#2 Chesapeake City, MD to Cape May, NJ

Utsch's Marina

Written by The Crew

Rev writes all the posts as "The Crew" at What Yacht To Do. It's just part of the First Mate duties. That list just keeps growing...

May 17, 2019

By the time we woke up from being tied to the free dock in Chesapeake City, Maryland, our neighbors in the front were gone and our Great Loop friends parked behind us were pulling away.

We gotta get going!

How We Decided When to Leave

Sam uses an app called Tidal Currents Trip Planner that he paid $2.99 for. That’s quite an investment for someone who prefers free.

You enter where you are, where you want to go and your preferred cruising speed, then it figures out the best time to leave based on tides and currents.

It gives you several options to choose from but it told us to leave at 11:00 a.m. and head to Cape May, New Jersey.

So we cruised over to get fuel at around 10:00 a.m. and then off we went.

About Getting Fuel

Sam and I have a 24 foot Sea Ray that we use on Cedar Creek Lake in North Texas.

One time we filled it up and my mouth dropped open when we paid $150 for gas.

Little did I know, that was nothing.

We went across the canal and gassed up at Schaefers Canal House.

Getting Diesel for the first time

This was our first time to get diesel since buying the boat.

We have 2 main tanks and 2 auxiliary tanks and we weren’t even empty by any means.

But when it started, the pump just kept going and going and going and going.

I could feel my eyes start bugging out of my head.

I couldn’t speak.

Could that be right???

Spent a lot on diesel
317 Gallons – $952 (gulp)

Yes. And no.

That’s certainly how many gallons we got, but we did get a 5 percent discount because we went over 300 gallons.

Still. That first fill up left me speechless.


Going through the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal is really beautiful.

We passed some really large boats and some really small boats.

Then, we got out to the Delaware Bay and saw some GIGANTIC ships.

I was down in the salon when the earth started to move.

Out of nowhere we hit a wake from one of those giant ships and we really started rocking.

Consequently, there were some casualties.

Two of our champagne glasses didn’t make it.

Oh well. That’s why we buy them at the Dollar Tree!

Getting to the Marina

On our way to the Cape May Canal, we ran into a group of oyster beds.

We really didn’t know if we would be safe going through and trying to dodge them or if they were all connected somehow and would wreak havoc on our propeller.

So Sam made a sharp right turn and went around them. I am really impressed with his captaining skills so far.

I went down to the salon again for a drink and when I came back I found out that I had missed a dolphin right at the entrance of the passageway.

I didn’t even know dolphins lived in New Jersey!

A Close Call

We decided to stay at Utsch’s Marina very close to the Lobster House on the recommendation of Captain Chris, the YouTube star at Ask Captain Chris.

I had talked to Nancy there in the office about 25 times.

There were so many things I kept forgetting to ask, like are there floating docks or fixed docks, is 50 amp available, are we docking on the port or starboard side, how deep is our slip because we need about 5 feet, and the list goes on.

We learned from that experience that we need a checklist to call a marina. It’s a must.

As we turned right to head to the marina, we started to hear the low water level alarm.

I looked down and saw mud churning up so my stomach started churning up.

I was outside ready to work the lines.

Sam and Cousin Rus were up in the bridge on the phone with the marina.

They said to hang close to the bulkhead (wall around the marina) where the deep water is so Sam maneuvered over there.

Sam and I communicate with headsets aka “marriage savers” and this is pretty much our conversation when this was happening.

Rev: Sam, you’re getting pretty close to this wall. (tone calm)

Sam: silence

Rev: Honey, you’re getting really close to this wall. (voice slightly elevated)

Sam: no response

Rev: SAM, you are about 1 foot away from the wall! (voice elevated even more)

Sam: not one word (I’m thinking – do these headphones even work??? This is NOT saving our marriage!)

Rev: SAMMY!!! YOU ARE DRAGGING THE DINGHY ACROSS THE WALL!!!!! (volume all the way turned up yelling)

I do not understand how he can remain calm but he did and he got us out of the shallow water and away from the wall with no dinghy damage.

I still don’t know how that happened.

Even more amazing, he went right into the slip with no issues. Not one.

We finally got checked in at the marina and they even gave us a welcome bag with a bottle of blueberry wine, biscotti’s and several other items.

What a fantastic surprise!

So, all in all, another successful day.

Because it’s not how you screw up, it’s how you recover.

Our Thoughts – Video

Pictures from Our Trip to Cape May, New Jersey

Traveling down the C&D Canal
Really big ship
Here’s a large ship we passed on the C&D Canal.
Rus watching for ships
Cousin Rus watching for ships
Big Ship
The big ship in the Delaware Bay that rocked our world.
Goodie Bag from Utsch's Marina
Goodie Bag from Utsch’s Marina
Utsch's Marina
Utsch’s Marina
Utsch's Marina
Utsch’s Marina
Utsch's Marina
Utsch’s Marina

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  1. Wow! You got my heart going here (i.e. getting into Utch’s)! We stayed there on Loop #2 and like it…although it was a little shallow and dicey getting in. Did you figure out if the head sets are working? I hope so…they are awesome especially in the locks. BTW, loving following you.

    • Thanks so much, Paula! We are glad you are coming along with us. Yes, the head sets work fine but we are having communication issues NOT technical ones. LOL!

  2. The name of your blog makes me smile. Every time.? You are just starting out on the Loop. We will finish in September on the east shore of Lake Michigan. But we have learned that every section of the Great Loop has its own experiences and navigation issues. Thank you for heading up river a little before us. We’ll follow you. Hope to meet up soon.
    Tollycraft 45, Melody In Sea

    • Oh Jenny! I can’t wait to meet you out here. I am really impressed that you can see the end. We are still too new to feel anything but overwhelmed. LOL

  3. Whoa, talk about sticker shock at the fuel pump, yikes! I’m sorry you missed the dolphin sighting, but I’m sure there will be more opportunities. Lucky you, to have a “nerves of steel” Captain! Whew! Enjoy some lobster for us! ?❤️?

    • I am lucky! I had no idea. He goes crazy when he can’t find his glasses (daily) or some silly little thing like that but out there when it counts he is cool as a cucumber. Just doesn’t make any sense???

  4. You had a bit of excitement to share on that second leg! The “marriage saver” explanation was very cleverly described. I could feel the anxiety. I’m very proud of Sam for handling the situation so well and his skills are obviously improving with each experience. Love you both!!

    • Thanks Mom! He is doing great. I’m the weak link here. Learning as we go…
      Love you too!

  5. Cape May is an awesome place ?

    • It really is, Harry. We drove around a little yesterday and it is just incredible. I wouldn’t mind spending more time here. Some other time. For now, we gotta be moving on…

  6. Each time you go to tie up at the dock as you go there remember to wear your PFD. Safety first at all times.

    • Thanks, Tony! And yes, I do keep forgetting that. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. Hello! I found your blog through a Facebook posting from “Lucky Me Looping”. I look forward to following along on your trip. We own a Carver as well. Our boat is “Time for Us”. We are in the Great Lakes. We’ve done the portion of the loop that you are on in 2015. We bought our last boat in Jacksonville, Florida. We brought it home to the Detroit area on her own bottom. Our new (used) boat is sitting in Sheboygan, WI. We go to bring it home June 28. Carvers are awesome boats!

    • Hi Marie! I’m so glad you found us and we will keep an eye out for you when we finally get up to your area. We love this boat so far. It’s like a floating apartment! Congrats on your new boat. See you out there.

  8. The car is safe and sound in Pennsylvania. It was a pleasant drive with good weather. I took a lot of back roads and stopped at some interesting places along the way. I figure I will not be going through those locations again so why not break up the drive! Thanks for your hospitality, It was great to accompany you on the first two legs of your adventure. You are both doing great with all the the challenges, Bravo Zulu! Fair winds and following seas. Cousin Rus

    • Thanks for coming along for the ride!

  9. Good Lord Rev. I may not make it thru this! Champagne glasses lost already!11 ???????

    • Do you sign up for our Sunday Update newsletter? Did you see what happened today??? We may not make it either!

      • Only a small hitch in the travel. You will get things fixed and again you will be ready to move on!
        A word of advice to Sam: On your next Diesel fill up , for insurance add a can or two of Sta Bill Fuel Stabilizer as insurance. It is especially go for protection of water vapor getting into the fuel an disrupting the engine from working. I remember when I fueled up in an unknown or a marina that is new to you, it may have delivered their fuel that may have also included water with it. It caused my engine to quit while under way. I had to be towed and my tank drained of the water! Not a pleasant experience… I learned that the few extra bucks spent for Stabilizer is well worth it! Just some experience from me and others around my Sailing friends with Diesel Engines.

        • Thanks so much, Tony! We will definitely get the Stabilizer. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. We really appreciate it!

  10. amazing
    great pictures!!

    • Thanks, LeeAnn!

  11. I can tell right now I’m really going to like this blog!

    • Welcome aboard, Tim! We’re glad you’re here.

  12. hello! we are faithful followers of your journey as we are getting ready to take off on our first adventure from Deale Maryland. With all the tides/currents/C&D canal/Delaware Bay things to watch, I am curious why you didnt stop at Hancock Harbor for the night and then go to Atlantic City the next day? Did you run into slower boating times due to the tides and currents?

    • We don’t know where Hancock Harbor is. We were so new to this type of boating that we listened to the Harbor Hosts for the Chesapeake (Foster Schucker and Susan Wilson) at the AGLCA Spring 2019 Rendezvous. Then, picked out our stops and went for it. Next time, we will probably go to Atlantic City. Thanks for coming along with us and have big fun on your loop journey!

  13. Tidal Currents Trip Planner is no longer available. What do you use as a replacement

    • Yes, we were sorry to see it go. I use “Tides Near Me” app now and have to figure it out myself. Let me know if you find something better. Sam


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