Pheww! – we are so glad we pushed to get up the NJ coast before the big storm! High winds of 25 – 40 knots blanketed the entire east coast from Connecticut down to the Carolinas & didn’t lie down for a long 5 days. While we were comfortable at the Great Kills Yacht Club on Staten Island, we were eager to keep going. On day 5 we departed, even though the winds had only calmed down to 20 knots.
Passing thru NYC was a bit “sporty”, but the winds finally lowered that night as we anchored in Port Washington, NY. The following day, we made it to CT, then our final morning up to Deep River – in dense fog!
Most cruisers behind us in the Carolinas & Virginia were also severely hampered with the many days of high winds. Everyone pretty much had to hold in-place, awaiting the weather system to finally move away. Especially impacted were cruisers attempting to navigate the ICW thru North Carolina, as the Alligator River Swing Bridge won’t open for boats in high winds & so was closed for several days. Those in Virginia south of Norfolk had their own problems – the days of strong north winds literally blew the water out of that portion of the ICW, lowering the depth 2′ – 3′ south of the Great Bridge Lock, while flooding north of the lock prevented opening! Every year … it’s something!
Between the high price of diesel & COVID(??), we’ve decided to “take it easy” this summer & stay local, with no big plans for Maine, the Vineyard or any other long voyages.
With a big, BIG, slow moving storm system heading our way, we had some serious timing issues to ponder. While we could remain in the Chesapeake for a while more, we did want to get “home” to Deep River, CT … sometime in May – especially as Benj is planning to drive down from Vermont to visit us! From the Chesapeake to Deep River, two challenging portions remain:
The 70 miles from the northern Chesapeake, thru the C&D canal & down the mighty Delaware. Oh, the Delaware – our least favorite river, with up to 3 knots of current (with or against, depending on your timing), seemingly always windy with large standing waves (if the current is against the wind) or on the very rare time there are light winds – foggy & millions of swarming flies! It’s the strangest thing – we’ve only experienced a pleasant, sunny day … once!
The 116 miles from Cape May to NYC are open ocean. Heading back north is the most difficult, as the prevailing winds are … northeast. We often have to wait over a week for a good window.
We decided to go for it. The Delaware was reasonably o.k. & we anchored in Cape May to stage for offshore. However, the beginning of the forecasted winds & torrential rains kept being moved up from after 8 PM the following day to 6, 4, 3 PM? O.k. – we’ll suffer & leave at first light (5:30 AM). No let’s play it safe & leave at 4 AM. Well, I woke up at 1:30 with 12 knots of wind (fortunately that was only due to a rain squall passing by). Oh heck, I’m up anyway – let’s just leave now (sorry, still-sleeping Lori). So up anchor at 2 AM with the winds back down to 5 knots – a very calm passage to NYC.
Usually when we head back north, we simply anchor off Atlantic Highlands, NJ & head off thru New York Harbor to Long Island Sound the following day. Days & days of heavy rains & heavy winds wouldn’t make that possible – did I mention temps down to the 40’s? Hide out at a marina? Well NYC is not the place, with rates of $6.00 – $10.00/ft. per night, plus, plus. 4 nights of waiting for weather would run $900 – $1,500! We used all of our cruising lifelines (thanks Dick of Rhumbline Yachts!) & learned of the Great Kills Yacht Club – protected, friendly & a fraction of the cost!
In a few days, we’ll continue past Lady Liberty in NYC, into Long Island Sound & back to Deep River within the next week.