Sunday, December 30, 2012

New York to Florida - a Late Season Delivery

On Christmas Eve, I completed my 196th career east coast delivery
bringing a 2002 35 Cabo Express from New Rochelle New York
to Stuart, Florida.
It's always interesting running down the East River into
New York Harbor.
I am  amazed at how quickly the Freedom Tower (L) has
clawed it's way skyward...
... and Lady Liberty looks great no matter what season
she wears.
The weather can best be described as "severe clear and cold."
The run down the New Jersey coast was uneventful arriving
at South Jersey Marina at sundown; which this time of year
is around 1630. I was looking forward to an early breakfast at
the marina restaurant, Dock Mikes, but they had a fire this fall
and is closed. Fortunately, the Lobster House next door has a
coffee house that opens at 0600.
The weather continued to be favorable and I pushed off for the
168 miles offshore run to Norfolk. The sea was a flat, gun metal
gray, and except  for a couple of ships heading up Delaware Bay,
I expect that it's going to be a pretty lonely passage. It was about
an hour after passing Ocean City Maryland that I ran into fog with reduced visibility of about 300 yards. Running nearshore, I was
confident that I could maintain speed and a close an attentive radar watch. A little nerve wracking, I noticed, multiple times, that Northern Gannets and Brown Pelicans, with their 6-8 foot wing span,  have
the same radar signature as a small fishing boat. Visibility improved
as I approached the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay and was happy
to lay alongside and visit my longtime friends at Tidewater Marina on
the Portsmouth Virginia side.  
I was informed by Tidewater owner, Gordon Shelton, that there were some construction delays including the Great Bridge Lock being closed
the alternative is taking the Dismal Swamp Canal route. Narrow and with a control depth of 6 feet, the speed limit along this stretch is 5 mph.
The Dismal Swamp Canal has  operation since 1806.
Obviously a stunningly beautiful route, the route southbound
terminates at Elizabeth City, one of the friendliest and boater
friendly communities on the east coast.
Sun up at Alligator River Marina
Once good thing about being below the Virginia/North
Carolina line is that the days are just a little bit warmer and
longer. It also allows me the opportunity to jump offshore
to knock off a few miles but with more safe passages to the
ICW when afternoon winds kick in. In fact, I spent a lay day
at Isle of Palms, north of Charleston, waiting out gale force
winds. But, once the winds abate, I am but a two days from
completing this delivery.
With fuel stops in Thunderbolt, Ga. and Fernandina, Fl.
I concluded this delivery on Christmas Eve.
The average fuel price along the route was $4.35 per gallon.
The 35 Cabo, with CAT 3208 burned an average 31.2 gph @ 25kts.
Operation costs bid at $7000.00 - Actual operational cost $6881.22