Monday, October 24, 2022

Finally relaxed, in Maryland

We are underway southbound in Chesapeake Bay, finally more relaxed after a whirlwind transit from New York City. While the bay can get pretty rough at times, we are essentially now in inland waters and will be for the foreseeable future, with plenty of anchorages and no impetus to keep moving. We're glad to have the Atlantic Ocean behind us, at least for now.

Seas got progressively stiffer after dinner Friday, and I had a bit of a bouncy watch. Louise was able to get some fitful sleep, and with conditions tolerable, I opted to run right past our bail-out options at Barnegat Light and Atlantic City. Barnegat Light (the lighthouse) has been extinguished since January, distinctly changing the character of passing these shoals.

Sunset over New Jersey, before the seas built.

The lights of Atlantic City are visible for many miles, and were quite helpful in seeing the horizon on a moonless night. We seldom pass this close in the wee hours, and I was surprised the animated light display on the Ferris wheel runs all night. The "golf ball" atop the Ocean Resort is normally an animated display, but it was solid magenta all night, I presume in honor of breast cancer awareness.

Even though I reduced rpm at the beginning of my watch, our arrival time got progressively earlier throughout the cruise. The forecast had called for at least a knot of adverse current the entire cruise, but that proved to be wrong. I had to set an earlier alarm when I turned in, and I awoke even earlier than that, coming back on watch at 7:40am. With seas much calmer, we increased to cruise rpm and had the hook down across from the Cape May Coast Guard Station (map) before 8:30.

Atlantic City. The best my phone could do on a pitching boat from three miles away.

The early arrival let us get some much-needed rest, and we decided to weigh anchor with the tide to continue up Delaware Bay in the calmest conditions we'd see for days, rather than spend the night in Cape May as originally planned. We had the anchor up at 1pm, picked our way through the shallow spots in the canal at low tide, and rode the flood all the way to the Cohansey River, dropping the hook in Cohansey Cove (map) just at dinner time.

That put us in a great position yesterday morning to weigh anchor at the perfect time to ride the flood to the C&D Canal, and then whizz through the canal with plenty of current behind us. We bypassed our usual stop at Chesapeake City in favor of continuing to take advantage of the current, proceeding all the way to the Sassafras River and a new stop for us at the tiny town of Betterton, where we dropped the hook a short distance from the town docks (map).

I picked this stop, rather than the more comfortable anchorages on either side of it that we've used in the past, because there is a very well-rated pizza place, Marzella's by the Bay, just a half mile walk from the free dock. We were looking forward to pizza so much that we splashed the tender and headed ashore even though it was drizzling, bundled up and carrying our umbrellas.

Seldom is Delaware Bay this calm. Cape May behind us in the distance.

Imagine our disappointment, then, when we arrived at the restaurant a bit wet to find a sign on the door that the dining room was closed. They have apparently been getting by since the start of the pandemic on delivery and pick-up orders. Of course, we did not have with us our whizzy water-resistant insulated pizza carrier that we bought at the start of the pandemic, but we went inside anyway.

The octogenarian proprietor, Mr. Marzella himself, and his lone employee, Justin, were extremely accommodating, and when they learned we had a long, wet walk to get there, offered to let us order at the counter and sit at one of the tables while we ate our meal. They even had a fridge full of cold beer. It was all very tasty and we are grateful they allowed us to stay. Mr. Marzella chatted us up while we waited for the pizza. While we were eating he took a phone call from a waterfront friend who wondered if he had seen a pair of boaters who wandered up the hill. Small town.

As if that was not enough, after we finished, Justin, who not only makes the pizzas but also does the deliveries, offered to run us back down to the dock. En route we saw the remainder of the tiny town that we had missed on our way up the hill. And here I thought we had left this sort of kindness behind in Canada. For anyone coming along after us, the restaurant is happy to deliver to the town dock, which is free for 72 hours. It's too small for Vector but many cruising boats will have no trouble there.

Sunset over Delaware from our anchorage in Cohansey Cove.

Winds overnight were higher than forecast and it was a little bouncy this morning. Thus we weighed anchor as soon as the tide turned and are en route to our next stop, a familiar anchorage off the Riviera Beach neighborhood of Pasadena, MD. Since our hasty departure from NYC, I've been scrambling to find a place to get our boosters, as well as a place to get the old Starlink back to FedEx. There's a Walgreens with a FedEx ship center just a half mile from the marina there.

Once our errands are done in Riviera Beach, we officially have no agenda, and now our cruising will be much more relaxed. Our friends Dorsey and Bruce aboard Esmeralde are just a little ahead of us, arriving to Annapolis this evening, and we hope to connect there for our next stop. After that we'll be easing south to warmer climes.

Our friends Stacey and Dave aboard Stinkpot are having engine troubles in Southport, and we've extended an offer to help as we pass through, so that will keep us moving steadily through the Chesapeake and past the Outer Banks. It's also 20° warmer there, and the numbers are telling us we need to get back to outdoor dining posthaste.


  1. Aw, thank you for saying that you would help us! The weather is absolutely perfection here. Love to Louise!

    1. My joy that you are moving again far exceeds my disappointment that we will not see you as we continue south.


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