On Friday the 16th we sailed from Sandy Hook – at the state’s north-eastern tip – south along the coast to the inlet where the Manasquam River empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Now, the Manasquam isn’t very big, as rivers go, and while we’ve read lots of advice about “running an inlet” (as they call going to or from the ocean), and knew in theory to time our transit of the inlet for a slack current, we got there early.
That’s what sometimes happens when you make pessimistic estimates as a matter of course – sometimes things go much smoother than you expect, and you actually get somewhere – say the Manasquam inlet – 2 hours earlier than expected, and instead of slack water, there’s a current flowing out against you.
But how bad can it be, right?
Bad. Worse than bad. Really awful.
The books are right – don’t arrive early. The ride through the inlet was horrible, with 6-8’ standing waves that made it feel like we were pointing first straight up, then straight down, and slowed our forward progress from 5 knots to less than 2. It felt like it took forever to clear the ¼-mile long inlet, and being passed by powerboats going 15 knots and leaving a churning, tossing wake behind did NOT make it easier. Really? Passing in an inlet? Please!
And no, I’m sorry to say that there are no pictures of the process. I had all three hands and my front teeth on the wheel trying to control a boat, and Nicki was hanging on for dear life and warning me when boats were about to pass us because I didn’t dare try to look behind us myself.
But we made it through safely – if not wisely – and we won’t be putting ourselves in that situation again, even if we are early.
But then, I’ve heard swans can be pretty nasty too, pretty as they are.