FINALLY, we have left Cape May. We are currently offshore of Wildwood (wave to Anya), making a very comfortabe 4 in 9 kts. It’s a gorgeous day, and the old reconditioned sail we put up in place of the sad old genoa is performing likr a champ. Happy happy day!
GREAT day today: we took the dinghy about 3mi up the ICW to Wildwood ad met up with our friend Anya, who is in town for an ultimate frisbee tournament. Sadly, we didnt take the camera because DEAR LORD there wewe some sights: the garish boardwalk,the garish peple, all the frisbee games… a good time was had by all.
While the engine alignment isnt perfect,we seem to have gotten it to a place where the stuffing box drip is controlled and its relatively stable, so –knock on wood –we hope to head north tomorrow.
WELL, I gurss getting out of here was too good to be true. Tthe stuffing box is dripping too much, and we discovered that the engine is misaligned; a byproduct of earlier efforts to atop the rattle setting off the alternator alarm by tightening one of the bolts, which didnt work because one of the nuts is seized. We are now waiting for the penetrant to loosen the nut. We are pretty disheartened -it feels like the universe (or the boat) is conspiring to keep us from actually going anywhere.
After two full weeks in Cape May, making repairs then waiting for parts to come in, we are planning to leave tomorrow. We were going to leave today, but neither one of us has much interest in motoring for 18 hours while waiting for wind, so we’re staying an extra day. Two weeks is too long to stay in a crummy anchorage like this without a lot more interesting things to do.
It’s been a good visit, though. Not only did we do all the repairs we needed, but we also had a bit of fun.
After provisioning in town on Saturday, the next day we took some time off and rented bikes to visit Cape May State Park. It was a stinker of a day, about 100 degrees, so while we enjoyed the cycling, which produces its own 10 mph breeze, we didn’t end up hiking the birding trails or walking on the beach as we had hoped. Nonetheless, it was a real treat to cycle again, though somewhat concerning to do so on wobbly bikes with pedal breaks. (Why don’t rental bikes ever have hand brakes? Those pedal breaks are a disaster waiting to happen!) That evening, our new friends Peter and Gail from Jabiru came by for dinner and drinks and much merriment was had by all.
Monday and Tuesday were work days, capped of by lovely visit with David and Laura of Baydream, friends of ours from our old marina in Annapolis who live about an hour from here. David treated us all to a delightful dinner at YB Eat Place (which was good, but I think we all agreed that we would have preferred the lunch menu with its burgers and sandwiches over the fancier dinner food), and we capped off the evening with a walk on the beach. Perfect!
Yesterday, we wrapped up some last jobs on the boat before heading into West Marine to pick up our order. On the way back, we stopped to fill our water tanks, and I couldn’t resist picking up some minnows; I hadn’t been having much luck catching flounder with the sea clams I’d been using. The minnows definitely work better — I’ve caught two flounder with them, but neither was large enough to keep. Sad. But I’m still trying! (I am Ahab, hear me roar!) We spent the evening hanging out with Tyler, a young solo cruiser from Maine who builds, and plays, beautiful bamboo flutes. He brought over his flutes, guitar, drum and harmonicas, and Philip brought out his concertina: it was a mini-concert. I, of course, without a musical bone in my body, contributed white bean soup.
So, hopefully, we’ll be leaving tomorrow first thing, on our way to NYC. Winds are predicted to be 10-15 for the next three days, which would be perfect, but we all know how accurate NOAA has been… We’ve heard that you can anchor by the Statue of Liberty (!!!) and there’s a marina with $30 moorings that would allow us to hang out with friends in Manhattan a bit. We’re tentatively planning to do the trip to Sandy Hook (just south of NYC in NJ) in one go, but if anything doesn’t go well that first day, we’re holding in reserve the possibility of ducking into Atlantic City for a night. We’d really just like to get north; it would be great to actually see some of our friends in CT and MA this summer.
FOR those of you not in the mid-Atlantic region this week, count yourself lucky. There’s a stinker of a heatwave rolling through at the moment; I gather Washington, DC is 110°F, and even Cape May, out on the Atlantic coast, hasn’t escaped entirely. It’s cooler on the boat though–anchored off as we are.
That said, we have been taking advantage of the light winds to get some work done that isn’t so much fun in 20 knots. Yesterday, another sailor and HB winched me up to the masthead to repair the VHF aerial. The coax was a bit grubby, so I cleaned it and put som grease on to seal out moisture. Not sure it’s going to fix the problem though. While I was up there, I inspected the rigging, which is fine (bloody well should be!) and found that the screws the hold the masthead strap onto the mast were backing out, presumably due to the vibrations. I screwed them in tight and will go up again at some point and bed them in better. Otherwise, no trouble and I got a nice picture of the boat from above.
We have a couple of parts on order at the chandlers, which will keep us here until Wednesday at least, but it’s nice not to feel pressed.
No takers for a trip to visit us this weekend, then?
For once, a non-sailing related post. Last month, I went out to Iowa with my friend Kristin to help evacuate her parents’ house from the rising floodwaters of the Missouri River. While there, her dad John Poore — who serves on the local levee council and whose house is HQ for levee defense in that district — took us on this tour of the levees. This is part one of three — I’m still working on uploading the rest of the video, so have patience if you can’t find it yet.
So, this isn’t the best video – I shot it while sleep-deprived and seasick towards the end of the gale we hit off MD, but it gives you an idea of what it was like out there.
I write this as I’m sitting in the cockpit, slightly nervous about thunderstorms (thankfully) passing just north and south of us, hoping fervently that we don’t get smacked. I’m still a bit jumpy about strong weather after our dragging experience in Hampton Roads, and with an annoying trimaran anchored just 100 feet of our port bow, the last thing I need to deal with is some idiot dragging down on us in a storm. (People with shallow-draft boats don’t quite get that our 15-ton, full-keel sailboat will behave somewhat differently in a storm when there’s a two-knot current, and they can’t rely on us swinging the same way they do.)
We enjoyed the weekend off, spending Saturday mostly cleaning up after the passage and getting internet access, and Sunday wandering around lovely Cape May and lounging on the beach. Yesterday, it was back to work, lugging about 50 pounds of laundry about a half mile to the laundromat and walking to West Marine to order a new membrane for the watermaker. What with all the walking (it’s 2-3 miles into town), we’re certainly getting our exercise. Today, I made new sail ties for the mainsail, spent some time trying to hook a flounder (and catching, as seems to be the usual case, only these teeny, tiny sharks called dogfish), and put away laundry. Philip tuned the rigging and identified the parts he needs to order for the forestay.
We’ve got a couple more days work here, but we’re hoping to be done by the weekend so we can spend a bit more time exploring the area: I’d love to get over to the State Park and bird observatory, and am morbidly curious about the prospect of visiting the Cape May winery. Yeah. Will New Jersey wine be as, um, interesting, as Maryland wine?