Monday, July 13, 2015

Miah Maull

We are anchored on the Miah Maull Shoal, just 300 yards south of the lighthouse of that name, on Delaware Bay (map). We're just on the New Jersey side of the line; the nearest dry land is about ten miles in either direction.

The view from our deck.

We had a very pleasant and very fast (for us, anyway) cruise here yesterday from our nice anchorage near Delaware City. We weighed anchor there just as the ebb began, and rode it the rest of the day. We dropped the hook here at slack water, just before the flood began.

Because the time of the tide change varies at different points along the river, there were just four hours between slack where we started and slack where we finished. Nevertheless, in those four hours we made 32 nautical miles, for an average speed of eight knots. Considering we were making turns for just 6.5 knots, that's a pretty good push. At one point our speed-over-ground was over nine knots.

Ship John Shoal light, which we whizzed past at nearly nine knots.

Even though the push is better mid-river, it's usually more advantageous for us to cut the corners. Yesterday I noticed a semi-displacement boat, a little Nordic Tug, doing perhaps a knot more than us but staying, oddly, in the ship channel. (At one point a giant ship had to call him, and this in a part of the bay where it was fairly deep all the way across.)  Even at a knot slower, we kept up with him pretty well just by taking a straighter line.

Our corner-cutting line brought us very close to the Hope Creek nuclear plant; we remained just outside the security zone about 600 yards offshore. That gave me a great opportunity to see what the plant's cooling discharge does to the water temperature; at that distance I noted nearly two full degrees of rise as we passed the plant.

Approaching Hope Creek from the north.

When I laid out our route for the day, I had originally figured to angle over to the side of the bay for the night, our normal practice for protection from wind and waves. That adds a couple of miles to the overall trip, and with a calm forecast we opted to save the time and the miles and anchor here mid-bay. There was a light chop that might have troubled lighter boats, but Vector is pretty stable in these conditions. We're a half mile from the ship channel, so the big wakes are more of an easy roll here, which seldom troubles us, and there have only been perhaps a half dozen or so since we arrived.

That being said, this morning was something of an exception. We were both still in the bed, but awake, when it hit -- a wake from a large ship that was likely already two miles away. The first wave was not a big deal, and we both just said "ship" and otherwise did not twitch. But this particular wave train must have been right at Vector's natural roll period, and by the time the third wave hit we were rolling nearly ten degrees. I jumped out of bed but not before the fridge door popped open and contents started launching across the galley.

Shoeless and with broken glass on the floor, the best I could do was to hold the door mostly closed until the waves attenuated, while everything round rolled back and forth across the sole. Beer cans ran over blueberries like so many miniature steam rollers.

The death toll included three beers, which pretty much exploded all over the place, half our blueberry supply, and one of the two remaining red wine glasses, which I had left on the counter when I was done with it last night. In hindsight, had we any reason at all to believe we'd experience any rolling, we might have secured the boat as we do under way, with the travel latch on the fridge and the counters cleared.

Other than that, we had a very pleasant stay here, and enjoyed dinner on the aft deck with the lighthouse as a backdrop. We have no Internet connectivity here (I will upload this under way, when we are back in coverage), and I have no cell service at all. Louise has just enough signal to get text messages. As I often do when we are out of range, I uploaded our position and "all OK" message last night on our Spot device.

Just to put our morning beer disaster in perspective, this morning we monitored a mayday call from a cargo ship upriver that had a fire on board. They eventually got it extinguished before the Coast Guard even arrived, and all 23 crew were safe. Apparently one of the generators caught fire.

We passed this bald eagle in the Canal on Saturday. The photo had not uploaded when last I posted.

This morning we will again weigh anchor with the ebb. We have a couple of hours to the Cape May Canal, which will take us across the cape to a familiar anchorage near the Coast Guard station. I'm hoping we'll find a bilge pump in town to repair the shower sump, and I may see if there is an outfit that can have a look at the dinghy outboard as well.

1 comment:

  1. Sean, you are anchored just a couple of miles from Dover where I lived for 5 years while attached to the Air Force there. One of my good friends still lives there and can probably see you guys out in the bay. Happy Trails


Share your comments on this post! We currently allow anyone to comment without registering. If you choose to use the "anonymous" option, please add your name or nickname to the bottom of your comment, within the main comment box. Getting feedback signed simply "anonymous" is kind of like having strangers shout things at us on the street: a bit disconcerting. Thanks!