Bzzzz. Bzzzz, Bzzzz
If you somehow had a microphone relaying sound from
the cockpit this afternoon, you would have heard this - repeated several times.
It is the noise of Alex and I waging war against a plague of flies. Insects
(often of the biting variety) have been occasional visitors since we arrived in
the US. But since we arrived in New Jersey last night, the house fly population
aboard has reached plague proportions. We've been squirting Baygon at them
endlessly, with the effect that a couple have cartwheeled on to the floor and
the inside of the boat now smells like fake flowers and males us cough in
You would be forgiven for thinking that standards
must have slipped onvoard - after all Summer Song has been our home for nearly
11 months. So we were relieved to overhear a conversation between two boats on
the VHF radio.
"How are you guys hetting on?"
"Well, we cleared the Delaware at midday and we're
now north of Cape May."
"You're making good progress, then. We must be a
couple of hours behind you. Do you have flies?"
"Don't talk to me about the blooming flies! They're
everywhere. The wife's been spraying them with so much Baygon she's given
herself a migraine and had to lie down."
"I know! We lost them at about 30 miles offshore,
but only after we spent an hour frying them with one of those electric
"They don't do things by halves in this country, do
they? First we had biters, then mozzies and now flies!"
"Well, we had hornets!"
And so on.
We tuned out before it turned into Monty Python's
'Three Yorkshiremen' sketch with each one competing for the worst plague. It was
good to know we weren't alone, however. We made ourselves cough like 60-a-day
smokers from all the fly spray, and still the blighters were cavorting in the
cockpit as if it was nothing. In a twist of fate, the two boats on the radio
were Brits, one being a boat called Nimuie, whose owners invited us onboard for
a drink in Guadeloupe. I called them on the radio, and we made vague promises to
meet for a drink farther north, although I'm not conviced they could remember
who we were.
In other news, we left Cape May late after floating
near the harbour for 30 minutes, hijacking someone's wireless internet signal.
We made good time heading northeast and soon hoisted the spinakoo in about 14
knots of wind - ideal spinnaker conditions. We raced to our planned anchorage,
up a wide inlet running between the Atlantic and the barrier islands that line
the coast here. But as we lined up to run in along a line of small buoys, the
depth dropped away and the swell piled up into breakers. We peeled off and ran
back out for deeper water before the channel could be tested.
It left us with a dilemma, though: to retrace our
steps eight miles to Atlantic City, whose skyscrapers rose out of the afternoon
haze like some sort of tawdry oasis; or to carry on to New York. There's no real
middle ground here, as all the inlets are narrow, shallow and poorly lit, so
night entry is difficult. As we discussed the issue, we passed a buoy with a
whistle in it that moaned mournfully as if it housed all the souls lost at sea
in these parts. Suddenly the wind swung through 180 degrees amd blew up to 30
knots as a black stormcloud passed ahead of us. Having a hatred of going back
over old ground, I managed to talk Alex into a night sail to NY.
Before I forget, we passed Fortescue Island on our
way down the Delaware yesterday. I had planned to stop for luncheon and an
explore. But the place appeared to be no more than a slightly raised patch of
marsh surrounded by bog. I wonder how it got its