Well we had a hell of a run of nice travel days and fun stops. Now we’re worried that we’ll never get to New York. It’s not that we mind Cape May, but storms and big waves are in our future as far out as the people who predict these things are predicting these things. Grrrr. Don’t they know we have friends and family to meet and packages to collect in New York?
Sunday morning the forecast for Delaware Bay was horrible, and the actual conditions reported by the NOAA weather buoys were worse. We don’t voluntarily travel in six-foot waves. Tim said we could stay another night in Delaware City, which wasn’t as magnanimous as it sounds since he had about a thousand feet of empty dock.
Our heroes Jeff and Ann famously celebrated Sundays aboard High Drama and No Drama with “Bloodies and Beethoven.” We aren’t that high-brow, but we fired up some Bluegrass gospel and settled back into our wise decision not to travel. Praise the Lord, we saw the light.
The good news is that the extra day provided time to ferry over to Pea Patch Island, which on previous trips through here we’d only managed to visit from afar by drone.
Pea Patch—in the middle of the Delaware River—is home to Fort Delaware, which protected Philadelphia and Wilmington from Confederate attacks that never came. Apparently it didn’t occur to the designers that mid-nineteenth century armies were using cannons and other heavy artillery—not horses, lances, and spears—such that a medieval moat probably wouldn’t do much good no matter how cool it looks.
Then they stacked up Rebel POWs in nasty barracks outside the fort.
Now, Fort Delaware is just a neat tourist attraction run by the Delaware Park Service.
In addition to all the history stuff, the Park Service is quite proud of and protective of the large colony of brown bats living in the fort. They also host “paranormal tours.” No offense to anyone who believes in ghosts, but spending Delaware taxpayer money to subsidize crack-pot searches for the spirits of dead confederate prisoners amongst a large colony of brown bats is bat-shit crazy.
Monday looked to be a nice travel window for the run down the Delaware River to Cape May. Light variable winds and moderate waves in the forecast. Perfect. Fortunately—unlike on our trips farther north—we don’t have to worry about fog in these parts.
When we woke up and looked out that nice travel window, of course, the view was obscured by fog. What the fog is going on here? As everyone who ever encountered fog said, however, we figured “it’ll burn off soon.” Plus, fog in part is why God invented radar. So off we went. Not too bad in the Delaware City canal.
Truthfully, although the river was a bit foggier and although the C&D Canal Authority shut down traffic because of it, it wasn’t too bad.
Delaware fog turns out to be the kind of fog that Nova Scotia fog and Maine fog would bully on the playground.
The Delaware Bay has a series of shoals, with menacing lighthouses plunked on them to warn people like us. Every single time through, we see those lighthouses in the distance and mistake them for big boats heading our way with ill-intent.
Yesterday we were minding our own business, relying on autopilot, and glancing up from the iPad just often enough to make sure we were keeping those lighthouses on our port side. Maybe a bit more glancing up was in order, however, because suddenly one of those lighthouses was named Majestic and was bearing down on us at a twenty-five-knot closing speed.
Despite our fog of stupidity we dodged her—and survived the five-foot wake she gave us just off his stern—and we left a much larger safety margin for the next few lighthouses steaming up the river. We also gave the ferry plenty of room to get into the Cape May Canal ahead of us.
We got to South Jersey Marina just fine, tied up, and settled in with a plan to run up to Atlantic City this morning. No rain predicted. Moderate waves. Might be uncomfortable, but doable. But just as we were discussing that plan with Painkiller, the storm hit. Eddie Rabbitt may love a rainy night when the lightening lights up the sky, but we don’t. Especially when said lightening strikes a transformer and knocks out the marina shore power, which is what this one did. Then again, no shore power in part is why God invented diesel generators.
1.21 Gigawatts! If Tumbleweed had a Flux Capacitor and we could hit the connecting hook at precisely 76.45 knots, right now we’d be in New York next week.**
Instead, Ida’s remnants are going to roil the Atlantic for the next few days. We’re stuck here until at least Saturday. If it stretches out beyond that, Dana might qualify as a Real Housewife of Jersey and Doug might join the mafia. At least Cape May is a decent little town though, with shops and restaurants and a bookstore Dana found on one of our prior stops.
Cape May claims to have been the first “seaside resort” in the country. Maybe that’s true, but it’s bizarre that vacationers were frolicking in the waves while just up the river an army was waiting behind a moat in case King Arthur laid siege. Either way, Cape May does have a beach.
We’re not sure what else we’ll do to fill time but hopefully something other than storms will come along.
*RIP Merle Haggard.
**Shame, shame, shame on anyone who hasn’t seen Back to the Future multiple times. And yes, we’re pretty sure none of the Georgetowns were named for Marty’s wimpy father. Hello McFly. Anybody in there?