I feel like the universe is answering my blog posts. A couple posts ago referenced mating horseshoe crabs and then we saw some frisky crabs on the beach in Atlantic City (Mark, "Look! He's holding on to her!"). Similarly, I posted a picture of a sign that warned visitors not to dive from the bridge. Then on Block Island we saw kids having a great time jumping from a bridge (the sign in the background says not to jump or dive from the bridge). Of course, maybe we're just in areas with a lot of horseshoe crabs and bridges.
The anchorage in Atlantic City had a beach nearby where cars drive close to the water and park on the sand. On nice weekend days, the entire beachfront is lined with the bumpers of cars. Even though it was cool and windy, there were a lot of people out. They may have been using their beach towels as blankets, but they were there. Mark and Conrad actually played in the surf. Just watching them made Matt and me want to drink hot chocolate by a warm fire. Later on, back at the boat, we caught a clearnose stingray but let it go. I guess they used to make faux-scallops out of them, so they are edible, but we were not sure how to fillet it and it was so darned cute to boot.
The next morning, we left close to low tide and white-knuckled it through the exit channel. The active captain notes on the anchorage reported that some boats had seen depths of five and a half feet (our draft is five and a half). Luckily, we never saw anything less than 7 feet, but the channel is very narrow and you need to keep the boat within about 5 feet of the grassy shore, so it's a bit of an adrenaline boost at 6 a.m.
The wind files lied to us again. We had waited to time our overnight passage with what were
supposed to have been 10 knot winds from the southwest. Instead we had 5 knot winds from the north northeast (we were headed northeast). So we ran our motor most of the day. Fortunately, the wind picked up in the late afternoon and overnight and we made up a lot of ground. We actually were trying to slow the boat down below 10 knots at one point in the middle of the night. We made it to Block Island (Rhode Island) the next afternoon. My goodness but that is a crowded anchorage. We anchored in about 50 feet of water because the shallower areas were full. There is quite an economy built up around the boats. You could theoretically never leave your boat and have everything you need brought to you. There is a bakery boat that comes around with pastries and donuts in the morning, a pump-out boat, a water boat, and finally a "raw bar" boat that will deliver oysters and lobsters. We even met a couple of enterprising kids in a dinghy who were hauling people's garbage to shore for tips.