Home To Annapolis
Saturday, October 2, 2004
It is Saturday, October 2nd and MYSTIC ROSE has returned to her slip on Saltworks Creek off the Severn River in Annapolis, Maryland. We are home after 87 days of cruising, 102 locks and a little over 2,000 nautical miles. It has probably been the best summer of our lives.
Our last log entry left off last Saturday as we returned to Annapolis to await a turbo charger and radar display to be installed in Noank, Connecticut. On Tuesday, September 26th we received the call from Spicer's Marina that the the repairs were completed. We checked the weather and a perfect window for transit of the New Jersey coast looked good for Friday.
The best weather window for the New Jersey coast is usually the day after a frontal passage with a dying north west wind and just before the wind turns south on the back side of a passing high pressure area. Most of the swells caused by earlier hurricanes had begun to die down by Tuesday. We needed to drive up to Noank Wednesdays to leave Thursday to be in place near New York City for the Friday run south.
Carol had Tai Chi classes starting Monday and though we should be able to make it by the weekend we thought it prudent to find a mate to make the run with me so there would be no chance Carol would miss the important first days of classes. My son-in-law Reid McLay jumped at the chance. Melissa was supportive even with two babies because they are in the market for their own first family boat.
I picked Reid up in the rental car Wednesday after he worked a half day and we drove the seven hours to Noank. We arrived at 10pm and fell into bed. Up early, we met with Marcel, the Yanmar technician, and popped out into Fisher's Island Sound for a sea trial. We were quickly up to 18 knots with the engine sounding sweet with responsive power. We dropped Marcel off at the pier and headed west 87 nm to Port Washington, Long Island. By 3pm we were refueled and tied up. We caught a water taxi over to Louie's for a fine meal and were tucked in early. Tomorrow we were to leave at sunrise for the 144 nm trip to Cape May, New Jersey.
Friday, October 3rd at 7:30 am we passed through Hells Gate and down the East River past Manhattan. By 9:00 we had passed the Statue of Liberty, under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and we could see Sandy Hook off our starboard bow. The wind is 6 knots out of the north. The swells are only two feet with a hundred yards between crests. There are no wind driven waves. The weather gods are with us and we headed south at 17 plus knots on a beautiful day.
We swapped off standing the helm watch and I enjoy quality time with Reid as we chatted through a hundred subjects. At 4 pm we tie up at the Canyon Club Marina in Cape May. Conveniently, the marina can refuel boats right in their slip. Refueled, the marina made reservations for us at the Lobster Shack. We both enjoyed grilled sword fish after oysters on the half shell and calamari. This leg was feeling more like a delivery than cruising but we rewarded our long days with good food.
The weather couldn't stay great for ever. I had expected the wind to shift southerly but had hoped to make Annapolis on Saturday before the rain that was promised as the next front approached. We left early. It was becoming a habit. Outside of the Cape May canal the wind was already approaching 20 knots and seas over the shallow water were kicking up four foot square wave to push our stern around. Then the rain came. It was nice to have the radar working again as visibility dropped to 200 yards. The rain began to slack but the water turned a muddy brown. Soon we were surrounded by debris. Reid had the helm and we slowed to 14 knots as he weaved around the junk for the next two hours. He was shot by the time we reached the C&D Canal. He did a great job.
The Canal was pretty much clear of debris so I took the easy job of driving the canal. Reid didn't even grumble too much. Delaware Bay once again lived up to its reputation for being lousy.
There was a gap in the rain cells so we decided to press on for Annapolis. Except for the haze hiding the Bay Bridge until it was just three miles away, our run down the Bay was great. We turned up the River and after 87 days passing by the town felt nostagic. I wish I could say the picture above was taken then but it wasn't. It's a picture I took in the Spring when downtown during one of those sunsets that make the Annapolis waterfront so special.
Carol met us as we tied up at 2:30 pm in Saltworks Creek. In three days we had gone 342 nm. After tying up and plugging in we sat for awhile in the saloon enjoying the view in our home creek, hesitant to leave the boat as if we might realize our 2004 summer cruise was over.
Luckily, we have a month and a half of weekend cruising until we put the boat up for the winter. Then it's only four months until Spring commissioning. In June we leave for our 2005 cruise. Join us.