Back to April 2002
Wednesday, May 1st Offshore
We started out with an open mind about the weather. If it sounded good around mid-day when we were passing some inlets we thought we might head out of the ICW for the overnight to Charleston. The alternative would be three more days with the bugs. The forecast by noon was really pretty good. We made our way out of an almost flat calm Sapelo Sound and headed north. The night was uneventful. The wind was 15-20 out of the SE. The seas hadn't had a chance to build in the short time the wind had been blowing from that direction so things were pretty reasonable. There was a certain amount of shipping traffic but nothing got particularly close. The moon was a peculiar shape and color when it rose, startling David briefly. No avoidance strategies had to be employed.
We were happily tucked into the Charleston City Marina by 10:00 a.m.
Thursday, May 2nd Charleston, SC
After tying up we sought out a breakfast spot and showers before returning to the boat to crash. After our naps we cleaned up the vessel with the tons of fresh water at our disposal. What a luxury! David treated us to a great dinner out. Prime rib was had by all, followed by a stop for martinis. It was a splendid night of excess. We ambled about the nighttime streets of Charleston, soaking in the sounds, sights and smells of our first (inhabited) U.S. port in many months.
Friday, May 3rd Charleston, SC
David packed his belongings into a taxi this a.m., beginning his somewhat circuitous trip home. Pick up a rental car in Charleston, drive to Myrtle Beach, catch a flight to JFK via Atlanta, and then drive home to New Hampshire after a visit to his sister in New Jersey. I don't suppose this is so outrageous when I know it will take us another six weeks to cover the same distance. Thanks for your help, David!
Roger and I deemed this to be tourist day. We made our way to the Visitor Center where we caught a tour bus (w a/c) to see the sights of Charleston. The city is a very lovely place full of antique homes, parks and pocket gardens. We found a nifty little nacho restaurant for lunch and reaquainted ourselves with Mexican food. (The reaclimation process is serious business.) After a walk around the city market we dragged our hot tired selves back to the marina for yet another shower. Oh, the luxury!
Yaquina turned up this afternoon after four days on the waterway and were happy to discover we hadn't left yet.
Saturday, May 4th Charleston, S.C.
Chore Day. Shopping Day. Supermarket, West Marine, Laundry, etc. Jim and Lorraine came over in the afternoon for what may be our last game of Skip-Bo together. Afterwards we went out to Hyman's for a seafood dinner, and then in search of yet another martini. We walked back to the Marina through several of Charleston's lovely neighborhoods, with lightening and the threat of rain adding a bit of drama to the evening.
Sunday, May 5th Charleston, S.C.
Today we left the marina and anchored across the river. While filling our diesel tanks before we left we noticed two old 12 meter boats tied up to the dock. "Northern Light" and "Gleam" are more beautiful to me than the cup boats of today. They seem to have an elegance that is missing in the current competitors. They both look great.
Our next move is probably going to be an overnight to the Cape Fear River in North Carolina, leaving Yaquina behind for perhaps the last time. Jim and Lorraine plan to stay in Charleston for several more days and they end their trip in Beaufort, N.C. so it may be that we won't reconnect. Thanks for all your help guys, it's been a great trip!
New England Bound
Monday, May 6th/Tuesday May 7th (Siri's Birthday) Offshore
We left Charleston at about 9 a.m. and headed out the mouth of the harbor in a northerly direction. Yaquina was about an hour behind us, but visible. The wind was not all that cooperative, with light and flukey being the order of the day. On went the engine for what turned out to be almost the whole trip. Our destination was the Cape Fear River in North Carolina. Going up the Cape Fear River allows you to sneak behind Frying Pan Shoals, which hang off the northern North Carolina coast. Getting to the Cape Fear River requires an overnight offshore or several days on the Intracoastal. We chose the overnight. It was uneventful. (Captain's note: Uneventfull except for several hours when our radar was mysteriously uncooperative. It's amazing how much you get used to the extra security provided by radar at night. How did we ever live without it?)
The Cape Fear River isn't exactly a walk in the park but it's generally safer than the Shoals option. We arrived at the mouth of the River earlier than we expected and found the outgoing tide in our face. In our favor though, was a swiftly building south wind. Despite the tide we roared up the River. If the tide had been with us we would have needed seatbelts.
We arrived at Carolina Beach at about 1:00 p.m., twenty-eight hours after leaving Charleston and promptly went to bed.
In the evening, after our nap, we had yet another farewell get-together with Jim and Lorraine who had anchored behind us. They don't need to be at their marina, outside Beaufort, N.C., till May 14th so they are going to take their time from here on in. They'll head north in the mornings then work on the boat in the afternoons. Because they don't see their boat until they return again in the fall they have to have things in ready-to-go condition before they head home to Portland, OR.
Sadly we'll be heading off tomorrow without our fine cruising friends.
Wednesday, May 8th Wrightsville Beach, N.C.
We left Carolina Beach at about 9:00 a.m., waving our goodbyes to the Yaquinas, who were watching us from their bow. We pointed northward once again, this time towards Wrightsville Beach. This destination is only 10 miles up the way, but we plan to head outside from there tomorrow for our shot to Beaufort N.C. Beaufort is where we had hoped to end up when we left Great Sale Cay on April 27th. Ah, the best layed plans...
When we arrived at Wrightsville Beach at mid-day we saw "K2" anchored nearby. K2 is from Portsmouth, NH and is on a schedule similar to ours. It turns out we'll both be heading outside for Beaufort tomorrow.
We walked around Wrightsville Beach for a little while after we got the boat secured. The Beach itself has a giant pipe running its length, slinging dredge materials northward. Sort of a weird beach experience. Bought a huge container of local strawberries on the way back to the boat and quickly ate them all.
Thursday, May 9th Beaufort, N.C.
Finally! It took us a bit longer than we expected when we left Great Sale but we're finally here. We took off from Masonboro Inlet at Wrightsville Beach this morning at about 7:00 with a forecast of 10-15 SW in the morning, building to 20-25 in the afternoon. Our destination allowed us to sail somewhere between a broad reach and downwind depending on the precise variation of SW. We put in a couple of reefs and were good to go. We left shortly after K2 but they were already well ahead of us by the time we were out of the inlet. It took a while for the wind to pick up but when it did we had a speedy sail. Once again dolphins visited us. It's great to stand out on the bow and watch them keep pace below your feet. At one point Roger swerved to miss a large piece of wood. It turned out to be a migrating leatherback turtle. It was about the size of a small beanbag chair. I think it was as startled to see us as we were to see it.
Although we were making great time, K2 was no where to be seen. Roger did all he could do to keep our speed over 7 knots in the great wind but we were still unable to catch them. We rationalized our poor showing to the fact that they had 4 more feet of waterline. ...(Editor's footnote...Roger happily found out in Great Bridge from K2 that they had used the motor all day, in addition to sails, to make sure that they arrived in Beaufort before the weather degenerated. With a two year old aboard they don't like taking chances with stinky conditions anymore than they have to.)
We roared into Beaufort at about 4:30, glad to have finished the day. Roger sang a silly song about "a beer, a bourbon, my babe and a Boboli (pizza)". Needless to say, we made pizza for dinner.
Friday, May 10th Beaufort N.C.
I explored town and ran errands while Roger serviced the engine. Beaufort has a nifty little waterfront that is pretty cruiser friendly. The anchorage is between the town and several little islands that are state parks. You can hear the wild ponies talking to one another at all hours.
In the afternoon we went to the North Carolina Maritime Museum. I was quite taken with a couple of the exhibits. The first was a huge collection of seashells from around the world. After spending so much time shelling this winter it was neat to see new and unusual shells. The other exhibit that caught my attention was "Poisonous Snakes of North Carolina". They weren't real snakes, but who cares. I'm not terribly fond of snakes. I don't scream when I see them, but I do make noises of discontent.
Saturday, May 11th (Brother Jim's Birthday) Cedar Creek, N.C.
The weather forecast was not all that great this morning. We are going to be on the ICW for the next four or five days (instead of sailing around Cape Hatteras) and the forecast wasn't even good for that. Several large rivers and sounds connect the North Carolina portion of the Intracoastal. These big bodies of water can kick up if the wind is bad. The predicted wind of NW 20-25 meant that we had to end our day before heading out onto the Neuse River. Fifteen miles is better than nothing I guess.
The forecast was all that was predicted and more. Shortly after leaving Beaufort the wind had already picked up to 27 knots. Happily we were in a pretty protected section of the waterway. The most horrifying thing about the day was the COLD! We had to break out our foul weather gear, hats and mittens. On the ICW...in May. This does not bode well.
We fought our way to Cedar Creek, where we found about fifteen other boats with the same idea. We dropped the hook and read all afternoon while we listened to the wind howl outside our little capsule. Turned on Prairie Home Companion and ate a decadent (albeit pasta, as usual) dinner.
Sunday, May 12th Pungo Creek, N.C. Mother's Day!
We managed to get from Cedar Creek all the way to Pungo Creek today. It was a long day but the weather was nice. I think we have exited dolphin territory. Not a single sighting today.
The weather forecast is sounding fairly ominous for the next several days. What to do.
Monday, May 13th Buck Island, N.C.
There was a strong cold front forecast for today. SW winds were predicted to be about 25-30 knots. We had hoped to complete the Alligator-Pungo Canal, Alligator River and Albemarle Sound today but...
We had sort of decided to sit tight for the day till half of the anchorage departed, including the two elderly couples anchored next door. In the end we decided that, like the rest of the troops, we'd rather hang on tight in the wild downwind weather today than wait a day and get hit with a NW wind, or worse, wait around Pungo Creek till the weather improves. Off we went.
It really wasn't a bad sailing day all in all. Double reef the main, a handful of jib and, hey, it's downwind, right? We were the last boat to get through the Alligator River Bridge before he closed due to high winds.
We were very happy to reach our anchorage after it was all said and done. A seventy mile day during a cold front. Not bad. We set ourselves on the north side of Buck Island so we'd get a bit of protection from the seas. There were a few trees we were able to get behind but I think we still felt the bulk of the wind. . The Island looks like an African plain to me, with grass as far as you can see.
We were cold all day. This made us feel a bit sad about being headed in a northerly direction.
Tuesday, May 14th Great Bridge, VA.
We left Buck Island at about 7:30 this morning headed for Virginia. A NW wind made the going a bit tough, seeing as how we're going basically NW. Once again we were freezing all day. I still refused to put shoes on. I think this was a mistake.
We had two time-restricted lift bridges today. I guess we're now psyched and ready for the half-dozen bridges we have to get under on the way to Norfolk tomorrow. We have been overwhelmed by the scent of Honeysuckle today.
We tied up for the night at the free dock before the bridge at Great Bridge. Also tied up to the dock was Patter III, a Catalina 30 from Norfolk, who we had met in Charleston. K2 arrived a short time later. Old home week! We met a fellow named Fred who was tied up behind us. He sails a Corbin 39. I've never been on such a roomy 39-foot boat before. He bought the hull and the deck in the early 80's and did all the finish work himself. Kristen of K2 was salivating at the roominess. Even though their Cal is 39' it is apparently not big enough for a family of three.
We headed off with K2 to eat at the $4.95 Chinese buffet. Unfortunately it had gone out of business. Instead we ate across the street at the $8.95 Chinese buffet.
Today is May 14th, , the day Yaquina goes on the hard till next fall. Seems like just yesterday we were in the Abacos plotting our trip north together.
Wednesday, May 15th Old Point Comfort, VA
We got off to a good start this morning. Got into the Great Bridge lock behind a sport fisher called "Michee" from Boston. It turns out the fellow actually keeps the boat in Gloucester. We compared notes on how long it took us to get from the Abacos to Great Bridge (Him: 5 days, Us: longer) and how much it cost us in fuel (we win). Nice retired guy from Saugus. His wife calls him every 30 minutes on the satellite phone. Gives all the fish he catches in the Abacos to the Catholic Church in Marsh Harbour.
We intended to get from Great Bridge to Norfolk Boatworks today. Wanted to visit with cousins Mike and Jill. All did not go according to plan. We couldn't raise the Marina on the VHF and a boat traveling near us couldn't raise them on their cell phone. We did a drive-by of the Marina entrance and there didn't appear to be enough space for us to dock. The wind was howling down the Chesapeake at us and we knew the maneuvering room in this Marina was slim to none so we decided to continue on our way.
Except for an aircraft carrier, we made it through Hampton Roads with very little traffic. We found our way into Mill Creek near Fort Monroe and were anchored by 2:00. Called Jill to explain our difficulties. She's in the midst of moving so, with luck, any disappointment about our no-show will soon be replaced by the panic that you face when you've packed the alarm clock too soon and can't find which box it's in.
We went for a walk around/through Fort Monroe, which played a part in the Civil War. I was surprised to learn that Edgar Allan Poe was stationed there. Who knew he was a soldier?
Thursday, May 16th (Bill H.'s birthday) Sarah Creek, VA.
Headed north from Mill Creek and into greater Chesapeake Bay this a.m. Had a nice relaxing downwind sail for a while. At one point a bunch of military jets circled our area of the Bay. When the big jet they were with landed at a nearby base, they followed. It occurred to us after looking at the chart that we were sailing by Langley Air Force Base. We naturally speculated on what it was all about.
When we took a left up the York River the wind picked up to 22-27 knots and we had a hummer of a sail to Sarah Creek. Hang on folks! I had to change into shoes with some traction.
We arrived at our destination in one piece after running aground only briefly in the mouth of the Creek. Can't we find a place with deep water?
Tomorrow we put on our tennis shoes and head across the River to Yorktown.
Friday, May 17th Sarah Creek, VA
Today we joined the standard issue vacationers in our pursuit of information about the Siege of Yorktown. We started hitching just outside the Marina near where we're anchored and were picked up in short order by an elderly couple in a caddy. They were very nice, but were going only as far as the new Wal-Mart (first visit) so we were on our own getting across the (big) bridge. After quite a bit of time a nice woman in a little pick-up truck stopped. She said we looked like sailors (?) so she stopped. Her Husband is waiting for a weather window to sail to Bermuda. Good luck to him. The weather stinks.
In any event, we finally got across the bridge. Our nice lady went so far as to drop us off at the victory monument (built of Maine granite) near the National Park's Visitor Center. Nice grass, pretty trees and great old architecture at every turn. After our recent visits to Charleston and Fort Monroe we had to shift gears and back up a war. We made our way to the Visitor Center and viewed the short film about the siege. Live action, the whole thing. Then we followed a Ranger outside to view some of the earthworks where the siege took place. Our Ranger (Bob, I think) was very knowledgeable and we enjoyed ourselves. We walked around town and looked at all the nifty buildings and all the flowers in bloom. The temperature was wonderful. It was, of course, very windy. Ranger Bob had pointed out several trees which had blown over in the last few weeks. Tell us about it.
All good things must come to an end. We knew we had to make our way over the bridge so we started hoofing it toward the road. When we were almost all the way to a likely spot for a ride a nice Park Policeman suggested it would be safer if we took a cab back across the bridge. He'd even call one for us. Thirty minutes and fourteen dollars later we were back at the Marina. Who knew it was illegal to hitch in VA?
Shortly after we returned to the Marina we called the folks from Patter III, who live nearby. Arlene and Pat sailed their Catalina 30' to the Abacos and back from the Chesapeake. They had offered to take us grocery shopping when we were in town. Who can pass up an offer like that? Arlene came to fetch us at the Marina and waited in the parking lot of the supermarket while we did our shopping. What a saint, considering that they returned home just yesterday. Fresh salmon for dinner. Mmmmm.
Saturday, May 18th Sarah Creek, VA
A cold front kept us in Sarah Creek for another day. Roger made pancakes for breakfast and we ate them in the cockpit while we watched the wind meter hover at 30+ knots. A torrential rainfall followed the wind. Felt badly for the folks from Louisiana who were anchored next door. Their big motoryacht "The Queen's Barge" started to drag during the windiest part of the storm and they had a hard time trying to reset their anchors. Sessions like that put a damper on your whole day.
Sunday, May 19th Northwest Branch, Severn River, Mobjack Bay, VA
NOAA promised us NW 15. They did not come through. Instead we bashed our way up the Bay in NE 20-25. No fun at all, and COLD to boot. We recalled wishing for 3' seas when we were going to cross the Gulf Stream. In the Chesapeake 3' seas are a real drag.
We managed to exit the York River and careen around the point into Mobjack Bay before anchoring at noon. We watched other sailboats simply powering straight into the wind and seas. No thank you. We spent the afternoon reading and hoping for a change in weather for tomorrow.
Monday, May 20th Fishing Bay, VA
Another early departure. Weather not quite as heinous as yesterday. We were able to tack our way 30+ miles up the Bay. The sun was out warming us to a delightful 50 degrees, and the seas had dropped, preventing turmoil below decks.
Arrived at Fishing Bay on the Piankatank River in the late afternoon. It's a nice big, DEEP anchorage. Several other folks who we had seen during the day anchored here as well. Had a social visit from a local resident and his golden retriever. The outboard's name was "Smelly Dog." I wonder why? Had quesidillas for dinner.
Hope to make it to the mouth of the Potomac River tomorrow.
Another day of slogging. More wind out of the north. Getting tired of tacking. Most of the sailboats pretend to be powerboats and smash their way up the Bay, not even bothering to put the sails up. I think they have larger engines than we do. It's still darn chilly too. Wearing long undies, hat and mittens. The cat hates us. At least it's sunny.
Tuesday, May 21st Sandy Point, Great Wicomico River, VA
The anchorage at Sandy Point is another big, reasonably deep one. The surroundings are quite pretty.
Wednesday, May 22nd St. Leonards Creek, Patuxent River, MARYLAND!
Today started much like all of our days recently. Sailing to windward. Happily, before too long a combination of factors turned things in our favor. First, we crossed the Potomac. North of the Potomac, the Bay sort of leans towards the NW. With a NE wind this is a good thing. At the same time the wind dropped from 18-20 down to 10-15, which settled the seas a bit. What a happy set of circumstances! With these new developments we were able to make some respectable headway without an incredible amount of suffering. We didn't even opt for the first anchorage that came our way. Instead we headed up the Patuxent River six miles to St. Leonard's Creek. It had a good write-up in the guidebooks and we knew it would be less crowded than Solomons, which is at the mouth of the River.
St. Leonards was quite pretty. Not quite as rustic as we had imagined, with several trophy homes dotting the shore, but we did have it to ourselves. Us and the swans anyway. We watched them eat, and tried to see how many we could count upside-down at once. We're so easily amused sometimes.
Tomorrow we hope to begin our tour of the "Eastern Shore".
Thursday, May 23rd Oxford, MD
Finally an easy day. It was a windless day, but also a sea-less day so our 29 miles of motoring were not so bad. The temperature was also cooperating a bit. I was able to go without hat, mittens, etc. What a luxury.
We arrived in Oxford, MD, on the Bay's Eastern Shore, with plenty of time for a walk. It's a historic little town with great old homes to peer at while you walk. During the pre-revolutionary times it was famous for its boatbuilding. Since then it has been pretty quiet. We made our way to the Pier Street Restaurant & Marina for a dinner of crabs. Somehow we managed to miss the crab experience on the way down in the fall so we thought we ought to catch up. Roger got half-dozen hard shell crabs and I got soft-shells. The hard shells were a bigger hit. Even though they are more work, they are more enjoyable... I'm not sure why. They are a social food I guess.
The crew spent a lovely, relaxed evening.
Friday, May 24th La Trappe Creek, Choptank River
Today was our second day on the Eastern Shore. We made phone calls in the a.m. (I still have a job) and then traveled a total of 7.5 miles up the Choptank from Oxford. There was no wind so we motored. We're not complaining, mind you. No wind is better than adverse wind right about now. La Trappe Creek is a wonderful spot, with only a few homes visible in the distance. We puttered all afternoon with Roger trying to get rid of the scum line on our hull, while I jury-rigged the newly broken zipper on the dodger. We showered for the second day in a row (oh boy!) and ate pizza for dinner. More swans.
Saturday, May 25th St. Michaels, MD
We arose much later than the crab fishermen who were puttering around us at 4:30 this morning did. We left La Trappe undecided about our route. All wind dependant. Thought we might go up San Domingo Creek to the back door of St. Michaels if the wind wasn't going to let us out into the Bay for a front door approach. It turned out the wind was pretty quiet so we decided to take the long route out into the Bay allowing us to be further ahead if the weather deteriorates over the next few days.
As we exited the anchorage at 7:00 I saw what appeared to be a swiftly moving crab pot in the distance. Roger donned the binocs and informed me that it was a deer swimming across the Choptank River. Good swimmers, those fellas.
The wind was in our favor most of the morning. We made our way out of the Choptank and around Tilghman Island and started to round into Eastern Bay when in the distance we saw an amazing sight. It was probably not as impressive as the Spanish Armada but it was pretty amazing. Bearing down on us from the north were hundreds of spinnakers. Were they headed to the same place we were this Memorial Day weekend? Of course they were! Over the next several hours these 200+ sailboats, mostly J's, rounded up into the Bay and tacked back and forth across our path. It was a wonderful sight to see. All sails set perfectly as these folks raced their way towards St Michaels from Annapolis. The apparent winner (who knows what the handicaps were) was a boat named Donnybrook. It was a huge beautiful thing. Roger says he remembers the boat from the Marblehead-Halifax Races. He was giddy with excitement. Although Roger claims he could cruise in an Island Packet, I somehow tend to doubt it. All in all it was a very cool experience. The most amazing thing was that all these boats somehow managed to squeeze themselves into the basin of the local yacht club. Sort of like the clown car thing.
The guidebook said of St. Michaels; "Harbor is small, some boats choose to anchor out in the Miles River." Some boats? How about several hundred boats. Took a dinghy ride into the inner Harbor. It seems to have become pretty touristy in the years since I was last here. Bought strawberries and sped back to the boat.
Sunday, May 26th Wye East River, MD
Awoke to fog this morning. It didn't stop any of those who were racing back to Annapolis. Watching the yacht club entrance from our spot in the Miles River, they looked like a flotilla of ghost ships slipping into the mist. We hung around a while waiting for the fog to burn off. We wanted to be able to sightsee on our way up the Wye River.
We made our way from the Wye proper to the Wye East by mid-day. It was really a lovely spot. I think it would have had a very remote feeling if it had been a weekday instead of a holiday weekend, but it was still pretty. We anchored by the side of the River, all by ourselves. The sun was shining brightly and the birds were everywhere. There were both blue and green back herons, ospreys, swans, eastern kingbirds and a bunch of other birds I could not begin to identify.
After lunch we went for a nature tour in the dinghy. We left the River proper and headed into one of the little creeks nearby. The water in the Chesapeake is sort of cloudy due, I guess, to having so many rivers feed into it. Despite the cloudiness we saw several skates "fly" by, just under the dinghy. We saw a beaver-like critter sitting on a log that was hanging in the water. It was probably not actually a beaver because it was too small. A muskrat perhaps? We saw, mere feet from the dinghy, a small ripple in the surface of the water and, yes folks, it was a water snake. Undoubtedly one of the "Poisonous Snakes of North Carolina" I spoke of earlier. Roger was glad to have already finished cleaning the hull.
Towards the end of our exploring I had the helmsman pull the trusty dinghy up to the shore so that I could pick some honeysuckle. The shore was covered with stumps and overhanging tree limbs so I had to perform some gymnastics to reach the bush in question. Somehow the dinghy shifted a bit while I had one foot on it and another on a tree limb. Suddenly I found myself thigh high in the (snake infested) Wye River. My upper half fell forward into a sticker bush of some sort. Not a pretty sight at all. I guess this was my punishment for trying to pilfer flowers from state lands. (I did not come away empty handed.)
Monday, May 27th Annapolis, MD
With our miniature cruise of the Eastern Shore finished, we headed toward Annapolis. We had only twenty miles to travel so we had a relaxed morning in the Wye. A parade of boats passed us on their way home from the holiday weekend. After a fashion we took our place in line and pointed ourselves northward into the Bay. There were so many boats headed in the same direction that it felt a little like the drive south on Rt. 93 from N.H. on a holiday Monday afternoon.
We arrived in Annapolis at about 2:00 in the afternoon. The holiday weekend was still in full swing there and we picked up one of the few remaining City moorings. Much to our surprise we found that "Night Swimming" was moored directly in front of us. We chatted with them briefly. It seems they got back to town several weeks ago and are getting ready for a period of land-based living. They are headed into D.C. to live for a while and are going to treat it like a new, urban adventure. That's the spirit, guys! Also at a mooring nearby was Iwanda, last seen in Charleston S.C.
After completing the afternoon's agenda of laundry and showers we headed off to Middleton's for dinner. Roger got a burger and I got one of the world's largest cobb salads. It wasn't quite as good as the one from Wally's in Marsh Harbour, but close. Tomorrow it's grocery shopping.
Tuesday, May 28th Annapolis, MD
Having done our grocery shopping here once before we knew the routine (location of store, bus line, etc.) so it was a fairly painless outing. I'm going to have to have a chat with the "Tom's of Maine" distributor. I've been trying to find my favorite deodorant with the fine calendula scent but it's nowhere to be had. We did see Chappaqua (sp?) Crunch at Graul's supermarket here. Debbie's breakfast goodies are spreading far and wide.
Tried in vain to contact friends in Silver Spring. We had an email from them saying they were taking today off to recoup from the weekend. This suggests to me that they were simply ignoring our phonecalls. The lowlifes.
We ate a bunch of appetizers for dinner while we watched the sunset. We made one last trash drop-off before tomorrow's departure and while onshore we followed our ears to the sound of live music. A local theatre group was having a final technical rehearsal for an upcoming musical review. 60's and 70's music I would say. We lounged around the outdoor theatre till after our bedtime listening to the cast practice their numbers. An enjoyable evening.
Northbound progress resumes in earnest tomorrow.
Wednesday, May 29th Veasey Cove, Bohemia River, MD
We headed out of Annapolis at 8:00ish, bound for the C&D Canal, which is the exit from the Chesapeake. Our mini "cruise within a cruise" is behind us.
There was no wind and not much traffic so we were not working too hard. The Bay became more and more cluttered with debris the further north we got. We decided that it must be outfall from the Susquehanna River northwest of us. This turned out to be the case. No more dead fish and logs after we passed it's mouth.
The Bay narrows a great deal as you get to its northern end. You can see both shorelines simultaneously. It's a very pretty area with green rolling hills surrounding you. We made it as far as the Bohemia River, just south of the Canal, and called it a night.
Thursday, May 30th Cohansey River, New Jersey!
Neck ouch! I think I pinched a nerve in my neck and I'm not happy. Not only am I not happy, I'm not particularly helpful either. There's no wind to speak of so it shouldn't be a problem today.
There was a fairly heavy fog this morning. The canal was officially closed, but allowed you to "pass at your own risk." We, along with several others, decided to pass at our own risk. We figured it was a canal after all, how lost could you get? It's actually the only time that big ships don't go into the canal so it was probably safer than usual.
The fog cleared about half way through and the sun came out. The birds sang and the temperature rose. A very nice morning. We exited the canal fairly early and for a very brief period we thought we might be able to make Cape May today. We were going to brave the Cape May Canal, which is the back door, shortening the trip considerably. Roger re-measured the mast and gear that lives on top and we were confident we could fit under the bridges (55'). We had our fingers crossed that the entry channel hadn't shoaled to less than 6'.
We cranked up the speed and started cutting corners where we could as we made our way down the Delaware Bay Channel. This turned out to be a mistake. According to the Coast Guard, which was summoned by the New Jersey State Police, we had passed too close to a "sensitive area" (not marked as such on the chart), namely the nuclear power plant on Artificial Island. I guess it could be possible to sabotage a nuclear power plant with a sailboat as your conveyance, although I would pick something with more than 22hp, but that's me. At any rate, our "courtesy safety inspection" (which we passed with flying colors) set us back a bit, time-wise. We decided we weren't up for trying the Cape May Canal in the dark so we called it a day at the Cohansey River. If you remember, this was the spot where Roger rescued a cat last fall. We were sort of relieved that there were no other boats in sight. It looked like we'd have a quiet night with no heroics.
Friday, May 31st Cape May, New Jersey
The forecast for today started out ok, but then suggested degeneration. We wanted to miss any high winds/t-storms associated with the approaching cold front so we were underway by 6:30. It was a 30-mile trip to the Cape May Canal and we were fairly certain we could make it by noon. The lower Delaware Bay was calm and windless. Being a Friday it was pretty fisherman-free also. As predicted, we made good time and were approaching the Canal by noon. Much to our surprise dolphins suddenly surrounded us. Jumping, slapping their tails on the water, pretty much the whole nine yards. We thought we had seen the last of them but I guess the warming weather brings them further north. Just before the jetty we saw a sea creature we could not identify. Roger saw it twice and described it as "huge, with a bony back". A small whale? A giant turtle? I never got a good look at it so I can't venture a guess. What I did see looked unlike anything we have seen in our travels.
The Canal entrance had shoaled up as advertised. Not so badly that we had to bag it though. I think the lowest depth that we saw was 7'7". This was an hour and a half before high. It doesn't seem like we could make it at low. At this point we experienced a nice bit of luck. A fairly good size J boat (TALL masts, DEEP drafts) preceded us into the Canal. Our own little trial balloon! He made it under bridge number one with no problem. Since both fixed bridges are about the same height, that's all we needed to see. We waited for a wake-free moment and crept under the first bridge. Because my neck still hurts I was unable to look up as we went through, but my ears told me all was well. No more trips out the Bay and around Eph's and Prissy Wicks Shoals for us!
We arrived at the anchorage off the Coast Guard Station by 1:00, happy as clams. Now we prepare for our offshore to Block Island.
To June 2002