We rocked it!
We made it to Atlantic City, our first ever successful ocean passage! (Does it count if it’s just coastal? We think so.)
We left Sandy Hook at 4 :15am this morning with about 3 other boats making their way around the hook at that hour. It had been a surprisingly rocking night and we got very little sleep. When the alarm eventually went off, we were glad to get up and have something to do! Just a week ago we had an awesome night in the same spot – WHAT UP? Was this an omen? Should we really leave in the early hours and make our way further south? As we retired the night before, we counted about 22 boats staged in the anchorage for making the trip south on the Jersey shore – clearly this was the weather window we’d all been waiting for.
It was a DARK morning, we’d never expected to be making our first ocean trip in the dark, but it was also a very clear night and easy to see the other boats in the harbour as well as the channel markers and shipping freighters. All around us we could hear anchor chains pulling up in the darkness as we prepped to leave on what we expected to be a 13 hour trip.
The weather forecast was for 4-6 ft waves, dominate period of 11 seconds and 5-10 knots of wind. The trawlers had decided to go, and so, we did too! Power boaters and sailboats don’t always like the same conditions. If travelling by sail, you might want more wind than a power boater does and be able to handle more waves, but in this instance, this was a weather window for EVERYBODY. So many boats had been waiting for a week or more to make this passage that having ideal “sailing” conditions did not matter. As long as there was no nasty stuff, we all wanted to get out of there.
It was a long haul from Sandy Hook to Atlantic City and sadly there was pretty much 3 knots of wind on our stern the whole way, so, no sails were raised at all and we motored the entire trek . The waves were a decent 4-6 ft as we started out and dropped to 3-5 as we made our way down the New Jersey coast – just as forecasted. As the sun rose over the eastern horizon and the light flooded the ocean before us, we were awed by what we were attempting. It was a truly beautiful morning.
The coast is an unending horizon of low lying buildings, water towers and sand beaches. Every-time we looked at the shoreline, it was hard to tell if we ‘d moved, it all looked the same. This is the birthplace of Bruce Springsteen!! The 1984, Born in the USA album was one I listened to over and over and over again and defined a summer for me growing up. The music conjures up treasured memories and old friends which were relived today as we traveled the Jersey shore.
Our new friends on the m/v Might Fine left about two hours after us and arrived in Atlantic City at the same time – gotta love a boat that can do 8 knots! The crew of Might Fine gave us great advice on doing this part of the journey, they’ve done it before and knew what to expect. They kindly checked in on us every few hours via radio and it was comforting to hear a friendly voice on the radio. Sadly, because we dropped a ton of cash in Great Kills hauling the boat out of the water, we headed for the anchorage while they headed to a nice marina for the night. (I’m so jealous and tried to get Tim to take me there as an early wedding anniversary gift – no dice). A well deserved restful spot for them to prepare for tomorrows long journey up Delaware Bay and the C&D (Chesapeake & Delaware canal).
Despite the long weather wait on Staten Island, we actually had a great time and are grateful for the weather (Hurricane Joaquin) that sent us there. If not, we would not have met so many wonderful people! Thanks to the crews of Mighty Fine, Eos and Marty & Laurie from Montreal.
Tomorrow we tackle the Delaware Bay!