We anchored in Cape May at night and the wind was whipping. We tried to tuck in behind the Cape May canal Jetty to get some protection but alas the boat was a rocking.
I finally had to get out of bed, weigh the anchor and re-drop as close as I could get to the jetty. It worked. Well it worked a little. We did not sleep much.
Next morning we left before sunrise because I just was not sleeping anyway. The gale warning winds were nipping at our heels as we worked our way North up Delaware Bay.
A quick check on the weather back in Warwick, RI showed it was even colder than what we were feeling in Delaware Bay.
The water in Delaware Bay was cold. Not something you want to fall overboard into.
Traffic was hard to find. This Chiquita banana container ship passed us as we slipped out of the channel to give her space. I think only 2 other boats passed us on this gusty, snowy, foggy day.
As we made our way up Delaware Bay the wind and waves were on our beam. The wind alone was giving us quite a list to port. A beam sea is never fun in a flybridge trawler with a 400lb dingy and two kayaks on the flydeck. eek.
Soon we could hear the sleet bouncing off the outside of the boat.
Then came the snow…
The snow brought with it FOG.
As the fog crept in on us it was time to turn on our Khalenberg automatic fog horn. If you are ever near MV Simple Life in the fog you’d think a giant tanker was bearing down on you. What made me laugh was… it stopped working in the freezing snow. With each blow of the horn it iced up more and more until it just stopped working.
Once the Fog horn froze up and stopped working it was time to go to my backup fog horn. Yes, my VHF’s loud hailer fog horn played but in the wind and snow I’m sure nobody was hearing it. Heck, there wasn’t another boat out on this day anyway.
The fog had closed in so tight to the boat that we could only see a single boat length in any direction. Thankfully, we have a 4′ open array Digital HD radar with overlay right on our chart plotter that helps us identify boats from buoys. We also rely heavily on AIS (Marine Automated Identification System) to make sure we show up on the chart plotters of other boats as well as us having all the details about the boats around us (boat name, course, speed, MMSI#, etc.
We soldiered on with the idea that once we made it into the C&D canal that the weather conditions would improve. They did!
The visibility returned and the winds and waves were held at bay by the high canal hill sides.
Soon we were passing marinas where the boats were covered in snow.
When we exited the C&D canal into the head of the Chesapeake Bay the wind was whipping up a following sea so we decided to anchor in the Bohemia River. Great plan until the depth alarms went wild when the depth dipped below 6 feet. This was not good concidering we were only minutes away from high tide. Not wanting to run aground or get stuck waiting for high-tide to return we decided to push on further to the Sassafras River.
The sun set and we watched as the last light disappeared as we entered the Sassafras River. It’s a long trip up the river to the Granary Marina but we decided with the strong winds and rain it would be nice to sleep tied to a dock. Neither of us wanted to spend another night trying to brace ourselves in the bunk.
The dockmaster left for the night and left us directions on how to find our assigned slip. That plan failed when we could not find our slip using our searchlight. The wind and the rain were coming down sideways and driving from the pilothouse in the dark is not a place you want to be poking down random fairways trying to find a slip. So we decided to grab any open slip and call it a night.
Docking alone in that wind was difficult enough but when I jumped out of the pilothouse to tie up I almost slipped on the snow and wound up going swimming.
Soon we were tied up and I was changing out of my work pajamas, kicking my snow filled crocs off my frozen feet and thawing my toes by the heater while enjoying a well-deserved IPA
This leg of our trip is pictured below.