Monthly Archives: November 2010

Podcast: 11/5/2010: Delaware Bay to Chesapeake Bay via the C&D Canal

Audio log of our trip from the Delaware to the Chesapeake through the C&D Canal and our sweet little anchorage in the Sassafras River. Yes that is the Sassafras capital of the world! there are literally thousands of wonderful anchorages on the Chesapeake, and this one was like staying on land. It was so calm and quiet. We got to watch feeding Bald Eagles too!


Bald Eagles feeding in the Sassafras River

Beautiful gentle waters of the Chesapeake.

Podcast: 11/4/2010: transiting the Delaware Bay running from the storm

Audio log of the trip from Cape May NJ to Delaware City by the Chesapeake and Delaware canal. We had an encounter with a container-ship (read: HUGE BOAT) and ended up at a sweet anchorage that turned foul at three in the morning when we were awoken by an explosion. Yes, we and the cats and the boat are all healthy and happy, but damn that night and next day were horrible until we met “Crabby Dick.” You’ll have to listen to understand. [podcast][/podcast]

My hand after the cold hard day from Reedy Island to Delaware City

Podcast: 11/2/2010, NY to NJ run on open ocean through the night

Here is the tired, weary audio log from after our completion of the 120 mile run down the Atlantic Coast of New Jersey. We decided to sail through the night, but we met with stronger weather than we had anticipated. We had to make the passage in 15-20 mile per hour winds with following seas with a wind chill around freezing. Stopped in Atlantic City for a two or three hour nap before continuing in daylight down the coast to the southern tip of NJ called Cape May. Stress. Tension. Anxiety. Yeah…to say the least![podcast][/podcast]

Wee Happy at a slip in Cape May after finishing the 120 mile long run from New York.

MoJo hanging out on the dock in Cape May after the 36 hour long 120 mile run.

Close encounter in the Delaware Bay

South, south, south, we are heading south! Ooops, except for today which found us going north all day up the Delaware Bay. Why on Earth would we do that, you ask? We were about to get hit with nasty weather on the coast and we had basically two options–wait it out, or take a little detour through the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays, where the weather is supposed to be a bit calmer. We decided it would be interesting to check out these areas, which are renowned as excellent sailing grounds.
The Delaware Bay turned out to have much rougher waters than we expected, and we dealt with the biggest waves we have encountered on our trip so far. We even reached our all time record speed of 9.6 knots while surfing down one of the big waves today!
We also had our first (and hopefully last!!!) close call with a gigantic tanker ship. It was just after nightfall and we were nearing our anchorage. I was stressing out about navigating in the dark, and K. was reassuring me saying “there’s no other boats around, there is nothing to worry about!” We had just turned into a channel and
were in the midst of taking our sail down. Suddenly we heard an extremely loud horn behind us. If we had a podcast recording of the scenario, it would have sounded a little like this:
“Oh look, there is a huge tanker coming up behind us.”
“Is he honking at us? There is plenty of room for him to pass, what is the problem?”
“Maybe we should move over more, he’s definitely honking at us”

We veered more sharply to the side and then realized that the tanker was closer than we thought – there is a strange phenomenon that happens at night that makes it difficult to judge relative distance. It really did look like there was plenty of room to pass and we were not in the way, which is why we were questioning him honking at us. No sooner had we moved out of the way, but the tanker was RIGHT where we had just been– he was moving FASTER than we thought too!
Thank goodness K. had enough wits left about him at that point to do a quick U turn so that we hit the wake of the ginourmous tanker head on, and what a wild ride that was! The spray from the wave covered the whole boat, and we were hanging on like we were on
a roller coaster.
Holy Crap that was terrifying! Our guardian angels are really working hard to protect us!
Now we are at our anchorage, cozy in our wee cabin, and so grateful to be alive!

Our first all nighter

So for all of you who think that sailing is all fun and relaxation, here is a little story to ease your jealousy….
as I mentioned yesterday, we were so excited to get going on the ocean that we decided to keep going all night long and take advantage of our weather window of calm seas and good wind. As the sun set, we watched delightedly as the stars came out, and as the hours passed we watched constellations rise and cross the sky.
Beautiful! Romantic! And miserably COLD!!! The wind picked up and it was absolutely brutal being outside in the cockpit. We took shifts of about two hours each at the helm, where we had to pay close attention to not veer off course in the dark. (we were REALLY wishing we had an autopilot!!!!!!). While one person was at the helm the other rested inside, but sleeping was next to impossible because every time you would start to nod off a big wave would nearly roll you out of bed. For the first time I felt what sailors have probably felt for millenia— it felt like we were riding a “wind horse”, galloping (and sometimes bucking) through the water, powered by both the wind and the rolling of the waves.
After watching a glow of electricity on the horizon get brighter and brighter for hours, we finally saw Atlantic City, NJ emerge out of the glow at about 5 am. It was a surreal collection of glitzy skyskraper hotels and casinos, but even the nightlife there seemed asleep and the city appeared void of people or life. We went into a cove there to anchor for a few hours so we could sleep in peace. The anchorage was very protected and calm but getting into it in the dark through the narrow and shallow channel was a major challenge in our frozen and exhausted state. In retrospect it is a miracle we didn’t hit anything. I was on the verge of having a total meltdown I was so miserable. I was having all kinds of thoughts like “why the heck am I on this stupid sailboat anyway? Whoever thought sailing was a good idea was crazy! I hate this!”. This attitude did not help as we experienced some difficulty getting the anchor to hold and we both started getting testy and short with one another. Kudos to K. who kept his head clear and temper even while I cried and yelled.

See? Aren’t you glad you aren’t out here right now? Oh, and did I mention we hadn’t showered for days and half of our tiny interior was full of our dismantled dinghy that we took apart so we wouldn’t be slowed down by towing it? Even something as simple as making a cup of hot tea is an annoying challenge when the boat is rocking and the two square foot kitchen is covered in sailing gear.

The morning dawned clear and sunny ( but still cold!) and even a mere two hours of sleep made us have a renewed perspective on the world. We got up at 8 and kept going, and by this afternoon we made it to the southern tip of New Jersey, where we are at a marina for the night. Hot Showers! Calm Waters! We are going to bed early so good night!

At a solid dock in Cape May with dinghy on deck

Captian K. checking the charts dressed for the cold

In Motion….on the Ocean!

Hip Hip Hooray! This morning we left our anchorage in the New York Harbor, where we stayed TOOOOO long, and finally made it to the sea! The sea! The salty water and the rolling waves. Our sailor friend Rene, who was the angel I mentioned in my last post, gave us this parting wish: ” There is a great song in the oceans…I hope you learn it and dance to it.”

So far so good. We have light winds and calm waters. We made friends with 3 other boats while we were anchored near the Statue of Liberty, and they left this morning as well heading south, and so we are all in radio contact checking in on each other. So far, we are going the slowest, but we expected that.

It was really cold last night and this morning and I am currently wearing about 5 layers of clothing and am still cold. We are really motivated now to get as far south as we can as soon as possible! We are even entertaining the thought of traveling through the night and taking shifts at the helm just to make up lost time.

That’s all for now. Just wanted to make the grand announcement that the beast of New York City let loose of her hold on us and we are now rocking in the arms of the Great Mother Ocean. May She rock us sweetly and gently!!

Lala at work

Lala at work

Now here’s my idea of a fun job: Dress up in gorgeous costumes, put on stilts, and parade through a ritzy country club during a grand party! Hey, that’s exactly what I got to do on Saturday night, when I performed with the Mortal Beasts and Deities. 4 stiltdancers and 3 giant puppets made a brief but fabulously showy appearance at a private party in Farmingdale, NJ, where we danced and paraded with guests. The theme of the party was Venetian Carnival, and Mark Alexander, the director of Mortal Beasts and Deities outdid himself creating lavish and gorgeous costumes for us all to wear. Many thanks to Mark for getting me this fun paid gig, and even picking me up at our boat!!

Anyone know of anyone else along the Eastern seaboard who might like to hire me?

Moti and I in "high fashion"

Mark getting a big puppet's Carnival mask on