The Almost Final Stretch: Tracy’s Landing to Cape May

The Glass House

The Glass House- we unexpectedly see it again after 6 years

After departing Herrington Harbor Marina at Tracy’s Landing, the plan was to transit the C&D Canal, stop for 2-3 nights at Delaware City Marina, then head down the Delaware River to Cape May. All of this would be the farthest north we’d be with Twin Sisters so far. This would be our first time in Cape May by boat via the Cape May canal that leads in off the Delaware’s eastern shore near the mouth of the DE River.

The good thing about protected places is that they ARE protected. The bad thing is you DO NOT know the exact state of conditions outside of that protection, no matter what the weather services say. But we kinda know the Chesapeake and venturing out on the Bay in winds (and therefore waves) that you are moving into will not be pleasant (for us anyhow) with a wind velocity greater than 8mph- ish.  A 5- 10 forecast became 10-15 on departure morning, but fearless cruisers pay no mind and deal with the cards you are dealt. Yeh, maybe for a few hours they do but then they become wiser, very uncomfortable, and bail out!

I looked for a protected anchorage within a reasonable distance off the Bay and found the Magothy River with a few options. Oh and I think we anchored here heading south in 2010, because the Glass House is kinda memorable.

Our spot at the end of the cul-du-sac (you get the idea) was lovely and protected- just what we wanted. Two osprey nests kept the binocs and camera busy. One nest appeared to missing Dad for a very long time, but I am happy to say that he eventually showed up with food.

she calls out

Mama calls out – wondering where her child’s next meal is coming from

And so she waits, and waits

And she waits, and waits……

While in the neighbor's nest....

Meanwhile in the neighbor’s nest Dad has returned multiple times with seafood.

Mom caught her own meal but this was delivered by Dad

Mom caught her own meal but Dad finally delivered.

The nastiness of Friday behind us, we had a longer day Saturday but it was pleasant except for the active power boat zone before the C&D’s western entrance where blessed “No Wake” signs smiled upon us.

St Georges bridges & heron

St Georges bridges over the C&D Canal. That’s a heron in flight

We last visited Delaware City Marina October 2010 where the friendly marina staff made a lasting impression as did the warmth and yummy meals at Crabby Dicks. This time as then the darn Wx*#x*!  misbehaved and we’d be tucked in for three nights before moving on.

Tara, the marina’s office mgr is a twenty-something local who shows city pride with the info folder she assembles and eagerly gives you the low-down on places to eat, etc.  Crabby Dick’s had competition now from Lewinsky’s on Clinton. Isn’t that convenient how the main street down to the water is Clinton Street?

A real blacksmith shop on Clinton St. They made the iron railings for Lewinsky's

A real blacksmith shop on Clinton St. They made the iron railings for Lewinsky’s

A wrought iron gate

This is a large photo of a wrought iron gate. The tree trunk almost conceals the opening.

The marina sits alongside what was the original eastern entrance stretch of the C&D canal. When the canal was widened and deepened in 1927 the entrance was moved two miles south to its present spot at Reedy Point, leaving a narrow and protected stretch for the marina, dock space for the ferry to Pea Patch Island and the city’s fire & rescue boats.

The very long D dock agt DE City marina- note how alone we are

The very long ‘D’ dock at DE City marina- note how alone we are. The boats ahead of us are stored or long-term

Not much room when the weekenders are in the way

Not much room when the week-enders are in the way. The sailboat coming in was encouraged to “use your horn” by the marina’s owner.  The docked boats to the left are slip holders, not transients.

Will they make it under?

Will they make it under? If you can fit under the bridge you will end up on the C&D canal. The bridge used to open, but it’s been welded permanently shut.

Sunday geared up to be quite the windy gusty day as confirmed by the crazy boats out in it; at least 8 arrived to join us. No rain with this front so walking around town and out to the edge of the river was doable. A pretty Trumpy, m/y Aurora IV (68ft built 1955) slid in to her spot like “what wind and current?” We’d seen her around and her sister too, m/y Enticer.

Expert maneuvering- a thruster helps

Expert maneuvering- a thruster helps


Orig old lock saved for viewing, 22ft wide!

Orig old lock saved for viewing, 22ft wide!

About the locks and expanding the canal in 1927

We were surprised that the lock was only widened two feet, but was a major undertaking in 1854 for sure.


about the orig canal

The original canal was one difficult undertaking, much like the Cape Cod Canal.

The marina wi-fi  doesn’t reach farther than 100ft from the office, but with our Alpha booster antenna we picked it up easily. The Alpha was an early acquisition that has proven a smart choice and an excellent value for what it does. The cord is long enough so you can put it most anywhere, including outside the boat if needed, which we often did on Ortolan.

Bike Fixtation & air pump

Bike Fixtation & air pump. How great is this for bicyclists? Air, tools and a stand for the bike

The marina offers bikes and we took the two best ones for short ride along the Canal Trail. The path is fairly recent, only a few years old with a couple of very new stretches.

The canal bike/walking/partial horse trail is an easy ride

The canal bike/walking/partial horse trail is an easy ride


Old meets new C&D Canal- Reedy Pt bridge to left

Old meets new C&D Canal- Reedy Pt bridge to left

We hadn’t brought water so after a while I turned back while Russ kept going for a bit. I returned just in time to see m/y Merlion (like Mermaid I guess) arrive. Why do I mention this you wonder? Let’s just say we don’t know the boat but we do know the guy at the bow.

Well someone aboard has to do the pump out

Fueling up and pumping out!

Tuesday, with low winds and current in our favor we motored (oh right, that’s all we do now) down the Delaware, which for once didn’t look like the Blah Yuck River.

Rainbow bar in clouds but no rain- called Fire Rainbow- ice crystals create color

Rainbow bar in clouds but no rain- called Fire Rainbow- ice crystals create color

Across the river from Cape May is Lewes, Delaware and the large ferries run regularly back and forth. A dredge is working across from the Cape May ferry dock, hopefully making transit better for all boaters, so the smart if not cautious boat waits outside the jetties if a ferry is about to depart or enter. Yes that was us and a couple of others. Boy that ferry terminal is impressive.

Ya you guys go , we'll follow

Good, you guys go, we’ll follow

Sure do make em big here

Sure do make ’em big here- plenty of room for all.

Our hope was to spend a couple of nights anchored by the Coast Guard (training) station and experience some of Cape May- like the lighthouse, beach, seafood dining and pretty Victorian homes. Nope, not gonna happen. We fueled up at Utsch’s Marina, winner of the narrowest fuel docking spots, then dropped the Ultra close but not too close to the CG Station.

Tight squeeze at Utsch's fuel slip

Tight squeeze at Utsch’s fuel slip

Dyad is a very identifiable vessel; you may recall a photo from 5 or 6 years ago, this baby is big and badass unattractive. I was going to say ugly but that’s not nice. Plus she’s a catamaran and well, we are too.  Most cruisers know of Dyad and we knew she was around after we spotted her leaving our hidey hole off the Magothy, and again the day we biked the canal trail.

We thought Dyad might get boarded- darn

We thought Dyad might get boarded- darn. Would keep us entertained for a bit

A bunch of boats anchored there, most probably heading north like us, each with a different ability and plan to get to somewhere north. Those with speeds of at least 9kts can make NYC in the ample daylight available this time of year. Love it. Slower boats need to travel overnight or tuck into another New Jersey inlet (not many safe ones) if night travel isn’t appealing. We considered it, briefly. Nah, just bought diesel, so use it. That was the plan.

If all went according to our hopeful plan we’d zoom up the New Jersey coast to Sandy Hook on Wednesday, then take a day to get as far east through Long Island Sound as possible (within reason of course), ending up the CT River on Friday.

Please share any thoughts or questions.

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