Although poor weather has been conspiring against our plans of an uninterrupted final leg, it has provided us with the opportunity to learn more about the history of the places we are passing through. In Cape May we learned about the fate of the local Indian tribes after English settlement.
During the past few days we have traveled from Oriental, N. C., to Cape May City N. J.. The journey has been varied - first along long channels, then through a large bay, then (after Norfolk) we have been out at sea. In Norfolk we had an enforced stopover for three days, as the weather was cloudy, windy, and with some rain showers. Norfolk provided us with some interesting sights as we passed through the biggest marine harbor in the USA. We saw some submarines and many warships - among them huge nuclear-aircraft carriers.
On Sunday morning at 7 AM we went directly out to the high seas. We intended to finish the last leg of our journey to Staten Island without any additional stopovers. First we crossed under the Chesapeake Bridge, which at 18 miles long is the longest bridge in the USA, if not in the world. It links Hampton Roads with the Delmarva Peninsula. For one and a half days the sea was completely calm and peaceful. On Monday, the 30th of April, a strong wind came up, so that we were rather shaken from noon to 6 PM, until we passed an inlet and reached the South Jersey marina in Cape May.
Today, on May 1st, clouds, headwinds and tidal currents (full moon) stopped us again for the whole day. Although we are so close to our final destination we had another one of those compulsory sightseeing stays. Luckily for us, Cape May City is a pretty town. It is ranked as one of the historical cities of USA due to the existence of more than 300 well-kept Victorian houses and mansions, surrounded by magnificent trees and flower gardens. Historically the area was the territory of the Delaware tribes Lenapes and Tuckahoes.
In 1664 the region was occupied by the British and a landlord/governor initially named it Nova Caesarea (= New Jersey). From here the Indians migrated to the sea in the summer season. They built canoes by partially hollowing out the tree trunks with fire. To store and preserve them over winter they buried the canoes completely in mud. In 1933 one of these canoes was found, restored and transferred into the museum of Trenton. In the history book of the County we
read: "The Indian were a handsome, peaceful people who took from the environment only what they needed". On the other hand the white settlers didn't simply take away or conquer their land. There were negotiations and some "contracts" were made. However, how can an Indian put a price on and sell his land, when there was such a different interpretation of the concept of ownership? The Indians didn't see any reason to stop hunting, even on territory they had sold. Also, sometimes they sold the same land twice. In 1735 the Lenapes left the area for an unknown destination. Imported diseases and the "demon Rum" decimated them.