Thursday, May 25, 2017

Cape May - We explore Cape May shores

We actually saw the sun today so we visited the lighthouse/
We awoke to a driving rain in the morning, what else is new? It eventually stopped and the rest of the day was almost okay except for the 60 degree temperatures. We had rented a car for provisioning yesterday afternoon so we took today to cruise around the beaches of Cape May.

If you take the round the Cape route on the inside, you'll have to contend with the standing waves
You have two choices in passing by Cape May. You can take either the Cape May Canal with the 55 ft bridges or go around the cape and brave the currents. Going around the Cape you have other choices. Either the inside passage taken by the Whale Watcher boat which hugs the shore, one a little farther out or one that takes the channel used by the large ships which adds a lot of miles to the route. If you go around the Cape be prepared to brave the currents if you select a time where the current is against a strong wind. The waves build up and are square. That was the case today in the video and in the photos I took. We've done both, taken the route around the Cape and also the route under the bridges. If I choose the Cape route, I'm very careful to do it in calm winds and slack tide. The local fishermen can take the standing waves created by opposing wind and tide but I don't want to try my hand at that without a lot of practice.

There is not 55 ft at high tide, but the formula given below works
The route under the two Cape May Canal bridges is fine if you can clear the height restrictions. They are rated at 55 ft at high tide but that is not the case (see photo). The way to figure if you can clear is to start with a clearance of 58 ft at low tide and adjust the height for both the predicted tide per the tide tables and the actual vs predicted delta measured at the NOAA water height station at the mouth of the canal on the western end. So the equation works out to be 58ft - (tide) - (water height above predicted per the NOAA station). If the resultant number is more than your mast, then you can clear the two bridges.

As an example, when I came through on Tuesday the tide was at 1 ft above MLLW as given by the tide station at the western end of the canal. The NOAA actual vs predicted gave the result that the actual tide was 1 ft above predicted so the equation yielded: 58 - 1.0 ft tide - 1.0 ft actual vs predicted = 56 ft. With my 55.3 ft mast I had plenty of room, over 1/2 ft!  Just to keep things interesting, the height boards were unreadable for the bottom half due to scum and several were broken off below the 52 ft mark. No problem, I've been through here a dozen times and my formula has always worked.

There's a great fish market over at The Lobster House, we crab stuffed flounder tonight with stuffed clams
Over the last few days with the east wind and heavy rains, the water has risen even higher, almost 1.5 ft above predicted so if you  venture through the canal route, be very sure to look at that predicted vs actual tide station along with the tide per the tide stations.

The winds on Friday are close to 20 kts all day so we'll take yet another day off and start north again on Saturday for Atlantic City and hopefully for Atlantic Highlands in New York Harbor on Sunday, if the weather holds.


2SaltyDawgs said...

My wife and I live in Portsmouth Va. We left here Jan 20th and did the ICW to Key West. Just returned a week ago. Not happy to be back on land! Love your pics and writing. We went to many of the same places. Hope to see you on the water one day. In the process of selling our home and everything connecting us to land. Will purchase a larger sailboat and head south after hurricane season. Out Island Bahamas and Caribean this time. On to South Pacific afterwards.
Blessings to you both,
Skip Spires

Bob423 said...

Skip, anytime you're in the area just drop in. You can always tell where we are exactly at the left in the blog, under "Follow Fleetwing on Google Map". We always have Spot on when we're moving.

It sounds like a great adventure in going to the Bahamas and especially the Caribbean. I've chartered in the island about a dozen times but never taken my own boat over. The South Pacific sounds even more exotic. I have a hard time imagining the spares one must take along on a trip around the world. Along the ICW it's always easy to get your boat fixed if you have a problem although it can be costly.

We will be leaving again in the fall around 9/15, look for us along the ICW and stop by if you're near.