My photo
Trenton, Ontario, Canada
In June 2012 we started the Great Loop in our Bayliner Explorer. This blog is for family and friends who would like to follow our comings and goings and , for now, our getting ready for the trip. If you read this blog we would love to hear your comment& suggestions.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

New Jersey ICW or "I don't think I like boating anymore"

Annapolis - Cape May (via C&D Canal)

We left Annapolis early and had an uneventful trip up the Chesapeake and through the Chesapeake / Delaware canal into the Delaware River. Once in the Delaware, we decided to anchor for the night and use the tide/current to our benefit as much as possible, to get us to Cape May.

We found an anchorage and dropped the hook for the night. Gary was getting bitten alive by the ‘no-see-ums’ while on the bow and soon they found me too. I too am covered in bites; it takes a couple of days, then the itching starts…..pure torture.

Anyhow, where was I? Oh yes, ok, so we dropped the anchor and settled in for a nice peaceful night. NOT!!!! Large tankers (I mean 1000 Feet long!!) kept passing us all night and waked the living daylight out of us. Have you ever tried sleeping while your boat is violently being shaken from side to side?? Oh what pleasure boating is!! (Is the sarcasm coming through??) The wakes were so bad that we had water coming in through the aft water drains. Our carpet was soaked!!
Large tankers like this one passed by us during the night and
waked us all night long...
For those who don't know  "a Wake" is the wave that come from the boat as it travels.


As soon as it got light we decided to get going. It was foggy but we managed and the trip down the dreaded Delaware, although long and boring, was over without any major incidents or breakdowns ( I am talking about me, not the boat/engines)

Look at the buoy, see the current?
And also, see how
GREY everything is? That is Jersey for you!

Ship John Shoal Light house with a
scallop boat next to it.
Cape May -New Jersey

Finally in Cape May and I was so happy, a nice safe intercostal waterway will take us all the way to Manasquan and then a last dreaded outside in the big ocean trip to NYC. Well, I have been wrong before but BOY was I WRONG this time….!
Cape May lighthouse

Anyhow, I digress…..

In Cape May we said a quick hello to our friends on SV Ishmael before they headed out to NYC. (Sailors are very brave people; they were going to do the “outside” all the way from Cape May to NYC in like 24 hours) Us power boaters (ok , me!!) are not. I am a sissy so I choose to do the safe inside route….
SV Ishmael

As soon as we anchored we realised we had made another mistake in choosing a spot. We were getting waked badly again and soon Gary and I pulled the anchor and headed into a better, safer NO WAKE ZONE! anchorage.
Gary says he doesn't mind getting waked by
boats like these....I DO!!!

Early the next morning (I mean EARLY- 5am) we got going to ride the high tide pass all the shallow areas we had been warned about. Thanks to notes and advice from fellow boaters we never touched bottom anywhere although there were some places that we came very close.
Work on repairing the damage done by Super Storm Sandy
in ongoing....

The Jersey shore is very built up area

More repairs being done

Some new land exposed by Sandy's surge?? Who knows?
Atlantic City

We arrived in Atlantic City and anchored near some big casinos that use their buildings as a large billboard to display ads. Not my idea of scenic but quite a sight. Then the wind picked up….and it howled all night long!!!

Notice the big casinos in the back and the shanty type buildings in front?

So, Gary took a picture of the display on the buildings but I accidently deleted it , so
I Googled a shot as seen from the anchorage, voila!
(To the person who took this picture, thank you!)

So, another night of not sleeping well.

Jersey ICW 2nd Day

We wanted to get to Manasquan to meet up with some fellow boaters who are also doing the “outside” trip to NYC. It is not a long day, perhaps a total of 40nm from the anchorage in Manasquan to the anchorage in NYC, but it is a trip one must plan well because the Atlantic Ocean is not a bath tub.

So even though it was foggy when we woke up we decided to get going to Manasquan. Wow. What a day. We now had much less information to go on and this part of the Jersey ICW was hit very hard by Sandy. An already notoriously shallow section of the ICW was now littered with debris from the super storm and channels are shoaled in by shifting sands and on top of this…. we had fog and wind. All in all, a fun day on the water for the Donovans (hopefully my sarcasm is coming through loud and clear!)
Someone's cottage by the "shore"?

The icing on the cake was when we came through Little Egg Harbour Inlet, with winds on the (always fun) beam; we were following our charts (obviously worthless since we got them before Sandy) and hit a shoal. The chart said the depth was 12 feet, the markers said we were in the right spot but still, there we were , just after high tide and hard aground on a shoal.

I suggested calling TowBoat US but Gary said it would take them an hour to get to us, by which time we would be lying on our side. So he threw the engines in reverse and got us out of there. It took some revving but as always the Captain got us through. Luckily the stuff we ran into was “that old grey much” as Gary calls it.

We should have stopped then but we wanted to get to Manasquan so we kept on going…..By this time the fog had cleared (sort of) and that meant that the winds were picking up. I had one of my moments where I told Gary that boating really wasn’t as much fun as I thought it would be and then I cried a little. I think it had something to do with being tired from not sleeping well. At which time Gary decided it was time to get off the ever- increasingly bad waters and wind and into a safe anchorage.

To avoid getting waked again and perhaps getting a good night’s sleep for a change we took a 4 mile side trip up Toms River to an anchorage where we would wait out the very bad weather forecasted for the next few days. After we had our late lunch ….

Side note:  Slow cookers are great, when we leave in the mornings I throw things in the slow cooker and by the time we stop in the afternoon we have a nice cooked meal.

So after lunch we decided to relax and not 5 minutes later we heard an almighty loud siren….TORNADO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I couldn’t believe my ears; this day was just getting better and better. We put the dingy in the water in case we needed it for a quick get-away and I called a local marina who much to my embarrassment informed me that it was just the local fire department ‘s siren signifying a fire/accident or something equally  non-life threatening to ME. I almost cried again.

So with winds forecasted in the 40MPH range in the next few days we are not going to make it to NYC till after the long weekend. I was looking forward to spending Memorial Day anchored off the Statue of Liberty, but then again I would rather be in Toms River New Jersey, safe and sound.

The River Lady
a paddleboat came past us at anchor and everyone on board waved at us
(Perhaps I do still like boating) be continued.


  1. You folks make us laugh. Chin up. After this current front comes through you will have a clear shot at the tranquil & benign Hudson River, Although I must admit that there may be some problems with the tidal currents.Still you will be in the home stretch. Keep us posted

    Cheers Jill and Parker S/V Tootsie

  2. Ag nee Chrissie, it sounds like you guys need to stay in the Abacos where is much nicer, with cleaner water. Lesson one for today: don't try and keep schedules! Love ya. V.

  3. Oh dear, rough times indeed! I'm so sorry to hear of continuing worries, and your friends Jill and Parker are right that once you make it into the Hudson River past the overwhelming boat traffic in NYC, it's all easy from there. PLEASE be patient and wait for good weather before you go outside off the Jersey shore!!!! We did not wait long enough and ended up in 8-foot waves in a squall one afternoon after a gorgeous morning. I thought surely the boat would capsize and we would drown, but of course the boat is way tougher than I am. Boredom is so much better than terror, so wait! You will be absolutely fine if you just wait for the right conditions to continue. The Atlantic is like Lake Michigan, which as you know is easy on the right day and awful on the wrong day. You two really are doing a great job even though it doesn't always feel that way. You are strong and tough!!! Xoxo