Our 3 day stay in Cape May was an opportunity to get some boat projects completed, which included installing a new captain’s chair on the bridge (a back saver for me) and modifying some of the upper seat cushions as a result of the new chair position. It was a great creative outlet for Stel to re-sew the cushions to fit, and the result of her work was a beautiful and comfortable improvement. We also had a great time getting to know some more of the 15-20 loopers who were there getting ready to make the trek north to NYC. We met some great people from all over the country and Canada, with one thing in common…their love for traveling on their boat. Nightly 5pm gatherings at a designated boat are part of the daily schedule, and as a result, there is no lack of crazy stories and enthusiasm.

At this point of the trip, there is a decision to make about how to proceed to New York Harbor. Do we wait for great weather to leave Cape May and go off-shore for the 100 mile journey, or do we travel up the inland New Jersey ICW, which can be done regardless of the offshore conditions? Based on the windy forecasts for upcoming days, Stel and I decided to travel on the inside. The NJ Intracoastal Waterway has the reputation for being very shallow, so we had to plan to travel during incoming tides and with sharpened attention to the charts, navigation markers, color of the water and our depth sounder. It was hard to get comfortable running our boat through hairpin turns in 4-8 feet of water for 8 hours at a time. They were the two longest and most tedious days that we had ever spent on the boat. I am not sure that I would make the same decision again. Yes, we grounded the Estrellita on the 2nd day after getting ever so slightly out of the channel. (Stel said we had to admit this to “be real”) It was a humbling experience, but thankfully the tide was coming in and we eased her off of the flat after sitting for an hour or so. Fortunately, no damage to the props. All in all, it was a gorgeous trip, with beautiful marshlands, expansive bays, and uniquely attractive homes. Unfortunately, our impression of NJ had always been formed by our trips traveling through the state on I-95 or flying into Newark Airport. As we have tried to share with some photos below, it is a beautiful state and we are so happy that we had the opportunity to experience it from a much different perspective. As we anticipate our cruise into New York City tomorrow morning, we continue to thank God for safe passage and the opportunity to enjoy the diversity of His unbelievably beautiful creation.