Later that Tuesday evening at Delaware City I checked the NOAA wave height forecast for the Atlantic off the New Jersey coast. It showed 2 – 3 feet on Wednesday, 2 feet on Thursday and then 4 -5 feet on Friday. You don’t want to know what it said about Saturday through Monday where the forecast ended.
We waffled around a little and decided we should probably leave for Cape May, at the south end of Delaware Bay and the Atlantic in the morning. We left late at 7:15 because I had not paid. The thunderstorm had prevented that the day before, and everything was closed up when it finished. Also, I was headed the wrong way and preferred to have an experienced marina guy (Tim at Delaware City is well known) secure our lines while we turned the boat around with the strong current in the very narrow channel. That was necessary because the marina side ties were full, with a boat a few feet in front of us and a piling right behind. The current was wanting to send my bow right into the bow of the guy in front.
The strong current at that time in the Delaware river and the top part of the bay was another decider. It started us traveling south at 13 mph. Our timing looked good, so instead of reserving at Cape May I called the Senator Frank S Farley Marina by the Golden Nugget casino in Atlantic City. That was a third of the way up New Jersey coast and made the total trip length today 100 miles. That leaves another 100 miles to New York harbor tomorrow with waves predicted even better than today.
Our first open ocean experience was great. 2 to 3 foot waves turned out was smoother than expected. This was due to the much longer wave period of 7 seconds. These go easily by and move us up and down more than roll us. The forecasts give the period as well as the wave height. Not sure how they can predict such things, but glad to have the information.
We traveled about 1 ½ miles out from shore to avoid a few shallow areas. Saw a couple of big ships but only one or two smaller boats. Keith and Sue both saw either manta rays or very large stingrays several times. Sunny weather with little wind and easy smooth seas. The ICW can be easy too. We’ve gone all day and passed one boat, but you still have to watch a lot more than on the ocean.
We were docked by 5 and went over to the Golden Nugget Casino for dinner. Among many restaurants there we chose a buffet that pleased all of us. It was a long day but relaxing for all, including Keith and myself, who shared the piloting. Ocean travel is great, and not nearly a scary as we thought. Even so, I’ll still watch the weather and wave reports.