May 26th, Saturday of Memorial Day weekend: we departed the
There are clusters of fishermen in outboards, anchored or drifting; most of them would consider nine knots to be painfully slow. Their motive is to hurry up & get there so they can spend their time sitting, looking at their lines in the water. It's a matter of perspective.
We have seen some big ships coming up the channel, the photos show a Dutch ro-ro (a roll-on, roll-off cargo ship equipped with gates & ramps to drive trucks aboard) at the eastern end of the C&D Canal. The small boat in the first photo is a sportfisherman about 50' long. The second photo of the same ship shows it going under the highway bridge, which is 136' high.
Most people never think about the tremendous tonnage that is moved every day so that we can live the way we do. We all see 18-wheeler trucks on the roads & highways, but we don’t see ship traffic in the sea lanes & harbors. Traveling by water gives you an up-close perspective on these heavy haulers at work. Just like us, they have to thread their way through the clusters of fishermen, and it's a lot more difficult & dangerous for them than for us. Those big ships don't exactly turn on a dime.
The channel has numerous markers, red on one side & green on the other. On a foggy day like this, it's difficult to see them and even more difficult to distinguish their size & color. We have a radar set which works well, set for a range of six miles. This gives us a view of both shorelines in the upper Delaware, and will give about a ten minute warning of a big ship approaching up the channel. It is not so good for spotting markers because you can't tell whether a dot on the screen is a marker or a fishing boat. Sometimes, studying the chart will tell whether a channel mark *should* be in a given spot, and it's nice to see that there is a glowing radar dot there..... usually a whole cluster of dots. But it will not tell the mark's color. Some of the channel marks are easier to see & show up large & bright on radar, because they are lighthouses. The photo is Ship John Shoal marker about halfway down the Delaware Bay.
In the early 1800s, a canal was begun near the present C&D but excavation was too expensive. A canal was completed connecting the Susquehanna & Schuylkill Rivers so boats could move from the
We’ll look at more canal history later, but right now that’s probably enough. As I type this, Kathie is piloting the Winnie W toward the entrance to the safe harbor at Cape May, at the southern tip of
For members of the Hank fan club, the photo at right shows how he spent much of the day contributing to our progress.
Doug & Kathie