Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Up the Delaware

Well today we finally had some good luck. We’re here in Chesapeake City in the middle of the C&D Canal and the girl in the hotel gave me their password…… So now we’re finally on line again.
Our run down from Atlantic City to Cape May was relatively pleasant with seas on the quarter at about 5-6 feet. It was starting to get a little rough by the time we turned into the Cape May inlet but once inside we were pretty well sheltered. What a surprise we got when we entered the inlet.

Here was this big, so to speak, ship, right smack in the middle of the channel with it’s decks awash. I told Jan that I thought it had run aground on the 13 foot patch and sank there……. However, as we approached, it started to move to the side. As it turned out, the ship was a dredge belonging to the US Army, Corps of Engineers and it was dredging the shoal to make it deeper there.
So, we entered Cape May harbour and proceeded down the very narrow channel to a point half way down and just before the Coast Guard base where there were about a dozen other sailboats and we anchored among them.
That night, you guessed it…. WIND !!! Here we are swinging from an anchor and the wind instantly comes up around 35 knots and stayed there all night. Once again, we stood watches to ensure that we didn’t end up on the beach. Three other boats drifted during the night but got their anchors reset before going ashore.
After the wind abated Jan & I headed up the small harbour towards the canal entrance and got fuel from a local marina. Very close in there with no room to manoeuver.
When we got back to the anchorage, low and behold was the 38 foot steel sailboat Argo V from Rimouski, QUE, with Eduard & Mona on board. We had first met them 15 years ago in Halifax and hadn’t seen them since.
We spent a calm evening at anchor and departed the anchorage in the morning for the 50 mile trek up the Delaware Bay to the C&D Canal to head over to Chesapeake Bay.

The ship channel is quite narrow in the bay and we had to stay close to the edge while dodging 150,000 ton tankers and bulk carriers as they came in at full speed towards Philadelphia.
The lighthouses in Delaware Bay are quite pretty to look at. Most are red and stand alone maintaining a lonely vigil to keep ships safely out of danger.

At last, after some ship dodging and passing by a huge nuclear power plant in Stony Point, NJ we arrived at the C&D Canal.

What a welcome site……. No more ocean travel…… no more big seas……. No more fog…… just some relaxing travelling on our trip south……. And relaxing it was until…… SHIT !!! Jan yelled down to me that the train bridge looked a little low. When I looked up it looked just fine so I told her to keep going. ……… SHIT!!!! For the second time……. From the time I looked out until now, the bridge had been lowered down to it’s 45 foot clearance height to allow a train to cross over it. Now try explaining that one to your insurance company……. “My boat sank because it was hit by a train”!

Sooooooo, it was round and round we go until the train cleared and the bridge raised up again to it’s 160 ft clearance. Man that was a close one! Off we go again and soon arrive in the beautiful little village of Cheapeake City. We’d been here by car a few years ago in the winter and kind of knew what to expect but as you can see from the pictures, this place is beautiful. 99% of the homes were constructed between 1853 and 1854 and still stand as they did back then…… Brightly painted and well maintained. There are plaques on every street corner describing the history of the homes in that area. I took a lot of photos of these beautiful homes, each one looking like a doll house with the odd Inn thrown in. In a nutshell, the entire town was constructed around 1854 for the construction crews who built the C&D Canal. Some of their descendants still own these properties today.

The City docks here are the best value you’ll
ever find as the sign says…..

Frequently, we look out ahead of us and see some huge vessel transiting the canal right off our bows……..

……. And we’re rafted here among friends.

Tomorrow, we leave with the current and head out into Chesapeake Bay and stopping in Georgetown, on the Sassafrass River, or continue on to Baltimore. We’re about 5 days ahead of schedule so that gives us a little more time to enjoy the Chesapeake Bay cruising grounds..

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