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June 28, 2013

11

A Stay in New Jersey and Big Day #3

by frankandems

Other than the brief post on Tuesday about starting our passage to Montauk, it has been weeks since our last post, and I’ve been grinding on the best way to summarize the more notable points of this period.

Well, first and foremost, if you’re reading this it means we’ve made it safely to Montauk, NY. More on that later . . . first, the stop in New Jersey.

I will cover this in headline form since much of it is of great interest to us but may be of limited interest to a lot of others, so:

Of the 26 nights we were in NJ, we slept in our house 3 of them. We stayed on the boat the rest of the time because it is more “home” than our home, just because it is still new to us. However, we did spend those few days making it more homey and taking advantage of the unlimited supply of hot water . . . I’m talking long, hot showers. I was so decadent that when I shampooed my hair I lathered, rinsed and then, just because I could, I repeated. The laundry was also taken advantage of with great gusto. Plus it was good to see the piano again. But we longed to be on the boat, so that’s where we stayed while parked in a lovely marina where Frank had a slip many years ago.

We packed five weeks worth of activity into three, including:
– Five visits from family members
– Six visits from friends
– Two overnight trips out of town (by car – GASP!)
– A visit to see our Mamas (You gotta see your Mama!)
– One funeral (Ems next door neighbor in Bethlehem and good buddy, Irene. Hope you and Norbert and doing the polka together again!)
– Two services at my former church to sing in the choir (2nd Sunday they coerced, uhm uh conned, er uh, asked me to accompany the choir on a piece that was one of our signature concert pieces – I love seeing a classically trained group singing Gospel!)

As if that weren’t an exciting enough itinerary, Frank had a health scare and visit to the doctor complete with 2 scans. Bottom line: all is well. (Many of you know Frank is a throat cancer survivor – 9 years) . . . end of the story: he has a crooked esophagus. No biggie and nothing needs to be done. I have been writing a song in my head that I hear being sung by Jimmy Buffet. Goes something like this . . .

“Oh I have a crooked esophagus,
Can’t tell you why or how.
Just what that means ain’t a hill of beans.
Just means that I should eat soft chow.”

Or something like that. It still needs work. Don’t judge.
I joke, but it made for some tense days in our third week, so the visits with family and friends were a great distraction. And we met a GREAT doctor who will have a special place in our hearts forever. She was the best.

So as much as we were chomping at the bit to leave, we were stuck until we got the all clear. We got the all clear on Monday, June 24th at 9:43 a.m. After rejoicing for a bit, we looked at the weather forecast to start plotting our escape. An hour later, we decided that our only weather window (without having to stay in the marina for another full week) was to leave in less than 24 hours. That launched us into a great cloud of scurrying around to prep, provision, make another trip to the house, figure out how to ditch our cars and get back to the boat to be ready for a 6am departure. So that’s what we did.

Here are some pictures of some of Eleanor Q’s visitors and time in the marina and some of the fun we had while in town. . . (by the way, and you clever folks may have already figured this out –  if you click on a picture you will get the larger version of it if desired . . . those of you under 40 may not need to avail yourselves of this feature.)

A shot of the marina and an approaching storm

A shot of the marina and an approaching storm

Some of the gang from Hollywood Casino Grantville down for a visit

Some of the gang from Hollywood Casino Grantville down for a visit

The guys coming to pick the ladies up for lunch after fishing.

The guys coming to pick the ladies up for lunch after fishing.

Franks's sister and husband (Colleen & Joe) come out for a sail with us! It was sporting ending with 20+ knots while docking. Joy.

Franks’s sister and husband (Colleen & Joe) come out for a sail with us! It was a sporting ending with 20+ knots while docking. Joy. This is us recovering . . .

Ems sister, Triana, celebrating her last day of school (teaches 6th grade) with an evening sail!

Ems sister, Triana, celebrating her last day of school (teaches 6th grade) with an evening sail!

Frank with his great nephew. Baby on board!

Frank with his great nephew. Baby on board!

Frank's mom and Nolan sitting in the cockpit.

Frank’s mom and Nolan sitting in the cockpit.

Frank, his sister, Kathy, and Nolan

Frank, his sister Kathy and Nolan. The Budweiser was not for Nolan, I promise.

Frank at the Longport Jetty

Frank at the Longport Jetty. Looks like an Eddie Bauer commercial, doesn’t he?

A great day on the beach with Frank Jr. Fantastic Frank!

A great day on the beach with Frank Jr. Fantastic Frank!

Father and Son.

Father and Son.

St. Peter's United Methodist Church in Ocean City, NJ . . . home a mighty fine choir and one of the most talented, dedicated and fun organist/choir directors you'll ever find in a church. 8th and Central if you're ever in town . . .

St. Peter’s United Methodist Church in Ocean City, NJ . . . home of a mighty fine choir and one of the most talented, dedicated and fun directors of music you’ll ever find in a church. 8th and Central if you’re ever in town . . . thanks for letting me crash the party, John!

With all of THAT behind us, the focus shifted to BIG DAY #3 and our 30+ hour passage . . . which is nothing to sneeze at! A quick review, we had 3 ‘Big Days” that we looked forward to: Big Day #1: Moving onto the Boat – check. Big Day #2: Taking the lines with us and leaving Annapolis – check. So THIS was Big Day #3: The REAL beginning of our cruising days with a passage towards New England for the summer. YAHOO!

Big Day #3 began on Tuesday at 6a.m. and ended Wednesday at about noon. Yeah, I know. That’s more than a day. I TOLD you it was a big day! Don’t get picky on me.

If you had more than two people or if both were very experienced crew who do this kind of passage all the time, you would actually get opportunities to sleep. But we knew we both wanted to be in the cockpit the whole time and figured we would relieve each other and take catnaps, which is what we did. (Frank’s were little bitty kitten naps. Mine were large Maine Coon Cat naps.) Anyway, here’s the overview of what it was like: The weather was pretty good, the winds were good for more than half of the trip, the temperature change from day to night with wind and humidity called for everything form bathing suits midday to all the layers we could find complete with socks and hats and big coats overnight. It is an open cockpit, so no hiding from the elements except for the canvas canopy that covers part of the area. The ocean was acting like an ocean . . . a little rocky and rolly – which doesn’t stop at any time. I’m so used to the Chesapeake Bay which is very calm by comparison. At one point I said something innocently like, “Are these kind of bigger swells?” I derserved the answer I got, which was, “They’re waves. It’s the ocean. The ocean has those, you know?” I had it coming to me.

So I will speak mostly for myself here as I describe the different feelings I had throughout the trip:
6am – 11am: This is pretty exciting! How cool cruising along the coastline like this. Atlantic City is pretty from out here. I’ll be happy when we get enough wind to sail and can turn the engine off, but we’re making good time and this is cool.

11am – 4pm: Ahhhh. No engine. Just the sails. This is nice. Nee
d to go put some more sunscreen on. I like our 2 hour shift plan. I’ll grab the sandwiches out of the fridge. All is well. How long have we been out here, anyway? Are we a third of the way there yet? How far away from land are we? Oh wow . . . we don’t have cell service anymore, or internet. Huh.

4pm – 7pm: Oh great. There was just a marine forecast on the VHF radio for severe storms hitting New York around 5:30. Is that going to come right at us? Is that lightning I see in the distance? Is that dark path of sky going north of us or south of us? Really . . . we’re 40 miles off shore? How interesting . . . Well let’s pull up the Weather Channel and look at the radar map. Oh yeah, we have no internet or cell service. Forgot. Argh.

7pm – 9pm: Thank goodness we dodged those storms. Being that far offshore worked in our favor and we missed ’em. Beautiful. Pretty sky! I can’t finish my chili. Yeah, I feel fine . . . but where are the saltines?

9pm – 11pm: It’s dark. I can’t see anything. I know you have to dim the screens so you can keep your night vision, but you have the screen so dim I can’t even READ THE FRICKIN’ CHARTS. Why are you doing my job? You’re behind the wheel, I’ll pull out the stay sail. I CAN’T PULL OUT THE STAYSAIL; I CAN’T SEE WHICH LINE IS THE STAYSAIL! THIS SUCKS! I have NO night vision . . . grrrrrrrr… . Why doesn’t the wind come around 20 more degrees so we can sail a straight line to Montauk? We’re 60 miles off shore!

11:pm – Midnight: The moon is coming up! Huzzah! You’re right – it’s amazing how much you can see out here at night. I’m so glad I put that little flashlight in my pocket . . . that’s all I needed to feel a little less frustrated. My night vision took a while to kick in. This is pretty amazing out here! Can you believe we’ve had the engine off and been sailing for 12 hours now? Which constellation is that?

Midnight – 1:00am: Happy Anniversary. I couldn’t think of a better place or way to spend it than on our boat in the moonlight together. (So much better than going to dinner at Chef Olla’s! Inside joke . . . forgive me.) This is really so wonderful . . . I’ll go lay down for the next couple of hours and relieve you around 4:00? Sure, that works. I can’t imagine I’ll get much sleep out here like this . . .

1:00am – 2:30am: . . . zzzzzzzzzzzz…

2:30am – 3:00am: Crap, is that lightning in the distance? Which way do you think it’s headed? Do you need your foul weather gear?

3am – 4:30am: Another storm averted. Excellent. I’ve got this for a while. You shut your eyes. Wow, this is beautiful. Frank’s asleep (sort of). I’m at the wheel, it’s the middle of the night, the moon is shining, I’m listening to great music . . . life is really good.

4:30am – 5:45am – I’ll lay down for a little while again, but I don’t think I’ll sleep . . . zzzzzzzzzzz . . . I missed SUNRISE?? Quick, where’s the sunrise playlist?? (Thanks to those of you who offered great suggestions to add to that, by the way!)

5:45 – 7:00: Okay, we’re only going 5.4 knots, the wind is dying out, and we’re no longer aimed at Montauk just because we don’t want to motor. Okay, that’s sailing. So we’ll have to jibe in a while. That’s fine. This is all still good. Long day and night . . . kind of tired . . . but this is good. I’m going to put another layer of clothes on. I can’t listen to the 70s station anymore. They just played Michael Jackson’s “Ben” and “It’s the Last Song I’ll Ever Write For You.” If they play “Brandy” we’ll have a three-fer for most annoying songs of all times.

7:00am – 9:00am: Okay, this is ridiculous. Can we PLEASE just start the engine and get there already? Thank goodness. Now we’re making some progress! Are we there yet? Yeah, I’ll take it for a while. Go rest. I know; just don’t hit anything. Got it.

9:00am – 11:00am – Hey, we’re actually almost there1 This is great!! Hey, LAND HO!

11:00am – Noon: Montauk Point! There’s the lighthouse! We’ll be at anchor in less than an hour! I can’t wait to take a shower! We made it!

Noon – We have this whole lake to ourselves. This is great! I’m SOOOO glad we’re here. Happy Anniversary.

And Frank from 1:00pm – 4:00pm: . . . zzzzzzzZZZZZZZZzzzzzz . . .

Here are some shots of our exit out of New Jersey, our passage and our arrival in Montauk:

Eleanor Q at dawn ready for departure.

Eleanor Q at dawn ready for departure.

Leaving the Great Egg Harbor Inlet

Leaving the Marina . . .

Some places still showed signs of damage from Super Storm Sandy.

Some places still showed signs of damage from Super Storm Sandy

Atlantic City to our port side as we motor up the coast in the early morning.

Atlantic City to our port side as we motor up the coast in the early morning.

The first part of our trip was warm enough for shorts and swim suits.

The first part of our trip was warm enough for shorts and swim suits.

We watched sunset during the passage after missing the storms just to our west;

We watched sunset during the passage after missing the storms just to our west;

The moon came out to keep us company.

The moon came out to keep us company.

Sunrise in the open waters.

Sunrise in the open waters.

Ems napping in the cockpit. The bright yellow thing on my head is the glow in the dark hood from my foul weather jacket.

Ems napping in the cockpit. The bright yellow thing on my head is the glow in the dark hood from my foul weather jacket.

Finally arriving at Montauk Point! Almost to our destination.

Finally arriving at Montauk Point! Almost to our destination. Check out the bird that photo bombed my picture

Entering the inlet to Montauk Lake. Yep, those are rocks alright. Just ask the bird.

Entering the inlet to Montauk Lake. Yep, those are rocks alright. Just ask the bird.

After an afternoon of collapsing, we managed to clean up and go out to dinner for our anniversary. Here's the porch where we ate some wonderful seafood at Inlet Seafood Restaurant. How'd we find the restaurant? Got in the dinghy, headed towards land, passed a guy covered in mud cleaning his boat bottom and asked him for a good place to eat. You know, just like usual.

After an afternoon of collapsing, we managed to clean up and go out to dinner for our anniversary. Here’s the porch where we ate some wonderful seafood at Inlet Seafood Restaurant. How’d we find the restaurant? Got in the dinghy, headed towards land, passed a guy covered in mud cleaning his boat bottom and asked him for a good place to eat. You know, just like usual.

The end of a big day . . . and a big episode in our adventure.

The end of a big day . . . and a big episode in our adventure.

Montauk is beautiful and we love it. We plan to stay here for several days, then spend a few days exploring more of “The Fishtail” of Long Island. More on that next blog.  It was amazing, exhausting and a definite feeling of accomplishment. And now I have one overnighter under my belt! A friend compared it to earning a merit badge. I agree, Jimmy. I agree.

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Caroline
    Jun 28 2013

    Ems:

    Are you sure Frank edited/approved this blog entry? Hah! It was a most enjoyable read. It would be fun if you could get him to write (albeit a shorter) version of the 30 hours from his perspective. Too funny to think about.

    Seriously, glad that your 30 hour adventure was successful. And you never told us you’d be THAT far offshore! YIKES!

    xoxo

    Caroline

    Reply
    • Jun 28 2013

      He’s a guy. He’d say something like, “It was cool.”
      But seriously, I asked him what his perspective would be . . . an interview, so to speak. If I get motivated tomorrow, I’ll add an addenedum with his (briefer) perspectives. We Rapkings do have a gift of gab. See you soon!

      Reply
    • Jun 28 2013

      And yes . . . as always . . . he read it before I sent it . . . although I slipped in the Chef Olla’s comment after he approved it. hee hee hee

      Reply
  2. Kathy Heller
    Jun 28 2013

    Coerced, conned you into playing? I think not! You loved it as much as we loved seeing you.
    Safe vouage – till we meet again!
    Love from all of us

    Reply
  3. Loretta and Jim Elliott
    Jun 28 2013

    Glad to hear you made it safe and sound. Had no doubts that you would! Felt like I was reliving our crossing to Block Island! Have a wonderful time and enjoy the journey! (as well as the destinations) Looking forward, as always, to your next post! Fair winds. Loretta and Jim s/v Plan Sea

    Reply
  4. Jun 28 2013

    I loved your wonderful post. I can’t wait to have a Maine Coon Cat Nap of my own! When we came up the Coast we had some similar experiences – like wonderful night sailing and chili and not feeling well underway! Great to have these experiences.

    We had to get away from the dock so writing from the Magothy River/Eagle Cove. A little rain but we are cozy and it didn’t stop Anthony from grilling steaks and breaking out the red wine! Life is good. Glad to hear you both are well!

    Best,
    Annette

    Reply
    • Jun 28 2013

      Ah, the Magothy. How is the big glass house looking these days? Sounds like you two are having a wonderful summer on the boat. Congrats on the retirement and we’ll see you soon. Thanks for the note.

      Reply
  5. Donna & Rich
    Jun 29 2013

    High fives on your anniversary (here’s to shared memories of it!) AND the new passages of life (Big Day #3)! LYD, Donna and Rich

    Reply
  6. Harold Elmore
    Jul 3 2013

    Thanks for all this and is most interesting! Travel safely and have a happy 4th !

    *From:* Voyages of the Eleanor Q [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com] *Sent:* Friday, June 28, 2013 2:30 PM *To:* elmore_h@wvwc.edu *Subject:* [New post] A Stay in New Jersey and Big Day #3

    frankandems posted: “Other than the brief post on Tuesday about starting our passage to Montauk, it has been weeks since our last post, and I’ve been grinding on the best way to summarize the more notable points of this period. Well, first and foremost, if you’re reading t”

    Reply
  7. Doug Wisehaupt
    Jul 7 2013

    I love reading about your adventure and desperately wish I could experience it myself. Keep blogging and enjoy the trip.

    Reply

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