June 19 

We blew threw Delaware this morning without even touching a toe on land in that state. Loved the way New Jersey greeted us with a gift basket at Utschs Marina! We are in Cape May & loving it! Wish my Jersey Guy, Mark Achuff & Jenny were here with us. The Town Center was busy & fun & there was a guy playing bagpipes there in the church yard. Then we pedaled down Ocean Street to Beach Avenue where all the big old Victorian houses look out over the beach to the ocean. This is really a cool place!

We are ordering Italian from Tony’s because he delivers & we have had a long day.

Once again, the weather will determine our travel plans because we will be out on the ocean for the next leg up to Atlantic City. Another day here would be nice

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June 20

Cape May is a great place to be. And from the looks of all our weather resources, we may be here awhile. There are 4-6 ft minimum waves on the Atlantic & that would be an uncomfortable ride for us (and many times that is the average not the rule and some may be much higher). It started out sunny this morning early. The fishing tournament boats that left here at 7 am were excited, loud, and sounded like they were launching from our swim platform. The Coast Guard Facility next door plays the National Anthem every morning at 8 AM. That’s nice! A good start to the day but by 10AM it was raining cats & dogs.  The current forecast for the Atlantic does not look good for the next 3-4 days so we are here and enjoying our time. We rented a car and Brad, Mary & I did the Home Depot, Walmart, Grocery Store rounds that we are so famous for (stuffing more in a car than any human can believe). They delivered the car at 2 and we got back around 5:30 (just in time for happy hour) and we grilled pork chops and made a master plan for tomorrow.  If we are going to be here for a few days, we will be chomping at the bit to put miles behind us when the weather lets up. Next stop, Atlantic City, can be skipped if we visit by car and we can do a 90 mile travel day when the weather permits. So tomorrow, we will go by car to see what we will miss by boat. We will skip the opportunity to experience the marina at Trump Casino in the quest to move further North. As far as the Loopers are concerned, we are bringing up the rear!!! (I think it was the two months in the Bahamas that set us back…..oh, but I would not change that for anything!!)

On the “Life is Good Tour” even a bad (weather) day is really good!!!

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June 21   

We woke up to gray skies here in our Nation’s oldest seashore resort and the wind had picked up. NOAA forecast 6-8 ft seas so we make our plan to visit Atlantic City today by car. Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there, especially mine!! We made sure Brad & Andy enjoyed the day by walking the famous “Boardwalk”, visiting the shops & casinos (we all walked away with a little more than we came with) and having a nice lunch in a Greek restaurant. We toured the city by car and got home by 5. Had planned a big Father’s Day steak dinner but everyone was still so full from lunch we decided to save the steak and grill hot dogs! We are still watching for our weather window and will probably make the 100 mile jump on the outside to Manasquan when we see it open. It will be a long day, but we need to get through NYC & into the Hudson River where we will not be so exposed & dependent on the weather, wind & ocean conditions. NYC will be our next stop after Manasquan. Once we hit the Hudson we will be out of salt water for the rest of our trip!

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June 22  

Another windy, high seas day on the Atlantic Ocean. But the sun is shining & we still have the rental car until this afternoon so we headed down to Cape May Point to see the park and the lighthouse on the beach. We followed Beach Ave all the way around in front of the grand old Victorian houses and walked on their promenade for awhile. We visited the Fisherman’s Memorial which was really sad, because there were many fresh flowers placed there yesterday for Father’s Day.  Then we crossed the bridge over to Wildwood. It has a totally different feel from Cape May. There were a lot of young families & Retro looking motels that were probably built in the 50’s & 60’s. Lots of fun activity and several amusement piers, water parks & goofy golf courses. Brad Rasco (son of Brad’s friends since high school, Wayne & Jane) came to see us this afternoon. He is Brad’s namesake & we were delighted that he took the time to drive over to see us from west of Philadelphia where he & Allison and their 3 babes live. The Sarvers joined us for cocktails & appetizers on our aft-deck and then we went to dinner at the Lobster House (a very popular restaurant close to our marina)! We wanted Brad to stay with us overnight, but he needed to get home & water flowers and such since his family are all scattered about tonight & he has to be at work early tomorrow. It was so great to see him!

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June 23

Looks like tomorrow may be our best bet for moving up the coast. Winds out of the West 10-15 with 2-3 footers. We will stay as close to shore as possible for the smoothest ride. Worse case scenario, we turn around and come back into Cape May. Best scenario, we get a smooth 100 mile ride up to Manasqua then an easy 20+ mile cruise into New York Harbor on Thursday. We have fallen in love with Cape May. We rode bikes this afternoon and enjoyed street after street of charming homes. Everyone seems to take such pride in their home & their gardens. We can certainly see why people flock here for a holiday. Susan & John Hauge from "La Garza Verde" joined us for dinner. They are Gold Burgee Looper from 2-3 years back. Their boat is further south, they live very close to here. How delightful to enjoy their company & benefit from their local knowledge.

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June 24 

Well we had some excitement today! We pulled out at 6AM planning to make 100 miles to Manasquan, NJ which would put us just 25 miles from NYC for our travel on Thursday. Ten miles out I went downstairs to make some breakfast, heard our forward bilge alarm, pulled the hatch to find that we were taking on water. Brad powered back & I stayed on the bridge for him to take a look. After donning our life vest, we set out our emergency equipment, raft kit, ditch bag & EPIRB. We radioed our buddy boat, Good News to tell them what was happening. The Philadelphia Coast Guard picked up our transmission & immediately contacted the USCG here at Cape May. There is a large USCG facility here & this is where the Coast Guard does all their training. The Coast Guard called us and “Good News” before we could call them and stayed in constant contact for updates & coordinates. Shortly after turning back toward Cape May we could see a Coast Guard Rescue vessel speeding in our direction. We were checking everything we could think of for the source of our leak & Brad said the starboard engine was smoking so I shut it down. The CG guys came along side & determined that our bilge pump was not pumping overboard & we knew the water was rising. We hardly stopped, I opened our stern door and one of them boarded us by jumping from their moving boat to our stern ladder. We decided the best thing to do was move their heavy duty pump aboard our boat & start pumping. We stopped again, they came alongside and SNBM Laborde & I hauled aboard a huge canister that housed the super pump & we set it inside the salon. We unpacked it, I opened the forward hatch to run the hose through and Laborde carried the pump to the bow. Then some bad luck, the gasoline powered “super pump” would not start. There was a hole in the fuel line. Laborde & I bailed with kitchen bowls (Thank goodness for Tupperware) & luckily the water never came above our lower floor level. The USCG had another pump ready to dispatch if needed. By this time we were coming through the inlet & the water wasn’t rising any longer. I had called our marina & asked if we could come straight in to the lift & drive the boat into the slings. They were ready for us when we got there. Apparently, a clamp on our starboard exhaust deteriorated & caused a separation. When the engine was running, the cooling water that discharges through the exhaust was pouring back into the bilge. The bilge pump fried while trying to keep up with the load. While a boat taking on water is the last thing in the world you want to be on, I have to say I was proud of everyone involved in our “rescue” today. There was no panic onboard the “Salvage Crew”, just “energized” decision making about what the smart things to do were. We handled it as best we could & were comforted & supported by the fact that “Good News” never left our side & the USCG performed so well & with such calm confidence. (There will be a nice Thank you letter to the superior of SNBM Laborde, BM3 Ansaldo, & BM3 Kennedy). Makes us so proud & thankful that we live in a country that takes the welfare of its citizens so seriously. The marina pulled us from the water, replaced our bilge pump & reconstructed our exhaust system. We are back in the water & will try to make it all the way to our destination tomorrow. Thank you God for keeping us safe!  

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June 25  

Today was a slow news day for the “Salvage Crew”. Can’t tell you how happy we are to report that. We pulled out at 6am and arrived at Brielle Marina in Manasquan around 4pm.We wore the steps out going up & down to check for leaks. We did have a very minor one, nothing the new pump couldn't easily handle, but after yesterday, it wasn’t minor to us so we called ahead and had a mechanic meet us for a check. At first he thought we just needed a second clamp but then he showed us that the exhaust elbow fiberglass was breaking down, it's integrity was compromised and actually needed to be replaced. We will find out first thing in the morning what kind of delay this means for us. Safety first!!!! "Good News" will forge ahead and we will hope to meet up and travel together again real soon!

 

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June 26  

The second I heard “Good News” engines crank this morning from half way down the dock my eyes popped open & I ran up to the aft-deck to wave them off. Probably a thousand boats in this basin but I recognize Andy’s from the many times when that was the signal for our boating day to begin. While they were circling the great lady of Staten Island today, we worked with available sources for our new parts and guestimate our departure to be Sunday morning. There is a big shark tournament and all the marinas in the area here are packed. This afternoon we rode bikes through the small town. It’s mostly made up of restaurants catering to the beach crowd & marinas along the river here. We are suppose to get our new exhaust parts by 10am tomorrow & will probably spend the day making sure everything is a go for Sunday. The weather looks good. We are chomping at the bits to be “safely” underway again. The last week or so has had a lot of weather & repair delays! We need to make up some time!

 

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June 27 

The day began early because there are 2 fishing tournaments coming out of the Manasquan River today and we are sitting on the T dock between a 3 ft RR bridge & a 30 ft highway bridge. The tournaments started at 6AM & the boats were literally lined up by the hundreds to get through the narrow gap of the RR bridge. In the mean time, have I mentioned what kind of tidal current we have going on here? It’s about 3-4 mph & there is a 7 ft difference from low to high tide. Brad was totally fascinated (and I was totally surprised to see Brad awake this early without a reason) when the RR bridge had to let down for a train. Our little part of the river became very congested very fast. Brad couldn’t believe they weren’t running into each other as they tried to stop still in the current! It looked like a Chinese firedrill! Once we got them all out fishing, we began to work on solving our problems of the day. Our parts arrived overnight UPS and we got them installed properly. It was no easy project (what ever is??)& it took all day. It looks like we are good to go tomorrow. The slack tide is at 7:15am then it starts back up the river.  If we get out by 6am we won’t have to fight the current coming out of the river. You know what that means? We will be out with those crazy tourney boaters in the morning! Look out Salvage Crew coming through! I thought we were 20 something miles away but when we plotted it, it’s a little over 40. Still, with any luck at all we should be circling the old girl by mid morning!  NY! NY! If we can make it to there, we can make it to anywhere. It’s up to us….NY! NY! Dah, dah, de dah!

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June 28  

Up at 5am & out with the best of the sport fishers in a New York minute. Nice current out of the Manasqua River & heading out into the Atlantic Ocean for the last time. We will be on the Hudson River tonight and in fresh water for the rest of the trip. We will miss all of it (especially the dolphin) except washing the salt crust off the boat! “Good News” decided to stay over one extra day in NYC & wait for us so we will only stay one night and leave with them tomorrow to head up the Hudson River! Glad we are back together! Girlfriends are right up there with wine & chocolate in my book! We turned toward port around Sandy Hook & could see the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Just after passing under the bridge, you can see her in the distance. She absolutely makes your heart swell & your eyes tear. What a thrill to be out here on the “Salvage Crew” with the Statue of Liberty. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of her. It was like I thought she would pose differently in the next shot!! We were into Liberty Landing Marina by 10:30. There is no way you can do justice to NYC in one day but we did our best. We caught the ferry straight over to Manhattan and spent our Sunday afternoon on a double decker bus touring the city. It was lovely. We find that we are in a “New York State of Mind”! We may delay our departure tomorrow to early afternoon and try to squeeze in just a little more of the “Big Apple”!

Reunion dinner with Mary & Andy!

 

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Because of boat repairs, our time in NYC is cut short.  But we made the most of our time. More pictures!

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