Sunday, May 19, 2019

Once in a blue moon

We are under way in the North Atlantic Ocean, just a few miles off the coast of New Jersey. As I begin typing, we are passing Barnegat Light to port. This morning found us anchored in a familiar spot, just off the Coast Guard Station in Atlantic City (map).

When last I posted here, our stopping point was indeterminate. But by the time Louise turned in for her sleep period at 8pm, the forecast across the mouth of Delaware Bay for the time we'd be crossing was acceptable, and we made the decision to press on to AC. I steered off the Cape Henlopen route onto the AC route abreast of Assateague Island.

Approaching Atlantic City from sea.

The remainder of our cruise was uneventful, but seas were building and we had whitecaps as I came back on watch at 0900. Any thoughts we might have had to press on all the way to New York Harbor were set aside and we continued on to Absecon Inlet. We came in on a fair tide and had the hook down early in the afternoon.

The winds that were whipping the ocean into a froth pummeled us in the anchorage, too, but with little fetch the seas were fairly calm. We waited until the winds abated somewhat in the evening before splashing the tender, and we headed ashore for the excellent happy hour munchies at the Chart House in the Golden Nugget, one of our old standbys.

On the way home from the Golden Nugget we decided to take a little excursion through the historic Gardner's Basin, home of Atlantic City's famous clam boat fleet. As we entered the basin we noticed a sheen on the water that extended shore to shore and a quarter mile into the basin; when we returned to Vector some of that sheen was making its way past us and up the Absecon channel. I reported it to the Coast Guard, who then asked me to report it to the National Response Center, and I ended up talking to five people from three agencies, including the NJ Department of the Environment. Most likely the substance was gone before anyone got there the next day.

Blue Flower Moonrise over Absecon Inlet, from our anchorage.

Seas yesterday would have been acceptable to continue to New York, but they are better today, and besides, we're always tired after an overnight passage and can use a day of downtime. Beyond that, it turns out that the opening of large parts of the New York Canal system is delayed indefinitely by flooding, announced just a couple of days ago. We will be pausing in New York City until we know we can make an uninterrupted trip to the Great Lakes.

With a full day of downtime in AC, I had planned to tender ashore and walk the mile or so to the end of the boardwalk at the Ocean Resort (on the site of the failed Revel) and spend part of the day strolling. But I woke up feeling crummy -- queasy and with a sinus headache -- and I ended up staying aboard until dinner time. I did, however, manage to make progress on a project that cropped up on our passage.

That would be the watermaker, which had stalled out on its post-repair test run, offshore on the passage to Beaufort a week and a half ago. After that incident I cleaned the strainers and changed the filters, in the hopes that the stall was just due to excessive vacuum, even though I did not get a filter change error.

This passage was the very next test opportunity, and it worked well for the first few hours. Production dropped steadily over time, though, with the filter vacuum gauge increasing. When I had changed the filters I reused a previously used set that had been cleaned, a common practice with poly watermaker filters. This set is perhaps too far gone to be reused, so yesterday I replaced them with brand new ones.

Atlantic City skyline at dusk from the anchorage. CG station is at right.

The watermaker is back to working normally today and we are happy with the production rate. Unfortunately, when I was working on it yesterday I noticed a leak from the high pressure pump, which I traced to a crack in the pump body. I am waiting on a return email from the service company to see if the pump can be repaired in the field.

Today is our last open water passage until we reach the Great Lakes, and we likely will not need to make water for an entire year as we complete the Great Loop. So once I get the skinny on fixing the pump, we'll pickle the system and disconnect it for the duration anyway.

By dinnertime I was feeling up to going ashore, and we headed back to Gardner's Basin and another of our old standbys, the Back Bay Ale House. It was pleasant and we ate outside, even though it was a bit on the cool side. We decked the tender as soon as we returned to Vector, in anticipation of a pre-dawn departure this morning.

It's a 14 hour trip to New York Harbor, and while I would have been happy to get in at, say, 9pm, if we had left at 7 this morning, we would have pushed against three knots of current for the two miles out Absecon Inlet. At 5am, when we left, we had just over a knot, which was much more tolerable. We'll have a fair current at the New York end, and should have the anchor down around 6:30 or so, in time for a nice dinner against the backdrop of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.


  1. Don't be in too big a rush to get up the Hudson. We are a bit farther north in RI and it's still cold here.

    Too bad Odyssey is too tall for the Erie Canal -- we did the whole length in an Albin 35 CB and had a terrific time.

    Enjoying your blog as always.

  2. Excited to hear you are coming through the Great Lakes. Do you plan to take the Trent Severn? Or will you do the Welland Canal and come down around through Erie and up the Detroit River?

    Favorite port ever in Michigan is Presque Isle. You can anchor out in a very protected bay there and enjoy some down time. The port boasts only a restaurant, small store and two ice cream shops. Beautiful clear (cold) water.

    Will you venture into Lake Superior?

    1. As you may now have already read, Vector can not transit the Trent-Severn. In this case it is due to draft; our salt water draft is just about 6' with normal stores, and in fresh water it will be a bit more. The T-S carries at most 6'. Thus we will be taking the Welland and going through the lakes.

      Lake Superior is still on the table, but we will not make that decision until we are in Huron. It will depend on how much time we spend in NY, OH, and MI, the Mississippi River level and flow, and the weather. That said, we'd like to do at least a piece of it.

  3. I'm also excited to hear the Great Lakes mentioned in your up coming plans. I look forward to hearing about adventures in Canadian waters as living in Southern Ontario I'm only a short drive to Lake Ontario, Erie & Huron. The Trent Severn is absolutely stunning as well. We've done a house boat trip along it and thoroughly enjoy all the little towns.


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!