HUDSON RIVER SOJOURN - Juking up Jersey’s coast
3 AUGUST 2019, SATURDAY
HORSESHOE COVE, SANDY HOOK, NEW JERSEY
“Counting the cars on the New Jersey turnpike, they’ve all gone to look for America . . . “ – Simon and Garfunkle
Becky and I left Lewes at the break of day last Thursday morning from the marina at Lewes Yacht Club. That’s where we staged Nellie Peach for a month-long quest to discover the Hudson River, and maybe Lake Champlain.
Three days later, I’m writing this anchored inside the long spit of land called Sandy Hook, at the northern of the Jersey coast. The skyline of New York City is in the distance. We plan to make that on Sunday.
In between we’ve been through several nice coastal towns with stops in Ocean City Thursday night and Manasquan on Friday night. The man coming out of the shower at Hoffman’s Marina in Brielle - the next town over from Manasquan - said he felt clean after washing off a crust of saltwater, and tuna fish blood and slime. He and friends caught nine about 50 miles offshore of the beach that morning.
“It was a good day,” he said. Pride came up. “We were the only ones who caught any today.”
I told him what we were doing. “We’re enjoying seeing so many of these Jersey coastal towns.”
“Yeah,” he said. “They’re nice. Jersey gets a bad rap, but we know better.”
Lots of sport fishermen in Hoffman’s. They sell a lot of fuel for the offshore fleet. Talk about sticker shock. See gas pump photo below. Trust me, it’s not Nellie Peach’s tank.
The folks at Ocean City Yacht Club gave us free dockage at their floating dock. Reciprocity with Lewes Yacht Club. Forty years ago or so, Becky and Stump Palmer and Howard Seymour said we should join Lewes Yacht Club. Initiation fee: $75. $100 annual dues. I know that sounds stiff, but it’s proven a good investment. Cheap drinks at the bar, a good ramp and beach. Members there don’t use a lot of big words. Ernest Hemingway said never use a fifty cent word when a nickel word will do.
At any rate, the sailing instructor at OCYC gave us the green light for the night. With a name like Brown Baer, how could he not be a nice guy. George, past commodore, barefoot, long hair and salty, introduced us. “That’s his real name,” said George.
Brown chuckled. “My father had a good sense of humor. His name was Cub. Really. I have a son too. He thought his name should be Teddy. But no way. Good old generic John. I had to break that stuff up.”
Ocean City is neat, clean and dry. Dry as in no alcohol sales allowed. Fredman said Ocean City people go across the bay to Somers Point to party. In Ocean City, no alcohol, but tightly manicured lawns bordered around classic beach homes with colorful flowers.
Fred’s a Philly guy. Philly people go to the Jersey shore in the summer. Jersey has its shore and a damn lot of it. Delaware and Maryland have their beaches.
Chugging up the ICW
We made our way up the InterCoastalWaterway from Cape May to Ocean City. The ICW is well marked, but pretty shallow in a number of places. It can be slow going too because all the people that live along the waterways in the communities on Jersey’s barrier islands don’t like boaters to kick up wake. Wakes knock their docked boats all over the place and hasten erosion. There are floating markers that remind boaters to slow down, but still a bunch of numb skulls ignore them. Shameful.
But, to not put up any wake, you can’t go faster than about six knots. I would say six miles an hour but Albert would call me a Corinthian if I did.
So the ICW is slow going. Which makes you exceptional targets for the billions of blood-thirsty greenhead flies bred in the saltmarshes inside the barrier islands. Of all the flies, to me green heads are the worst. They take hunks of meat and make you bleed.
The sea gods looked out for us on Friday. The ocean was like a lake with light southerly winds. Out Absecon Inlet and up the shore. We juked our way up the Jersey coast doing 11 instead of six. Fifty or 60 miles later we caught an incoming tide through the inlet at Manasquan and caught a slip at Hoffman’s. All good.
This morning, the gods were still smiling so we went outside again and tripped the light fantastik up the Atlantic to Sandy Hook and this sweet anchorage recommended by Lenny Nelson on charts he gave us a number of years back. God bless your soul Lenny. We’ll forever appreciate your gift to us.
Sorry this is so long. I didn’t have enough time to make it shorter. (Hemingway again.) If you stayed with me, thank you. Here are a handful of photographs from our first three days. Chronological order. I’ll try to write every day. Have made that promise before. Always sincere but life somehow gets in the way.
In the mean time, spread a little love around.