Saturday, September 22, 2018

The difference a day makes

We are under way off the coast of New Jersey, en route to Atlantic City. Even though it is still more than 25 miles away, I can already see the taller hotels, including the prominent ex-Revel, and the Golden Nugget where we will land.

Notwithstanding my prognostication here yesterday that we'd be pinned down at Sandy Hook for at least another day, the forecast had changed by bed time, and the wind shifted overnight to a more favorable direction. The only way to know is to try, and we set an alarm for 5:45am to get moving at first light; Atlantic City is at least a 12-hour run.

Sunrise over the Atlantic off the coast of Sandy Hook.

As we rounded the Hook we found much more benign conditions than those that sent us running for cover yesterday afternoon. Seas are still three to four, on about a nine second period, but they are rolling swells rather than the steep chop we had yesterday. This is the problem with offshore forecasts in general; the wave height and period says little about the wind-driven chop that may accompany it.

Gently rolling over the wave tops is very different from the slamming we had on our way out of New York Harbor, and we decided to make a run for it. The plotter says we should be dropping the hook at 6 pm, and we'll splash the tender and head to the casino for well-earned beers and some dinner.

We rounded the hook just a couple hundred feet offshore, in 50' of water; these fishermen standing on the beach are really, really close.

With any luck we will still have one good day left, tomorrow, in which to finish our ocean transit of the NJ coast and make it into the relative safety of Delaware Bay. From there it is a two day cruise to the C&D Canal and our next stop, Chesapeake City, Maryland.

This being the weekend, we've had to thread our way through a passel of fishing charters off every inlet. Off the Shark River, one skipper cut right in front of us (we were on his starboard, the stand-on vessel) and then stopped dead -- I guess the fish were best right in that spot. That earned him five blasts on our horn; he responded with epithets on the VHF in a thick NJ accent and told us to go around. I can't say we will miss NJ once it is in our wake.

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