Atlantic Highlands  

Well we are back in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey with wonderful views of Manhattan from our cockpit as we sit at anchor in the harbour here.  The cormorants line the harbour wall and we lost count at around 80 of them.  It is certainly an area with plenty of fish.  As the cormorants settle for the evening, we imagine them sharing stories of the day’s fishing and comparing notes as we yachties do.

 

We enjoyed our last 2 days “down east” in Maine on Mount Desert Island and had another terrific walk straight from our spot in Northeast Harbor.  The trail again took us across broad granite rocks past pretty pines and firs and Lindsay was mentally choosing the perfect Christmas tree along the way.  It was a good walk for wildlife spotting and we saw deer, a large woodpecker, more little red squirrels and an interesting frog en route.  In the evening we had drinks and shared sailing stories with new friends Rocky and Ann who were moored near us.

 

On our final day David had a run along the gravel “carriage trails” of Acadia Park whilst Lindsay did some laundry in the very smart yachtsman’s facilities.  There is an obligation to use a washing machine if one is easily available!  We had a delightful evening and supper with our new friends on their lovely boat – a Caliber 38.  It was very interesting to see inside a quality American boat and it had some great features.

 

Friday morning we left our mooring at 8am and headed out into the minefield of lobster pot markers once more.  In the end it took over 4 hours before they thinned out enough for us to relax a bit.  Meanwhile we had some good winds and a rough sea and sailed reefed, until after lunch when the winds died and we had to motor until sunset (a lovely one).  The night sail was pretty challenging with nasty, short, violent rolls which sent everything crashing from side to side below and for the first time ever, skipper was a bit frightened that “Goldcrest” would actually roll too far, dip the boom into the waves and wreak havoc.  It was also cold and 5 layers of clothing didn’t do if for first mate.  We were happy to be going south and amazed at how much the water temperature rose during the passage – from a chilly 12C as we set off to 21C as we arrived here.

 

It was still rough off Cape Cod the following morning but the winds were relatively favourable to keep going all the way to Sandy Hook so we decided to tackle another 24 hours at sea.  We saw whales blowing again off the Cape with the spray looking like puffs of smoke in the distance.  We motored back through the Cape Cod Canal at lunchtime and saw both a seal and a large turtle in the canal which we weren’t expecting.  After 2 hours’ more sailing, we again had to motor until late evening as the winds died and dark clouds brought rain and gloom.  Our second night (a bit warmer thank goodness) gave us a fast sail in winds which averaged mid 20kts (gusting to 34kts), so we were well reefed and still hit over 9kts at one point.  It was exhilarating to be flying along over a flat sea and even better when the moon appeared from behind the clouds to keep us company.

 

On Sunday morning we passed down the south shore of Long Island and then the wind died and we had to motor the last 2 hours towards Sandy Hook and our destination at Atlantic Highlands.  It was a beautiful afternoon and the sea was crowded with sports fishing boats and sailboats which we threaded through before dropping anchor here around 3pm. Then it was time to tidy up, sleep, shower and go ashore for a burger supper.

 

We will probably be here at least until next Monday with chores and repairs to do in this boater friendly spot and US cousins to see again.  Another day trip into New York is also on the cards.

 

Not sure about the boat name of the catamaran next to us here – “Courageous Couple”.  That sounds a bit embarrasing to us!

 

A fitting farewell to Maine; sunset out in the gulf: