Celebrating the Rounding of Cape Hatteras!
Our departure from Beaufort, North Carolina went seamlessly. We timed the tides and slack current perfectly which just happened to coincide with an early start at dawn, such a difference to our action packed arrival. There are shallows to clear that protrude around 20 miles to the south, so it was a long motor to windward before we could finally bear away and start sailing north.
Conditions were perfect, enough wind to fill skippers full sail plan, an almost flat sea and except for the occasional patch of sea mist we had clear skies and starry nights, now why can’t it always be like this?
As a bonus we landed 2 good sized Mahi Mahi, but lost 2 large Tuna and then lost our trusty lure that we have been quite successful with this season. For the first time in who knows how long, I cooked fresh fish at sea, we set the cockpit table and ate sitting down with glass of wine. Such a change from normal passage fare (otherwise known as splodge) served in a plastic bowl with fork.
If taking this weather window meant missing July 4 celebrations then it was worth it. Still, Mark saw plenty of fireworks ashore on his watch.
Another Dark Arrival!
We had originally planned to do an overnighter up past Hatteras then turn left and enter Chesapeake Bay, we had even thought that that might be as far as we would get this summer and were happy enough with that option. But conditions at sea were so good we carried on past the entry for another night, then another day – still perfect conditions, at 2.15am on our 3rd night we entered the mouth of the Delaware River and anchored off the small town of Lewes. 4 arrivals into US ports, all at night!
Sleep, Shop and Off Again
Even though our passage had been easy we are always sleep deprived, especially when doing coastal sailing as there is so much more traffic around, so we dropped the anchor and collapsed. We couldn’t have a lazy morning though, we were desperately low on fresh produce and there was a Saturday morning Farmers Market ashore – just the ticket.
It was a long dinghy ride ashore and then a very long walk in the searing heat to the market, sadly the most disappointing ever visited – anywhere! Still we scraped together enough food to stave off scurvy for a little while longer, enjoyed browsing around the excellent artists market, then found an outdoor cafe with plenty of shade by the canal and rewarded ourselves with lunch.
We’re On A Roll!!
The excellent weather was continuing so next morning it was anchor up, back out of the Delaware for another overnighter. But there was a very big prize waiting at the end of this one, we were heading for New York.
On leaving the Delaware we noticed 10’s, then 100’s, then probably 1000’s of rays, manta rays we think, the water was thick with them. Sadly the water resembled mud so the photos just all look like brown sludge, but we have never seen anything like it – feeding on goodies in the river water maybe or migrating- who knows?
Back with Bandit
Just north of the Delaware is the small port of Cape May and as we were passing out popped Bandit with kiwis David and Brenda, last seen in Havana. It was great to have our cruising buddies back out there with us as we headed to New York.
Skipper immediately went from kicking back reading in the cockpit to full on race mode. Scary really. The intensity was cranked up but soon a look of perplexed disappointment was appearing on his face as he realized even with full sail we were unable to foot it with them as they slowly put a few miles on us. “Its because of our dirty bottom” he kept moaning. Yeah right ….. I kept agreeing with him. A morning arrival saw us sailing around the tip of Sandy Hook and down into the bay to the Atlantic Highlands anchorage for the night (only an hour or so behind Bandit!!).
We might technically be in New Jersey but we were in the greater New York Harbour.