We pulled out of Farley’s Marina in Atlantic City around 7:30am. The winds were light, between 5 and 10 kts, and the waves were rolling 3-footers. The day was sunny and beautiful. We had an easy run to our next destination, Cape May, NJ. The only excitement during the cruise was a small pod of dolphins that we spotted off the port bow around 10am. They didn’t stay very long, but they’re always fun to see.
We arrived in Cape May shortly after noon and tied up at South Jersey Marina. This was our first time at South Jersey. At first we were a little dismayed by the tight approach and the condition of the docks. We were tied up on the fuel dock along with several other mega-yachts and large cruisers. The wood on the dock was rotting and one of the cleats that we should have been able to use to tie our aft spring line was missing because the dock had rotted away there.
However, the staff was very friendly and helpful. They gave us a lot of information about Cape May, along with directions to the town via a scenic route and recommendations for several restaurants near the marina. The marina office looked new or newly renovated and had a clothing line, marine supplies and sundries. The staff told us to check out the showers, which we did and decided that they were the nicest and cleanest showers we had ever come across at a marina. We took all of our showers there, rather than onboard.
After lunch and washing off the boat, we wandered into town. It was a little over a mile into town but it was a pleasant walk. On our way we passed the Firemen’s Hall History Museum. Inside was an old 1926 fire engine that had been used in Cape May until 1964. It was in spectacular condition. Also, all along the walls were framed collages of badges from other fire departments and rescue squads. Apparently the fire company trades badges with visiting firemen and then displays them on the wall of the museum. After a brief stroll through the market place at Washington Square, we headed back to the boat to get cleaned up and have dinner.
When we were washing down the boat earlier in the day, Jim had started chatting with a woman who was on a boat farther down the dock. It turns out that she and her husband are members of the Annapolis Yacht Club, as are we. We traded cruising stories and decided to grab dinner together at one of the close by restaurants. After dinner Marilyn and Bill were planning on dropping by The Merion Inn in town to hear a jazz trio and invited us. It was a great idea and we enjoyed the company and music, but apparently a lot of other people had the same idea. The Inn was packed. We got seats at the bar, which was right next to the trio. We could barely hear each other speak. We tried to grab a table farther away from the musicians, but the restaurant manager wouldn’t allow a group of non-dining people occupy a table. Nonetheless we had a wonderful time and really enjoyed meeting Marilyn and Bill.
The following day Marilyn and Bill left early to return to Annapolis. They cruise in a 50-foot Tiara that will run at 20kts. It would be a 111-mile trip, but definitely doable in their Tiara.
Jim and I did some boat chores in the morning and watched a bit of the U.S. Open tennis tournament. After lunch we got on the bathing suits and headed to the beach. The sun was shining, there were no clouds in the sky and the temperatures were warm but not oppressive. There were plenty of people there, but we were unsure whether we’d be able to go swimming because Hurricane Christobal was passing to the east and stirring up the surf. We could see that the waves were pretty rough and that the lifeguards had posted red “no swimming” flags. Despite this, on several sections of the beach, one right in front of a lifeguard stand, people were in the water. We learned that only the sections between the red flags were off limits. So we plunged into the water. It was cool, but not cold and definitely refreshing. But we didn’t stay too long because the surf was so rough. It was hard to stand at the edge of the waves without losing your balance.
We returned to Curiosity to get cleaned up and have dinner on board. We had decided earlier that we should do some of the “touristy” things in Cape May and picked one of the ghost trolley tours for that night. We hiked back to town and then boarded our trolley. We didn’t know quite what to expect, which was probably a good thing because the tour was underwhelming. We drove past quite a few old homes that reportedly had ghosts. Our tour guide plied us with anecdotes about various ghost sightings at these houses, but the stories were pretty general and she made no effort to enhance the spookiness of any of them.
The “highlight” of the tour was a visit to the Emlem Physick estate, which is a large Victorian mansion that has been preserved and is open to the public. There we were taken to several rooms and told about creepy things that have happened in the house. Much of our tour guide’s comments, however, were about the findings of Craig McManus, a self-appointed psychic medium, who detected high energies and voices in the house. Needless to say, we remained skeptical. There were a couple of young girls in group, however, who took it all pretty seriously and were concerned about disturbing the ghostly presences.
We had originally planned to leave Cape May for Chesapeake City the next day. But the marine forecast for the Delaware Bay, a sometimes nasty body of water, was not good. So we opted for another day in Cape May.
While the marine forecast was less than desirable, the land forecast was spectacular. It was windy, but another sunny and warm day with low humidity. We spent the morning on the boat so that Jim could take an LLS call and then we hiked to town to do some window shopping and enjoy the day. Cape May is full of Victorian houses and Bed and Breakfasts. One inn really stood out as a classic example – the Angel of the Sea Inn.
Dinner that night was at the Peter Shields Inn, which is a lovely old inn right across from the beach. Our reservations were for 5:45 because we were going to be up early the next morning. I hoped that we would be able to get a table on the Inn’s large wrap-around porch, but the couple ahead of us got the last one. We were seated inside and had a very good meal. We had corn soup and salad to start. Jim had a pan roasted chicken and I had seared salmon with Asian flavors and vegetables for the main course, and then date bread pudding and lemon curd and sorbet for dessert.
We turned in early because we were hoping to leave Cape May by 7am. The weather was supposed to be good for Friday. If we left at 7 we would be able to catch the current up Delaware Bay and then follow it into the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. Originally we were going to stop at Chesapeake City. But we’ve been there before and there’s not a whole lot to see. Plus, we were tired of travelling. We had been cruising for 2 months at that point and we really wanted to be home. So we decided to see if we could make it to Annapolis. It would mean an 11-hour day. If we decided after we made it through the canal that we needed to rest, we could always drop anchor in one of the rivers or creeks off the upper Chesapeake Bay. But Jim thought that once we were in the Chesapeake we would keep on going until we hit Annapolis. So we turned in for perhaps our last cruising night of this trip.