LAT: N 38° 56.9'
LON: W 74° 53.7'
SLOW TIMES sunny and still
a day with no chills
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May the Tides Be With You

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Then and Now

Though we were not able to go ashore this time in Cape May we figured it was probably bustling with tourists. It is known as the country's first seaside resort and has miles of beach that are usually fully attended. It also has a very large number of Victorian style houses.

On our last visit we got a slip in a marina because we had been scared off our attempts to anchor twice. Once by a mean sailor lady who told us we were too close to her boat (she was wrong in retrospect), and a second time as our props kicked up mud from the soft bottom, making us fear we were going to run aground! This time it was still a pain to find enough depth to anchor, especially because we had full moon tides dropping a half foot below the mean low. But with more experience now (or at least much less anxiety), we took our time and tooted around (even setting anchor once, and changing our minds) until we nestled in between a stunning sailboat and a mean looking old pier. Low tide left six inches easy under the keel. Not much space, but enough! Hey, no problem!

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Sunset in Cape May.

No Blues on This Cruise

Another Easy Day Drifts By

It was a glorious morning after a good nights sleep in Chesapeake City. We were in good spirits, though we wondered what a day in the Delaware Bay would have in store for us. After watching a large barge slide under the bridge we headed out into the canal. We left at the end of the rising tide so that we would make it to the Bay at slack tide. We were still moving quickly at around 9 knots. We enjoyed the views of bridges and the shore, knowing that it would be another day of mostly open water.

As we pulled into the Bay the tides slowed us down. Fortunately it was nothing like the last time we were there. We had been wary of the sloppy water at the top of the Bay where it narrows and produces steeper waves. But this was not bad at all. A couple of large fast boats passed us by and one turned off the channel and headed straight towards the Cape May canal. Usually we do not follow strangers, but we checked out the charts and realized that we could cut some time off going directly there and there were no shallow depths to worry about. It is also nice to be outside of the channel so you don't need to think about barges.

We made great time and though the tides eventually changed against us, the waves weren't tall and the weather stayed on our side. We were pleasantly surprised at how easy the day had turned out to be. The next step was just pulling in to Cape May by the ferry terminal and then finding an anchorage.

It was clear enough that we could watch the ferry activity with the binoculars and we made an easy approach into the canal. As we pulled into the inlet we realized that the markers that we thought were much farther away were actually very large, and therefore closer. We had made great time and waved at the people fishing off the inlet pier.

Cape May has a decent sized harbor and enough marinas but hardly any good anchorages. Last time we had just given up and gone to a marina but this time we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were better at anchoring and we also wanted to save some money. Unfortunately there are no good places to drop for the night that are close to the town. Only having a rowboat and no outboard, we wanted to check out any spots that looked like we could row in to and then walk. We pulled into one spot south of the coast guard base, in a mooring field of sailboats. We found good holding and were pretty happy with our spot when we did the math and realized that with the extreme tides, low tide would be much lower than usual and we would be more high and dry than is best for the boat. The ground was soft, but we were not going to risk it.

We pulled up the anchor and gave up on getting into town. It was a nice night though and we were perfectly happy to stay aboard. We moved north of the coast guard base and picked a spot close to a very good looking sailboat. We had a great view of the sunset as well as down a road to the base where we could see people in uniform standing at attention.

We had a simple dinner up on the flybridge and watched a fleet of kayakers and a little sailboat putter around the harbor. Another wonderful and easy day of cruising.

Fun Facts

Down the beach in Cape May is the Coast Guard Training Center. From our anchorage we got to peak into the world of coast guard training. It was at a good distance, but we saw a bus load of new recruits arrive, and one-by-one scramble to attention as their name was called. Meanwhile, another group stood at attention for over an hour. It's a life we can't imagine, but we sure appreciate those who choose it! Especially while we are cruising.

Grub Report

Running off our provisioning in Portsmouth, food options were dwindling but holding string. Which was good, because it's difficult to get ashore from anchor in Cape May without an outboard motor. For our daily dinner in a bowl, we cooked up a box of Zatarain's Jambalaya Rice, Johnsonville Hot Sausages and grilled some Santa Sweets, The Authentic Grape Tomatoes.

Wine Review

Trader Joe's Coastal, Merlot, 2004. This is a smooth wine, slightly sweet of berries, with oaky undertones. We don't have Merlots that often and thought it tasted good with our relatively spicy dinner.

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