12. Into the Great Wide Open

In the country, a rooster wakes you up. When anchored in New York Harbor, the Fucking ferries wake you up. At precisely zero-dark-thirty, they start crisscrossing the harbor at flank speed, throwing wakes the size of Matterhorns.

My battery voltage was pretty low this morning. It was low yesterday morning too. I worry that I’m using too much energy while I’m anchored, but I’m really not sure how the boat is supposed to perform. I’m starting to suspect that my batteries may not be performing as they should be.

And so my day began. I’d been a little apprehensive about this day for a while. This stretch would be the only one in my trip south where I didn’t have the option to take a protected inside route. I wouldn’t be in a bay, or on a river, or on a lake or canal. I’d be sailing on the North Atlantic ocean. The one that killed the Titanic. That one.

I’ve been on the ocean before, sure, but never on a boat that was less than 500 feet long, and never one that I was solely responsible for. This was a different kettle of fish entirely.

I’d been watching the weather like a hawk for days and days, and I felt reasonably confident that I’d have an okay weather window. Experience has taught me that weather forecasts can definitely be wrong though, and I didn’t know how Sylphide would handle in a seaway. Until now, ferry wakes had been the worst we’d seen together.

As it turns out, the weather was about as good as I could have hoped for. There was some wind and sea out of the west, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. We rolled, but not more than was reasonable. There were hundreds of fishing and charter boats out off the Jersey Coast, and overall, the passage was pleasantly anticlimactic.

Crossing the bar into Barnegat Inlet was also something I was nervous about. I’d seen many YouTube videos of nasty inlets, and they can be pretty gnarly. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case. The weather was mild, and the tide was favorable. It was downright calm through the inlet. It was still a little surreal to actually be making my way through the breakwaters, though. I’d been anxious about it for a long time, and must have plotted the course on my phone a hundred times.

I’m anchored in Barnegat Bay as I write this, and man, what a pleasant spot this is. Really beautiful. I dunno what It’s like during the high season, I imagine it’s really busy. Right now though, I’ve got this anchorage to myself, and it’s so quiet and peaceful. This is the first real comfortable night at anchor I’ve had, and it’s brilliant.

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