It will be a long day today. With the excitement of seeing the Statue of Liberty, crossing our wake and cruising the Hudson along New York City we are hoping the day the time passes quickly. The tide will be against us as well making the journey of 50 plus miles take longer.
Leaving at 7 am we travel back up Sandy Hook and turn into the NYC harbour. The entrance to the harbour is already busy with commercial tankers, ferries, all us early risers, and barge tg traffic. We pass the West End Lighthouse, go under the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and can see the city still in the distance. It is a hazy day too. Passing by Brooklyn to our port and New Jersey to our starboard we see the Statue of Liberty standing tall in the morning sun. Even her flame is bouncing light off and looks to glow. As we approach the base Scott puts our boat on Skyhook to keep her in position. Skyhook keeps us in place by monitoring our GPS position and using the engines to keep us stable without a captain. It works brilliantly and we are impressed with its ability. Taking photos of us crossing our wake with our new platinum flag is an unexpected accomplishment. Covid created us doing the loop again and here we are now complete.
As our day continues down the Hudson River we pass many famous sites. Battery Park on the east end of Manhatten, the new Freedom Tower in place of the twin towers, Rockefeller Park where many a movie has been filmed, the retired SS Intrepid aircraft carrier, Empire State Building, Harlem, Washington Bridge and so many more. The river has much traffic moving from one place to another but it is less than we have seen in the past. As we leave the city the Peekskill Mountains begin. The beauty of these ancient Mountains with the new bloomed leaves along the blue/brown of the Hudson is spectacular. We are traveling these waters with several other Loopers who left their various NYC marinas.
At Half Moon Bay Marina we find there are over 30 Looper boats and more coming. The marina is tight but doable. Be sure to radio the dockmaster before getting into the harbour. It is a one way, one boat situation. We are up front on a T head. The marina is close to restaurants, trails and the train to NYC to explore so many of these Loopers will stay longer periods of time. The staff is very helpful and helps us slip in. Heading out for a dock walk to meet the other loopers we are invited to a docktail. We are both tired and need a down day so we stay home. I made stuffed green peppers, checked my next grocery list and Scott rinsed the boat. We made new friends with our slip neighbours, DeeDee and Jon of War Eagle. We hope to meet up with them in a couple days when they head towards the Erie Canal too.
On our last open ocean voyage we are heading into the Sandy Hook area of New Jersey. Our friends from Sunset Delight whom we met in Marathon, FL live here. They suggested coming into Atlantic Highlands for a stop and a different view of New York City. Thank goodness the journey was another light wind day. How did we ever get so lucky to have had such calm winds from Portsmouth, VI? Since we started this entire journey has been dictated by the unpredictable winds, changing plans and aborting some of our journey. We welcome the stable air but it seems odd given the weather has been all over the map for months.
We settle in and find a pickleball court at the marina. Too bad they are so bad that the rubber asphalt stops the ball from bouncing properly. These courts will never be used for pickleball. Tennis, maybe but not pickleball. The ball barely bounces properly. Too bad because they look new and well taken care of but they were constructed wrong.
So we join up with Sunset Delight crew, Evelyn and Clark, and head out to dinner at the marina restaurant. It is an outdoor venue with a great menu. Scott had the salmon and I had an amazing burger. It is always such a great experience meeting up with loopers later on in your journey. New friends that become old friends in such a short time. After dinner the four of us went for a walk in the downtown area and then a nature walk in the highlands. It would be bike ride for another time. As we said so long to Evelyn and Clark we headed back to the boat to prepare for the next part of our journey. We will meet the Statue of Liberty and cross our wake ending our gold loop and becoming a platinum looper.
Atlantic City here we come. The winds are still so reasonable. We head out at our usual time of 7:30 am and start the 50 mile trek to Atlantic City. We do have reservations at the Golden Nugget Marina. The marina is onsite at the casino. The cruise is an uneventful day with 1 foot waves and swells low about 8 seconds apart. Scott kicks the engines up for a short time to give them a good run. We pass the folks that left at daybreak. Almost Home, Cat Bottomed Girl, and a couple others started their journey at least an hour before us.
Cruising along the Jersey shore we see lots of folks starting the day on the beaches. Stretches of glorious, sandy beach dot this shore. There are lots of mega houses as well. With the winds so low, as the day progresses, we do see more and more folks out enjoying the spring sunshine.
About an hour outside AC the winds begin to pick up and we do have some chop. The chop becomes abut 2 foot seas and the swells continue. Approaching the harbour of AC we are tossed around a bit but only for a short duration. The harbour is calm again and we find our slip at Farley State Marina at the site of the Golden Nugget. There are a bunch of Loopers already here and we chat with several. They say to use the pool and the 5 hot tubs on the 6th floor of the Casino. After settling in we head up to the pool and enjoy doing some laps and meeting Into the Mystic, another Looper.
Dinner is on boat and then out for the nightlife that has music blasting the marina. It’s all great. We wander around the Golden Nugget and take night photos of the marina and skyline. We did partake in some gelato from the casino.
As it turns out a boat once owned by Johnny Depp and AK Rowling is here. We noticed it immediately when we came in as it is very different than your average mega yacht. When Johnny owned it he spent $7 mill in renos. AK Rowling owned it for a brief period of 8 months then sold it to the current owner. It has a value of $20 mil. She is a stunningly beautiful yacht made to look like an old ship. Well done woodworking along the entire length of the ship for the guest areas and a pirate plank out front with esquisite hand carved woodwork in the freeboard. She is a beauty.
When checking when to leave Schaffer’s Marina check the currents of the Delaware Bay, and not the C & G canal. The currents will be against you while in the C & G but will become favourable on the Delaware which is a much longer transit. You want to time your exit along the canal to be in your favour heading to Cape May. We decide the best time to leave is when the C & G is against us and the Delaware is going to be against us for about 1/4 of the way. Then it will be in our favour and we will have a push from the tides heading out all the way to Cape May. It is still a long day at 8 knts. Scott decides to pick it up for about an hour while we transit the Delaware just to save some time but also the engines have not worked hard in a long time. We need to blow out some carbon. The bay is fairly flat water. We feel very lucky having so many days in a row to cover the Chesapeake and now the Delaware. Yes, this is the same Delaware that George Washington traveled. There are not many areas to duck in along the coast on the Bay so a good weather window is imperative.
A chop starts to build as we get closer to Cape May but it was still very reasonable. We are heading into Utch’s Marina. It is a bow in only as it is too shallow for stern in. The marina entrance is being dredged and we find 5 feet at the channel. It does deepen upon entering the marina. We find our slip and now I can’t get off the boat. Scott finds a step where I climb over the bow rail, find my footing at the step 3 feet away and then climb down the step. I won’t be getting off often.
At the marina we find so many loopers. We meet several at docktails. It was a fun night getting to hear everyone’s journey and where they are from. Cheers to a great night. We all headed back to the boat at 7:00, Looper’s need down time at home too.
It’s also my birthday so we head out to the nearest restaurant. Lucky Bones has an array of menu options at a reasonable price. Scott had the rack of ribs and I had an amazing cabbage and brussel sprout salad. We even treated ourselves to a chocolate chip cheesecake. After dinner we headed for a short walk and then back to the boat.
We did find pickleball and some folks to play easily accessible with an Uber. Great courts with okay competition but we are happy to have had a few games.
Disappointed that we did not get a well needed game of pickleball we are heading out first thing to the next quick stop on the C & G Canal which connects Chesapeake Bay to the Delaware Bay. It will be only an overnight where Scott will change out the gear oil in the pods. We will catch up on the blog, clean the boat and do some laundry.
We did pick up some fuel at Schaffer’s and listened to the folks at the restaurant having dinner. They played some great music on the stereo while we worked doing chores. Scott needed a hand so I went into the engine compartment where I was in charge of collecting the spent oil. After filling up the 3 containers Scott gave me he was perplexed that it filled all three. It should have barely filled half of the 2nd container. Then the lightbulb went off and he jumped, literally, down the stairs to the engine room and shut off the engine valve. We were not only draining the pods but the port engine oil too. Ok, now what? The oil for the engines can be found but it may not be up here in this tiny town. I start looking and find that Walmart is 20 minutes away. Scott heads over to the dockmaster and he says he will drive Scott to Napa Auto Parts, even calls to be sure they have some and reserves it too. He asks if Scott can wait til he brings a boat in. Big Yes, and thank you. Turns out we drained about 2 gallons so upon returning with the oil Scott filled up the engine again. I completely recommend Shaffer’s Marina for a great stop on the C & G Canal. Service over and above.
We are excited to be taking a break at a great marina in Kent Island. Bay Bridge Marina is directly at the foot of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. It has a tight channel to get into but the depths are good even at low tide. The marina is a well protected marina with large cruising vessels throughout. There are a lot of boat larger than ours and all are well taken care of.
There is a pool and Scott found pickleball nearby that we can ride our bikes to. This is the reason we came here. We had reached out to the representative for pickleball but not heard back. So after we slipped in and caught our breath we headed out on our bikes to find the park. It was a nice ride for about a mile to the courts. The courts are under construction. There are no lines but a fresh coat of asphalt has been laid. There are 10 courts, at least, just waiting on lines. Oh dang. So we hit the ball a few times and jump back on our bikes to head back to the boat.
The weather is cooperating, finally. There seems to be some stable air to keep the winds down as we travel the Chesapeake Bay. Heading on the west side of the Bay our nest stop will be at Solomons. It is a very popular stop for boaters with all amenities available.
The Chesapeake is so calm today and running 50 some miles at 8 knts is comforable. Solomon’s is up a river that feeds the Bay. It has a wide mouth leading into the many marinas available. We are staying at Calvert’s Marina where loopers pay $1.00/foot. That is a heck of a deal. The docks are in great shape. The transient docks are floating and the best in the marina. There are restrooms and showers that need a good scrub but they work. The property itself is a potential beauty. The overgrown gardens and foliage need a haircut. The pool is in great shape and very clean but it was way too cold to swim. We were in sweats with this cold north wind. The marina is well protected too.
There isn’t much to do other than head out for a walk however the other side of the river offers the cute town which we had seen already. For some reason we are really tired today. We know we have to push for the next few days with the weather window we now have. It looks like we may make it on all these open waters to New York City.
The weather looks amazing for the next few days. We thought about going on the outside into the Atlantic and that route however we don’t trust that it will stay this way for the 3 days needed. We have not had 3 days of good winds since starting this journey. Mother Nature dictates our journey and she does rule the waters.
We head out onto the Chesapeake Bay with smooth waters and hardly any wind. We are going to Deltaville, a small boat building town from decades of builds. There is a museum and a small downtown. As we cruise the Bay the ships waiting for clearance, or something of that nature, are lined up in a row at the mouth to the Bay from the Atlantic. Literally dozens of tankers just anchored. It is a sight you don’t see often. As we are heading out so too are many loopers. We count over a dozen on our app and see many more moving along. The horizon is dotted with boats.
Our electronics are acting up regularly. Scott wants to buy new ones but they have said they will be months before any stock comes in. Even with him changing out the master and slave units it is becoming a problem. He usually shuts down the slave and double screens the master. It is definitely heat related. We are talking about a new dash that we will have to build with fans inside to move the air around behind the screens. At this point I have several blankets on the dash to keep the excess of the sun off the dash with 3 fans going to move the air. It’s helping but it isn’t solving the problem. One more solution for Scott to research.
Coming into Deltaville the channel is narrow and there is some skinny water of 6 feet at low tide. We are heading into Stingray Point Marina. A pool is available and bikes to travel into town. It is a very hot day of over 90 degrees. We get into our slip and grab a catnap. Then off on the bikes we go into town. The bikes are free from the marina and in decent shape too. It is a nice ride along the sidewalk. We found pickleball. We didn’t know about this one. Four courts and well maintained in the park. Lots of kids playing too but no one on the court. We head down o town a bit more and the museum is closed. There is an original baseball field from over 100 years ago complete with covered wooden stands, dug outs.
The Marina at Coinjock Marina was a nice reprieve from the winds we were having on the open sounds. The winds are a nice breeze as we pass through the Albemerle to the other side and then onto the Virginia Cut. We travel uneventfully and nothing to report as we get closer to mile 0 of the ICW in Norfolk, VA. The depths are great and there is virtually no tide the canal until after the lock. The lock is simply a leveling lock and can be 2-3 feet. We have no idea what the difference is right now but will find out when we get there.
The Virginia Cut has bridges on her that account for some time loss. The good thing is that they do open every half hour so waiting for the bridge isn’t too bad if you time it right. We had to wait 10 minutes for the North Landing Bridge but after that it was smooth sailing with timing our arrival at the next bridge that was within the next half hour.
When we finally approached Great Bridge Bridge and then the lock they are timed together. We were first in line but let a couple other boats through ahead of us. We think they may be Captains by the way they are in such a hurry. The lock goes down a few feet as we are tied to a bollard, wait until the doors closed on the south side and then the north opened.
We made our way to Tidewater Marina for a couple night’s stay. The river into Norfolk and Portsmouth is lined with navy ships, police and dry docks. This is a main hub for all things navy.
We stayed at Tidewater for a couple days while Scott changed the engine oil and we got in some pickleball. Scott also did some resourcing of needed products for replacing a lot of our used components and fluids to be delivered to a marina further north.
There are a lot of Loopers here. We meet up again with Online and are invited to dinner onboard. Dnny is fabulous chef. When we pop over for dinner we find that another couple had been invited too. We met them in Swansboro. They are onboard Destination and traveling the loop as well. It is funny how we leave each other and meet up again later on in the journey. We first met Online on the west coast of Florida where we traveled together and shared stories.
Tidewater is a very accommodating marina. Really suberb folks running the marina. Laundry, showers, restroom, restaurant and good quality docks. Ask for the floating ones. The marina is right on the ICW where cruise ships, tankers and navy ships all share the same space. Along with our recreational vessels this waterway is very busy and is a great spot to watch all the boats go by. The other side of the ICW is Norfolk and the night lights are beautiful to see. Loopers do go to Waterside but Portsmouth is less expensive and a ferry will take you across for $2.00/person. The nightlife and downtown has much more to do in Norfolk but the scenery is more beautiful from Portsmouth. You make the choice that fits your style.