Margate City to New York

Margate City to Surf City

Margate City to Surf City

We were planning a night at anchor, some 30 miles from Margate City, but Carina had other ideas.

Leaving Margate City

Leaving Margate City

The Barrier Islands of the Jersey Shore are mostly developed, making the wild places we’d seen further south, in North and South Carolina and Georgia, seem all the more special in retrospect.

Margate City

Margate City, showing the junction between fresh and salt water

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The American flag gets everywhere

Ventnor

Ventnor

We had to request a bridge opening at Ventnor. Roadworks were being carried out, and the bridgemaster said he’d be able to open it sooner if we could manage with only half the bridge opened. The Captain thought we could, and Carina edged smoothly through, to applause from the assembled workmen and cries of  ‘Nice job! Nice job!’

Dorset Avenue Bridge, Ventnor

Dorset Avenue Bridge, Ventnor

Shortly after passing through Ventnor, we could no longer ignore Carina’s temperature gauge, which  for the past few days had been giving ’cause for concern’, and two hours after leaving Margate, Ian decided he needed professional advice to avert disaster. So we made an unscheduled visit to Atlantic City and stayed at the Aquarium Marina, a not entirely restful stop, in view of the proximity of our mooring to the bar, and a constant stream of reggae music.

Near Atlantic City

Near Atlantic City

Aquarium Marina, Atlantic City

Aquarium Marina, Atlantic City

Ian rang Brian Smith, of American Diesel, who gave him some very useful suggestions of what the problem might be, and possible remedies. Ian did various  mysterious things in the engine room and the next day we took Carina out for a test run.  Fortunately all seemed well, and after a quick trip on the bikes to the Cedar Grocery Store and the nearby Allstar Liquors for the essentials, we moved on to Surf City where we anchored for the night.

But there were still great wide sounds where all the development receded into the far distance, and the land surrounding them preserved from development. The water was very shallow in places, as seen here in Great Bay.

Shoaling in Great Bay

Shoaling in Great Bay

We somehow managed to wake up at 5am the next day so it was another early start, but this time the sunrise made it worth it.

Surf City, 6.06 am

Surf City, 6.06 am

Surf City to Staten Island

Surf City to Staten Island

From Surf City we travelled up the long inlet of Barnegat Bay up to Traders Cove Marina, Mantoloking. We got a warm welcome from the dockmaster there – the area had been devastated  by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and the marina was part of a new municipal park which had only recently re-opened.

We walked over Mantoloking Bridge to where the sea had broken through the shore and fifty homes had been lost. There were bulldozers on the beach area still working on shoring up the sand, and new houses being built.

Mantoloking from the bridge

Mantoloking from the bridge

The way we came - Barnegat Bay from Mantoloking Bridge

The way we came – Barnegat Bay from Mantoloking Bridge

The beach, Mantoloking

The beach, Mantoloking

Mantoloking Bridge

Mantoloking Bridge

Carina at Traders Cove Marina, Mantoloking

Carina at Traders Cove Marina, Mantoloking

Sunday was the big day – the weather had to be just right for the 30-mile stretch of open water we needed to negotiate from Manasquan to Sandy Hook, the long finger of land that stretches into Raritan Bay and New York Harbour.

It was, and we went.

Metedonk River at the northern end of Barnegat Bay

Metedonk River at the northern end of Barnegat Bay

There was a short waterway, the Point Pleasant canal, linking Barnegat Bay with Manasquan Inlet.

Loveland Town Bridge

Loveland Town Bridge

Point Pleasant Canal

Point Pleasant Canal

Manasquan River

Manasquan River

Boats following us out of the canal

Boats following us out of the canal

Mansquan Inlet Railroad Bridge

Manasquan Inlet Railroad Bridge

Opening the railroad bridge

Opening the railroad bridge

As it was a Sunday, there was a long queue of boats waiting to come through the bridge.

Waiting to come through the bridge

Waiting to come through the bridge

Manasquan

Manasquan

Manasquan

Fishing boats at Manasquan

 

At last we could see the ocean ahead of us through the inlet.

Manasquan Inlet

Manasquan Inlet

The inlet was actually the worst part, in terms of the waves and the choppiness. Once we were a mile out to sea things calmed down, and we sat back and enjoyed the thirty-mile stretch along the continuous ribbon of white sand of the northern Jersey Shore, and the exciting moment when we realised we could just make out the faint outline of Brooklyn and Manhattan on the horizon.

The beach at Manasquan

The beach at Manasquan

First glimpse of New York City

First glimpse of New York City

Ian had arranged for us to stay at Great Kills Yacht Club on Staten Island, where John Calascibetta is the Harbor Host for the American Great Loop Cruisers’ Association. John made our stay in New York really special and could not have been more helpful, assisting us to dock in the windy conditions, being a mine of information, lending us a Metro Card so we could get into the city easily, and driving us to the supermarket to re-stock.

He recommended the nearby Cole’s Dockside Restaurant, so after our long day we went there for a great meal and gathered our strength for two days in New York City.

Great Kills, Staten Island

Great Kills, Staten Island

Marinas and Yacht Club, Great Kills

Marinas and Yacht Club, Great Kills

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Delaware River and Strolling along the Prom, Cape May

My hopes of a spectacular sunrise as we travelled down the Delaware River were disappointed when the day dawned grey, but at least not cold. We had to get up at the crack of dawn, I had been told, to take advantage of the prevailing tide.

I don’t get out of bed in the morning until I’ve had a cup of tea and saw no reason to vary my rule on this occasion.  The Captain duly put the kettle on at 4.40 am, shortly after we had been woken by his mobile’s tedious tinklings.

It was much too early for breakfast though, or a shower, so we were soon en route, and the Captain’s decision to make an early start was vindicated when the speed gauge showed 9.9 knots, a personal best for Carina.

The grey skies didn’t lift and we turned into the canal just north of Cape May in a good North Tyneside-type sea fret, and moored at the Miss Chris marina.

Arriving at Cape May in a sea fret. Note dophin

Arriving at Cape May in a sea fret. Note dophin

Reedy Island to Cape May

Reedy Island to Cape May

The decision to leave very early was further vindicated when twenty minutes after we had arrived and sorted the boat out, there was a torrential storm with brilliant flashes of lightning and crashing thunder, and we spent the afternoon cowering inside Carina, hoping the lightning wouldn’t strike the mast.

But Sunday was clear and bright and we cycled two miles to Cape May Meadows, which border the beach to the south-west of the town. In the 19th century, South Cape May, where the Meadows are now, was the USA’s first seaside resort.

But the Atlantic storms caused erosion and flooding, and eventually the Victorian houses had to be abandoned to the sea after a particularly violent storm in the 1950s.

The land is privately owned, but managed by the Nature Conservancy, and in 2004 in partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, work was started to restore the freshwater wetlands, the dunes and the beach ecosystems. By 2007 the project was complete and has been very successful, with many migratory birds passing through.

Meadow flowers

Meadow flowers

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Amongst the swans, ducks, geese and egrets, we were delighted to see some small black birds with exotic red flashes on their wings, and asked a couple of young Nature Conservancy workers what they were.

‘Oh. Those would be the Red-winged blackbirds.’

At least their Latin name, Agelaius phoenicus, has a less prosaic ring.

Cape May Lighthouse

Cape May Lighthouse

South Cape May beach

South Cape May beach

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Ranunculus bulbosus

Ranunculus bulbosus

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We had lunch at the tiny Jake’s Pizza and Restaurant Co on Sunset Boulevard. Despite the unprepossessing exterior and definitely-no-frills interior, the ham and cheese stromboli was freshly baked, and with a mixed salad and a can of pop (for the Captain, I never touch the stuff) the bill came to $17.

Next stop was the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) Club on nearby Congress St, where there was a fund-raising concert being given by the Ben Mauger Vintage Jazz Band.

VFW Club, Cape May

VFW Club, Cape May

The musicians were excellent, and Ben, the leader, injected his humour and personality into the mix too.

The Ben Mauger Vintage Jazz Band

The Ben Mauger Vintage Jazz Band

The VFW was licensed of course, so I got my fizzy drink in the form of a bottle of Sam Adams.

On Monday we explored Cape May City and the main beach. To say it was rather windy would be understatement. Blowing a hooley would be a more accurate meteorological description.

At the beach we were politely intercepted by the Beach Tag Monitor, a pleasant woman in her fifties who asked to see our beach tags.

We said we had no idea what beach tags were.

She explained that they were purchased by the day or week, to allow visitors access to the beach. The money raised paid for lifeguards, litter-pickers and so on. Then she asked us how long we were planning on staying on the beach.

Ian’s beach tolerance threshold is about half an hour at the best of times, and this reduces significantly in biting winds, with grains of sand blowing into one’s face and stinging one’s legs.

Probably about fifteen minutes, we said.

She let us off.

Beach Avenue, Cape May

Beach Avenue, Cape May

Lifeguards huddling in the wind, Cape May

Lifeguards huddling in the wind, Cape May

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We cycled further along the Prom and had an ice-cream (Ian) and hot tea (me) from a little kiosk manned by a pleasant young man who told us that his grandparents lived in Grimsby, and he had cousins in Bristol too. There was also family in Barnsley, ‘But that’s Yorkshire, and they’re a bit like, strange.’

Outside the ice-cream kiosk

Outside the ice-cream kiosk

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There are lots of lovely Victorian houses in Cape May.

Ocean/Columbia St, Cape May

Ocean/Columbia St, Cape May

This particular small hotel seemed to hark back to a bygone era of gentility, not to say refinement.

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IMG_9639Jackson St

Because of the windy weather, we had three nights in the Miss Chris Marina, and never found out who Miss Chris actually was.

Carina at Miss Chris Marina

Carina at Miss Chris Marina

On the marina spectrum, Miss Chris is definitely at the man end. It has fuel, bait, fishing trips, but it has no showers and no laundry. There are whale trips too.

Whale trip leaving from next to Miss Chris Marina

Whale trip leaving from next to Miss Chris Marina

We did see a nice sunset though, and had a very good meal at the nearby Lucky Bones Restaurant. The name of the restaurant was a reference to the charms that the fishermen would take out with them to protect against misfortune when they were at sea.

Sunset at Miss Chris Marina

Sunset at Miss Chris Marina

Our journey up the New Jersey coast to Sandy Hook, which is the last stretch before we get to New York, takes us through a maze of barrier islands, sounds and inlets and the Captain was getting quite exercised about the navigational challenges, ie the possibility, and likelihood, of running aground on one of the many shoaling areas.

Cape May to Margate City

Cape May to Margate City

Crossing Richardson Sound

Crossing Richardson Sound

Shoaling near Stone Harbour

Shoaling near Stone Harbour

Townsend's Inlet

Townsend’s Inlet

Sea Isle City

Sea Isle City

But we had a smooth journey to Sea View Harbour Marina near Margate City.

Margate City

Margate City

The wind made docking tricky, but there were pretty flowerbeds, good shower rooms, a swimming pool, and I finally got the laundry done.