South Trip 2022 Part 1, Aglaia - Hugh Nicholson
We left Toronto around 9:30 am on September 8th and arrived in Oswego around 6 am on the 9th. The water was calm and the trip relatively uneventful. That morning we tried to dock at the Oswego Yacht Club but found the area too shallow and weedy to access. Instead we tied up at the wall in front of the Best Western (for $1 a foot and $5 for breakfast). We cleared customs around 8am using Oswego Marina's ROAM terminal and received a one year cruising permit. We spent remainder of the day purchasing a USA phone and grocery shopping.
We started up the Oswego Canal and only made it as far as Fulton, as Lock #1 shut down for bridge repairs. Over the next four days we spent an exciting and nerve racking time dodging numerous logs as we passed through the 23 locks on the Erie Canal. We arrived in Watertown around late morning on the 4rd day. The highlight of the this part of the trip was an amazing desert at a local restaurant.
After Watertown we stayed in Catskill for three days and we were fortunate enough to get tickets to Shelley's Shadow, a play by Canadian playwright, Brad Fraser, that was staged at the Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill. A play well worth seeing.
We left Catskill Creek on September 19th and two days later anchored behind the Statute of Liberty in New York’s upper harbour, a convenient anchorage I've used in the past. It was exciting to sit in the cockpit that night sipping wine and looking out at the lights on the statue. The next day was equally exciting but of a different nature.
On the 21st we sailed through New York's lower harbour, around Sandy Hook and out into the Atlantic. We motored into 10-15 knot winds. Over the next few hours the wind grew increasingly stronger and sensing that hurricane Fiona was moving up the east coast faster than anticipated, we headed back to New York. We had great winds taking us back and we once again passed Sandy Hook and then had the "pleasure" of traveling through the lower and upper harbours of New York in pitch blackness, under rainy and windy conditions, trying to miss channel markers and the ships entering and leaving New York. Certainly exciting but not fun! Finally we managed to get back to our old anchorage around 3am. We spent the rest of the night dragging anchor as the winds built into the 30' and 40's. With two anchors down we managed to stay put the next day and evening.
As Fiona hovered off New York the winds continued to grow stronger, so we booked a mooring at Atlantic Highlands Yacht Club just off Sandy Hook. We picked up the lines off the mooring ball in 40 to 50 kt winds. With Carolyn on the bow and me at the helm we made a few unsuccessful attempts and were finally helped by another sailor and the club's skipper.
Other than an uneasy night worrying that the boat would break free of the mooring ball, we spent the four fine days at Atlantic Highlands waiting for a weather window. The four days were spent on mundane things such as laundry, grocery shopping, etc. but we did however manage to explore the area, find a restaurant with great clam chowder, and see another play: Steel Magnolias in Atlantic Highland’s First Avenue Dessert Playhouse Theatre. For the $25 admission we not only had the chance to see a good play but were also served with a choice of dessert and coffee. In addition we shared our table with a former director and her daughter, formerly the stage but now a law student.
On September 28th the wind dropped to 15-20 and we sailed towards Cape May with about a dozen other boats. Thee 24 hour passage was very rough as the winds increased but we made it safely to Cape May. The next morning the weather looked good so we rounded Cape May into now tropical storm Ivan, and sailed down the Delaware Bay in 50+ knot winds and confused seas. We actually passed three freighters anchored due to the bad weather. Closer to the Delaware River the wind dropped to 10-15 knots, and we passed a few more anchored ships before entering the C&D Canal.
After going aground and anchoring in Chesapeake City, we proceeded to Annapolis where we had to wait out high winds from Ian, and on October 7th we started down Chesapeake Bay staying at Solomons Island the first night, Reedville (Cockrell Creek) the following night and then Deltaville on the 9th. October 10th we were hauled at Broad Creek Marina to do some repairs and on the 18th were back in the water.
The Broad Creek Marina was a great experience. We made some new friends: Brandon and Carley who were preparing their Cabo Rico for their third year of a five year cruise, and Daphne who is getting her 39 ft sailboat ready for a solo sail around the world.
On the 19 we met my friend Billy from Baltimore, and he is now sailing south with us on his Cal 35.
After overnighting in Hampton and then Great Bridge, we anchored at Buck Island waiting for the weather to clear before sailing down the Albemarle Sound tomorrow (October 24th). With the hold up due to the Hurricanes and repairs we are now three weeks behind schedule. We hope to arrive in Miami in late November but that means picking up the pace.