Across the Delaware Bay
August 15, 1999
This year, Joe Link and I decided to simplify the logistics of the trip and make it a two person adventure. We planned the event for a Sunday to reduce the amount of ship traffic in the channel. We lined up my son-in-law Phil to captain the support vessel, Anaerobic, and Joe's neighbor Jim to be the first mate. The only uncooperative element was the weather. After so many weeks of drought, Mother Nature threw us a spate of unsettled days when it could rain or thunder at any moment. In addition, a big front was to pass through on Saturday night. Joe and I talked during the thunderstorms on Saturday night and decided to wait until 8:00 AM to make our final decision about the trip. When I awoke at 6:00 AM things looked very promising weather-wise. It appeared that the rain was finished, there were light winds, and the fog wasn't too thick. Good enough! I hurried through breakfast and then put the kayak on top of the jeep and got organized. I talked to Joe at 8:00 AM and he agreed to go. I had already made a trip to WaWa to get ice, water, and a sub for Captain Phil. Phil and I headed for the marina and opened the boat. Before long, Joe and Jim arrived and I got to help carry another kayak the long way to the boat. We secured the kayaks and were off. We made it to Lewes town beach in about 45 minutes and launched the kayaks. Visibility varied from 2 to 3 miles in a light fog. Joe and I touched the beach and we were off at about 10:30 AM. We headed 40 degrees after passing the icebreakers. This turned out to be an excellent strategy since high tide was at 11:48 AM. We passed right through the entrance to the channel where a high-speed tug buzzed us. Although there are no officially recognized hand-signals in boating, Joe used an internationally known hand-signal to indicate our displeasure to the ignorant tug driver who ignored two calls on Anaerobic's radio and all rules of safety and courtesy. This incident helped to get my pulse rate up for the rest of the crossing. We passed within a mile of Brandywine Shoals Lighthouse, whose red light shines through my bedroom window many nights of the year. We had light winds and calm seas to accompany us. We touched at Whaler's Cove beach at about 2:50 PM. The trip took 4 hours and 20 minutes of constant paddling. Phil paddled my kayak home as Jim and I took the boat back to its slip. Joe paddled with Phil to Pinewood beach where a party ensued. It was another great trip!