With (almost) all the jobs ticked off our to-do-list, we were ready to leave for New York! It was going to be a long way, up through the Chesapeake, transit into the Delaware River, down to Cape May and then up the Atlantic Coast until New York.
Our friends onboard Matenka had left a week earlier, and Bora Bora was ready to leave Annapolis together with us. Now with only Ben on board, as Nicki already flew back to the UK. Ben cancelled his flight to be able to work on the boat a bit longer (they were leaving her in Chesapeake) and then sail back to the UK with us (yay!).
With every mile we sailed deeper into the Chesapeake Bay, we could feel the air getting hotter and more humid. Add to that a lot of biting flies, mosquitos, spiders and bugs and you can imagine how we liked it up there. We also encountered more and more dead fish floating by. You could actually sometimes SEE a fish gasping and flapping and dying. It was quite depressing to watch, I guess this is the result of many pesticides washing into the river, and concentrations of the poison is probably higher further upstream. We did go for a swim, for the first time since the Bahamas. But only because it was sooo hot. And you can’t just stop swimming just because you liked the water in Caribbean better, right?
All good things come to an end, and we had to say goodbye to Bora Bora (not to Ben!). We had such a great time sailing with this old lady and following her trail through the ICW. We will definitely miss the sight of the two golden masts and red canvas in the distance!
The rest of the way was quite industrial and boring up to Cape May. We anchored next to a power plant and timed our 50 NM passage down the Delaware River exactly right so we had the tide with us all the time. Only the last 5 miles around the cape were slow and right into the wind. We were on the Atlantic again! The weather turned bad and we stayed in Cape May for a day, guarding the anchor and doing some jobs. We found out that our bilges had gone mouldy and we spent the better part of the day taking all the flooring out and scrubbing the bilges. Very satisfying.
We only had a short weather window to make it up to New York before the wind would turn against us again, so we had only 2 days to do 120 miles. We had to push it a bit, motoring big parts to stay on schedule. We saw hundreds of dolphins, and maybe even more balloons (!) floating by. The weather turned ever foggier, and we were staring at the water very concentrated to avoid hitting small boats without AIS, fishing buoys and all these balloons.
Where ocean sailing can be super relaxed with the right wind, this was extremely tiring. On the second day we departed from Atlantic City at 4:00 am and we couldn’t see more than a boat length around us. It was very spooky departing in the dark with only a few foggy city lights around us. We had a big discussion before (yes, that took place in the middle of the night) if we should depart at all. But the wind was turning north for the next couple of days by that evening, and we had to make our haul-out appointment in New York. So we crossed our fingers and toes and headed out. For once, the weather forecast was extremely accurate and the fog lifted around noon. Wind increased and a storm rolled in at sundown, when our anchor was securely set just south of New York. We made it! And we could see Manhattan in the distance!