Monday, July 9, 2018

Little Triangle Loop Week #1, 23-29June2018

  It is Saturday, 22 June, the day we had scheduled to leave Hampton, VA for the start of our Summer 2018 trip. We actually were planning to start this trip back in May, but Mr. Perkins decided he needed some major repairs. We discovered on some short day trips back in May that we were losing engine coolant. As there were no external leaks present, I made a best guess that the closed coolant glycol system that operates under pressure was losing to the open raw water system. The raw water system uses a heat exchanger to cool the closed system with water drawn in from the outside source the boat is sitting in. A leak from the pressurized glycol system through the heat exchanger to the raw water system would not be seen as it would go out the exhaust with the raw water. It is not a good thing to happen, but we were in a good place for it to happen. Trans Atlantic Diesels, an old Perkins dealer, is across the York River from Wormley Creek Marina where we keep SummerTime while in the Hampton Roads Area. The mechanics at Wormley pull off the Perkins' Manicooler (Brits name) and I take it over to TAD. They rebuild the Manicooler in 2 weeks, and in mid June the Manicooler is back on the Perkins. After some short runs verify the repair is the cure, we move the boat to Hampton Public Piers dock where we spent a lot of the Summer of 2017. We are near our daughter and her family there if we need help of any kind. So it is Saturday, and we are trying to decide if the Chesapeake Bay is going to be calm enough for us to travel. About 12:50 we get away from the City docks. We are headed to what we plan to be an anchorage in the Great Wicomico River. The Coast Guard is having a busy day on the radio, and one of their watches is for a boat that just happens to be outside the mouth of the Hampton River. We contact the USCG, and report we are standing by with the broken down boat. The couple is worried about Thunderstorms. Barbara pulls up the NOAA radar screen on my phone, and Barbara tells them there are no Thunderstorms in the area to worry about for the next 3 hours. The VA State Water Police arrive after about 10 minutes, and we continue on our way. We round the corner of the Fort Monroe Point and head up the west side of the Bay. The land is sheltering the bay from the westerly winds, and we are having a relatively calm ride. Just prior to Wolf Trap Light, or about 3hr into our 6hr trip towards the Wicomico River, we get hit with sprinkles. The heavy rain follows suit. Barbara and I abandon the flybridge for the lower helm. We stay at the lower helm for about an hour before the rain has subsided enough to go back to running from the flybridge. We slowed down through the heavy part of the rain due to visibility. We abandon plans for Wicomico River and go into Godfrey Bay SW of Deltaville.

This is the same area that the Bay kicked our butt last October. It is calm now, and while most boats are anchored in Fishing Bay, we stay in Godfrey Bay as it offers the most protection from any storms that might appear from the SW, which has been their route all week. We watch several groups of Cow Nose Rays swimming near the boat.

It is peaceful, and stays that way through the night.
        We wake on Sunday morning and try to get going early. I have it in my mind that we can get to Rock Hall, Md from this spot in one day. Rock Hall has a sheltered harbor, and a good marina to overnight at. We run hard most of the day, the wind is behind us, but we have half our time with the current of a rising tide, and half against the current of the falling tide. About half way through the day, I spot something large floating near the main channel. I go over to check it out, and determine it is the corpse of a large dolphin.

It is hard to identify as Barbara does not wish to get too close, and a good portion of it has been eaten by scavengers. Before we get to the Bay Bridge at Kent Narrows-Annapolis area, we are hit by sprinkles again. This time it does not get to be a hard rain, and we do not have to slow down, or move to the lower helm. It is unbearably hot (90s) today, and because the wind is behind us, there is no cooling breeze up on the fly bridge. Rock Hall is looking too far off. I look in the Guide Books to see what else may be near without taking a long trip up a side river. I find Podickory Yacht and Beach Club right on the Bay just N of the Bay Bridge. We call and make reservations. It is about 2hr closer than Rock Hall, and we get to their docks about 6:30. We tie up and check in. There are two parties going on there, so the place is noisy until about dark, when the parties break up. Barbara and I go to the main building and get a fresh shower, something we have not had for 2 days. The shower feels very good after this hot day on the bay.
       We leave Podickory early in the morning. It is a narrow channel from the marina through several hundred yards of 1-2' water. It requires close attention to get out as the wind is blowing a little more than the NOAA marine forecast. NOAA was calling for less than 10kt of wind with seas of 1'. We are in winds greater than 15kt and seas in the 2-3' range. Regardless, we follow the course laid out on the GPS to get us to the East bank of the bay. And there are lots of people out fishing, so it can not be too rough. We are however only able to run about 7kt due to the swells until we get land shelter from the wind generated waves after about 2 hours. We pick up speed and the rest of the trip to our destination of Delaware City Marina is pretty good. We get to the C&D Canal without much trouble. Just before we get to the canal, we are caught by a lot of boats and passed. We pass hardly anyone this day. Most of the boats are express cruisers, or what us trawler people call "go fast" boats. They are all in a hurry. The C&D is better to us this day than it was last September when we went to Philadelphia. The current is with us and we do not have to run hard to get through the canal. We do pass two sail boats in the canal that are flying the flag of Denmark. They are on the AIS, and one of them generally speaks for both. I finally get to pass a boat, actually two. I do this as we leave the "NO WAKE" zone by Chesapeake City. We continue to ease along with the C&D current pushing us. We get to Delaware City Marina on the "old" Chesapeake & Delaware Canal about 4:20. The dockmaster talked us in the last mile as the tide is at full low, and the channel entrance is narrow. The dock boys here do their usual marvelous job of using current and wind to get you secured to a dock. They are some of the most efficient dock personnel I have seen in 5 years of running SummerTime. We pull to the fuel docks first and take on the first fuel since Wormley Creek. It takes 147.9 gallons to fill SummerTime's tank. The second most fuel we have ever put in her. We secure the boat after moving to our dock after fueling. We walk into town (actually down the docks) for dinner. We eat at Lewinsky's on Clinton, a visitor favorite. Our two previous visits here we have hiked to La Matesina, which probably has the best "meat lovers" pizza in the country. We think we will for once get to the Delaware City ice cream parlor after Lewinsky's, but the dessert menu at Lewinsky's is too good. We have a leisurely walk back to SummerTime along Canal St.
        We are in a sluggish state when we get up on Tuesday morning. Both of us were up through the early morning with diarrhea. We do get going about 9:40 from the old C&D canal. We are bucking the tide on the Delaware Bay and a light wind. But the bay is being good, and we soldier on. About half way to our destination of Cape May the winds start to pick up. The tide is now behind us, and though bucking the wind, our speed has increased 20% to over 9kt. We are traveling with sail boats and power boats down the Delaware Bay. About 3 hours from the Cape May canal, the winds have kicked up substantially. The tide is with us going out the bay now, but is making some nice waves bucking the wind. About every 8th wave, SummerTime's bow is going in up to the rail.

This goes on for nearly 20 miles until we are in the shelter of Cape May, and the waves subside. We get to Utsch's Marina about 4:20. I spend time rinsing the salt off of SummerTime before going for our own showers. We go to the Lobster House Restaurant  for dinner. We both appear to be over our earlier maladies. It was a good meal.
       We leave Cape May at a reasonable time, but not one that will help with tides. We do good for a ways, until we pass Hereford Inlet north of Wildwood. Either NJ, or I, has dyslexia on which side red markers are to be on. I run SummerTime aground at slow speed as I slowed for some fisherman near the channel. It is not a hard grounding, and with a little power we go across the sand bar between the two red markers and into the deep channel.

We continue on our way, and the rest of our trip is uneventful until we get to Atlantic City, NJ. There are a number of low bridges crossing the NJ Intracoastal Waterway here. We are approaching the first one too early, and hearing other boats calling for a bridge opening, we realize from the answer of the bridge operator we might as well slow down. We only have to wait about 15min for this bridge to open and we are through. We are not so lucky at the next, or Albany St. bridge. The bridge tender states it is rush hour, and he will not open again until 6pm. It is a couple of minutes to 5. I move away from the bridge, and practice holding position against tides and with a beam wind for 55 minutes. We get through the bridge at 6pm, and proceed to Farley State Marina at the Golden Nugget Casino in Atlantic City. The dock girl is very efficient, almost as efficient as the dock crew at Delaware City. We have a nice evening eating on the boat.
       On Thursday morning, I check the engine before starting. The alternator belt feels a little loose, but I do not think it will be a problem. We motor across the harbor to another marina for fuel. After fueling, the alternator belt goes to squealing every time we try to accelerate the engine. I tighten the belt now, leaning over a more than warm engine. It takes three attempts to get the belt tight as there is really nothing to pry against, or way to get a long pry bar for leverage in the tight space. It is after 11 before we get away from the fuel dock. About 5 miles from the fuel dock, and just past a dredging operation, I feel a bite on my leg. It is a green head fly. And there is another bite. I look around, ant the flies are everywhere. There are tens of them landed on the underside of the bimini top. Barbara gets out a flyswatter and begins killing or shooing flies.

This goes on for well over an hour, until we change direction sufficiently to have wind off our side. Then the flies are gone. We proceed North on the NJICW passing through Little Egg Harbor and Barnegat Bays. The water coming in Barnegat Inlet is green as ocean water should be. It is a cool day compared to other days as the wind is blowing. We are headed to Canal Point Marina where we have had a reservation for over 2 weeks. We intend to leave SummerTime there while we take a short trip to Ohio. We get to Canal Point Marina at Point Pleasant, NJ at about 6. We had called and got a slip number as we knew we were not going to make their closing time of 5pm. It is a nice marina with fixed piers surrounded by condos and a canal system. The Pleasant Point Canal is obviously not a "NO WAKE" zone. We are rocked, even though off the canal, every few minutes by a passing boat.
      We get up on Friday morning the 29th, and go to the Marina office to check in. The staff offers to carry me to Hertz to pick up a rental car. I pick up the car, and we secure things on SummerTime. We leave Point Pleasant headed for central Ohio just before noon.

No comments:

Post a Comment