Mother, mother ocean, we have heard your call

Jimmy didn’t specify the ocean to which he was referring in “A Pirate Looks At Forty,” but we know from personal experience that the Atlantic can be a real mother.  Also, any trip that starts at 1:42 a.m. by definition promises to be miserable.  Whatever.  Just spin up the radar and keep the North Star off the stern.  The unexpected six-foot slow rollers weren’t too bad.  The day got even brighter after the sun came up through the big lens, which probably wasn’t coincidental.

Thanks to Dana’s expert planning, we rode a helpful current most of the trip, which eliminated a good sixty minutes of wishing we were there already.  Luckily we weren’t going too fast for the obligatory photo of Old Barney, although we were too far off shore for a good one.

Have we ever mentioned how much we dislike the Absecon Inlet?  The Absecon Inlet is no fun even if you time it properly.  Also, while we generally don’t mind Farley State Marina—after all that’s where we first bonded over fear with Second Wave—they didn’t have room because they were prepping for yet another boat show, which is why we spent a long Labor Day laboring to reach Cape May.  The point, of course, is that mentally giving Atlantic City the finger from two miles offshore on our way by absolutely was justified.

Fortunately, there’s this one particular harbor, so far but yet so near.  Almost exactly fifteen hours after slipping the lines at Atlantic Highlands we rolled into Utsch’s in Cape May.

Hey now!  Just like that we’re done with oceans for a good while.  Things are looking up.

Cape May is famous for its many Victorian homes.  This 1860 model is dubbed “Southern Mansion,” and “is set on one-and-a-half acres of award-winning gardens in Cape May’s historic district” according to the website we found.

Cape May also is famous for the cute downtown that has the cute shop where we always end up buying an item or two of apparel we technically don’t need.

Although we love Cape May and were damn happy to get there on Monday, summer decided to hit Tumbleweed with full vengeance, perhaps as karmic payback for three months of daily 70° screenshots Doug has been sending to buddies back in Phoenix.  So mostly we sat on the boat with air conditioners blasting until Wednesday morning, when we headed through the abandoned bridge that scared the crap out of us in 2018 but now we’re not sure why.

The Delaware Bay was teeming with huge ships, but with Buffett as the day’s soundtrack and a favorable current there was nothing but the oppressive heat and humidity to get us down.  Chewin’ on a honeysuckle vine indeed.

Getting from the east side of the bay to the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal, however, did require some quick mental math: If Tumbleweed weighs 32 tons and is traveling at eight knots, and the 50,000-ton tanker Red Rum is a mile behind but closing at fourteen knots, when Tumbleweed cuts across her bow behind the two ships on a reciprocal heading, how much, if anything, will Mallory and Shannon inherit?

Normally through here we stop at Delaware City.  Great place.  Great memories.  Something must be up, however, because right now Tim and Delaware City Marina don’t seem very interested in customers.  No worries though, because we’ve always wanted to tie up at Schaefer’s Canal House.  We’ll just skip right over Delaware and go straight to Maryland.

The C & D Canal supposedly is one of the busiest in the world, which we don’t doubt.  Here’s the oddly-named tug McAllister Sisters towing over three hundred containers which may be empty or may be full of something or others.

Schaefer’s offered up a nice spot right in the artsy shadow of the Chesapeake City Bridge.

Ships carrying foreign cargo through the canal have to use local pilots, who get on and off without anybody slowing down.  On the Delaware Bay they need Delaware dudes, and on the Chesapeake Bay from Baltimore north they need Maryland dudes.  Chesapeake City is the hand-off point.  Which is cool, because the pilot boarding Swift Ace did so right where we could watch.  How awesome is that?

Yes, dinner at the Canal House was delicious, and yes, we got a good sunset under the bridge.

Flawless day on the Chesapeake Bay today.  Sweet little six-hour ride down to Rock Hall.

Actually that’s not entirely true.  It was 95° with one million percent humidity.  Sticky.  Also, we’re back in the land of crab pots that generations of Maryland watermen have been setting out for the singular purpose of snagging one of our stabilizer fins.  And there’s a crap-ton of debris floating about, which stinks for the guy using the autopilot when he wants to be focused on football articles instead of looking up every five seconds.  If only there were more birds willing to mark the hazards for us.

Oh, and the coincidentally-named tug Rock Hall had the temerity to push barges into our path, which we sort of saw coming but at 7.5 knots were powerless to avoid so we had to slow way down for a good bit because the water was very shallow off the side of the channel where we foolishly pinned ourselves.  Grrr.

So basically the day only was somewhat flawless.  But some more birds welcomed us in to Rock Hall Landing, which made everything okay.

Our last time in Rock Hall we joked about it being the Rock Hall of Fame.  Since then we’ve been to Cleveland and visited the Rock Hall of Fame.  We now can confirm with certainty that the two are unrelated.

We also can confirm that we barely mustered the will to walk two hundred yards to the seafood joint.  Now that we’re back and have the ACs working overtime, we ain’t looking for more interesting stuff to add so we might as well wrap up this gem of a post and watch TV.  Despite all that weather funny business it looks like we’ll make Zimmerman’s on the 13th as hoped.

6 thoughts on “Mother, mother ocean, we have heard your call”

  1. its finally going to cool down here tomorrow…glad you are done with the ocean voyage. Its been a dangerous rip tide as well along the shore

  2. Glad to see your executors didn’t have to start executing your estate plans yet; although, as I was reading your blog post, I mentally noted with alarm that the 50,000 ton LNG tanker you mentioned is named “Red Rum”.

    With visions of Jack Nicholson maniacally exclaiming “Here’s Johnny!” I looked up “Red Rum” on and, to my immense relief, the tanker is on the hook off of Marcus Hook just north of the Delaware state line. It appears that the tanker is prepping for a transatlantic run to Tarragona, Spain so it doesn’t appear to be stalking you like that semi truck in the old Spielberg movie “Duel” stalked Dennis Weaver.

    I think you dodged a bullet!


    1. Ha. We immediately thought of The Shining as well. Also, Duel left us forever terrified of truckers.

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