Speed, Fog and Arrival

Day Nineteen on the Motor-Sail from Down There to Up Here

We set out from Port Penn around 10 am, after a hearty breakfast of pancakes. By sunset, we’d reached the bottom of the Delaware River and by nightfall we’d doubled Cape May. From here we struck out into the ocean. The bright casino lights of Atlantic City and the phosphorescent creatures in the water illuminated the early part of the night. We also listened to music to cover the thrumming of the engine and help while away the time.

The second day the sun rose. After a long time, the sun set. We were able to sail for a couple of hours without the engine, which was very pleasant, but the wind soon waned and quartered around behind us so that we were forced to motor once again. Fog set in that night, and visibility was reduced to about 60 feet. The watches were a bit more stressful as we had to strain our eyes into the cloudy blackness, watching and listening for other ships. The fog remained in the morning, somewhat abating toward noon. We spotted Cleveland Ledge Light just before twelve, a landmark that we know well from our days in Cape Cod. It meant that we were almost home.

With wind, motor, and a full knot of current, we powered into Onset harbor, dropped the sails, and snagged a mooring at our home port, the Point Independence Yacht Club. We packed our things, closed up the boat, and took the dinghy ashore where our grandparents met us and gave us a lift home. It had been a long trip, and we were only able to sleep about three hours each in the last night. We ate, checked e-mail, and, exhausted, went to sleep on terra firma for the first time in three weeks.

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