There is an intracoastal waterway through most of New Jersey. It is a state-maintained waterway, which according to a New York friend, means “unmaintained” waterway. The depths are unreliability shallow, putting many boats aground who unwisely attempt to take the sheltered waterway rather than chance a possible angry Atlantic Ocean.
So, the best way to travel New Jersey by cruising boat is to run offshore – go around the state traveling in the Atlantic. Such a travel itinerary means that you do not visit many places in the state, have to wait in a protected harbor for favorable weather, but it is the consensus of most cruisers that “going around” might be the best way to experience this state. A fast boat can make the run around New Jersey in one day; trawler-speed vessels tend to take two or three days for the journey.
The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal connects the Chesapeake Bay to the Delaware Bay. Unlike the Chesapeake, Delaware Bay is open to the Atlantic, subject to rough seas, and has no places to hide along the coasts if weather turns difficult. Accurate weather reports are important to judge when the Delaware Bay should be attempted.
Chesapeake City, located on the C & D Canal, is a quaint little town and a good place to stop awaiting favorable weather. It is a welcoming town, with a free dock that will fit 3 boats, and a small harbor for anchoring.
Traveling at 7 knots, it is a full day from Chesapeake City to the mouth of Delaware Bay and Cape May, NJ, at the southern tip of the state. Cape May has a large basin that was excavated during WWII to provide a safe harbor for shipping vessels which were threatened by Nazi submarines. A canal was dug to the Delaware Bay side of the peninsula to allow boats to enter the harbor from the bay side or from the Atlantic. Today, there are marinas along the harbor and a major Coast Guard Training Station. An area for anchoring is next to the Coast Guard.
The city of Cape May is a tourist town. It has a big walking street with tacky gift shops, similar to St. George St. in St. Augustine, only larger. There is a large collection of Victorian homes, most overly redone to the point that they have become Disneyesk or cartoonish. There are some great restaurants – one near the marinas and a small Greek restaurant downtown were positive experiences – and a theater with a great reputation, so there are some redeeming qualities for the town.
After a wait of two days for the winds to subside, which had made the Atlantic angry and rough, a trip up to Atlantic City was made on a day with rougher waters than desired, but conditions that were manageable. As Atlantic City became near, a large wall began to protrude above the fog. Closer views revealed that it was a new hotel, the design resembling a wall.
The casinos and fast life are not appealing to this crew, so the anchorage across the inlet at Brigantine was chosen. This location provided a view of Atlantic City with the Harrah’s Hotel directly across the inlet. At night, the hotel turns into a lighted billboard.
A New Jersey State channel marker identifying the route into Brigantine. It is a stick with a small triangle attached, that looks like one of those emergency reflectors that people carry in their cars.
Fortunately, a calm day with smooth seas followed the night in Brigantine and a long, long day moved Last Dance all the way around the state to Staten Island, NY and Great Kills harbor. One piece of history learned in New York was that the Dutchman, Henry Hudson, named many of the areas along the Hudson River and “kills” is Dutch for “creek.” Thus, Great Kills is a very large creek.
One state with just two stops.
|Sunrise Over the Atlantic Ocean|