June 1, 2013

Day 217 - May 30, 2013: Sandy Hook, New Jersey

New Jersey extends for about 110 miles mostly NNE along the Atlantic. We cruised staying 2 to 3 miles offshore in order to avoid the shallow waters. It was another glorious day of low winds on the stern, 3 foot waves with 6 second periods, and sunshine. I began thinking about all the captains that had sailed these waters since the founding of our country and what it must have been like without a GPS, maps, depth charts and weather forecasts. The British, French, Spanish and others all braved these waters to discover and help establish what we now know as America.

The southern end of New Jersey is relatively flat with wide beaches, little natural vegetation, and homes close together along the shore. These homes are nearly at sea level and back up against large shallow bays and the ICW. On the northern end, the homes are just as dense, and they are interspersed with small cities, high-rise condo buildings, occasional water towers, and more hills and trees rising behind them. It is easy to see how a hurricane such as Sandy could sweep ashore here and do so much damage.

Southern New Jersey Atlantic skyline
Northern New Jersey Atlantic skyline
  The tip of New Jersey is called Sandy Hook as it curls around like a reversed question mark at the entrance to New York Harbor's Lower Bay. It forms a natural protection from the Atlantic, and we took advantage of that to anchor here near a row of exactly identical houses. They are part of a Coast Guard Station established in 1848, which is now administered by the Department of Homeland Security. The harbor ferries run by regularly here, and we got some mild wakes as a result.

Housing which was part of the 1848 Coast Guard Station
This was a long 100 mile day, and we welcomed time to relax and have dinner as the sun set. Tomorrow is New York, and we are especially excited to cruise into the harbor on our own boat and go right by the Statue of Liberty.

Sunset over Staten Island

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