Friday, August 31, 2012

Atlantic City

The first third, 60 nautical miles of our overnight passage from Block Island, Rhode Island to Atlantic City, New Jersey couldn't have been better. Sails were set on a beam reach with a course set for 240 degrees toward Atlantic City. Simple Life was flying along at 7-7.9 kts with a northwesterly wind of about 15-20 kts. Everything fell apart at sunset when the wind died and the flies descended upon us. Fortunately it was a cool evening and we have a full enclosure in the cockpit. The enclosure was quickly dropped, zipped and snapped into place. I managed to kill several dozen flies before it was dark. It was the longest night of my life. Between the drone of the engine, the high humidity enclosed in the cockpit and the endless darkness I felt as though I was in some kind of time warp. The mind plays tricks on you when the sun sets on the ocean. We hadn't worked out a watch schedule since it was only one overnight. Somehow I think we both thought we'd just stay awake all night. Big mistake. Joe didn't want to leave the cockpit when I was at the helm. I don't think we'd reestablished the trust that we'd forged during our last trip. It's too early for that. So, when dawn finally arrived we were both wiped out but somehow daylight seemed to soften the edges and make things easier. We'd found our second wind. Atlantic City was only 59 nautical miles away. In other words 6-8 more hours of motoring in no wind.
Harrah's Atlantic City
We arrived at the Abescon Inlet at Atlantic City around 3:00PM anchoring off the main channel in strong current in the shadow of the casinos and a bridge. It wasn't ideal but we were so exhausted that anywhere would be fine for the night.

The following morning we moved to a more favorable quieter anchorage in a marsh near Brigantine Beach.
Within a short time a couple from the only other boat in the anchorage motored over to our boat in their dinghy. Dan and Cheryl introduced themselves and we chatted for a while. They told us where we could easily find provisions at the end of the harbor. After exchanging boat cards Cheryl invited us to their boat for sundowners to help celebrate her birthday. As I checked out their boat card something clicked. We had actually met Dan six years ago on Block Island! He had just closed his business, sold the house and he and Cheryl were planning their first migration to the Bahamas. It was great to find out that now they had been living aboard for five years and were loving it.
They've had a wealth of experience and were more than willing to share tips that made life aboard a bit easier. Dan has made extensive modifications to their 32' Island Packet named Curieuse including a very inventive method for capturing rainwater in a canvas gutter system which he uses to fill his Jerry cans. Spending the afternoon and early evening with them was a delight. It made the previous evening's ordeal seem like a distant memory. As our friend Ted always reminds us after disastrous happenings on boats, "Don't worry about it, sailors have short memories!"
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