Cape May, NJ to NYC, NY


To oversimplify it, there are two ways to get from Cape May to New York City, which is about 150 miles. The first way is via the ocean following a mile or two off the coast, but we needed at least two days of good weather to travel this route. The second way is via the New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway (NJICW), but it is extremely shallow and travel for us is limited to only on a rising tide. 

We would have preferred to take the coastal/offshore route both days but the weather did not allow for it. In fact we were not sure we would even be able to take the NJICW route. When we left the marina in Cape May the fog socked us in and we had to anchor just outside of channel for a few hours and wait for it to lift. Once it lifted we had enough time to move just 10 miles to the town of Stone Harbor and anchor for the evening. 

Leaving Cape May with Ceci Kay in the lead. The fog got worse and we ended up dropping the anchor and waiting several hours for the fog to lift.

 A quick visit to the beach.

The next day we had to wait until 1pm before we could leave Stone Harbor. With an extra 2ft of water at that time it meant most of the NJICW would be deep enough for us. Ceci Kay was the lead boat for the day. Being just a few feet off Ceci Kay’s track meant that in one area they passed through with no issues but we ran aground. Kent powered us off the bottom but we did more than simply touch. We thought me might have been sitting there until the tide rose again. Fortunately we have a prop that is protected, it was just a muddy bottom and no damage was done. It was a long stressful day by the time we pulled into our anchorage just off Atlantic City.  

Sunset at Atlantic City, NJ.

Having had enough of the slow travel and shallow depths from the day before we were glad the weather to go offshore was looking decent. We headed out /off the NJICW at 5:30am and into the Atlantic Ocean. It was a long (12hr/87 mile) and boring day but very comfortable seas. Had we not left that day the weather would not have allowed us to leave for several days and we were ready to get to NYC. 

Staying in downtown NYC is simply not an option for us. As an example, friends called one of the marinas there and were quoted $800/night (ouch!). So here was our approach –  

  • Great Kills Yacht Club (2 nights) – very nice small club with an easy 30 min train ride to the Staten Island Ferry which then dropped us off at Battery Park in NYC.

  • Liberty Landing Marina (1 night) – 15 min ferry ride to the World Financial Center in NYC.  Liberty Landing was a huge splurge for us at $5.50/ft but it allowed us to see a friend in that area and pick up another friend who was flying in to join us on the boat.

  • We were also hoping to anchor for one night behind the Statue of Liberty but the winds had picked up the day we had planned to do this and it would have been an uncomfortable night. This was a disappointment because there is an amazing view of the NYC skyline from the anchorage. This also meant we were not able to connect with Ross, a fellow Looper who we had met in November while in Florida (but he now lives on his boat in NY).

Both of us have been to NYC a few times before and done a lot of the top tourist attractions. This time we were able to see quite a few new places and even more important to us – catch up with some friends we had not seen in awhile.  We walked everywhere, not intentionally avoiding the subway but by walking we were able to see so very many of the city's neighborhoods and easily log double digit miles each day. 

 A few hilights from our time in NYC – 

Video is not the best of us entering NY Harbor as the water was pretty choppy and the time lapse was set a little fast. At the end is the Statue of Liberty on the left, lower Manhattan on the right.  

Approaching NYC. We had Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York playing – it seemed appropriate. 

Heartbeat in front of The Statue of Liberty. This was a picture we have been wanting to get since we started The Great Loop 9 months ago.

Lady Liberty. It was absolutely amazing to be this close in our own boat. Definitely a memorable moment for us. 

NYC skyline. Absolutely amazing to see from afar and even more interesting when you are deep in the heart of the city to look up and see just a sliver of sky. 

HH drinks, Ukrainian dinner and a visit to a speakeasy bar with our friend Patricia. Great to catch up and hear about all that has changed for her since she moved from Portland to NYC.

A quick visit with our friend Jeff (who works for SailGP and was in NYC for a week setting up the US boat before racing began the following weekend). Jeff crewed for several years on our J24 back in Portland. It was great to see him as it had been quite some time and he is simply awesome.

New Jersey’s Empty Sky September 11th Memorial. The long and tall twin walls are directed at Ground Zero and are inscribed with names of those from NJ who perished on 9/11. 

9/11 Memorial in NYC. It is tough to walk around the reflecting pools and see so many many names. 

9/11 Museum in NYC. It truly felt like you were repeatedly punched in the gut walking the exhibits but the entire museum is so incredibly well done that we both would recommend anyone visiting NYC to put this on their must do list. 

Ellis Island with Lady Liberty in the background. 

Enjoying beverages at McSorley’s after a dinner in Little Italy. McSorley’s is the oldest Irish pub (1854) in NYC. Beer options are “light” or “dark” and come in pairs. 

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge.

A nod to the movie Ghostbusters. It was also interesting to learn that the New York Public Library has over 50 million books and other items and is the second largest library system in the nation after the Library of Congress. 

A nod to the movie Working Girl. I can see clearly the scene of Melanie Griffith on the ferry and hear the Carly Simon song “Let the River Run”. A few girlfriends from high school/college will appreciate this, you know who you are! 
The chaos of Time Square. Been several times before but we were close one day and felt no trip to NYC is complete without a quick stop.
Rockefeller Center Atlas statue and St Patrick’s Cathedral. 

No shortage of new construction in NYC, new buildings seemed to be going up everywhere. 

Walking the High Line. This abandoned above street rail line was repurposed into a narrow urban park that spans more than 1.5 miles through the city. It’s design and use of art throughout the green space was quite impressive. You can read more about it here –

Random Facts: New York (well in this case  NYC facts)

  1. The population of NYC (~8 million) means that every 1 in 38 people in the US call NYC home. 

  2.  Statue of Liberty was a gift from France in 1886 to celebrate 100 years of US independence. The statue was shipped as 350 pieces in 214 crates and took 4 months to assemble on Ellis Island.  

  3. From 1886 to 1924, over 14 million immigrants entered through New York harbor into the United States. About 40% of Americans can trace at least one ancestor to Ellis Island.

We will leave the hustle and bustle of NYC and begin heading up the Hudson River. NYC is amazing in so many ways and we enjoyed our time but we are both ready for a break from the endless crowds of people.