Continuing our journey down the New Jersey coast, we started traveling at 7:30 on Oct. 13 just a little after dawn.
We were traveling about a half mile off of the coast. By doing so, we could pick up a favorable counter current and ride it down to Atlantic City. It was fun traveling so close to shore. We could clearly see the many lovely beach houses that line the Jersey coast. We also passed the well-known Jersey coastline town of Asbury Park. Ideally, we would have liked to take this route all the way to Cape May but that was not to be.
As we approached Manasquan, the wind picked up considerably and so did the waves. Fortunately, we had a Plan B – to take the New Jersey portion of the Intracoastal Waterway which runs the length of the state. We turned into the Manasquan Inlet and heaved a sigh of relief as the water and wind settled down considerably once we passed these interesting breakwaters.
We had read a lot about this section of the ICW and we weren’t looking forward to it. It is known for its skinny waters and tendency to shoal. But at least we had a second option so we could continue moving – this time on calm albeit shallow waters.
Although we were sheltered from wind and waves, the Captain (Jonny) had to be hyper-vigilant watching the markers that trace a very narrow route through most of the waterway. We couldn’t rely on our electronic or paper charts ) because the extensive shoaling is a recent phenomenon. We were able to use Active Captain (a terrific crowd sourced navigation program that we have used extensively throughout the trip) to provide recent reports on shoaling and other hazards.
We followed the sinuous route past rows of attractive homes lining the shore on both sides. It’s absolutely amazing how many waterfront homes are in New Jersey (far more than any other area we’ve traveled through).
But it’s not entirely built up. There are long stretches of beautiful marshland with birds and rushes and tidal pools that provide a serene counterpoint to the more densely developed areas of shoreline.
By late afternoon we started to look for an anchorage as we knew early on that there was no way we were going to make Atlantic City. But anchorages are few and far between on this part of the ICW. We finally chose one in Beach Haven which is located on Long Beach immediately off the ICW. The charts showed 12 foot depths but when we poked our way in those depths had shoaled to only 6 feet. But at this point we were out of options as the light was beginning to wane.
We settled into what we thought would be a good anchorage. We were in a more open area than we usually would choose but the waters were calm and the wind was OK. The shoreline was lined with what looked like newly built and very attractive homes. We were thinking that they must be beach homes but as darkness fell, many of them were lit up and obviously occupied.
Lynn went all out (for boat cooking anyway) and made homemade eggplant parmesan and we had a delicious dinner that evening. Jonny was exhausted but we wanted to watch the Democratic Presidential debates. We thought for sure we would be able to get reception – after all we are in big NY/NJ market area. But we couldn’t get reception so we resigned ourselves to watching two episodes of our guilty pleasure – Mad Men.