Cape May Triathlon and Ferry Ride

Every year a bunch of South Jersey puppy raisers for The Seeing Eye take their dogs for a special excursion aboard the Cape May - Lewes Ferry. On June 12th, 2016, 15 dogs between 6 and 15 months of age and their puppy raiser families boarded an early morning ferry from Cape May, NJ to Lewes, DE. The trip had been planned for June 5th, but weather forecasters predicted strong winds with high waves in the afternoon, so it was postponed for a week.

Our departure was scheduled for early Sunday morning, partly because not many people are taking the ferry at that time. We decided that my wife would drive the hour and a half distance to Cape May and I would drive home after a tiring day in heavy shore traffic.

When we arrived in Cape May around 7:00 a.m., it was apparent that something big was happening! Policemen and emergency vehicles with flashing lights where everywhere to be seen. Driving onto a one-way street to the parking area, we saw a golf cart coming toward us right down the center of the road! Verna swerved to miss it and struck the granite curb, gouging an almost new Continental white-stripe tire. The driver of the golf cart never stopped or looked back. Just four days earlier, we had taken two of our granddaughters to Cape May and an older lady trying to park her car did hundreds of Dollars worth of damage to our classic woody wagon!

We were fortunate to get one of the last empty parking places and soon discovered the reason for all the excitement. A very popular triathlon with 1,750 registered participants from all over America and several foreign countries was in progress. The athletes first jumped 12 feet from one of the ferry boats into the cold salt water and swam a mile back to the ferry slips. After that, they grabbed their bikes and rode them 25 miles. Finally, there was a 5-mile run to complete. I tried to find results of the triathlon online but three days after the event, no media seemed to know anything about it!

After all our group arrived, we bought tickets and lined up to board the ferry. We lined up in the gangway where TSA agents had us empty our pockets and place the contents in clear plastic bags. They also searched our bags, which of course contained cameras, water, suntan lotion and dog food. Unlike at the airport, we were permitted to take these items with us, but one man had to leave his small pocket knife. They said he could get it at the office on the return trip.

One of the first things I noticed after the ferry's departure was a large axe prominently hanging on the outer wall of the ferry, freely accessible to anyone who wanted to use it. I didn't see any policemen on the ferry and passengers had been carefully searched, so I hate to think of how much damage an ISIS terrorist could inflict with that weapon! The axe may be for cutting ropes to the life boat if the ferry threatens to sink.

After an hour and a half, we arrived in Lewes and took a shuttle bus ride to the center of town, We ate a delicious meal under shade trees at Gilgian's waterfront restaurant. Gleaming white yachts and fishing boats went by, trying not to make a wake while we enjoyed fish, crab cake and other delicious entrees. Friendly waitresses gave the dogs bowls of water with ice cubes. After the meal, we walked to a nearby ice cream shop and got our dessert before returning to the ferry for the trip back to Cape May.

Male or female, all dogs may use the public toilet of choice (as long as we clean up after them).

It was an exciting day. Except for the stop and go traffic on the Delsea ("Delaware to the Sea") Drive, the trip home was uneventful. New Jersey originally planned to finish the four-lane Route 55 all the way to Cape May, but road builders were stopped at the half-way point because environmentalists feared that the traffic would disturb nesting birds, sleeping tree frogs and rare snakes. Traffic jams of air-conditioned cars are apparently preferable.

Read: "From Wolves to Guide Dogs"
Ralph is webmaster for our Puppy Raiser group