Liberty Landing Marina, Jersey City NJ to Shadows Marina, Poughkeepsie, NY — May 31, 2013

Checked the tides last night and got it wrong.  We left the marina just at High Tide and we were fighting a falling tide going up the river.  The Ferries on the rover were really something.  They were all over like flies and setting up 3′ wakes.  Most run between Manhattan and Jersey City but the various terminals are spread over about 5 miles of the Hudson River up toward the George Washington Bridge.

Once we were out of the influence of the ferries the river was pretty calm as the day was heating up.  Temps got to 90 degrees and the wind picked up a little in the afternoon.  The rived up the river was good and we passed several tows and I called them to let them know my intentions and they appreciated that.

Once out of New York there are not a lot of marinas except at each of the towns.  Some towns have several marinas and others have  one or two/  All the marinas appear to be built out into the river with floating docks (good) but this leaves them exposed to the wakes and tidal currents.

We at first were going to stay in Newburg, about 5 miles north of West Point.  I tried calling the marina several times and then decided to just hail them on the radio when we got close.  They were essentially full but could have put us on the outside of their docks, in the river.  They also mentioned they had live music on Friday night that ws quite loud and went to 1:45 in the morning.  They gave us the phone number to a second marina only a mile away or so.  They also did not have a slip for us. and they gave us the number to Shadows Marina in Poughkeepsie about 14 miles up river.  They had a spot but no fuel but told us where we could stop for fuel.

We stopped at the West Bank Marina to fill up.  We talked to the dock hand about Sandy last fall and they were pretty lucky because the wind blew out of the east and all the boats that floated off their wood chocks stayed in the marina and there was no a great amount of damage. Some of the other marinas around lost everything and they were not sure where it went, just floated away in the wind.

We arrived at Shadows Marina and the Dock Master told me to be aware of the flood tide after I came thru the opening because it would push us and it did.  I am glad he told me because there could have been a problem if I was not aware.  Shadows is a nice modern marina but there is a lot of rocking from the boats going by.  Hopefully that will die down when the sun goes down.

The Dock Master also runs a water taxi service back to Newburg, about 14 miles.  The boat he uses is a twin hull offshore that is painted red. green and yellow and does 70 mph.  Round trip is $30 and they run the service till midnight and seem to do pretty well with the number of passengers.

We will leave later tomorrow when the tide is low so the rising tide can push us up the river.  We are about 75 miles north of New York and the tide is still approximately 3.5′ high to low in Poughkeepsie.  Troy New York where we turn into the Erie Canal has a 5′ difference in their tide.

South Jersey Marina, Cape May NJ. to Liberty Landing Marina, Jersey City NJ (New York) — May 29, 2013

Check the weather this morning and it did not look too bad.  NOAA said 2′ to 4′ waves with winds 10 to 15 mph out of the Southwest.  I had talked to the Marina Dock Master and he said they deliver boats to New York all the time and as long as there is a westerly component to the wind you can follow the buoy line about a mile or so offshore and have a good ride.  We decided to stick our heads out and see what it was like.  The water at the end of the jetty was pretty bad but that only lasted several hundred feet.  After that we needed to get out another 1/2 mile and then turn northeast.  The waves were really from the southeast and they were at least 2 to 4’s with some larger in the mix.  NOAA had said 8 second on the wave period (crest to crest) and I think that was pretty good estimate.  When we turned northeast to follow the Jersey Coast we had the waves on the stern quarter and things were not too bad.  After we passed the second buoy, about 9 miles, things seemed to settle down a little and the course was a little more northerly.  We did the cruise on plane and we had a good run.  The water just got better as we went along but it was a pretty good ride.  The total cruise from dock to dock was 149 miles.

The New Jersey shoreline is developed with most a the shore wall to wall condos and houses.  There were some large beaches near the north end but that is a shore line that is about 100 miles long.  Lots and lots of people have their place on the water in New Jersey.  We traveled most of the time about 1 to 2 miles off shore so it was easy to see the development.

There were a few boats moving North.  Most of the power boats were running on plane but we also saw a lot of sailboats moving along at about 8 to 9 miles per hour.  There was some commercial traffic on the water and I was surprised at the New York Harbor.  First the size because from the entry into the initial channel to the mouth of the inner harbor at the Verrazano Bridge is about 10 miles. Second, there was only one freighter we saw on the cruise in and you can see the pictures of it.  The freighter moved pretty quickly in the outer harbor but the pilot barely had him moving in the inner harbor.

We did see 2 different schools of dolphins along the way out in the ocean.  I was surprised because I thought they were warm water fish and the water temp was 55. We waited to see if they would swim and jump the wake but neither school showed any interest.

We were disappointed that the weather was as hazy as it was.  It was not great for picture taking.  We did get some good pictures of the harbor, New York and Jersey City. The most traffic on the River was the ferry traffic and they do not cut any slack for anybody so you need to keep a sharp eye on where they are and where they are headed.  They also set up a tremendous wake.

We did pass the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island on the way in and got a few photos.  They also have cruises to the Statue of Liberty besides all the ferries with people moving from one area to the other.

We are staying at the Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City because of the great view of Manhattan and there is a ferry dock about 500 feet from our slip.  The ferry wake does rock the boats in the harbor but we are in far enough that the rocking is not to bad.  Good floating docks and that is needed because the tide is about 4′.  We went to the Liberty Landing Restaurant last night and it was good and had a pretty interesting patio area.  They have cabanas outside for the patrons as well as the open air tables.  They also have a chess board with large pieces.  The chess pieces are about 4′ high and it is interesting to see the people playing chess and moving the pieces.

We went to New York today on the ferry and walked parts of Little Italy and China Town. From the ferry we used taxis between the major points and walked the rest.  New York is pretty interesting in that it is so wall to wall buildings and they are really old with the fire escapes on the front walls down to the street.  The traffic moves but the delivery tracks just seem to stop right where they need to make a delivery and block that land for whatever time it takes and that seems to be SOP.  Certainly a lot of people everywhere.  We spent about 5 hours away to give Candy a good nap time.

Delaware City Marina, DE. to South Jersey Marina, Cape May, NJ — May 27, 2013

I got up early today to see what was going on.  By the time Candy and I came out of the boat at 5:45, 9 boats had left the dock and the marina owner was there tossing the line on the last one to leave.  He said he would help us off the dock and I said it would be another hour before we were ready and he said to give him a call.

Candy had a regular morning walk and we went back to the boat to wake up Lenore to get the process of leaving started.  We were on the water motoring out of the marina at just before 7:00.  The sky was clear but it was cool, the tide was going out and the wind was light and variable.  The tide gave us a boost of about 3 mph as we went down the Delaware River.

We passed the Salem Nuclear Power Plant a couple of miles east of the marina cut.  The typical cooling tower and domes similar to the Fermi Plant on Lake Erie.  Lots of traffic on the river even at the early hour.  Although 9 boats left before us we never passed one of the nine on the way to Cape May. We motored along at 1000 rpm and without any current that is 8.3 mph.  Today we went from a high of 12.0 mph to a low of 6.1 mph.  You can almost do the tide table times by the speed.

There was a lot of traffic on the river, pleasure boats, freighters and tugs with barges.  The last several days have been pretty windy around here with gale warnings.  Talking with the marina owner this morning he mentioned that they had 5 boats capsized on the Delaware River over the weekend with one fatality.  The river at Delaware City is probably 2 miles wide and by the time it gets to the Atlantic Ocean, 50 nautical miles East, it is over 10 miles wide.  All the boats that capsized were small boats and should not have been out on the water in the wind conditions.

As we approached Cape May I commented to Lenore that all the pleasure traffic heading home after the weekend made the water a lot like Lake St. Clair,  moguls, with the waves coming in 10 different directions.  The New Jersey boaters have similar manners as the Lake St. Clair boaters do, “Every Man For Himself”.

We arrived in Cape May just before 2:00 and are staying at the South Jersey Marina.  Their primary customers are Charter Fishing Boats with over 1/2 of the boats charters.  They even have one large boat that goes out for the full day and probably had room 60 or 70 fishermen on it.  We saw one boat had caught a Mako Shark that weighed about 250 to 300 lbs. and would have won last years shark tournament.  5 guys had all they could do to get the shark off the dock into a cart to take it to get weighed.

We had dinner tonight with a couple from “Not So Fast” an American Tug trawler that we met last night at Docktails. They are also staying at South Jersey Marina.  They are from Florence Alabama and are doing the Loop.  They are headed to Atlantic City tomorrow and we, weather permitting, are headed to New York City.  Dinner was good and the talk was great.

Harve de Grace, MD to Delaware City Marina, DE. — May 26, 2013

Cold morning today with 46 outside but the sun came up into a cloudless sky.  The wind was pretty light at 6:15 when we came out for Candy’s walk this morning.

I decided to fuel up at the City of Havre de Grace Yacht Basin this morning because the wind was down and the tide had been rising for the last 3 hours.  I called yesterday and they only had about 2′ of water in the channel because of the high winds out of the north.  Well with the wind down and the tide rising we had 4′-0″ of water under the boat today and the diesel was $3.60 per gallon, hard to pass up.  We had a minimum of 4′-0″ water under the hull.

We left the fuel dock at 9:00 headed for Delaware City Marina at the other end of the C&D Canal (Chesapeake & Delaware).  We had about 8 miles to retrace our route south to the Elk River entrance then about 6 miles to get to the start of the C & D.  The C & D was built back in the early 1800 and had 4 locks when it was built.  The locks are all gone because the Delaware River opens right to the Atlantic just as the Chesapeake Bay does. The C & D Canal is about 14 miles long and 450′ wide.  Approximately 15,000,000 tons of cargo transits the canal each year as this is a major shortcut to Baltimore from Philadelphia.

Being Memorial Day weekend I was hoping we would not meet any barge or ship traffic in the Canal.  Well we did pass two barges headed into the Chesapeake and there was one empty barge in front of us being towed at a much faster speed than we were doing so there was no real problem with traffic.

We did get to the North end of the Canal and the wind was blowing pretty good from the northwest but we only had 2 miles to the Delaware City Channel and it wasn’t that bad.  The Delaware City Marina is a little unusual in that it is one long dock along the side of the channel for the boats to tie to.  The channel is probably 150′ wide and I might be generous in that estimate. There are no slips and the channel had a pretty good current in it.  The dock hands were great and knew how they wanted us tied and how to handle the current and wind.

The marina was pretty full.  I had made reservations yesterday and they called us today to see if we were coming because they were full.  With the wind the last several days nobody had been leaving for the 51 mile trip down the Delaware River to Cape May New Jersey.

Just as we were finishing the tie up a boater came up and said hi to me and said I looked familiar.  I looked at him and said hi Mike, we met in Carrabelle last November.  Mike and Cindy are from Minnesota and are doing the LOOP.  They are in a 22′ sailboat with a 5 hp outboard and the only break they have taken is to go home for Thanksgiving.  I was actually surprised that I remembered his name and where we had met.  I can’t begin to count the number of people we have talked to and met along the LOOP.

We had a “Docktails” get together on the marina patio this evening and we got re-acquainted with Mike and Cindy.  We also had a chance to talk to a number of other Loopers that were in the marina.

There is going to be a big exodus from the marina tomorrow starting at 4:45.  Lenore and I will leave early but that translates to about 7:00.  We will have an outgoing tide for about 3 hours and then probably about 1 hour of slack tide before we have incoming tide to fight.  The trip at 8.5 mph is about 6.5 hours so it will not be a real long day.

Baltimore Inner Harbor to Penn’s Beach Marina, Havre de Grace, MD. — May 23, 2013

It rained last night around 10:00 pretty hard for awhile and then tapered off to a drizzle.  Not sure if it rained much overnight.  It was not raining this morning when we went out for Candy’s walk at 6:20.

We checked the radar this morning because they were calling for thundershowers most of the day.  The various weather services could not agree on when was the most likely time.  The radar indicated that while there were a few showers in the area we had a decent window to move North to the top of the Chesapeake Bay.  The wind today was out of the south at 10 to 20 mph but tomorrow and Friday it will be from the Northwest 15 to 35 mph with Saturday not much better.

The ride was decent for the first part and then after a course change we were pretty much with the wind and the ride was not bad.  As we got closer to Havre de Grace the water settled down as there was more land protection.  When we leave Havre De Grace we will be going with the Northwest winds to the Elk River to get to the C & D (Chesapeake & Delaware) Canal.

Other than a few ferries and tour boats moving in the Baltimore Inner Harbor area all we saw today were 3 sailboats headed south on the water.  A little wind and gray skies kept everyone else at home.  It is kind of interesting that they use range lights for a lot of the channels in the northern Chesapeake.  Pretty powerful lights that you can pick up easily from at least 5 miles and are focused well and disappear as soon as you leave the channel they support.  The front and back light blink at different rates and it is really easy to see these.

Overall our impression of Baltimore is very positive.  I like the marina right down in the Inner Harbor and its amenities were very good.  The vibrant waterfront area was a big plus with lots of runners even at 6:20 in the morning.  The city appears very clean and safe and a lot of the things they do are part of their clean/green initiative which they started long before it was nationally fashionable.  They did this as part of cleanup the Chesapeake effort.

We have included pictures of a condo development right on the waterfront right behind our marina.  We understand that Tom Clancy, the author, has a unit in the development.  Actually he bought 4 units and made them into one.  The guy we were talking to said it is worth approximately $16 million.  Writing has been good to him.

Butler’s Marina Annapolis MD. to Baltimore Inner Harbor Marine Services, Baltimore MD. — May 21, 2013

Yesterday started as a cloudy day with very high humidity.  Temps were in the low 70’s but climbed to the mid 80’s by late afternoon.  The sun came out around 1:00 in the afternoon.  Water conditions were great with a light breeze from the Southeast so we got a small boost from the light chop behind us.

The tide was going out for the first couple of hours so that slowed us down but we were able to make it up once the tide stated coming in.  We started later than normal because I had to get the dinghy back onto the davits.  We had lowered it so we could get further into the slip at Butler’s Marina and get off the boat onto the short finger docks.

Our intial portion of the cruise took us under the bridge north of Annapolis that connects the east and west sides of the Chesapeake Bay.  Bridge is high enough for the freighters to pass under but yesterday there was a large fleet of recreational fishermen on the bay in almost ever type boat imaginable.  They real did not care whether they were in the marked channel or not so we just motored thru the crowd at our slow pace of about 8 mph.  The strange part was that once we passed under the bridge I think we passed maybe 4 other fishermen on the rest of the trip to Baltimore, about 25 miles.  We passed a couple of tows headed down the bay and one tug near Baltimore.

The approach to Baltimore Harbor is quite nice.  We had a lot of haze but were able to pick up the building skyline from maybe 7 to 8 miles out.  There are lots of commercial docks as you get closer to the Inner Harbor and you pass under the Francis Scott Key Bridge with a great view of Fort McHenry.  We were humming the Star Spangled Banner.

There were several Navy ships in the harbor area but once you get into the Inner Harbor area it is ferry traffic and recreational boaters that dominate.  The Marina we are staying at is the Inner Harbor Marine Services Marina which is on the South side of the Inner Harbor.  It is the furthest into the harbor you can go.

The water’s edge walk or park area the City has built around the Inner Harbor is really something.  It is a wide promenade and is used extensively by the residents.  The Maryland Science Center is on the walk along with the US Constitution Sailing Vessel, The Baltimore Aquarium and a couple of shopping centers.  The whole are is full of people and a real vibrant downtown area.  The Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Raven Stadiums are close enough to walk to from the harbor.

We went to dinner last night at a restaurant in Little Italy.  It is a section of downtown that is about a mile form the marina and there are 18 Italian restaurants in Little Italy.  The restaurant, LaScalla, even provided courtesy ride back to the marina after dinner.

Next to the Marina and part of the waterfront park is an area devoted to volleyball courts.  The courts are lighted for nighttime use. They have 7 sand courts and last night all seven were in use.

Sorry about the Looper Locater.  AGLCA said they were going to discontinue use on May 1, 2013.  They kept it online until approximately May 20, 2013 but it was gone yesterday.  I am looking into what else I might be able to use.  I will let you know if and when I find something that works.

Solomon Island MD. to Butler’s Marina, Annapolis, MD. — May 15, 2013

We started early today to try and avoid any wind on our beam as we exited the river back to the Chesapeake Bay.  The cruise today was North and the winds were predicted from the South so once on the Bay we were traveling with the waves and it was comfortable.

Not a lot of boats on the water except for the fishermen.  They were all over the area and everyone of the fishermen seemed to be trolling.  I had to keep tabs on them because they were moving and they appeared more interested in what they were doing then the fact that someone was motoring North in a relatively straight line.

As we made preparations to leave the sky looked a little dark to the North but it cleared as we were leaving and the sun was nice.  It did not last for long as the clouds moved back in and we did have a few light showers as we got closer to Annapolis.  Nothing serious in the rain and it was not a problem at the marina.

We did see a few freighters moving out toward the Atlantic as we moved North and closer to Annapolis there were three freighters that were anchored.  I am not sure where their port is unless it is Baltimore and they are waiting for their dock to open up to go in and unload/load their cargo.

We arrived at the marina around noon and there was nobody on the radio to talk to.  The Owner/Operator, Sully, had given me detailed instructions where the slip was that we were to occupy.  The only problem was that we did not fit between the piles and while I thought I could spread the piles I decided the rub rail did not need the abuse.  There was a guy working on the docks and he motioned for me to come over to another slip.  The marina only has 29 slips so there is not a lot of choice for a boat our size.  We spent some time getting into the slip because I had to drop the dinghy so we could get the boat all the way back.  The finger docks only extend out about 10′ on one side of the boat and the fingers are pretty narrow.

Well we finally made it into the slip and we found out that the boat that is normally in that slip is out of the water for some work and the guy I talked to thought the boat was going back in tomorrow or the next day.  Well that was wrong because Sully talked to the boat owner and we are ok until next Tuesday.  Donna and Jon are coming to visit and will be here Saturday and Sunday and go home on Monday.

We went to dinner at the Davis Pub across the street and for a Wednesday night they were doing a lot of business.  Lenore said they were featured on the Food Channel’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”.  The area around the marina is a residential community that is very old and very well maintained. There are a few commercial businesses mixed in but probably 90% to 95% residential.  Good restaurants within 4 blocks including a Ruths Chris Steakhouse.

Candy has enjoyed walking the neighborhood and it has given me a chance to see more of the area that I might have otherwise.  She even had a chance to run with a fellow boaters dog at a local school yard the first evening.

Reedville VA. to Solomon Island MD. — May 13, 2013

Candy and I walked the town of Reedville several times a day.  Yesterday we stopped at the Fisherman’s Museum.  Captain Elijah W. Reed founded the town and started fishing for Menhedan. Reedville is home to the fishing industry for Atlantic menhaden, a small oily fish found in great abundance in Mid-Atlantic coastal waters.  At one point in history there were 39 processing plants in the Reedville area.  According to a Reedville resident,  because of the tree huggers the fishing for Menhedan has been curtailed to the extent there currently is only one processing plant left.  Yesterday was a dedication to the chimney remaining from one of the plants that survived a fire that destroyed the Plant.   The chimney was struck by lightning and the town raised $350,000 to restore the stack to it original condition.  150 people showed up for the dedication.

We started our cruise late today because we had a short run to Smith’s Creek VA.  This is a small creek off the north side of the Potomac, just West of the Chesapeake Bay. As I was checking the Active Captain Website for tonight’s marina, it did not look good as the docks were fixed height and the last report was there was a few missing boards.  So we decided to skip Smith’s Creek and go to the next stop, Solomon Island MD.

The wind was still out of the Northwest and at Reedsville it was pretty strong.  I checked 4 different weather sites and about the only thing they agreed on was that the wave height would be 1′.  We decided to leave and see what the water was like once we got out to the Chesapeake (approx. 5 miles).  The waves were about 1′ when we got out on the Bay and we headed northeast to follow the buoys marking the shallower water. The ride was a little rolly and when we changed course to the North, or almost into the waves, the ride was better. Once we got to the Potomac the crossing is about 12 miles and the wind seemed to pickup and the waves were a little larger but the ride did not change much.

Once past the Potomac, the wind and wave calmed down a little and we picked up the speed to 14 mph and it was a decent ride.  The Solomon Island is on the Patuxent River and the wind was gusting pretty good as we entered the river but there was protection from the land so the waves were pretty small.

We are staying at the Solomon Harbor Marina which is all the way in at the end of Back Creek, about 2 miles up the River.  Solomon Harbor is a small marina but it is attached to a Holiday Inn so we get to use all the perks of the Holiday Inn.  They have a pool, fitness room, and showers.  There is a West Marine in the shopping center out front and Candy and I visited it during her dinner walk.

There is also a larger shopping center with a Walmart and a Target that is a couple of miles away but there is also local bus transportation.  We will stay here a couple of days and then move on to Annapolis where Donna and Jon will be visiting later this week.

Dozier’s Regatta Point Marina, Deltaville VA. to Reedville Marina, Reedville VA. — May 10, 2013

Short run today so we were in no hurry to leave the marina.  Candy had 2 walks this morning before departure and had a chance to spend some time with Tundra.

The water was flat today with an extremely light breeze out of the south.  The biggest problem was all the crab pot markers in the water.  The only place they do not seem to put them are in the marked channels and there are not many of those.  I needed to pay close attention and I almost ran over 2 different ones but saw them just in time to avoid the markers.

We cruised to Reedville, VA.  A small fishing village on the west side of the Chesapeake Bay off one of the creeks.  It is on a peninsula and the whole peninsula is Reedville with the road running up center of the peninsula.  There is a restaurant right with the marina that is about 50′ from the boat. it is a seafood place, The Crazy Crab, and I hope it is good.

Candy and I walked Main Street.  There are a couple restaurants and an Ice Cream & Gift Shop.  The rest of the buildings are homes that are older and very well kept.  I took some photos of the homes.  We only walked about 1/2 mile up Main Street.

The weather forecast for tomorrow and Sunday are for rain and the wind out of the Northwest so we may be here a day longer than we planned.

Nauticus Marina, Norfolk, VA. to Dozier Regatta Point Marina, Deltaville, VA. — May 9, 2013

After a couple of days of scattered showers it was nice to have a sunny morning with light winds from the south.

We got a late start today and the river was full of traffic.  No real large boats but none the less pretty busy.  It is about 12 miles from downtown Norfolk to get to the Chesapeake Bay and the traffic was gone by that time.  Along the way there are several miles of ship yards with most of the slips full of Navy ship undergoing some type of work.  There was even a Red Cross ship sitting in a slip.  We saw destroyers, battle ships and probably 4 aircraft carriers. It is amazing how many ships are there and then to realize there still is a Naval presence on several areas of the world.  There is a tour boat that goes from Norfolk to the ship yard and then cruises slowly by and I am sure they are relating information on all the boats that are there.

It was nice to be out on a “calm” big body of water.  The Chesapeake Bay was very kind to us today.  We cruised north just far enough offshore to make sure we were away from the shoals and shallow water.  Lots of crab pot markers to contend with but the style they use on the Chesapeake is easier to spot than those in Florida.  We passed maybe 4 or 5 sailboats and were passed by only one power boat.  We traveled most f the way at about 9 mph.  A nice slow pace.

Deltaville, VA is a nice small town with about 800 residents and probably 2,000 boats.  It has good access to the Chesapeake.  The Dozier Regatta Point Marina is the home to the Waterways Guide publications and they are sponsoring an after rendezvous get together for Loopers who are interested.  We stayed here because of the late start out of Norfolk but the area is very nice and worth a trip back.