Friday, September 16, 2016

Cape May at Utsch's Marina

A lot of boats in the Coast Guard anchorage at Cape May
The tide just was not right for going up the Delaware Bay. We prefer to use the Cape May Canal to reach Delaware Bay and tides were just out of phase for that. Looking ahead it appears that Tuesday will be the first good day for going north. One is always free to go around the Cape and we've done that in the past but now we prefer a more moderate path so we'll be here awhile.

Cape May has a fleet and it shows in the local restaurants - fresh!
For the weekend entertainment we rented a car from Enterprise for $49 from Friday to Monday.It's their weekend special at $10/day with taxes and other fees. We went shopping today for groceries and Ann wants a lobster sandwich on Saturday. Meanwhile I've been following the postings from on the latest shoaling problems encountered by the memb'ers. In reading through them the common thread is "I ran aground right in the middle of the channel" (Mason Inlet, Little River Buoy 22A, Shallotte Inlet, Minin Creek, McClellanville, Fernandina Beach, etc.)  I've been through these areas a dozen times and they don't vary that much but you do have to really watch what you're doing relative to the buoys and the charted channel. Most of the time the channel shows what was originally dredged but it is usually not centered in the buoys (off-set from the centerline of the channel). The chart makers just can't seem to get the ICW channel to be accurately shown on the charts. The locations of the buoys. on the other hand, are usually (not always) accurately shown. You can see the discrepancy by looking on the chart and seeing the depicted channel not centered between the buoys (which it should be).

The Lobster House has a great fish market
The above areas mentioned all have good paths through them to at least 6 MLW but you have to know the path (unless the latest storm did something exceptional which I doubt - but them I'll find out and let you know when I pass through). I'll be posting on Active Captain along the way and if I find good routes through some of the tough areas, I'll add them as a GPX Route on the blog site.  At least 90% of the paths are stable based upon my experience of the last six years, they don't change much which led me to publish the Guide with guidance on passages through the shallow spots. Given the cost of a grounding it would seem prudent to have all the information possible at your fingertips from all sources.  If there's a grounding I would want to know where relative to the nearest buoy (angle and distance, not just distance or a statement that "I was in the middle of the channel") I would also want to know the tide level and the depth of the captain's keel. I try to provide such data in my posting.

And a moonrise to end the day
From here we'll head to Chesapeake City anchorage which has silted in but then there is a 4.5 MLW path to the deeper anchorage if it's the same as in the spring. If it is, I'll publish a GPX Route on the blog on where to turn for the deeper water. I suspect the two ACOE boats keep the passage open to the depth of their keel (4.5 ft) but it's very narrow and you have to hit it head on at low tide.

On Saturday it's time for the bow repair with 5200 to prevent further leakage into the forward cabin followed by a repair of the VHF cable between the remote in the cockpit and the base station down below - then it time to have some fun by touring around Cape May and having lobster sandwiches!