From Gloucester to Deale

Mary T and crew are back in Deale.  We made it just in time for the Annapolis Sailboat Show. Amy has to film solo sailor, Matt Rutherford, in connection with the movie she is working on–Red Dot on the Ocean. Traveling was a bit rushed but there are some highlights worth mentioning. (Photos of our two month trip can be viewed at Picasa.)

We left Gloucester with strong winds and lumpy seas off our beam but had a pretty good sail to Provincetown on Cape Cod. We arrived too late in the day to go into town, so we took the next day off to walk around sampling various dining venues, watch people and watch the people watching the people watchers. We also enjoyed seeing some architectural gems on side streets we hadn’t been down before in our previous visit in 2009.

After P-Town it was Mattapoisett for one night, then on to Block Island, RI. The sail to BI was quite rough in the beginning as we ran into some wind and current conflicts in the lower reaches of Buzzards Bay. We thought about turning to port towards Cuttyhunk but persevered and reached BI before sunset. After doing some editing and web work the next morning, we went ashore to treat ourselves to dinner and stretch our legs. We hadn’t really done a proper visit on our way up in early August. The place was still lively despite the lateness of the season, which was in contrast to our September 2009 visit when it seemed like a ghost town.

Besides being a fun place to visit, Block Island required of us a decision–whether to go straight to Atlantic City (or Cape May) or take the Long Island Sound route to NYC and then down the coast of New Jersey. We opted for the latter as the weather forecast didn’t encourage the first option. As it turned out, we had some rough weather against us going into LI Sound as well.

Although we were hoping to reach the Connecticut River upon our departure from Block Island, we only got as far as Fishers Island, NY. (On a map, Fishers looks like it should be part of Connecticut.) And if that wasn’t discouraging, the next day, we only got to New London, CT. The wind was quite strong and coming right at us. Although those places are in two different states, they are very close. We made the most of our visit to New London by doing laundry and getting some editing work done.

The next day by sharp contrast, was totally windless so, we made up for lost time by motoring all the way to Oyster Bay on the Long Island side of the Sound. We set out the next morning for City Island, NYC, but had to run into Hempstead Bay to avoid severe thunderstorms. Fortunately, a break came in late afternoon so we were able to continue on and meet friends, Lou and Jane, for dinner on City Island. We’d like to apologize to all our NYC friends for not lingering longer in the area to visit with you all but we were on a mission to get back, or at least close to, Annapolis for the boat show.

The next morning was somewhat calm but very foggy which made for an eerie approach to the Big Apple. We had to time the current on the East River so as not to fight the 4-5 knots that can prevent a slow-moving sailboat from getting anywhere. On the way down we were greeted by a small Coast Guard gunboat, complete with a menacing machine gunner at the ready. They just wanted to remind us of the security zone around the UN. No problem.

Other than that encounter with the USCG, the trip through NY harbor was uneventful and quick. Kenny has an illogical, yet genuine phobia about New York City so the quicker Mary T could get through, was OK by him.

As we approached Sandy Hook, NJ, we decided to keep heading south since the weather was clearing. In other years, we’ve headed into Atlantic Highlands for the night. It turned out to be a very good decision because as we passed the Hook, the wind picked up. We raised sail hoping to get to Cape May by early the next morning. As it turned out, the wind was as perfect as a sailor could expect. Off shore, so there were no waves, and strong enough to keep us moving at 5 or 6 knots, this wind was just too good to pass up. We also had the added benefit of a full moon that rose and broke through the overcast sky lighting up the ocean all night. As we arrived off the Cape May inlet, the sun rose bright and beautiful, and because we felt rested and comfortable we figured we’d just keep going to Reedy Island, which is just below the Delaware side of the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal.

The sail up the bottom part of Delaware Bay went fine, but in late afternoon, the wind picked up to 25 and 30 knots! This was not forecast which made Kenny very upset with NOAA. So, now we had wind AND current against us, and, to top it off, the sky grew dark and very threatening. We pushed onward, albeit very slowly, and arrived at the Reedy Island anchorage before the storm hit.

The next day, Monday, was lovely and we had an easy transit of the C&D canal, stopping for fuel at the newly renovated Schafer’s Canal House. We’re glad to see that this convenient stopover, closed for many years, has re-opened. As we exited the canal, we saw another Morgan 38 heading north. After lots of waving we got on the VHF radio to introduce ourselves. The other boat turned out to be Dana, owned by Jim Cleary whom Kenny had corresponded with over the years via email, regarding various boat improvements.

We pressed on to Still Pond, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, as the wind was picking up and the sky was darkening. It rained heavily the next day, so we just hung out there and worked on our computers. It was only the second day that we had to use our gas-powered generator on this trip.

Wednesday was foggy but a very flat calm day so, off we went to Deale arriving around 3 PM. It was a great trip although too short. We both love New England and can’t wait to get back. We expect to be in Deale, at Shipwright Harbor Marina, until late October when we will head south to Florida.

(To see photos of our two month trip go to Picasa.)

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