Jun 26 – Tue
On Tuesday we had one of the longer 45 mile rides that we have had in a while.
Due to all the stories that we had heard about the New Jersey ICW (shallow-grounded boats), we ventured out into the Atlantic for the trip from Cape May to Atlantic City.
It was nothing concerning, but just a very uncomfortable very slow ride in 4 foot seas, rolling us most of the ride.
As we approached Atlantic City we could start to see all the tall buildings & Casinos.
After a 7:30am start, we arrived at The Historic Gardner’s Basin Marina.
I am not sure what is historic about it & I am not exactly sure why I chose this marina –
> It does not have a pump out facility, so we had to go to the city dock for pump out.
> It does not have showers, so we have to use the little Gettin’ Looped shower.
> It does not have WiFi or Cable, or Air Stations – OMG, 2 days without TV !!!
> When we arrived it did not have water, the water system was turned off for service.
+ It does have some really great dock hand kids, that hooked up 2 extension hoses so we could wash the boat and fill our water tanks until water was turned back on.
+ It does have a very good Aquarium attached to the marina, and admission is free for marina guests.
After gettin’ checked in, we did wash the heavy salt coating off the boat, using soap on the upper body & salt-away on the lower hull.
The salt coating was so heavy, you could see the crystalline coating on the entire boat .
After washing & chillin for a while, we went to a waterfront restaurant next door called
The Back Bay Ale House – Murphree Ratings ; Ambiance = 7, Food = 5
After dinner, Nellie spent the evening reading, I spent the evening researching our next move to Manasquan New Jersey, about half way between Atlantic City & New York.
I spent a few hours studying the wind/wave data on the open ocean, studying the water depths of the inside ICW Route, and looking up Harbor Host contact names for Atlantic City.
The situation is this ;
> We are supposed to have 25-30mph winds & 6ft waves in the Atlantic on Thursday.
> We desire to get to New York City by Friday – already paid for & Jonell’s brother coming
> Manasquan is mid way between Atlantic City & NYC – about 60 miles of the 105 miles.
> Wind/Waves on Friday are lower, but also not ideal.
So the choices are –
> Take the ocean again & get beat up.
> Take the ICW & risk grounding.
> Delay Manasquan & NYC 1 day each – arrive in NY Harbor on a Saturday , Not Good !
> Stay an extra day in Atlantic City & do 105 miles on Friday direct to NYC – Ugh, too much.
After a lot of hand-ringing over what to do, my answer came from The AGLCA Harbor Hosts. These are people in our Great Loop Boating Community who live in the area, have already completed The Loop at least 1 time, and volunteer their assistance to Loopers in progress.
I called 4 Atlantic City Harbor Hosts.
3 of the 4 returned my call.
All 3 harbor hosts eased my fears of the inside ICW, and gave me specific pointers of where to be careful & what to do.
The all gave the same info –
> They all agreed it was relatively low risk if we are diligent about watching the markers.
> The Atlantic City to Manasquan section is not as bad as Cape May to Atlantic City.
> Recent dredging in a couple of sections have improved the interior route a lot.
> 2 of the 3 harbor hosts had recently completed this section without issue.
> 1 of the 3 was actually on the exact route yesterday, coming down from Manasquan to Atlantic City.
So our plan for Thursday will be to do the interior ICW route from Atlantic City to Manasquan New Jersey – stay tuned !
After the long rough day on the ocean, & stressing about the Thursday ride – we resorted to what everyone does when stressed.
We went to The Ice Cream & Dessert Café.
When we returned back to the boat after some soothing Ice Cream, I went on the computer and reserved a car for Wednesday to drive to The Viking Yacht Company Manufacturing Facility.
Our Great Loop God Parents Dave & Michele Sylver, have owned Vikings all their life.
Dave is a die-hard Viking Yacht guy.
He had told me about the manufacturing facility near Atlantic City.
Another new fellow Looper pal, Dave Fuller, recently gave me a customer relations contact name/number, so I called them a few days ago and set up a tour.
It should be a fun day tomorrow, as The Pointer Sister’s sang “I’m so Excited”.
Can’t wait to see the Viking Yacht Facility.
Long day – It’s Lights out time in Atlantic City.
Jun 27 – Wed
Today we headed out about 8:30am for an exciting day.
We took a taxi cab to Enterprise Car Rental.
We rented a car and drove to The Viking Yacht Manufacturing Facility in New Gretna New Jersey, about 45 minutes outside of Atlantic City.
We waited in the lobby for our host, Bill Trout from Customer Relations.
Bill greeted us in the lobby and took us down to the floor of the shop.
We just happened to see our names on the guest list for the day, we felt quite special.
Bill started by taking us thru all the small shops where they make all the components including the beautiful cabinetry. Viking makes ALL the components for their boats except motors, glass, and electronics.
Then we got to the good stuff – the very large molds where they make the hulls, upper decks, and stringer structure.
Then Bill took us to the Assembly Line.
I believe that he said (recollections, not good notes) ;
> They have 4 assembly lines
> They make about 30-40 vessels at a time.
> The build period is 3-4 months.
> I believe that there are about 10 stations on the line.
We saw a couple large Caterpillar Motors.
Viking uses whatever motor the customer requests, typically Caterpillar, Detroit Diesel, or Mann Diesels.
We went to The Prop Shop
We saw a huge Gyroscope, which is a customer order, but is also very typical of most Viking Yachts now. For those of you who do not know, these units are used to stabilize the boat from roll or pitch. Bill described a demo he went to where significant rolling was occurring, the gyro was turned on, and the roll stopped immediately.
Next stop was a quick view of some beautiful interiors still in the build process. There is extensive use of granite with foam cores countertops, maple wood, composite graphite on the upper body for reduced weight, and incredible new electronics.
Bill showed us the new version of our electrical breaker box – where now all the electronic controls are solid state, controlled by a touch screen panel, and are also able to be controlled remotely from home by computer.
Viking can also remotely evaluate many systems & potential issues if the boat WiFi is on.
We were also allowed into the engine room, with a full size walk in door and clearance to stand up in – OMG, this place looks like a hospital !
Near the end of the line.
BTW – The little machine below is what moves the yachts on the line. It connects to the carriage with the chain shown, but I’m not sure how it connects to the rail system.
Next stop was outside, at the demo yard.
Dealers can bring customers here for demos.
Many big dealers have their own demo boats.
It was an awesome experience.
It made me wish that I had studied harder, worked harder, & became more than a middle manager at FCA – “Money can’t buy everything, but it can buy me a BOAT”.
Special thanks to Bill Trout & the Viking Team, who made us poor folk feel like very special guests !
Prior to taking the rental car back, we went to The Atlantic City Boardwalk.
We hear that they had quite a bit of destruction from Erma, but seemed to have recovered quite well. The boardwalk was in great shape.
It was even reported that this weekend there are 2 new casinos opening. – Ocean Resort Hotel & Casino , and a new Casino for The Hard Rock Hotel.
Unfortunately, gaming was not in the budget for today.
One of the crew members was unhappy, but understood.
To cheer Nellie up, I took her to lunch at the Historic/Iconic Sandwich Shop – “The White House”.
It is reported as having the best Philly Cheese Steak Sub in Jersey !
The place was jammed, the lines were long as expected.
The place opened in 1946 and has a photo wall of MANY famous patrons.
The Murphree Ratings for this historic sandwich = only a 6 Rating
After the White House, we returned the car, had Enterprise take us back to the marina, and we went on a visit to the Atlantic City Aquarium.
We did not expect much, it did not look like much from the outside, it did not look like the Baltimore Aquarium from the outside – But the $10 admission was included in our marina fees.
Wow, what a surprise – it was great !
Here are some samplings from the aquarium.
Here is a video of the big tank = https://youtu.be/PTpR25qKUU0
That’s all for now.
Next Stop = Manasquan New Jersey via the Jersey ICW – wish us luck !