Cape May...and not a whale to be seen

Melvyn Brown
Sat 23 Oct 2010 02:53

38: 57.6N 74: 52.0W


It wasn’t a good journey down from Atlantic City.  The weather was far from ideal – we were still going into the wind, but the wind had abated a little.  However there were yachts in front and behind us, it seemed as if there had been a mass exodus (we met up with three of them in the marina later that day).  Our destination was Two Mile Marina, just inside the canal beyond a lifting bridge.  We weren’t planning to continue along the Cape May canal (even though it would save a couple of hours back out on the Atlantic) because there were two bridges shown as 55ft and Zarafina’s mast is 52ft 6ins and even though the height is on the basis of the highest possible tide…. and the figures all compute…..but…..!


What a fortunate choice the marina turned out to be.  There is a very close and friendly community of sailors/fishermen at Two Mile, the catalyst being the Dock Master, Brad, who proved so very helpful and obliging – starting with being on the dock when we arrived to catch the ropes and help us tie up.  Once tied up and looking around, it was apparent there wasn’t going to be a store close by and when we asked about it Brad said he would drive me down the road to collect a few essential bits.  The General Store had the usual eclectic mix of staples (soda, crisps, long-life bread), but at least they were selling milk in less than industrial quantities.


Given he was so knowledgeable and obliging; on the Sunday Melv consulted him about two problems.  One had been ongoing for some time – the UK propane cylinder used on the boat is completely alien in the US, which wouldn’t matter so much if it wasn’t for the fact there is a cubby hole into which the cylinder fits – very snugly.  The only solution appeared to be to get the cylinder re-filled and at each harbour we have sought somewhere where they would refill (as opposed to simply swap) cylinders, but with no success.  Melv has been using the same cylinder of propane since Halifax and so we treated each cup of tea as if it might be our last!  The second problem was more serious in that a bearing on the propeller needed to be replaced – and what was particularly galling was that Melv had it replaced in Oban.  This would involve the boat coming out of the water and us having to stay in a motel whilst it was fixed.  Oh dear!  What a shame!


Brad not only found somewhere that would refill the gas but took Melv there and then on to a couple of local boatyards to see whether they would be able to undertake the repairs.  The person who refilled the cylinder told Melv it did not comply with US regulations whereupon Brad managed to track down a couple of US equivalents (slightly shorter, but which would fit the housing) and his friend drove Melv over on the Monday to pick them up.  (Subsequently Melv said he thought perhaps the three empty butane cylinders he was keeping up in the front cabin might reasonably be got rid of now….and I’ve got too many shoes….?!)


I was chatting to a couple who come down to their boat of a weekend when the weather is good and simply sit on the dock, chatting to the other boating folk.  The wife told me everyone was very friendly and that on a Saturday evening Brad always cooked something for everyone up on the veranda and they had what amounted to a street party.


We made the acquaintance of a Canadian couple, John and Nora, who have taken a six month sabbatical to fulfil John’s ambition of sailing to Florida and then the Bahamas for the winter.  They are going in the same direction as us (although in a bigger boat and somewhat faster) but we shall probably bump into them again somewhere en route.


The night before we left the marina there was a knock on the side of the boat and Brad presented us with a stripped bass, and showed Melv the best way of filleting it.


The boat is booked into a repair yard in Annapolis on Thursday and so it is a quick 2-day dash down there.  Brad was adamant that Zarafina’s mast would go under the bridges and as time was of the essence we decided that’s what we would do.  The Canadian boat didn’t have a choice as their mast was over 60ft.  The boat is booked to come out of the water on Thursday…and back in on the Friday, but we shall have to see whether the repair goes according to plan.   If we didn’t make this Thursday the next free date was November 3rd.