15. A blowy day on the New Jersey Intracoastal.

The trip from Barnegat to Atlantic City was a blustery one. The wind was forecast to be out of the south in the high teens and low twenties, and so it was. I decided I didn’t want to bash into a head sea all day, and took the inside route. I’d been a little nervous about that stretch, since I’ve heard a lot of reports of shifting shoals and grounded boats. I’ve spent some time aground in the past, and have found I don’t much care for it. No such trouble, though. My charts were good, and the markers were reliable. We went on a rising tide, and took it slow. It felt like the current was against me most of the time, so it was a day of many hours, but not so many miles.

I whiled away those hours at the helm listening to an audiobook of John Steinbeck’s ‘The Log From the Sea of Cortez.’ The hard copy I’d owned for several years still hasn’t been creased.

I arrived at the Chris Farley state marina at Atlantic city around 3:00 yesterday, took a splash of diesel, pumped out, and availed myself of water, electrical, and other services. A seagull tried to eat my garbage.

Sylphide was a dirty girl, and so I started giving her a good ol’ sponge bath. I worked along for a bit until I realized that it had gone dark, and I was wet and cold, and probably looked like a bit of an idiot. I figured, ‘well, it’s dark, and probably getting late, so I’ll pack it in for the night.’ Then I checked a clock and saw it was 5:30. Ah, winter sailing.

I’m taking a zero today. It’s cold and blowy, and the weather will be better tomorrow. I haven’t set foot on land in four days, so I think I will today. I need a few fresh provisions, and I’d like to make a trip to the hardware store and maybe West Marine. My boat project today is to service the batteries. I’ve never done that before, so it’ll be a learning experience, but it needs doing. My terminals are pretty corroded, and I think it’s causing me to lose voltage.

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