Sailing To New York City

Sailing Up The Coast Of New Jersey (continued)

I stitched together six photographs to make this panorama of Atlantic City, which we passed around 5:00 pm. You can click on this picture to enlarge it (203kb); use your browser's "back" command to return here.  

One thing I observed is that the Jersey coast is very flat and nearly featureless from several miles offshore. All you see is a strip of sand leading off endlessly to the left and right, with a smattering of nearly invisible beachfront houses. Here and there, the horizontal sandy line is punctuated by vertical blips which upon closer inspection turn out to be water towers, with an occasional lighthouse and smokestack. Every now and then there's a town, some bigger than others but none bigger than Atlantic City, which rises out of the sea from more than 20 miles away looking like the lost continent of Atlantis reappearing from beneath the waves.

As the day wore on, I was beginning to feel tired. One problem is that Jerome hasn't established a formal watch schedule for this lengthy passage, so everybody feels the need to be "on" most of the time. Since there are no formal times when we are on watch, there are also no formal times when we are off watch, so getting enough good rest is difficult. As a crewperson, I like to have official "on" and "off" times, because it's hard to be "on" all the time. Without any formal "off" time, it's difficult to relax and unwind and do things like reading, keeping up my journal, taking pictures, etc.

As dusk drew near, we began to see a big gray cloud on the northern horizon. We had a fiery red sunset, but just before the sun dropped below the horizon, it passed behind some dark clouds. We kept watching the big cloud, trying to estimate its motion, to see if our weather would be fair or foul (the forecast had mentioned a disturbance that would affect the northern portion of the region).

After it became dark, we could see clear sky and stars over the boat, but looking ahead we were treated to a light show as numerous lightning discharges occurred within the distant line of clouds. Usually, a single flash of lightning would illuminate a big puffy cloud from within like a strobe light, but sometimes a big lightning bolt would dart horizontally and zigzag through multiple clouds, lighting up a whole row of clouds. Quite impressive. Luckily, all the action was still far away and we couldn't even hear the thunder.

As the night wore on, though we prepared for rain, it became clear that the storm would pass harmlessly to the east. Meanwhile, we kept slogging our way up the coast across the dark and choppy sea.

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