With Hurricane Ian ripping up the Atlantic coast, we have had a lot of people ask if and how our location in Cape May is safe. We are at the South Jersey Marina and at least seven other sailboats sought shelter here from Hurricane Ian. Wild Horses and Brise arrived here on Thursday September 29, just in advance of the storm. Other boats had arrived a day earlier and a few more boats came in before the wind really picked up on Saturday.
Our marina is nestled within the Cape May inlet. It is well-protected from the stronger winds and swells of the Atlantic and it thankfully has floating docks that rise and fall with the tides. All forecasts had Hurricane Ian being downgraded to a Tropical Storm by the time it reached the Carolinas, with our area being mostly affected by hurricane remnants, which covers a very wide area but has less force than an actual hurricane. We were expecting big wind and rain by late Saturday and through to Tuesday. Warnings about strong winds, rip currents, high surf and flooding, have littered our local forecasts. We are happy we made the choice early to get Wild Horses docked at a marina that is outside the strongest path of the storm.
The actual weather did not disappoint. The wind, reaching almost 50 knots, was the strongest we had experienced. From inside the boat, we could feel and hear the wind but it wasn’t uncomfortable or scary. Most importantly, we stayed inside the boat during the worst of the storm. There is a tendency to re-check lines and gear but the biggest risk is not from what is happening with your boat, it is debris flying through the air. We had already secured or removed any loose items from our boat deck and dinghy. We had tripled run our dock lines. We knew Wild Horses was safe and we knew we were safe.
Besides storm-dodging, we have kept ourselves fairly busy for the past week. We are in walking distance to a few marine stores so we were able to do some much-needed boat repairs. The first was our shore power plug that got fried during a power surge at Hop-o-Nose Marina. Since we have been on mooring balls or anchored for the last few weeks, we have relied entirely on solar power to keep our boat batteries full. But with a forecast of several days of rain and clouds, we needed to get our shore power plug fixed and operational. Once we had the parts, it took Mike less than an hour to get us back in business.
Then there was the newly found leak under our bow thruster. You read that correctly, we had saltwater slowly coming into the boat from under our bow thruster. Yeesh. Now, it wasn’t enough water intrusion to sink the boat but it was enough that we wanted to slow it down, or even better, stop it 😉. The marine store had the perfect solution – an epoxy putty stick that works under water. It took two full sticks to stop the leak. Whew.
But it hasn’t all been work for us. We have walked Ocean all over the pretty little town of Cape May and even took the Marina shuttle downtown to do some grocery shopping.
The last few days have turned a little chilly. We don’t mind pulling out our fall jackets for walks and our boat heater keeps the temperature inside the boat nice and cozy. The downside of the fall chill in a boat? Condensation. Boat hatches are not insulated so the cold-glass-meets-warm-humid-air situation means our hatches start raining.
It looks like the weather will cooperate for us to leave Cape May on Thursday Oct 6. We will finally head up the Delaware Bay and, within a few days, we should be in Annapolis, Maryland, where we will stay until the better part of hurricane season is over.
One bonus side note - Remember the crazy swells on our journey from Atlantic City to Cape May? A tiny but important plastic piece of one of our boat hooks lasted the whole time on deck. We thought we had lost it to Neptune during the swells but, nope, there it was on deck, ready to be attached back on the boat hook. Wild!
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.