Happy Thanksgiving from Nick, Tracy and Frankie aboard the Kailani! It’s 8:15 am, the lines are rigged for departure, power cords are tucked away on board, its 38 degrees outside, sun is beating on the helm and we’re ready to shove off for our run to Atlantic City today, Thursday, November 23, 2017. To make Atlantic City in one day, we have to cover 83 nautical miles of open ocean, specifically, the North Atlantic Ocean. This has been the single reason for our weeklong delay at Great Kills Yacht Club, we had to wait for an acceptable marine forecast in order to shove off and we have to be prepared for burning lots of fuel as we run the engines up to 2,000 rpm’s and cruise at 17 knots in order to get to Atlantic City before sunset. If our plan was to cruise at our normal 9 knots, it would take over nine hours and there isn’t enough daylight this time of year for that, so we’ll just have to watch the fuel gages go down for a while!
The Great Kills Harbor and Lower New York Harbor are both relatively calm and as soon as we are out of the Great Kills Harbor, we accelerate Kailani up to 17 knots and work our way out of Lower New York Harbor and around Sandy Hook to turn south and run off the New Jersey coast. After passing Manasquan Inlet and Toms River, we’re rapidly approaching Barnegat Bay Inlet and our chartplotter shows that our ETA in Atlantic City will be 1:15 PM. So after running for 2 hours and 45 minutes at 17 knots, we decide to conserve some fuel and return Kailini to her normal cruising speed of 9 knots. This means that instead of arriving at 1:15 pm, we’ll arrive at 3:15 pm or so and that still leaves us a margin of safety for daylight. The better reason for slowing is that up to Barnegat Bay, our fuel tanks have gone from three quarters full to three eighths full and from there, the fuel gages don’t move any more for the last four hours! We burned approximately 112 gallons in the first 2 hours and 45 minutes at 17 knots and burned 15 gallons in the last 4 hours and 30 minutes at 9 knots. Twice the speed for more than seven times the fuel consumption. Not a very economical way to run, but today it was definitely necessary.
For the entire week we were in Staten Island watching the weather, we kept saying we needed to be very sure of a decent weather window to run outside on the New Jersey coast. As we passed Sandy Hook and turned south, all the references on maps and our chartplotter said we were now in the ‘North Atlantic Ocean’. And here we were thinking all we had to do was run 80 miles down the New Jersey coast! And just to remind us of where we actually were, we spotted two bottle-nosed dolphins and one whale. The dolphins ran close to our starboard side while the whale first presented himself about 400 yards dead ahead of us with three blasts of his blow hole, then he broke the surface. That was a sight!
There ware many vessels out today, mostly before noontime and mostly straight out from the various inlets. We figured that these were all men who had agreed to take care of buying the Thanksgiving turkey and forgotten so they were all out here with us trying to get fish on the table for today’s dinner!
Today also showed us a new anomaly that we’ll have to be very careful of in the future. Even at 1.5 miles off shore, there are numerous shallow water shoals and as I was following my Navionics blue line for today’s trip, it was taking me directly into waves breaking out in the ocean directly in line with our course! Navionics will plot courses for us based on Kailani’s draft and typically avoids depths less than 15 feet in the ocean, but today, the blue line had us headed straight for an area of 11 to 12 feet of water due to the low tide, and the waves were breaking hard! This was right after we crossed the Barnegat Bay Inlet and I had to divert hard to port to avoid this shallow water area and waves. We did get caught by one of those waves and a few items fell off the dashboard at the helm. Tracy always wanted a monocular, well now she has two, as her set of binoculars broke apart at the hinge joint!
All in all, with the fuel burn, shallow water mishap, and fairly cold day, it was still a nice run and after 7 hours and 15 minutes on the water, we were safely tied up at Senator Farley State Marina, Golden Nugget Casino. Since today is Thanksgiving, there are not any staff at the marina, but Tracy had spoken with the marina manager on Wednesday and he said to just dock wherever we wanted and he’d check in with us on Friday. So we turned in on the finger dock behind the fuel dock and tied up. Farley has 630 slips all on floating docks and there are still quite a few boats in the water here. Tomorrow we’ll be in great position to fuel up and get pumped out prior to our departure.
So Kailani is tied up, 50-amp service is feeding the circuits, heat is on and Frankie will be warm as we change into decent clothes and walk up the dock for a Thanksgiving dinner at the Golden Nugget Buffet. We have so much to be thankful for on this first big holiday away from family and friends and an opportunity for a nice meal prepared by the Golden Nugget is just one more for the list.
Tomorrow looks like smooth seas also, so we plan to head down to Cape May so we can complete our ‘North Atlantic Ocean’ segment of this trip.