The departure was scheduled for 10/24 because my friend John B, had to work all of Saturday, but the weather predictions where changing and if we hoped to get a little wind on our way south, time was of the essence. I decided to go ahead and prepare Aeolus my Cape Dory 27 and asked John to meet me in City Island when he was done with work. When I arrived in City Island, I took the Aeolus and brought it to the dock to load luggage and provisions. I was met there by Joseph of Barnacle Busters and Andrew , the launch operator of the City Island Yacht Club. who wanted to give me a send off and invited me to the “container” for a coffee.
In addition to the coffee Joseph graciously gifted me a giant Nutella , 4 cans of Red Bull and a bottle of Jack Daniels.
John B, arrived in City Island around midnight and since the current to go over Hell’s Gate was in our favor we decided to leave immediately. The navigation at night over the east river went smoothly, it was a bit spooky to see the huge boats in New York harbor, but the advantage of leaving at night was that there was very little traffic. We motored al the way to the Verrazano bridge and then we put up the main and the jib and we caught a good 2 or 3 hour of wind almost until Ashbury Park, NJ. From there we had to motor because of the lack of wind.
Barnegat inlet is considered to be one of the most dangerous inlet in the eastern United states, unfortunately because or our lack of patience, and eagerness to leave New York, we had to chose to either continue on the Atlantic with a head wind at night, or try to enter Barnegat inlet before sunset.
I looked online for suggestion and resources and amid a bunch of scary articles about boats being crashed while trying to navigate Barnegat inlet , I found this youtube video detailing how to approach the entry, we followed the instructions and were able to pass just between some nasty breaking waves and the rocks on the other side. This inlet is doable but you better do your research, read the charts and and trust your GPS. I would not want to do this at night or in nasty weather conditions.
Barnegat to Atlantic City via New Jersey Intracoastal
After a nice dinner and a great night of sleep in the Barnegat Inlet, the weather was not cooperating, for the time being, high winds from south made it impossible for us to continue on the Atlantic. Instead of wasting time waiting and after consulting with James Baldwin of Atom Voyages we decided to try to reach Atlantic City via the New Jersey intracoastal waterway. The new Jersey intracoastal is very shallow and not well maintained but we figured that since Aeolus only draws four feet we had a fighting chance. We left early in the morning of October 25th and after a windy road full of bridges and shallows, we got to Little Egg Harbor by sunset. Just while we were looking for a place to anchor the boat, I got distracted for a split second and run aground during low tide on the border of the main channel. This was my first serious grounding, I had read how to deal with this type of situations but, with the exception of a couple of touch and go, I had never experienced it personally. At first we thought we would just wait for high tide, but what if the boat would float and the current pushed it more aground? We then decided to go place an anchor in the deep part of the channel, we inflated the dinghy, placed the anchor with the chain in the dinghy and John rowed the dinghy about 90 feet away and dropped the anchor. As soon as he came back on board we tried to pull on the anchor rode from the bow, and were able to move the boat to the deep part of the channel without breaking a sweat. We decided o spend the night right there and continue the following day. I’m so glad I have a full keel boat and am able to sustain such incidents without any major repercussions on the rudder or the prop. I love my Cape Dory 27.
Little Egg Inlet to Atlantic City
October 26th the wind continued to be against us, coming out to the ocean from the little egg inlet was not an option, therefore we continued motoring against the wind on the New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway and reached Atlantic City around 4 PM. The intracoastal is very nice, the houses and nature along the shore are similar to the houses and scenery you would see in Fire Island. it was exciting seeing the skyscrapers in the horizon and we where excited to spend our first night in a Marina with access to proper bathrooms and showers. In the afternoon we went grocery shopping, had dinner in a typical Atlantic City Venue and could not help about notice the sadness of the place. A bunch of desperate people gambling their saving, a city without services, full of working poor and some junkies wondering the streets. It reminded me of a ” Potterville” from Frank Capra’s movie “It’s a wonderful life“