Thursday, June 24, 2010

Atlantic City (and back again) Part 5

We had a reservation in Cape May at Utsch's Marina. I really enjoyed our stay there. First off, when we checked-in they gave us a gift bag with a bottle of wine, biscotti, handmade soap, local maps and info, and marina info. What a nice treat. It also seems to be a well used marina. Our neighbors in the transient slips changed each day as people stopped in during their cruises up or down the coast. I was also impressed that the marina offered recycling (Kammerman's in Atlantic City also had it). They made a big point about the recycling in the marina info they gave us. I have yet to find a marina in MD that recycles. If they do, they aren't very forthcoming about it. Kudos to the NJ Marinas for that.

Cape May is a clean and pretty beach town. Just look at the houses we saw as we were pulling into the marina:

It was about a half mile, but easy and picturesque, walk into town from the marina so we were able to enjoy the boardwalk and shops. We had borrowed foldable bikes from a friend and found Cape May to be very biker friendly.

We planned to stay in Cape May for only 2 nights. That gave us time to see a good portion of town. When the weather started looking questionable for Wednesday, we booked another night. Doug went fishing in the Delaware Bay on one of the Miss Chris boats. He didn't catch anything keepable, but he still had a good time. He even saw two small sharks reeled in by other guys on the boat. I took advantage of the time to relax at the marina for the day and get some reading done. Even without the weather report, it was nice to have one last day of relaxation.

Recommendations in Cape May:
  • If you like wine, visit the Cape May Winery. It's a couple miles from the marina. It was a nice walk and certainly bicycle friendly. I didn't expect much of the wine because NJ is hardly known for wine, but I was pleasantly surprised. They have the right soil and temperature for a lot of good wine.
  • Everyone told us to eat at The Lobster House. We had a great meal there - I had a 2 lb lobster and Doug had a seafood medley. Expect a wait - we arrived at 6pm on a Monday and still had to wait 15-20 minutes for a table. The wait gave us a chance to explore the outdoor raw bar. The guy at the main host station needed a personality adjustment but we were pleased with the rest of the service. An added plus, the restaurant is right next to the marina.
  • Planning to do a little cooking on your boat? Try the Fish Market at The Lobster House. Doug ventured over to find dinner for us Tuesday night. He came back with smoked salmon, shrimp chowder, and fantastically fresh swordfish. We grilled out on the boat and had a nice relaxing evening at "home."
All good things must come to an end. After 7 nights on the boat it was time to return home. With one final picture of the sun rising over the Delaware Bay we set off for Baltimore. The Delaware Bay and the Chesapeake Bay were both choppy that day but we managed to make it home in 5 hours.

Any suggestions on where we should go next year?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Atlantic City (and back again) Part 4

Monday rolled around and it was time to motor back down to Cape May. Luckily we didn't have to get up at the crack of dawn this time. We figured it wouldn't be a problem to get to Cape May before check-in time at the next marina, but we also weren't in any rush. We were on the water at 9 am and headed south.

I never thought I would be able to say this but the ocean was "like glass." There were rolling waves but otherwise everything was calm. We were even able to get some decent speed. I had to have a picture of the GPS proving that we were in fact on the Atlantic Ocean. I was so happy when I also realized that this photo showed that we were about 2 miles off shore and able to get a speed of 28.4 mph.

It was a gorgeous day, I was captaining the boat while Doug got a sandwich, and then, wait, was that a fin? ....... DOLPHINS! I was finally able to see some. I yelled for Doug and we both watched so we could pinpoint their location. We slowly pulled closer and I cut the engines.

When we realized we really weren't close enough we turned the keys to start the engines. Nothing happened. The engines would not start. Had I flooded the engines by stopping too quickly? Had our engines had too much of the salt water? What now? We were two miles from shore with a dead boat. Doug, being the calm person that he is, told me not to worry he would figure it out. I was supposed to keep my eye on the dolphins' position so we could catch up once we started up again. Doug got the book and was trying everything he could think of - switching the batteries, checking the engine compartment. All the while, the dolphins were getting further and further away. Honestly, I don't know what made me think of it, but I wondered aloud if we were in neutral. Yes folks, I have left the boat in drive when I cut the engines, so of course they wouldn't start. We got the engines started but the dolphins were long gone.

We continued on our trip hoping to see more dolphins so we could get some pictures. We saw one lone fin and then nothing for a while. Finally, we found another pod. We think there were about 11 dolphins all together. Again, we didn't want to get too close. Dolphins are known to be smart animals but we didn't want to risk hurting one. We were finally able to get a few pictures:

We watched the dolphins for about 15 minutes but then decided to leave them be. We continued on down the ocean. After 39.04 miles we pulled into Cape May at 11 am. What a trip!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Atlantic City (and back again) Part 3

We had a reservation at Kammerman's Marina for three nights in Atlantic City. I have mixed feelings about this marina:


  • it's cheaper than the Trump Marina. We paid $2/foot rather than $4/foot at Trump.
  • it's walking distance from the Boardwalk. You could walk to the Boardwalk from the Trump Marina but it's quite a walk. Kammerman's is on the left in this photo, Trump is on the right. The Boardwalk (obviously not in the photo) is to the far left.
  • the staff was very nice.


  • it's in a shady part of town. This image shows the transient dockage - yes, that is a boarded up building to the right.
  • it seems to have only two slips. No one docked in the other slip the entire time we were there so we didn't get to meet any boaters. I really enjoy talking with other boaters when we dock, so I certainly missed not having that opportunity.
  • there are signs that say No Wake, however, many boaters did not follow this request. We rocked around a bit.

We took our zodiac out to a restaurant in Gardner's Basin one night (essentially around the corner from our marina). As we were motoring over I noticed that very few boats had dinghys. I'm so accustomed to the Chesapeake Bay where people frequently anchor out and take the zodiac into shore. I guess when you boat directly off of the ocean, there aren't many opportunities to anchor that way. We asked the dockhand if there were other restaurants we could access that way and he first asked if we had a "bigger boat" to go with the one we came over on. Based on us having a bigger boat he was able to tell us about a couple places.

I have to make a couple recommendations for restaurants:

  • White House Sub Shop (I couldn't find an official website for the Sub Shop, if someone else knows one, please pass it along.) This place reminded me of Chick & Ruth's in Annapolis. It's packed with both locals and tourists and the food is great. We waited in a line that stretched out the door so plan to get there early.
  • Angelo's Fairmount Tavern - we asked a friend for a recommendation for a restaurant with a great atmosphere and he definitely sent us to the right place. Again, the place was packed. I searched for a hostess station and finally had to ask a bartender how to get a table. The list is kept at the bar and a bartender with a voice that carries yells when your table is ready. If we had been going straight back to the boat I would have taken the leftovers with me. Great Italian food!

Boating to Atlantic City was definitely an adventure. I don't think we'll venture back there anytime soon but I'm so glad we did it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Atlantic City (and back again) Part 2

It's a good thing we vegged most of Thursday because the alarm went off at 5 am Friday morning. Yes, I actually got up that early on a vacation day. We had the anchors up and we pulled out of Chesapeake City by 5:50 am. I saw some people awake on the other anchored boats, but we were the first ones moving that morning. As powerboat owners we aren't usually the early birds but we wanted to hit the Delaware Bay as early as possible. Okay, fine, I admit, the geese were up and moving about.

After 12.42 miles, we entered the beast. The Delaware Bay is known to be a tough body of water. As I tell my friends, since it's shallow and relatively small the water only has one place to go - UP! We've had friends that have attempted the Delaware numerous times and had to turn back each time. We've also had friends that have had no issues at all. We were hopeful.
The first hour was choppy but nothing we couldn't handle. The second hour was tough for me and I actually laid down on the eurobed at our stern for a long while. Thankfully my husband is not afflicted with motion sickness. After 10 years of avid Chesapeake Bay boating, I've learned to handle the waves but the Delaware was a whole other story for me. Doug was even "nice" enough to take a photo of me sleeping.

Right before we entered the Cape May Canal, Doug saw dolphins. I went running up to the helm but they were already gone. I may have missed the dolphins, but I did see another welcome site. We had made it to NJ! And we were entering smooth seas in the Canal. This image was looking back into the Delaware Bay from the Cape May Canal.

We made it to Cape May by 9 am (63.45 miles from Chesapeake City), filled up with gas, and set off for the great Atlantic Ocean. This was the first time either of us had brought one of our boats out into the ocean. It was a little scary but we could always see land and GPS systems sure make life easy. I don't know how sailors followed the stars and actually got where they intended to go. The water was a beautiful blue and it felt like we could see forever off the starboard side. Doug aimed North and we followed the contours of the land on our port side.

It wasn't long before we could see Atlantic City up ahead. We had made it, or at least by this photo knew we were going to make it. We officially arrived in Atlantic City at 11:30 am...more on that tomorrow.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Atlantic City (and back again) Part 1

My husband and I just returned yesterday from 8 days on the water. Our trip took us to Chesapeake City, MD, Atlantic City, NJ, Cape May, NJ and back home again. Rather than put everything into one big post, I'm going to write about our travels over the next few days. Enjoy!

Our Route - We went north in the Chesapeake Bay, through the C&D Canal, down the Delaware Bay, through the Cape May Canal, and north on the Atlantic Ocean.

The Chesapeake & Delaware Canal holds some interesting sights. I could certainly be happy living in a trailer as long as it was along the water:

After about 2 1/2 hours we arrived in Chesapeake City (along the C&D Canal). We've been there before and knew we could easily anchor out for the night. There is a small protected cove right near the Chesapeake Inn Restaurant and Marina.

After a couple of attempts with our anchor, we decided to throw out a second bow anchor. While the area is nice is protected, it's also quite muddy. With a second anchor we were confident that we wouldn't drift in the night. By nightfall, we had been joined by a few other boats.

We used our zodiac for a quick trip into town. If you are ever there, try the ice cream shop right along the water. The ice cream isn't soft serve but it isn't rock hard either. I tried "Fear the Turtle" -- chocolate ice cream with caramel and cashews. If I was still a kid, I would have been wearing chocolate for the rest of the day. Thankfully, I'm a bit of a cleaner eater now.

We didn't stay in town long as this was our scheduled quiet day. We relaxed, laid in the sun, read books, and let the soothing sounds of the water ease our troubles away. And with a little planning we were able to eat well too (chicken fajitas with sauteed red peppers, onions, and homemade guacamole).

As the sun set on the first day of vacation, we settled in and rested before the true adventures began.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rock Hall - Lunch Cruise

Saturday was time for another lunch cruise. We gathered eight people for the boat and set out for Waterman's Crab House in Rock Hall, MD. This cruise takes about an hour from Baltimore and we had a great ride over. Once we started pulling into Rock Hall we saw the local wildlife. It's a little hard to see the bird in this nest but we always joke that this is a penthouse - it even has electricity.

There are some great houses in Rock Hall. I'm especially enamored with this one.

Waterman's Crab House has a fantastic deck area for dining. We scored tables under umbrellas and started the feast. I have to say that these were the best crabs I've had all season. They were very tasty and very full. Waterman's has never disappointed us. I am curious about the Harbor Shack (also in Rock Hall) and would love to get some reviews from people who have been there. When we've stayed overnight in Rock Hall we've been able to hear the music from the Harbor Shack so it seems like a hopping place.

After leaving Rock Hall, we headed back to Stoney Creek to anchor and swim. It still seems crazy to me that I'm swimming in the Bay this early. It has been that hot of a season already in Maryland and the water feels great.

I have only one piece of advice from this trip:
  • Make absolutely sure the props are centered before trying to dock using the twin props. I'm definitely an inexperienced docker and almost got us in a lot of trouble. Thankfully my husband was able to fix my mistake. I really want to learn to dock the boat on my own and will have to get more practice. Thanks to all the friends on the trip who supported me and placed the "blame" on the wind.