Our summer boating season has begun! My husband Rick and I cruise on Artemis, our Offshore 54 Pilothouse, which we purchased in Ft. Lauderdale in 2014 with plans of completing the Great Loop over a three-year period. Last year was our first year cruising and it consisted of four legs beginning in Ft. Lauderdale in March and ending in the Chesapeake Bay by September.
For the 2015 summer season, we will be working our way north from the Chesapeake Bay, taking a detour from the Great Loop, toward Maine then back to the Hudson River, finishing the season in Winter Harbor, N.Y. I am looking forward to New York City, the Boston Harbor for 4th of July, Acadia National Park and then The U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
We left from Pleasure Cove Marina in Pasadena, Md., in mid-May. They stored and maintained our boat for the winter and they prepped her for departure. Their team was great to work with and handled our punch list perfectly.
Our son Brian and his wife Amanda hopped aboard for our first leg from Pasadena to the C&D Canal. This manmade canal is busy with commercial barges, but is also pleasure boater friendly. In Chesapeake City, we docked at Schaefer's Canal House with side-tie along the banks of the canal. The marina had full accommodations along with live music and delicious traditional Maryland fare, consisting of delicious crab pasta and local oysters on the half shell.
Today we cruised from Chesapeake City, continuing through the C&D Canal. The Canal dropped us into the Delaware Bay, where we continued to South Jersey Marina in Cape May, N.J. about a six-hour excursion. This marina offered full boat services, a shuttle to town and excellent suggestions for dining and taking in the charm of this historic community. We walked the town center, stopping for drinks at a local watering hole called the Ugly Mug, then had an amazing dinner at the Marion Inn, known for its prime rib.
Departing at 8:45 a.m., we headed offshore and ran directly north for three hours, 39 nautical miles to Atlantic City. We arrived just in time to place our bets for American Pharoah running in the 140th Preakness Stakes. We tied up right in front of the casino at the Golden Nugget Marina where marina guests can access all of the hotel amenities. We took a quick cab ride to the Atlantic City Boardwalk to take in all of the sights and sounds that it has to offer. In the evening, one of our other sons Anthony joined us for a lovely dockside family dinner at Chart House Seafood Restaurant. Atlantic City lived up to its colorful reputation as all three kids came back to the boat with stories of cold dice and empty wallets.
Leaving Atlantic City, we cruised north on the Atlantic, three miles off the Jersey Shore toward Manasquan, N.J. We docked at Hoffman's Marina, a full service marina, offering high-speed fuel pumps and clean restroom facilities. Rick and I took a three-mile walk around the small and sleepy commuter town that was filled with new Victorian-style homes that were rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy. Dinner that evening was delicious at the onsite marina restaurant, Waypoint 622. Rick enjoyed the house specialty, pork chops with clams and sausage in a tomato broth.
We were met by four-to-six foot swells and heavy fog during our departure from Hoffman's Marina. It took about four hours to go 44 nautical miles to reach the New York Harbor. But once we went under the Verrazano Bridge and were in sight of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline, pride and patriotism filled us and all thoughts of the rough crossing were forgotten. Also, standing majestically in the overcast sky was the new World Trade Tower. We continued up the Hudson River to see Manhattan Island by water before turning back and arriving at Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City, N.J. It was the perfect location to catch the ferry to Manhattan. After a pleasant stroll viewing all the sites, Rick and I dined in the Financial District at Delmonico Restaurant, known for its power dinners for Wall Street's elite.
Waking up and seeing New York City through the windshield of Artemis was quite a sight to take in. We headed up the East River passing all the major tourist sites of Manhattan on our port side and Brooklyn on our starboard side. With only an occasional tugboat and barge, the channel was clear for cruising. Artemis cruised steadily to Oyster Bay on the Long Island Sound. The scenery changed dramatically from cityscape to forested regal mansion estates. We were now entering Great Gatsby country.
Oyster Bay Marine Center was exactly what East Coast boating should be. Beautiful classic sailing vessels dotted the bay. We docked Artemis next to the famous ketch Knickerbocker, a 117-foot luxury yacht named after the owners of the NBA Knicks. To our starboard we had a 57-foot commuter yacht Vendetta, which has been featured in several yachting magazines, as the reincarnation of the Vanderbilt, Whitney and Pulitzer families mode of commuting to lower Manhattan in the 1920s and '30s. Oh, but I failed to give you a hint, its owner is the Piano Man.
We took a dingy ride around Oyster Bay to take in the beautiful landscape and manicured estates before walking a quick quarter mile into a darling seaport village. We ate dinner at a local favorite, Jack Halyards Tavern, that offered a delicious sushi bar with live music.
Tomorrow we depart for Sag Harbor and then on to Block Island for the weekend. Look for us on the waterways as we cruise toward Maine this summer!