As planned, we awoke early on Friday morning and released our lines from the free town dock in Chesapeake City at six o’clock. We thoroughly enjoyed our brief stay there, but our drive to explore further up the U.S. East Coast compelled us onward. We waited out less than ideal conditions on Thursday, and reaped the benefits on Friday.
One of my most unsuspected pleasures in cruising is rising early and departing before the sun rises. The air is cool and nature seems at her most serene. It was no different on Friday morning. The first half-hour on the C & D Canal was glorious. The sun rose in front of us as we made our way through the several bridges on the canal, all of which are 130-feet vertical clearance or higher. We passed no other traffic on the canal. Two hours later, at 8 a.m., we turned toward the southeast and began our day-long transit down the Delaware Bay.
The seven and a half hours which it took to transit the Bay down to the Atlantic was graced with diminishing winds from behind and 1-2 foot waves over our port stern quarter. The sun shone brightly as we passed multiple container ships and barges making their way up to Philadelphia, Delaware City, and other varied destinations. These gave me multiple opportunities to play with my AIS, which I absolutely love. There on my chart plotter, I was alerted to their proximity and could see the ships’ names, heading, destination, and a great deal of other information including, perhaps most importantly the time of closest approach and whether we are on a collision course. It was nice that they could see me on there AIS as well. It was cool when a boat approximately a mile in front of us hailed me on the VHF radio by boat name rather than referring to us as “that sailboat heading south on the Delaware Bay.”
Our last couple of hours were spent rounding the shoals which extend southeast from Cape May out into the Atlantic. Upon entering the ocean, we were met with 2-3 foot gentle rollers out of the northeast which presented no problems in entering into the Cape May inlet. Upon making our way through the jetties lining the inlet, we turned to port and anchored just east of the Coast Guard Station. Our anchor set firmly in ten feet of water. There is heavy recreational and tourist boat traffic passing by the anchorage, creating numerous wakes throughout the day. This calms down at night, however. After being treated to a spectacular sunset, we enjoyed a good night’s sleep.
Saturday morning, we did some cleaning, including scrubbing down the cockpit which was covered with the remains of a couple of hundred flies which attacked us on the way down the Delaware. As glorious as the weather had been on the preceding day’s passage, the insects were horrendous. Our cockpit was not a pretty scene.
Around noon, we hopped in Dalí and took a short trip to South Jersey Marina. The staff was so kind as to let us use their facilities to dock our dinghy at no charge. (There is no public dinghy dock in Cape May!) We took the dollar trolley into town (although we did have to sing a song to get off the bus) and spent a couple of hours shopping at the stores of the Washington Mall. When our shopping stamina was exhausted, we walked past some beautiful Victorian homes on our way to the beach. When we arrived at the beach, we detoured through a small arcade, stepping back in time to play a little Skee Ball. We, then, walked along the beach for a short while before making our way to the Blue Pig Tavern. The food and wine were wonderful! Then, we caught the trolley back to the marina where they also let us use their wifi for free! Wow! We listened to live music while I worked on this blog post.
We’ll spend one more night in Cape May before continuing northward. Tomorrow, Sunday, if all looks well weather-wise, we’ll proceed up the coast.