8/5/18 – 8/8/18: The weather finally gave us a little window of opportunity for our sail down to Cape May. This would be our last day on the Atlantic Ocean, and our final stop in New Jersey. We had heard a lot of good things about Cape May, so we opted to stay a couple days to explore.
Cape May harbor had an extremely easy inlet to navigate, but there was a lot of boat traffic. We had to contend with the usual choppy water from all the boats and idiots fishing right in the middle of the inlet, but that was nothing new to us by now. However, deep water marinas were scarce in Cape May. Of the 10 or so marinas in the harbor, only 2 had enough water at low tide for our draft. One of those was about 5 miles out of town, so we scratched that one. The other was extremely tight to maneuver in, and also had some pretty strong currents, so we ruled that one out, too. Well, that ruled out Cape May! Actually, we found one other that was marginal. One online review claimed most slips had only 5 feet, but one or two might have 6 (key word: might). We called, and they said yes, they had one, but we should enter the marina at high tide. Luckily, we arrived right around high tide, so we had no issues getting in and getting settled in. After we tied up, we saw the depth said 9 feet, and we knew we had about 4 feet of tide left. That meant at low tide we’d be in 5 feet of water. Oh no, not again. We told the marina, and they still insisted there was 6 or more feet at low tide, but if it dropped lower, the bottom was “fine silt”, so it shouldn’t be an issue. Uh huh. But, we decided to wait a cycle just to see and to give them the benefit of the doubt. The first cycle dropped us to 5’8″, which meant we were sitting in 4″ of mud. Great. Another marina that either didn’t know their depths, or just lied about it. Long story short: we decided to stay anyway. We have a full keel boat, so sitting in mud shouldn’t hurt it one bit. Besides, they sit the boat on it’s keel when it’s in dry storage, so mud shouldn’t be a big deal. OK, enough about that…
Cape May is one big resort town and tourist destination. It’s most well-known for it’s Victorian era homes. It has one of the largest collection of Victorian style houses in the US. You cannot walk more than a block without seeing several, and many streets have nothing but these kinds of homes. It’s amazing to see just how many there are, and how each one has been uniquely preserved, painted, decorated, and landscaped. Many have been turned into B&B’s, which adds to the tourism of the town. The other big draw is the beaches. The entire southern cape of New Jersey, several miles worth, is nothing but one big beach. Thousands of people flock here every year.
We took a day to walk around town, admiring the homes, walking along the beach, and shopping in Washington Street Mall. The mall was a 3 block by 2 block walking mall with very nice gift shops, restaurants, and ice cream shops. We spent a couple hours wandering through all the shops, which were all uniquely different in what they were selling. We saw a lot of stuff that wanted to follow us home, but our home is quite cramped at the moment, so we had to settle for a few small trinkets. Still, it was fun to look at something and wonder if (and where) it might fit on the boat. The beach was insanely busy, with thousands of people doing all the “beach stuff” that people do. We walked along the shore for a while, but with all the people, quickly decided to head back to the boat. Our second full day was a reprovisioning day, to get prepared for or trip up the Delaware Bay, across the C&D canal, and into he Chesapeake Bay. We weren’t quite sure where our next grocery shop would be, so we wanted to stock up pretty full.
Cape May was nice for a quick visit, but we were looking forward to moving on. Crowds of people don’t interest us, and the town was certainly crowded. We’re glad to have New Jersey and the Atlantic Ocean behind us, but we now have to contend with the Delaware Bay, which itself has a very nasty reputation. But it’s only 50 miles across, so one full day and that will be behind us, too. Stay tuned to see if we make it!