Day one begins very early with the traditional beginning of every successful sea voyage, the pooping of the dogs. Once this ritual has been completed we leave the dock at Silver Cloud behind at 0500. Its 30 degrees on this particular morning so our breaths are fogging up the inside of the enclosure making it impossible to see the bow of the boat. We have to remove the windscreen portion so we have a clear field of vision. Alright, now its really fricken freezing. We’re dressed like Eskimo’s in February.
We motor slowly out of the river and down the bay arriving at the BI buoy at the first hint of daylight. When we get to the beginning of the channel visual navigation is still spotty so we turn to a time tested maritime navigational tool, we followed the parade of fishermen blasting down the channel on their way to try their luck at stripper fishing.
We have no trouble with our trip through the channel and are out the inlet by 0700. The windscreen now goes back into place, life is good. The wind is from the NW at 10 to 15 knots and we’re headed south so we just unroll the genoa and are off and running. We’re comfortably running along at better than 7 knots with Rover the autopilot steering.
When I fired up the autopilot it was love at first use. So naming became an issue, I didn’t think a woman’s name would work because I didn’t want Christy to become jealous of my love for another woman on board. Men’s names were out as well because that would just be gay. Then I realized how much I enjoy having the dogs, Molly and Tucker on board. I figured one more dog couldn’t hurt and this one actually earns its keep not just feed me, poop me, watch me sleep. So Rover it is.
The plan was that if we made it to Atlantic City by noon we would just keep going. At a little past 1100 we were abeam of A.C. so we kept rolling along, for about 2 miles then the wind got flukey and I lived with it until we were down to 3.7 knots. At that rate we wouldn’t make Cape May until way past the fall of darkness so we started to motor sail. The wind, sensing my play challenged us by clocking around to SSW at 8 knots, not in the forecast at all. We countered by sheeting in tight and close reaching with the engine still running. The wind then played the trump card and came around to “dead on the nose”. Okay, this round to the wind, we drop sail and motor the last 25 miles to Cape May.
While we were motoring along with Rover at the wheel, Christy exclaims “Look, something big in the water”. Immediately I envision a Stingray sunning itself, then she says “ Really big!” now I’m getting to my feet to catch a glimpse of what I’m sure is going to be a whale breaching. Suddenly she disconnects Rover and throws the wheel hard to Starboard and “it” comes into view, a huge log or boom of some type. Its at least a hundred feet long and about 14 inches in diameter. We miss it with room to spare but not much room, that would have been one of those “Couple Sinks on First Day of Trip” headlines. Christy asks what would have happened if we had hit it, I tell her we’d have cut through it like butter. Ignorance is bliss, right?
The approach to Cape May canal was straight forward and we rode the flood tide in at better than 8 knots. We motored slowly through the harbor and took a slip Utsches Marina. After pooping the dogs we walked to The Lobster House, dinner rocked. We made our way home and were tucked in by 2200.
Its been a great day.