So we started out of the Manasquan River shortly after sunrise and ran aground before my coffee got cold. The captain was not paying attention as used some excuse about being by the morning sun. “Crappy Captain!” is what we shout whenever I do something stupid. I still have much to learn. It was a sand bar @ 4ft and far from what my charts showed. We backed up and pushed our way off the sandy bar and the rest of the trip was without incident.
Right away we were forced to wait @ the Manasquan River railroad bridge which was closed for a train crossing. We waited with 20 or so boats for the bascule bridge to reopen. When it did open, it was “every boat for themselves”. It felt like being at the Raynham, MA dog track… “There goes Rusty”. I think that was the rabbit’s name?
As we passed through the narrow opening for the railroad bridge I felt compelled to snap a pic out the pilothouse door to show how tight the passage feels.
The last challenge to get through was the Manasquan inlet which was displaying a phenomenon called “reflected waves”. These are wakes from boats (zipping by us) that are being reflected back off the inlet walls. It’s like having your head above water in a washing machine; there is no rhyme or reason to the direction of the waves.
The cruise South was smooth as the period between the ocean swell was long, 10 seconds or so. This made for a gentle 3-4 foot swell. We made our way South down the NJ coast and as we passed Atlantic inlets we dodged the many sport fishing boats that were fishing atop of one another. We listened on the VHF as they stood holding a rod on the back of a boat at the end of November.
When it was not fishermen we were seeing it was a porpoise or two. Here is a short video of what I think was a porpoise but I’m sure one of you will chime in about what species owns the dorsal fin in the video?
As we approached, Atlantic City could soon be seen in the distance.
Coming into AC was easy as far as NJ inlets go. With the exception of having to stay clear of the bar that can be understood when you see the breaking waves atop of it.
The Absecon Inlet is wide and the ebbing current was only about 1.5 kts against us. Just inside the entrance, we turned to port we left the wind & current behind. As we hailed Farley State Marina and VHF channel 65 as Kelly reminded me to loose my Boston accent and hail “FaRRRley Marina” instead of “Fahlee Marina”. The VHF radio crackled back and they told us to head down the fairway between docks echo and foxtrot and simply pick any slip we liked. We chose a slip close to the Chart House restaurant an 1st mate jumped into action as we backed her down into the slip. Kelly great about waiting till I bring the boat alongside the floating dock before attempting to jump off onto the dock. A miscalculation could lead to winding up in the water between the dock and the 30,000 lb boat as it kisses the dock. This docking however was easy-peezee. The wind was buffeted by the highrise hotel and dockside current was zero.
We tied up quickly and raised a toast to AC. Thankfully the night before I had walked the path from the boat, under the bridge and to the liquor store to buy MORE IPA beer. I learned beer is always a mix of malty barley vs. bitter hops. Like all IPA enthusiasts, the more bitter the better. My IPA of choice is a “West Coast” style IPA that has IBU (International Bitterness Units) between 50-100 and with a citrus pop like grapefruit or mango, etc. Anyway… the liquor store had Stone Brewing’s “Delicious” IPA and I have to say…YUMMMM, what a great IPA.
As for Atlantic City, well… we were starving and decided to go to the Chart House.
The Chart House was great. We caught happy hour and it was Capt & margaritas! & filet & fish tacos.
We are planning a sunrise departure again but I convinced Kelly to do a quick Casino tour. Thirty feet into the casino and the cigarette smoke made us change our minds. Tonight we’ll finish happy hour on the boat while I write this blog update and do some chart plotting before bed.
Tonight I will be scouring every maritime website / app for any & all information I can about the Delaware coast. Today’s Captain is digital. It used to be an old guy who looked like the Gorton fisherman but now it’s a millennial with the charting, piloting, tide, moon phases, sunrise times and weather apps on multiple digital devices.
Though I must admit…a captain is only as good as his/her experience. I have been boating 20+ years and still feel like a noob at times. I imagine that becoming a full-time cruiser will give me the time to read such maritime tomes as Chapman Piloting and Bowditch – The American Practical Navigator.
Every captain make mistakes… which we’ll call wisdom later on 😉
That’s all for now. Kelly & I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.