Wednesday Dec 25, 2013
As soon as we could see, about 7 AM, we motored out of the anchorage and into New York Harbor. This was not a place for us to practice navigating in the dark. But then it was Christmas morning and, other than the bright orange ferries in and out of Staten Island, traffic was light.
There are several channels to choose from going out of New York and we wanted to head toward Sandy Hook via the Chapel Hill North Chanel. Then we planned to veer off into Swash Channel and finally Sandy Hook Channel which would skirt the sandbars off Sandy Hook and take us out to the ocean without putting us in the path of a lot of freighters. I was a 1/4 mile into the wrong channel, the main shipping lane called Ambrose Channel, when I realized my mistake. Luckily the water was still deep enough there that I could simply veer off to starboard and cross the shoal to the Chapel Hill North and get back on track.
It was a chilly but beautiful morning with almost no wind. The rollers were big and smooth. Compared with what we’d been through on Long Island Sound, motoring along the sandy beach of the Jersey Shore the ocean seemed about as threatening as a cashmere sweater. Timing is everything.
A couple of hours out of Sandy Hook Tom came unglued and began shouting at me to get the camera. He’d seen a pod of a dozen dolphins. They’d spotted our boat and came racing across the sea to play. They dove under the bow and I worried we’d plow into them, but make no mistake, they were the ones in control. They surrounded the cockpit and took turns streaking up along the hull and surfing the bow wave. That, along with the calm weather, was all the Christmas gift we could ask for. I tried to take pictures and video but they are so fast and I am not great with the vid, so I didn’t get much.
We pulled into Manasqan inlet about 3 PM. Everything was shut so we tied up to a marina’s fuel dock. We wouldn’t mind buying some fuel, but didn’t really need it, so if someone showed up we’d be glad, if not we’d just head on down the coast.
I made Sausage Gorgonzola soup for dinner and we toasted our first Christmas on the ocean with hot buttered whiskey. Which is as good as hot buttered rum.
Fa la la la la la la!
We spent the evening checking all our weather and current information. it looked like our weather window would stay open long enough for us to get to Atlantic City the next day, so we got everything ready for an early departure.
We’ve become used to floating docks and this one was fixed, so we had to pay attention to lines as the tide went in and out, making sure there was enough slack and that nothing got caught up. Some of the bumps and squeaks in the night woke us up and we went to check on what made the noise, but everything was a-ok.