And now for day 3….
Perhaps one of the most remarkable things that comes to mind is that last night I had the best night’s sleep ever on board.. I wonder if that had anything to do with the exertion invested pushing the boat off of the sand three times! As I reflect on yesterday’s experiences, the sand was really not that bad.. more on that later..
I got off to a very slow start.. when I awoke, i could hear dripping on the top of the cabin.. there was a very heavy dew.. the boat was wet everywhere.. even under the bimini.. and the fog was somewhat thick.. no early start today! Instead, I headed into town.. stopped at a breakfast place that I had checked out last night.. ended up sitting next to a fellow who used to live in Margate, but who now lives in Canada.. we struck up a nice conversation and covered a full list of topics.. I was in no rush because the fog seemed to be going nowhere.. and he was not in a big rush to get back home to noisy, energetic adolescents!!
By the time it seemed to be safe to navigate, i made the decision to forgo Ocean City and to turn back instead.. and now I am typing this from Beach Haven where I am safely tied up in the same slip that I occupied two nights ago.. and that is about it.. well, maybe not quite
I got off to a good start and happened to time the bridges of Atlantic City pretty well.. about a 12 min wait at the first one and then smooth sailing through the rest of them as I approached them.. As i was going through the first bridge, i thought. .what would happen if i lost power right now.. of course, that did not happen.. but it did 60 seconds later.. no fooling.. i had filled up the gas can and did not squeeze the bulb.. I keep calling these experiences, but some of them are just total goof ups!
After that, life was good.. picked up the tide this time.. wind behind me.. dry ride.. and then arrived at the danger zone.. the first sign was the return of the green head flies!! The second was a barge that was laying pipe right next to the ICW, in fact, in the ICW.. I was already nervous about making it past the point of yesterday’s groundings.. and here I had this nusance to contend with.. and I did not do such a great job.. they had put temporary markers in the channel, and I saw them heading south .. but i missed them heading north.. and wouldn’t you know it.. thump thump thump…. gets me right in the stomach were I tend to experience much of my emotional discomfort! So.. a single curse.. and then no hesitation.. ” over the side mate, ” i said.. but of course, i was the only one aboard.. so that meant me! Anticipating the soft feel of a sandy bottom, i was temporary, queasy about landing in mud.. up to my knees.. yuck.. no time to think what might be lurking down there.. time to push.. now, I don’t want to get cocky or anything, but I am getting pretty good at pushing boats off bars! In no time, the boat was afloat. and i hopped aboard.. and started the engine.. and rat tat tat tat.. oops. knew that sound.. the prop was hitting the floating rudder again! pushed the rudder aside and steered back into the channel.. replaced the plastic bolt.. and off we go towards the real menace.. marker 128A.. the one that is not on my chart, which gave me time to pause yesterday.. on that leg of the trip i was on a beam reach , under power, but the wind was pushing me to the side a fair amount.. I had a couple of nervous moments as I watched the depth sounder report depths of 4.1 4 4 etc.. but I made it through unscathed..
When i came around the bend at Beach Haven inlet, I could look directly out to sea.. seems like a pretty friendly inlet compared to some of the others that i have seen.. but I had neither the time nor the inclination to stick my nose out into the real ocean.. I was once more looking forward to a hot shower.. and I thought that the marina was just around the corner.. just that fast, the fog rolled in, and it was all i could do to pick out the next mark.. and then the next.. and then steer in the general direction of where I think the next mark is and look for it… got lucky .. and made it back to the marina in time to secure my slip…
The plan for the rest of the week.. take a short leg tomorrow and then a short leg on Friday and meet up with my friend Bob. Perhaps anchor in his cove over night.. and then head towards Toms River and my hope slip. It will be nice to get home not that I am looking forward to the trip ending.. there may not be another quite like this one.. can’t afford it! So, i am enjoying while i can..
things i learned:
JT 4 Tow boat 0 the odds are becoming increasingly in favor of the tow boat!
I am a captain.. really,, all you need to do to become a captain is buy a boat and take it through a draw bridge.. all of the bridge attendees called me captain
if i were to seriously consider traveling down the ICW, it would be in a power boat.. A friend of mine sailed to the islands from NH a number of years ago.. i asked how much actual sailing he did on the 8 month trip , and he told me he sailed 5% of the time.. i was dismayed to hear that.. but now I have a much better understanding.. yesterday and today were all about staying in the channel.. that imaginary road across the water, marked by posts planted along the way.. not only would I have a power boat, it would be one that drew less than two feet.. Ideally, the ICW is safe at low tide to a depth of 6 feet.. but i am afraid that just is not so.. maybe Sandy had a lot to do with it.. not sure, but there is a lot of discussion about the depth and the changes from last year.. how can all of it possibly be managed?
The other option of course, would be to have a sailboat large enough to sail outside… but that just is not going to happen
I have a huge amount of respect for solo sailors.. no one to bounce ideas off of.. no one to handle the bow line.. no one to take over while you went below to use the head.. no one to make a fresh cup of tea to enjoy along the way.. this has been great, but I am not sure that I am cut out to be a long term solo sailor.. no around the world trips for me!
When i first learned to drive.. it was somewhat nerve wracking.. perhaps more so for my folks.. but I got a handle on things. and now there is very little thought to hopping in the car and taking off.. but I can’t imagine that I will ever feel quite as easy going about heading out in the boat ( and probably with good reason) The fact is, once you cast off.. there are so many variables that one has to continually process.. wind, tide, current, and things can happen quickly, even at 6 miles per hour! When the rudder starts thumping along the bottom, there is very little time to plan a course of action..
I need to rig an anchor so that it is ready to go at a moments notice.. my anchors are safely stored below .. because I rarely use them and do not have the bowsprint with an anchor roller.. gotta change that next year.. if I were to lose power I need to be able to drop an anchor very quickly to keep from drifting into danger..
I guess that is about it for now.. just about time to head into town for dinner… thanks for reading! jt
Addendum : after arriving home, I searched the internet to read about the experience of others on the ICW in New Jersey.. the sentiment seemed to be.. ” Avoid the inside route if at all possible! Wait for favorable weather so that you can sail outside.. ” I guess I am not the only one to have a challenging experience 🙂