Well, we finally did it! We sailed away Monday morning with sunny skies, warmish temps, and light winds out of the west. We will miss New York, but we are so excited about the adventure ahead.
The sail down the Jersey Shore was pretty uneventful, fairly flat seas and light winds, for the first half at least. Probably the most exciting part for us was our new best friend the tiller pilot, who made it possible for me to do my first solo watch while Rich got a few hours of sleep. I was nervous at first, but the tiller pilot did its job admirably so I was free to sit back and enjoy sailing at night. The sky was pretty spectacular and I saw at least 10 shooting stars. Rich saw a bunch too. Forget the perseid meteor shower, this was the real deal! And then I stared down Atlantic City on shore for most of my watch. I kept thinking we had to be passing it sooner or later, but there she was, all neon and flashing lights, taunting me, seemingly forever. When I came back up after Rich’s watch, the sea state had changed quite a bit. Now we had following seas and some waves, but nothing too crazy. As we neared Cape May it got a little sloppier and we decided that rather than the direct route down the coast to Norfolk we’d take the more circuitous route: cutting in around Cape May through the Delaware River to the C&D Canal, eventually connecting to the Chesapeake. Rich really wanted to go straight to Norfolk and save some time, but passageweather.com had predicted that the winds would be coming out of the east at 20-25 knots soon, making it pretty uncomfortable for us out there. It was already getting a bit bumpy and as I was rerouting our course on the iPad I started to get seasick and had to put on a scopolamine patch. I guess Cape May is my kryptonite, the last time we were in the vicinity I had the same problem (and no scopolamine). Rich got us around Cape May and into Delaware Bay like a champ. By this time the winds had shifted around to the east as passageweather.com had predicted, which meant we were getting a lot of waves coming at us over the side and a few good-sized ones washed over the bow and doused us. Needless to say this was not helping my seasickness one bit. We persevered and eventually got further into the bay and everything calmed down and we were able to enjoy the rest of our trip to the C&D.
Right now we’re in lovely Chesapeake City, Maryland. I said to Rich last night that it was so surreal to be in the familiar surroundings of our little home tied up at the dock, but in Maryland, 30 hours’ sail from our usual spot back in Jersey City. Having our home come with us wherever we are was exactly what we were going for when we set this crazy plan in motion three years ago. Mission accomplished!
Mata Hari seems to be enjoying being back in her old stomping grounds (we bought her in North East, Maryland, just a little ways up the Chesapeake from here). We got in at around 5 o’clock last night and were lucky to grab a slip at the Chesapeake Inn Marina. We decided to treat ourselves to a celebratory dinner after our 30-hour sail from Jersey City, but this place seriously rolls up the carpets when the sun goes down and everyplace seemed to be closed or closing. I suppose it is the off season. We were able to find a little tavern a few blocks away serving Yuengling and crab cakes and the tastiest Old Bay fries ever. (Rich’s fried oysters, not so much.) After dinner we took advantage of the marina’s WiFi to catch up on the latest episode of The Walking Dead. And then we sacked out at around 7:30 and slept like the (unwalking) dead.
Today the plan is to motor down to the Chesapeake and try to make it to Annapolis, or at least someplace further south. We’re officially snowbirds now!