The winds have died down but the waves and rolls on the ocean did not. A predicted 4-5 footers out there today. We decide to run the illusive New Jersey ICW that everyone has been saying don’t do it. Scott has checked and double checked all the navigation charts for depths, tide times, and forums for info on areas of concern. He feels comfortable that we can do it although there are some areas of concern. We had to leave at the about an hour before tide in Atlantic City to get to Great Bay which is the first area of concern in depth. We have to run her at high tide, just rising tide, or just falling tide at a slow pace. We figure it will take about an hour to cross her at the slow pace. So we’re off on our new journey heading north.
The first thing we notice is that no one else is around. That’s a new sight. Usually there are a few early risers. The start of the channel is quite nice and depths are good. We travel quiet quickly and get to Great Bay at a rising tide. Scott slows up the throttle as we pass through, winding our way through red and green buoys in a meandering fashion on an open lake. I think the problem with this kind of channel and why folks end up aground is that they cut the channel by lining up buoys. If the buoy meanders you must meander that way as well to stay in the channel. That accompanied by this magenta line phenomenon that boaters seem to want to stick to that they see on their chartplotter. The magenta line is a reference to navigation not a carved in stone absolute. Following the magenta line will take you aground, make a wrong turn or miss an important buoy if you aren’t using the references to reality around you. Always follow the buoy!!!!!
Scott is using sonar charts today to show him the actual data from others that have been utilized in creating these depths and contours. He updated all the chartplotter software a couple days ago while at a marina to have the most up to date data. It was an important decision as there were areas that showed dredging had been done when prior to the upgrade it showed otherwise.
There were a few ridiculously close 2.5 feet under our props where we both became silent. However, driving slow and finding the best path in a short few seconds and we had 4-6’s again. Great Bay was actually easier than we expected even with a few problem areas. Again the key is to meander with the channel not line up the buoys in a straight line. After Great Bay was Barnegat Bay which is also an inlet. Shallow, open waters again but easy to follow with the meandering channel and buoys. Thanks Ron Matuska of America’s Great Loop Cruiser’s Association (AGLCA) for your great insight on some of the problem areas.
One more vast open area prior to the Mastaquan Canal and we are done. But before that we stop at a marina for diesel as now we have traveled to the Inlet faster than expected. Scott takes a moment and looks at the forecast for the next few days. There are small craft advisories starting tonight til at least Saturday in this area. We decide that with 3-4 footers on the ocean with a 10 second interval coming from the east it will be doable. So Scott charts our way to Great Kills on Staten Island.
The Masaquan Canal is probably the worst canal we’ve seen. The current, tide and winds lines up perfectly to give us another churning experience. Not bad for a go fast boat like our ‘dancer but we think about those slower boats that go through and are not used to the churning. It must be an interesting ride. It is a no wake zone as well so you go up down and settle and adjust the entire way to the open area of the basin prior to the inlet.
The inlet is easy to navigate even though we are now at low tide. Getting on the Atlantic Ocean we find that the waves are awesome. Yes the waves are 3 footers but the interval is so delayed at 10 seconds that it is like riding up and then riding down. We run at 30 mph the entire way to Staten Island. We see New York City in the distance. We will cross our wake at The Statue of Liberty. This is an exciting moment. Since we bought the boat in Boston and brought her home this is where we actually will end the loop. However the trip home will be the start of the next loop. Wow! We are almost there.