Atlantic City, NJ to Boston, MA

By aaron.axvig, 2 November, 2019
Sailboat entering fog in Cape Cod Canal

Why don't we write about things in a more timely manner?  Good question!  This was written at the end of August and describes our travels from Atlantic City in June until Aaron's brother's wedding in early July.

We walked the boardwalk in Atlantic City one day with Teri and Britt from Sea Otter.  Then we waited a day or two for good weather and headed north.  Sea Otter headed straight for Cutty Hunk Island but we wanted to go through New York.  Their neighbor from the previous night was also going to New York (Mark on The Naked Truth) and as we left the inlet at Atlantic City we saw him a few miles ahead.  We eventually caught up to him and then led just in front of him up the remainder of New Jersey.  There was a one knot current against us the entire time.  Based on some graphics that we found online, this is a normal eddy that spins off of the gulf stream.

The selected anchorage for the night was around Sandy Hook and then south a couple miles.  During this south-bound leg Aaron spotted a whale.  Anna looked in time to see the tail.  We think it was a humpback whale which are known to be found in that area.  The anchorage was a bit rocky but compensated by the excitement of seeing the NYC skyline in the distance.

The next day we got a late start to time the tides/currents, something like 10:30am.  Mark left around then too but chose to motor at a slower pace so we didn't see him until the end of the day.  We went under the HUGE Verrazano-Narrows bridge and could see the Statue of Liberty ahead!  The harbor was pretty busy, mostly ferry traffic (no cargo ships).  We headed up the western side where the statue is and bounced around on the ferry wakes there for 20 minutes or so taking pictures of ourselves, the boat, and Louise, all with the statue in the background of course.  Then we headed across to the SW corner of Manhattan and followed it eastward into the East River.  This was where the tide planning really paid off.  The East River flows up to 5 knots in either direction and we had it favorable to us.  At one point we saw 11 knots speed over ground!  Seeing all of the iconic buildings was amazing, looking down the "concrete canyons" as we passed each street was cool, and Anna loved seeing Rikers Island (big fan of Law & Order).  It was all sooo awesome, totally worth going through NYC.

We anchored between two mooring fields on the west side of City Island.  Mark joined us there a couple hours later.  For some reason we had a craving for Chinese food so we picked Mark up in our dinghy and used one of the yacht clubs docks (Mark knew someone there).  We grabbed Chinese to go and ate in the cockpit of Marks boat, a pretty nice 40+ foot center cockpit Hunter.  He works from the boat, taking phone calls from people who want to ship cars and then setting them up with shipping services.

After our night there we had a pretty uneventful day to Port Jefferson (can't remember anything about the day 2 months later!).  We got fuel and water there.  The next day was the adventure with the rain that we actually did write about back then!

We continued eastward from there, past Fishers Island and Block Island.  As we passed Fishers Island we noticed North Dumpling Island with its lighthouse, solar panels, wind generator, and well-maintained look.  Apparently it is owned by the Segway guy!  It was on this stretch that we encountered our first real fog.  We could see it off in the distance for a while and then finally we were in it.  Visibility was probably still 1/4 mile so it didn't seem too dangerous and was mostly a "cool new experience".  We don't have radar but do transmit our location on AIS so any large commercial traffic would know where we are.  Everyone else is slow enough or very very dumb, so ultimately we felt pretty safe.  Eventually we found Sea Otter at Cutty Hunk Island (five miles from Martha's Vineyard) and spent the night there.

Passage through the Cape Cod Canal was on the agenda for the following day.  On the approach to the canal we remembered that one of our battens was twisted in the sail so put the sail up partways to remove and reinsert it.  We radioed Sea Otter to ensure them that we were not crazy.  A few minutes later they put their sail up…their engine was not being reliable so they wanted to have a ready backup in the narrow canal.  A good strategy, though I think we did read something later about it being prohibited to sail through the canal.  (As we have gained more sailing experience we now frequently have the sail up in canals for various reasons.)  At the end of the canal it became foggy again for a couple miles.  We continued up the coast and anchored in Plymouth Bay.  This was easily the most wavy anchorage that we have chosen.

And the next day we arrived in Boston!  It is a busy port and there were a lot of wakes.  We went into the main harbor in downtown Boston and anchored just outside of a mooring field, sort of the only place to anchor in the proper harbor itself.  It was a wavy spot during the day with ferries and water taxis rushing around all the time but the location was unbeatable.  We eventually found out a good place to take the dinghy and spent several days before Aaron's brother Eliot's wedding exploring downtown Boston.  One evening Laura & Brandon, Eve & Jameson, and Nick & Laci came out to check out the boat and have sundowners.  Aaron got a warning from the Coast Guard for going too fast on the last trip shuttling them back and forth from the dinghy dock.

During that past week or so we were in touch with the lady who was going to enjoy the boat for the long wedding weekend and watch Louise.  Negotiations with her fell through as she asked for us to cover more and more of her costs and she apparently would not derive any value from being on the boat (we thought it was an attractive offer to spend the 4th of July weekend in Boston on a boat!).  So we took the boat a few miles east, moored it at a yacht club, and took Louise to the family's rental house for the wedding weekend.  We had a great time!

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