An update is long overdue. When we last left off I was debating whether to run inside the NJ Inter Coastal Waterway (NJ-ICW), or head back out and run a long the coast. The forecast called for continued Small Craft Warnings and anywhere from 3-5' seas depending on where you were. A call to Sea Tow in the morning sealed the deal. They said that hundreds of boats have made the trip as long as you go through at mid-tide or above. A quick look at the tide charts revealed that low tide was right around noon which meant that we would be traveling at mid tide and below, not mid tide and above. So outside we went.
The route from the Barnegat inlet into and across the bay to the marina where we stayed was quite the circuitous path. None of the markers are on the charts since they get moved all the time as the shoals shift around. The way back out was a bit easier since we could just follow our previous track on the chart plotter. But it turns out that wasn't good enough and we still bumped the bottom at one spot even though we were well inside the marked channel. I guess that's the NJ-ICW!
Running out of the Barnegat inlet was even more of a wild ride than coming in, but once we were clear and able to turn south we had most of the seas behind us so the ride was bearable. Next stop, Cape May.
The ride was pretty uneventful until we got off Atlantic City. We were out in clear water well outside the markets when up ahead I spotted something odd floating in the water. As we got closer, it became clear that whatever it was, it stretched for several hundred feet. There were some off floats along it, but it was otherwise unmarked. We turned and went well around it, but what a mess it would have been if we were running at night and ran into it. As best we could tell it was a dredge line (the pipes they use for dredging) that had been anchored there.
Once to Cape May, we decided to hang out for a day to rest up and get a few things done on the boat. It's a nice spot, but I'm glad we were there off-season.
We left Cape Map at 7:00AM to catch favorable tides and currents and had a quick run through the Cape May Canal which cuts through to the Delaware Bay. Once through, the Delaware bay was like glass so we decided to crank it up and put a few miles behind us. Despite being a little overcast, it couldn't have been an easier run all the way up to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal just south of Wilmington. Other than a tow exiting as we entered, there was no other commercial traffic - just us and a handful of sail boats. We were thinking of stopping for the night at Chesapeake City which is about 2/3 of the way through the canal, but it looked crowded and it was only 11:30 when we passed, so we decided to keep on going. On the Chesapeake side there were a couple of places where we were thinking of anchoring, but again it was so early and the water was so calm that we decided to just go for it and run all the way to Annapolis.