THE ATLANTIC OCEAN 9.18.2017

As I write this I am sitting in the boat at Cape May, New Jersey. It is foggy and drizzling and otherwise not very pleasant outside. We decided to wait out Jose here in Cape May.

Sunrise on the Atlantic

We traveled the last three days on the Atlantic Ocean dividing up the trip along the New Jersey shore into three manageable hops. First - from Sandy Hook to Manasquan. Manasquan is a fishing port with a wild current even inside the Marina. We stayed at Hoffman’s and the son of the owner took control of our docking experience. There was about a 2 knot current as we came into the marina and there is a very short distance from the non-floating dock that we were staying on to a very menacing metal bridge. Hoffman had us do a 180 degree turn putting our stern (back of the boat) closest to the bridge and had the current along with little maneuvers by Bob (as shouted out from the dock) bring us alongside. Needless to say this was not the most calming of experiences. Once we were at the dock, Hoffman continued to tie lines so that we would be safe with the 5 foot tide changes. At night when the tide was out, it was about a 4-5 foot jump up to the dock from the boat – with a 3 knot current rushing by (we were warned not to fall off the boat). We were going to leave at 6:00 am (first daylight) for Atlantic City so we just had a beer with the Loughboroughs and then turned in for the night.

In the morning we continued to Atlantic City (second hop) arriving about 3:00 – with enough time to fuel up at the gas dock, empty the holding tank (they had the fastest holding tank pump out we have seen on the trip) spray off the salt that has been accumulating on the deck, lines and windows, and still have time to have a beer at the Golden Nugget and take the Jitney to the Boardwalk. The Marina is associated with the Golden Nugget, which used to be the Trump Castle. The Boardwalk was interesting and I could imagine what it must have looked like in its heyday. The information I read said that the Boardwalk was the inspiration for the game monopoly. The beach was beautiful, with roaring surf as we walked by. There was terrific people watching with subjects of all shapes (mostly large), colors and ethnic origins. The original casinos all face the boardwalk, Caesars, Tropicana and many more.

Atlantic city from the water as we approached the marina.

So many big boats - Atlantic City

The Boardwalk area from a beach prospective.

Caesar's on the Boardwalk -where we had dinner.

The group on the Boardwalk - notice Bob's new shorts from Macy's

We had dinner at Caesar’s at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant. The portions were huge, service poor, food quality delicious. After a walk around we Jitneyed back to the marina and Bob and I went into the Golden Nugget so I could blow a few dollars. I love to gamble but I must admit that I was a bit intimidated by the high rollers there. I sat down next to this older woman with an English accent who I asked to explain how the slot machine worked. I normally would play blackjack but the $25 minimum tables were a bit rich for my bank account. Apparently on the weekend the minimums are higher. It turns out the nice lady who tried to explain the game that was in front of us didn’t really understand the scoring either. I sat and blew my $10 (yes I am a big spender) and then we turned in for the night.

Which brings us to Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May (where we planned to sit out the remnant of Hurricane Jose), the last hop before the Delaware Bay. Bob tied up the boat with a spider web of dock lines securing us to the front dock, two pilings at the stern (back of the boat) and the very short catwalk, which comes about half way back on the port side. Bob did a great job of tying up and with the 18 knots of wind currently blowing we are barely moving.

What a difference between being on the Atlantic and sailing on Lake Erie, the canal or the Hudson River. First the mere fact that it is an ocean is powerful. Going over the swells is like driving over the rolling hills in Chagrin Falls. They are farther apart than the waves of Lake Erie so you don’t feel the pounding that short waves can give you. As long as the swells don’t hit shallow water, it is a nice ride. When they do hit a shallow area, like coming through a cut into a harbor, they tumble (break) creating a very dramatic effect. When we left Atlantic City and when we came into Cape May there were areas with 5-6 foot waves coming directly at us that sent us rolling like a child’s rocking horse. Thankfully these were not prolonged periods.

Our second day on the Atlantic took my breath away. I saw a pod of dolphins playing right off the bow (front) of the boat. At first I wasn’t sure about what I was seeing, but I yelled to Bob and he saw them too! At least a half dozen jumping and diving into the water. Sorry no picture. It all happened way to quickly. The weather was very foggy, which made me happy about our decision to buy radar. We were able to know what was around us even if we couldn’t see it.

Yelling to Bob is an interesting thing to talk about. Because so many things can go wrong when out on the ocean or even just sailing–we have to be careful about yelling to each other or making strong expletive-laden verbalization, even when it is for a good thing. Your first thought is always that something has gone wrong. So rather than yelling “oh sh-t” it is better to be more clear on the purpose of the yell – like “DOLPHINS!!!!”

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