Our trip down the Chesapeake Bay turned out to be less interesting and appealing than we had hoped it would be. The first problem related to the fact that we were on a schedule. It’s never a good idea to be on a schedule as you are cruising, since this can influence decisions related to both safety and comfort. The schedule can also limit options to visit interesting places while traveling.
Our first full day south on the Bay brought us to the Magothy River just north of Annapolis. The travel went well, and the anchorage turned out to be both pleasant and well protected. It also turned out to be a good place from which to head to St. Michael’s, Maryland the next day.
This car carrier was heading up the Bay at 18 knots. We were forced to quickly change course to avoid getting in its way
St.Michaels is a busy tourist stop. The marinas were full and the anchorage was filled with 25 or more boats. We went ashore to explore and were surprised to find only a couple of other dinghys at the town dinghy dock. I guess that some had tied up at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum instead. Since we had visited the Calvert Maritime Museum in Solomons earlier this summer, we weren’t motivated to spend the day touring this one, even though it’s supposed to be very nice. We did get some seafood at a waterfront restaurant and toured the shops in town. These were pretty pricey, so we mostly window shopped.
One bit of history we did see in St. Michael’s – a replica of the boat John Smith used in 1608 to explore the Chesapeake with 14 other men. Must have been a bit crowded.
We left with the sunrise the next day and headed to Solomon’s where we planned to stay put while some weather came through. The weather forecasters were on target this time, as we got lots of rain and wind the next day. So we stayed aboard and got in some good reading.
This is where our schedule really began to interfere with our plans for comfortable travel. After spending two nights, we wanted to get moving. The days were flying by, and we wanted to get to the Hampton Roads area in two to three more days. So we left and ended up getting a little beat up by the steep waves in the Bay. They weren’t dangerous – just pretty uncomfortable. We managed to get south of the Potomac and anchored in the Great Wicomico River for the night. We expected one more day of travel but the weather wasn’t forecast to change much for several days. We thought we might wait one more day but then decided we’d better head out. Another bumpy day but we got to the Severn River… just a little late to get a slip at the marina. The next morning we moved into a slip where we expected to keep the boat for a week while we visited our daughter Jennifer and did some provisioning. Oh, and I should add that the schedule was created in part so I could make a scheduled doctor appointment. I was on time for that too.
The visit was great and we filled the boat with food and fuel for the next segment of our journey. We especially liked the provisioning at Trader Joe’s in Newport News, Sandra’s favorite grocery store.
With the water tanks full and the laundry done, we ended our visit and left the slip. You probably assumed that meant getting to Norfolk and Hospital Point on that day, but you’d be wrong. We are no longer on a schedule, and the weather forecast included small craft advisory for the southern Bay, so we went less than a mile and dropped anchor. We were glad we did, since the winds hit the upper twenties. The Bay would have been nasty. We enjoyed our stop relaxing a bit. Sandra caught a few crabs, so we had a treat as well.
Our anchorage the day before we moved to Norfolk. The last photo in this blog provides a real contrast in settings.
Today offered better weather, so we headed out for our last day in the Chesapeake Bay and on to Norfolk. This portion of our travels has the potential for being almost as intimidating as NYC, and today was no exception. First we were passed by a Navy war ship.
Then we sailed through an area being used by the Navy for some sort of training. Fortunately I had read about it in a monthly email from Tom Neale. Several boaters were called be a security boat and told they must change course to avoid the restricted area. As we passed by the Atlantic Fleet, a patrol boat came up close to keep us from getting too close to the ships. This wasn’t a big boat, but the machine gun on the bow spoke to us.
We did get a few photos in spite of the intimidation. This last one was a submarine.
As we arrived at Hospital Point to anchor, we noted that the anchorage was full of crab pots. We managed to find a spot to drop the anchor without tangling any lines, but we wonder how it will work in a couple of weeks when the southbound crowd begins to arrive.
So, as the photo below demonstrates, we are at mile marker O of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. We’ll be on this waterway most of the remainder of our trip south to the Keys.
This may not look like much, but this navigational aid marks the official beginning of the AICW.
The view from our anchorage tonight is somewhat different from last night’s.
Till the next entry into this blog . ..