2006 Adventure UPDATES


UPDATE #8 05/28/06 - 05/31/06


Howdy Everybody,

 UPDATE #8   5/28/06 through 05/31/06.

Previous email updates covered the period 4/1 thru 5/27.  I know some of you have slow speed connections.  Please let me know if these emails containing pictures are too large and we will send you a version with text only. 

05/28/06    Sunday   Annapolis, MD to Sassafras River, Georgetown, MD

At 5:50am, the deckhands dropped the mooring line and we idled toward the Spa Creek drawbridge.  We arranged for the 6am opening that led us into the Annapolis main harbor and out past the US Naval Academy.  The sunrise was super.  Several miles to the south lies Thomas Point Lighthouse.  We decided to get close up and personal for the “Kodak Moment”.  The early morning light made for some nice shots.

  Turning back northward, we proceeded toward the Bay Bridge and along the Chesapeake Bay.


  At 11 am, we turned into the Sassafras River.  There were a phenomenal number of SeaRays and other fast boats zipping around and stirring up some pretty big waves and wakes.  We bounced along up past Georgetown, through the drawbridge, and into Greggs Neck.  At 1:15, the anchor was set for an afternoon of relaxing.  We were waiting for a call from Joe DeMaris and friends to arrange the afternoon cruise.  JD, Skip, and Dave were out flying from West Virginia.  About 4pm, we cruised back to the Georgetown area.  It was lovely and warm and lots of fun to watch the numerous boats cruising around.  We arranged to pick up JD at Skipjack Marina where we refueled the boat.  After cruising around for a couple hours, we anchored and Judy and Donna prepared a spectacular dinner for the six of us.

Joe DeMaris:

Dave Smith:

Skip McCarty:

Judy Law:


  Before we knew it, the evening had turned to pitch dark.  Time had flown too fast and, with running lights illuminated, returned to Skipjack Marina.  With friends departed, we inched our way back to the same location to anchor for the night.  So much for that plan, we had made several attempts to get the anchor to hold but to no avail.  Slowly, we relocated to a little cove off the channel just north of marker R10.  Here we had a successful anchoring the first shot.  It was now about 11pm and the crew had been worked hard.  Off to bed now for an early go in the morning. 

05/29/06   Monday  Memorial Day   Sassafras River to Cape May, NJ

Happy Birthday to my sister Carol (whose real name is “Carol Edith Ann Elizabeth Joan Camille Pocahontas Reed Kennedy), otherwise known as “ScrapCat”.

Today is Memorial Day and another opportunity to pay our respects to those brave soldiers, sailors, and other defenders of our country who paid the ultimate price with their lives that we might have the chance to enjoy freedom.  We, aboard AMARSE, will enjoy that freedom and we offer our deepest gratitude to our fallen comrades who helped make it possible.

It was a very short night as we started anchor up at 5:10 am.  The Fortress anchor was caked with mud, fishing line, rags, and sticks.  What a mess.  Twenty minutes of cleanup work had us motoring out the Sassafras toward the bay.

  Continuing north, we completed our visit to the Chesapeake Bay as we entered the C&D Canal.  The Chesapeake-Delaware Canal joins the two bays of the same names.  The current was swift but fortunately in our favor. AMARSE was “Smokin’” as we hit speeds as much as 12.9 miles per hour.  We shared the canal with some huge commercial vessels before exiting into the often hostile Delaware Bay at Reedy Point.

 It was quite hazy so we chose to follow a course just outside the main channel buoys.  This would allow shipping traffic to have all the channel while we had safe depths of water.  At about noon, we approached the “Ship John Shoal Lighthouse.  There were lots of good ole’ boys out fishing around the shallows on this holiday weekend.  AMARSE slowed to reduce our wake and give us an opportunity to snap some pictures.

We set a rhumb line course to our destination markers at Cape May, NJ.  The winds and seas had picked up significantly and AMARSE was getting soaked with the resulting spray.  This was yet another time when we were glad for the isinglass enclosure.

As we came through the jetties at Cape May, the recreational boat traffic was quite heavy as the holiday weekend was coming to its end.  We chose an anchorage near the US Coast Guard training station for a peaceful, secure night.  Today, we had visited three states: Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey.

I set to work on repairing a split hose leak in our anchor washdown system.  I was able to make a temporary repair that will suffice until we can get some new parts.  All the twisting and turning in tight spots made me quite tired and achy.  The effort was worthwhile though as the washdown pump is such a very important piece of equipment on this trip.

Position N38 57.046 W074 53.040.

05/30/06  Tuesday   Cape May, NJ to Island Heights, NJ on Tom’s River

   With anchor aweigh at 5:30, Judy and Donna worked hard to wash the very sticky, black mud from our ground tackle.  We had anchored close to the famous Cape May Inlet and we were able to turn north near the sea buoy before 6 am.  What a gorgeous, big orange ball sunrise, it was.

Another trawler was close in trail.  I hailed the trawler “Vide Poches” and we discussed our plans for the passage up the “outside route” of the Atlantic Ocean.  Their vessel name means “empty pockets” in French.  Its, perhaps, a well fitting name for this kind of lifestyle.

The outside route remains fairly close to the shores and sandy beaches of New Jersey as we travel only 2 to 5 miles offshore.  Something interesting that we encountered  were many, many, perhaps hundreds, of those Mylar balloons floating in the ocean.  You know the kind, the shiny silver ones, some with heart shapes, and imprinted with various greetings.  They obviously loose enough helium that they settle to the surface and float forever more.  Who knows how many of these will accumulate out there since that plastic probably never biodegrades.  I, personally, had never considered what happens to all those helium birthday balloons that are released everyday.

  Enroute, we could see Atlantic City through the haze.  Big and beautiful casinos lined the shore.  The largest is the “Taj Mahal” of Donald Trump fame.  Most people agree that the beaches along the New Jersey shore are quite nice.

  The sea state was conducive for an attempt at Barnegat Inlet.  This famous, or perhaps infamous, pass from the Atlantic Ocean to the inland bay can be either viciously treacherous or, at least, challengingly tricky.  Waters in the initial inlet should never be attempted during inclement weather.  Waves, breakers, currents, eddies, and shifting shoals can make the inlet uncontrollable.  For us today, the conditions were relatively mild and provided an excellent opportunity to experience this unique inlet.  The rock jetty inlet leads passed Barnegat Light.  Commissioned in 1859, the 165 foot tall beacon is the second largest lighthouse in the United States.

  A very twisty, turning channel, narrowly bordered by sand shoals, requires full attention and careful navigation to avoid danger.  The shoals here shift so frequently that they are not marked on any of the charts and the buoys are constantly being relocated.  The passage through the inlet and through the complex Oyster Creek channel took right at one hour.  In these favorable conditions, it was certainly a wonderful experience.  It was easily the most complex channel that I have ever encountered.

  Now in Barnegat Bay and the NJ ICW, we proceeded to Tom’s River.  The state marked channel took us 1.8 mile to the lovely community of Island Heights.  Although with a little difficulty, we were able to locate the city dock adjacent to the open-air building with a green roof and green trimmed side boards.

  At this time of year, the community allows boaters to tie up free of charge.  How does one turn down a deal like that?

 The weather was so nice and the streets lined with historic Victorian style homes made our afternoon walk along a boardwalk extremely pleasant.



  Some local folks informed us of a great restaurant to try located only a block or so uphill.  We made the required reservations and dined at the “Old Corner Deli”.  Uniquely located in an old home and corner store, this little place serves as a deli during the day.

  At 5pm, the deli closes and they open the home dining room consisting of only 8 or 10 small tables.  This is gourmet dining and the meals are wonderfully prepared.  Should you ever visit, remember to bring your own bottle of wine since BYOB is protocol.  The gals thoroughly enjoyed the Breast of Chicken Chunks with 5 cheese Alfredo Linguine while I savored the Chicken Antipasto, a tender chicken breast medley combining pepperoni, sautéed peppers, and a blend of melted cheese.  This is a good place and don’t miss the fresh, warm bread rolls.

A quiet, relaxing evening was getting us rested for another early morning.

Position  N39 56.409 W074 09.014

05/31/06  Wednesday  Tom’s River, Island Heights, NJ to Statue of Liberty

  By 5:40 am, I had checked all the engine fluids, warmed the engines up, and was turning the propellers while Donna and Judy cast off the docklines.  We rejoined the ICW at mile 14.7 and coursed our way in rather foggy conditions.  At times like these, the radar and GPS chartplotter are extremely useful.  The Point Pleasant Canal is an interesting place that is very narrow and its banks are lined with heavy steel plate pilings.

 The current roars through here creating eddy and whirlpool currents that make for an interesting and somewhat hazardous situation.  For me, these types of challenges make our trip lots of fun and serves to heightens my enjoyment.  The fog seemed to thicken as we approached Brielle, NJ.  The railroad bridge was down and we loitered a short while before passing into the Manasquan Inlet.  The traffic was plentiful with numerous large fishing boats vying for positions in the line exiting to the Atlantic Ocean.  It seems that everyone is scheduled to depart at 8 am.  The fog was quite thick and the boat wakes rather intense.  It requires constant vigilance to keep in safe conditions.  We probably would have waited out these foggy conditions, however, the forecast was for deteriorating conditions that could create more of a problem than the fog.  The lesser of the evils philosophy proved to be our best choice.  As we rounded Sandy Hook Point to enter the mouth of New York Harbor, the fog had only lifted slightly, however, as we slid under the Verranzano Narrows Bridge, the fog evaporated providing us a wonderful, clear view of our approach to Manhattan Island and the Statue of Liberty.

  The commercial shipping traffic was moderately hectic but provided for a very interesting trip. Ships, tugs, barges, ferries, police boats, fire boats, and the famous Staten Island Ferry all vying for position with AMARSE.

  The Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, Wall Street, and the Brooklyn Bridge were clearly evident.  Actually seeing these landmark sites from the deck of our own boat is a truly remarkable experience.

  The Lady of the Harbor stands so tall and prominent and the backdrop of the city skyline so compelling that it would take a very hardened person not to be in awe.  Here, the “WOW” factor is really high.  I brought AMARSE right up close to the security markers giving us the best possible view as we slowly arced around her massive base and structure.

  These views and glimpses of Ellis Island reminded us all of our history classes in school that now seem so close in mind. 

  A narrow channel leads back behind the Statue leads to Liberty State Park and our somewhat breezy anchorage for the night.

  There, we shared the spot with four other cruisers.  This was far fewer than we expected.  Perhaps the fog conditions had discouraged them. 

  Judy prepared Tuna sandwiches served with chips.  It was too windy to grill and, perhaps, all these thoughts of history classes reminded us of our school lunch days so much that this was the perfect meal choice. 

  POSITION:  N40 41.726 W074 03.753.

"AMARSE".  is pronounced "AM-ARE-SAY".  Our website is:   www.amarse.net   .

Check it out while we will attempt to keep you informed via email.  We have had the pleasure of hearing from many of you.  We would like to hear more about what is happening in your lives.  Let us know as we very interested in what’s going on with our friends and family.  Please DO email us with your thoughts and comments and ideas too.  Thanks

Lot of Love,

Fred Reed and Judy Law