Day 28 and 29: Sailing from Key West to Provincetown

June 11th was our day of arrival in Cape May, it was Day 25. Lindsay researched Active Captain and to find an approved anchorage. There were several boats already anchored in the deepest area so we found a place next to them near the Coast Guard docks. Soon after our arrival, as we had not turned off our electronics yet, we overheard our neighboring boat hailing another boat in the anchorage. We switched our VHF channel with them to listen in on their conversation, you never know, it could be good advice. They were both members of the “Corinthians” sailing club. I Googled them. It’s an amateur club with no clubhouse. They fly a flag on their vessels to advertise this to each other. The man next to us says to the other boat “you’ve anchored in one of my patented anchor spots. Since you are a Corinthian I suppose I will let you get away with it this time.” I suppose this was funny and the man on the other boat chuckles and says something short back to him. Then the first guy says, “I don’t know why these catamarans don’t anchor in the four foot area just a couple of hundred yards away, but well, you know, what can you do….SIGH.” There you have it. We sometimes get these people in anchorages that don’t like us because we are a catamaran. They swing differently in the wind and tide and it makes them nervous. I can understand the comment, but I looked at that anchorage and it really is 4 feet at low tide. We draw 4ft 7in, so we cannot anchor in 4 feet of water at low tide without the possibility of going aground twice a day. Maybe one of the other catamarans could if they wanted to I don’t know.

Anyway, the way anchoring works all around the world is on a first come, first served basis and everyone understands that. Most people are courteous to others around them, but not all. We sailors are supposed to be part of a small community of adventurers that look out for each other. This man is not part of our adventurer community. I Googled his boat and found out that he travels a lot. He has been to the Bahamas recently and travels the ICW mostly. (IntraCoastal Waterway) From what I gather, he only cares about fellow Corinthians, apparently. Lindsay was kind of put off by what he said. I told her I don’t care what that guy thinks and turned off the radio.

Days 26 and 27, June 12th and 13th, were spent on anchor in Cape May. On June 12th, we were going to get a marina but decided to not spend the money. We would have had to get a Lyft to go anywhere from the marinas anyway, which is just spending more. We decided to take the dinghy to places we could dock for free with a meal. On the way to Cape May in the dinghy, we spotted a kayaker in the water. The others in the group were trying to recover her kayak but the wind had blown in several hunded feet away. We puttered over and offered to tow the kayak back to the person in the water. She was very greatful when we got it back to her. They could have managed without us, but we made it a bit easier. The wind was really blowing hard, like 25 knots. The water was very choppy. I think they all went right back to shore after they got her back aboard. We went to the Lobster House for some fresh squid from their store and had a cocktail on the Schooner, a floating open-aired restaurant/bar on an old schooner. I tried to grill the squid for dinner but it was a failure. The outdoor grill on the rail couldn’t get hot enough so I left them in there too long. We were not convinced they were freshly caught as well. Next time, we use a marinade!

On June 13th, we abandoned the idea of sailing north. The forecast was completely wrong and it was blowing a gale. It was raining a lot. The forecast never updated to reflect what was actually happening. A neighboring 25-foot sailboat that was unoccupied broke free from it’s anchor and at high tide it drifted over towards the Coast Guard training facility. By the time I noticed, it was hooked again a couple of hundred feet from their old pier. I called the Coast Guard to report it on VHF channel 16. They switched me over to channel 22a and got all the details I could give them. I told them it appeared to be hooked on the bottom at the time but it had definitely moved about a quarter mile from where I had seen it the day before. I watched as a couple of “Coasties” used their binoculars to inspect the vessel, and probably inspecting me looking at them from our cockpit. Then someone who looked like an commanding officer pointed at the sailboat and told them something. They all left.

Next, the Coast Guard made an announcement over channel 16 reporting a vessel adrift in the Cape May Inlet and anyone requesting more information can switch to 22a for details. We switched over and listened. It was pretty cool being part of the event. THEN, the guy in the boat next to us, the “Corinthian” hails the Coast Guard on channel 22a as soon as the announcement was over. The Coast Guard does not respond to him. You see, you are supposed to hail the Coast Guard on channel 16, not 22a. Anyway, he tried three times before switching to 16. I heard him on 16 hailing the Coast Guard and then told the Coast Guard to switch to 22a. Nobody does that, protocol allows the Coast Guard to tell the station reporting which channel to switch to and 22a is the Coast Guard’s channel not his. Nobody tells the Coast Guard what to do. Anyway, he reports to the Coast Guard that two “mariners” secured that 25 foot sailboat a couple of hours ago, and that it is NOT, repeat NOT adrift, it is anchored. I’m thinking that he overheard my report and has a correction to make. Damn know-it-all. He is correcting the Coast Guard, not me. Anyway, they tell him they received his message and nothing further. No thank you Captain or standing by on 16 or anything. Silence from the Coast Guard. The reports of the v

That evening just before dark as the tide was going out, yep, you guessed it, the 25ft vessel was adrift and heading out towards the Cape May Inlet. Lindsay spotted it on the move. Luckily, it’s anchor caught the bottom again near the shore, lined up with our neighbor the Coast Guard corrector. We think about how funny that is and have a laugh. We conjure up a plan to call the Corinthian on the radio and ask him nicely if he knows how to contact those two mariners that secured the 25 foot sailboat earlier today, and if he could call them to help because the boat is adrift and headed for the inlet. We laugh out loud in the direction of his boat and keep the radio turned off. Let him see it in the morning. We decide it’s not a threat to us because it doesn’t move very fast to if it hit us in the night it would only wake us up. Maybe it could hit the Corinthian’s boat in the night? That would be really funny. Damn know-it-all. I woke up at 4am because it was very still and the current was making the anchor chain rub the hull so I got up to have a look around. The 25 footer was still in the same place, and the Corinthian was still next to us. Around dawn, he left. We didn’t get to see him looking at it. We never saw him out at sea but from their radio conversation we knew that he was headed to Atlantic City, probably by the ICW. Maybe he’s a really nice guy with very bad radio etiquette, I think to myself. Anyway here’s another video.

The weather forecasting models are very wrong this year. Dangerously wrong. This is a big problem.

Today’s one of those days I wish we could use the ICW

Barnegat Inlet was shallow in places and the tidal current was coming in at about 3 knots.
Sailing past Sandy Hook. The forecast is wrong again.
Sailing under the Verrazano Bridge.
Anchored near Ellis Island.
Tough challenge to dinghy under a narrow bridge in Jersey City.