Time to switch gears…we went from a state of slight depression thinking we were going to be stuck for another week, to one of anxious trepidation about the overnight trip we had just decided we were embarking on in an hour! So, we got our butts in gear readying the boat, the dinghy and ourselves. While sitting at anchor we don’t have to worry too much about where all of our “stuff” is, but everything needs to be secured or stowed somewhere so things don’t turn into projectiles down below! As far as the dinghy goes, we typically tow it behind us, but for an overnight ocean passage we figured it would be much safer to pull it out of the water and lash it onto the bow (front of the boat). Don’t want to have to be chasing a runaway dinghy at night on the ocean!
So, on September 28 at 11:20am we weighed anchor and were on our way. As we first rounded the point and got out of the protection of Sandy Hook, the waves were pretty confused, it was not very comfortable, and I was more than a little nervous knowing that we had another 18-20 hours of travel time ahead of us. I needn’t have worried though as things quickly relaxed to a comfortable swell ranging from about four to seven feet, with an occasional larger one, coming at us on our beam (side of the boat). Out on Lake Erie, if there are four to seven footers hitting us on the beam, it can be VERY uncomfortable! These were different though. They didn’t “hit” us and knock us around, but rather we rode up and over them for the most part.
In hindsight, and if we would have had more time to prepare, we would have fixed some food that could be eaten cold or easily reheated while underway. Poor Jim went and fixed us some dinner and by the time he was done cooking, he was hardly able to eat any of it. He ended up spending quite a bit of time laying down trying to get rid of the queasiness. I was fortunately spared!
The highlight of this trip for me (Jim was sleeping) was seeing dolphins for the first time! Well, I mean I have obviously seen dolphins before, and I’ve even seen them in the ocean before, but I’d never seen them swim past MY boat out in the ocean! So friggin’ cool!!! Unfortunately we were motor sailing, so they didn’t come play in our bow wave. When that happens some of you might actually be able to hear me screaming I’ll be so excited! 😉
As the sun set and the moon (one day past full!) rose, the butterflies from earlier in the day made a reappearance. We’ve done a bazillion night time trips out on Lake Erie before, so I should’ve been cool with it, right? However, this was not only the first one out on the ocean, but also the first where we would watch the sun set, and still be out there to watch it rise! It turned out to be an uneventful evening, and knowing that Ron & Jackie were only a radio call away (and we did chat throughout the night!) and never out of our sight (well, as long as you don’t count those times that they dipped between the swells!) was also very comforting.
Honestly though, I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to see the sun start lighting up the morning sky! We’d done it and were almost to Cape May. We just needed to make it through the inlet and anchor…which ended up being easier said than done! Skelton Crew was in front of us and Jackie called to warn us about the current heading in the inlet. Holy smokes! Scared the bejeebees out of me! It was a very strong current which had us turned sideways and heading straight for one of the channel markers. Jim kept saying, “You see that green marker, right?” I just gunned it and that marker came WAY too close for comfort.
At 7:15am we dropped anchor (in a very small, crowded anchorage!) in front of the Coast Guard station in Cape May. Neither of us had gotten much real sleep overnight, so we laid down and tried to catch some ZZZZs for awhile before getting back together with Ron & Jackie to discuss our next steps. Oh yeah…and to talk about the nor’easter which was still blowing and that other developing weather system, which had now been named hurricane Joaquin. No one seemed to know where it was headed, but a definite possibility was that it might head straight for us…
Oh, and by the way, that picture up there? That’s a VERY tired me after entering the inlet in Cape May.