearby slip. I still think I chose correctly, although docking was not without incident. On my first approach of backing into the slip. I could see things were not going well, so I abandoned this effort to try again. My second attempt was going a little better, but it was an exercise in futility. The current pushed and the wind blew me away from the slip and toward the other boats. Fortunately, I was able to bring Beatitude to rest perpendicular to the slip on two pilings which marked other slips. Although their was a slight bump of a fishing boat, no damage was done. I tied up to those two pilings to wait for the current to diminish. After a little while, and with assistance of more dock hands, we corralled the wild mustang known as Beatitude and put her in her stable. Whew! In retrospect, (and lessoned learned for future adventures) I should have refused both offers and asked to stay at the fuel dock for an hour or so until the current decreased in intensity. If nothing else, I should have left for a while and come back. But, all’s well that end’s well.
After the adrenaline rush subsided and we were all tied up, we refueled some jerry cans with gas and diesel, bought some ice for the cooler and freezer, and walked to dinner at a nearby restaurant, making stops at the FedEx drop box and the post office to take care of some business matters. We are now resting for the evening in our slip at Hoffman’s Marina. Tomorrow, we leave early (mainly in order to pull out of our slip around slack water) for the Big Apple. Unbelievable!