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Days 69-80 Chesapeake Bay, July 4 – 15 by Karen Posey

Hello to All,

It has been a while since my last trip report, so I thought I would share a few photos.  We have been in Annapolis and other locales on the Chesapeake Bay since June 25.  This area is as beautiful, relaxing, charming, and interesting as I remember it.  (Side note for those not from Annapolis: Its nickname is “Naptown”.)150715_chester

Annapolis is a sailor’s town.  The photo shows just a small fraction of the sailboats that are docked in Annapolis. (Part of the Naval Academy is in the far background.)spackmarina

The marina at which we are docked is adjacent to the Annapolis Harbor.  Fireworks are shot off from a barge in the harbor each July 4th, and boats pack the area to watch them.  We took the boat out into the harbor to watch the fireworks display.  The sunset that evening as we left the dock was spectacular (see photo). 

The firework display, while not as grand as the display in nearby Washington, DC, was quite impressive.  It is fun to see them from the water (and sometimes challenging to return to the docks in the dark surrounded by other moving boats when the display is over).  We anchored outside the congestion of boats to make returning to the docks easier.

fireworks fireworks1

A few days later, while returning from a 3-day trip to Weems Creek, we passed a Coast Guard buoy tender (photo).

uscg bouy tender
usna stompers

That evening, we walked to the City Dock at downtown Annaoplis to listen to the Naval Academy Crabtowne Stompers band.  Various Naval Academy bands give free concerts at the City Dock every Tuesday evening throughout the summer.

The following week, we motored (no wind, so no sailing) up the Chesapeake Bay to the Chester River.  While on the river, we passed the 97-foot long topsail schooner “Sultana” (photo, but top sails not raised), a reproduction of a 1768 Royal Navy revenue cutter that once patrolled the Chesapeake Bay.  It now sails as the “Schoolship of the Chesapeake”, providing under-sail educational programs for more than 5,000 children each year (almost every elementary student in Maryland’s Upper Eastern Shore will have the opportunity to sail on “Sultana” at some point).

sultana skipjack
We also passed the skipjack pictured here.  Notice the small, separate craft behind it (just touching the stern of the boat).  That vessel is actually pushing the skipjack, which cannot run under its own power. The only purpose of that small craft is to hold the engine. This allows the skipjack to be categorized as a sailboat, not a powerboat, and thus be free from the fishing restrictions that apply to powerboats and not to sail boats.

As we approached Chestertown (our final destination that day), we passed a group of young people (probably students at Washington College) learning to sail.  We tried to steer clear of them, but as we got closer they turned and headed toward us, so we changed course again.  (Hmmm…lesson #1 – don’t try to run down a boat that is bigger than yours :-).

washcollsailclass washcollrowtm

We also passed a practice session of the Washington College rowing team.

horseflychester
duckschester

Washington College is the first college chartered in the nation after the Declaration of Independence.  George Washington gave to the college the authorized use of his name, a large founding gift, and five years service on the College’s Board of Visitors and Governors.

Of course, this trip report would not be complete without mentioning another huge horsefly that landed on one of the lights hanging on the lifeline near the cockpit.  Fortunately, he did not bring along any of his buddies.

But all of nature is not threatening.  We anchored in the Chester River and rowed ashore the next day to visit the small, historical town Chestertown.  At the water’s edge, we caught this raft of ducks swimming in the river.

Cheers!

Karen and Murph

 

Last Updated ( Monday, 24 August 2015 13:04 )

 

150625naptownHello to All,

We spent June 24 at anchor in Solomons, MD in order to make an overdue trip to the grocery store.  For those who are not familiar with the cruising lifestyle (and believe me, I was not among the knowledgeable before starting this trip), grocery shopping is an all-day affair…15 minutes to lower the dinghy from the davits, half an hour to row ashore, 30-60 minutes to walk to the grocery store, 20150626_dinghyprovisionan hour or more to shop in an unfamiliar store, 30-60 minutes to walk back to the dock pushing the card filled with groceries, half an hour to row, half an hour to move the groceries to the boat and tie up the dinghy to the davits, and 15-30 minutes to find someplace to store the food, which includes removing all cardboard boxes and putting food into plastic bags, etc…usually 5 hours total.

The photo shows a typical haul.  And, yes, we managed to get all that stuff in the dinghy, including the cart and ourselves, without sinking it, while still leaving the middle open for rowing!

20150626_solomonducksWe departed Solomons at 6am the next morning (June 25) because the forecast was calling for 20+ knots of wind in the afternoon.  The photo shows a family of ducks swimming near the boat.  The reflections in the water were picturesque.

We had a wonderful 9-hour trip up the Chesapeake Bay.  My family and friends from Maryland might recognize the Cove Point Lighthouse at Calvert Cliffs and the Calvert Cliffs liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the photos.

20150626_covept 20150626_lng

As it turns out, the forecast for 20+ knots was completely wrong…there was no wind and we motored the entire way to Annapolis.  On the other hand, the water, which was smooth as glass, presented a gorgeous view (see photo).20150626_smoothbay

We saw another RORO, approaching Bloody Point Lighthouse (photo).20150626_rorobloodypt

And I just had to include a photo of the famous Thomas Point Lighthouse, a well-known fixture on the Chesapeake Bay and one of the few remaining operational screw pile lighthouses.  (The Drum Point Lighthouse shown in the last trip report is also a screw pile design, but it is no longer operational.)20150626_thomaspt

As we got closer to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, we saw the familiar sight of freighters lined up at anchor, waiting for the go-ahead to proceed to Baltimore.

For those who have never seen the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, I wanted to include a photo showing the 5-mile-long structure.  Of course, it is difficult to capture that in a single photo.  The photo, which was taken from over 5 miles away and has those large freighters in the foreground, might give some sense of the length of this amazing bridge.

20150626_freighteranchorage 20150626_cbaybrg

We arrived at the Horn Point Marina in Annapolis mid-afternoon.  We had traveled 997 nautical miles (1,147 statute miles) since leaving Titusville on April 27!

Shortly after docking, as we were surveying the surrounding waters from the cockpit, we saw several groups of boats on the Bay.  Some groups were sailing classes, some were boat races.  The photo captures one of the groups.20150626_smallsailboats

We also observed “The Woodwinds” sailing vessel on one of its tours.  “The Woodwinds” is a 74-foot schooner that provides 2-hour public sailing cruises, including sunset cruises, in the Annapolis Harbor, Chesapeake Bay, and nearby Severn River.  I took a cruise on  “The Woodwinds” years ago, and really enjoyed it.  If you are ever in Annapolis, I highly recommend it.

20150626_woodwindred1 20150626_woodwindblue2

The next day (June 26, our first full day in Annapolis) was laundry day.  No rest for the weary…I know, with such a great adventure, there is no room for whining, and actually, even doing the laundry is fun :-).  The photo shows our departure from the docks, which was followed by a 2.1-mile walk pushing the cart to the laundromat, access to Wi-Fi at McDonald’s while the laundry was washing/drying, and a 2.1-mile walk back, all in all a 5-hour event.  It’s amazing how excited one can get when one has good access to Wi-Fi…it’s the little things in life :-).20150626_karenlaundry

During the next two months in Annapolis, we plan to sail as much as the weather will allow, taking day trips or overnights to various ports and adjacent waterways along the Bay.  Hopefully, this will include many of the following:  Baltimore, Rock Hall, St. Michaels, Oxford, Cambridge, Kent Narrows, Galesville, Sassafras River, South River, Severn River, White Hall Bay, Patapsco River, etc.  Too many to mention.

Now that we have arrived in Annapolis, I no longer plan to send out periodic trip reports, but might send out occasional photos from some of these magnificent sailing locations.

Thank you for sharing in this journey with us.  Have a wonderful summer.  And please contact us if you are in the area and would like to join us for a sail!

Cheers!

Karen and Murph

Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 July 2015 13:50 )

 

150623solomnsWe continued our trip north on the Chesapeake the next day (June 22) and anchored in a quiet little anchorage in Reedville, VA.  The photo shows the beautiful sunset that evening.

20150623_reedvillesunset 20150623_reedvillesunrise

We had to be underway by 6am the next day (June 23), so we caught the sunrise photo.

In order to avoid too boisterous a ride today, we put a second reef in the main and a single reef in the jib and motor-sailed for 8 hours on the Chesapeake to Solomons, MD.  We saw several lighthouses along the way.  I am disappointed that I did not take photos of all of them, but four of them are shown below…New Point Comfort Lighthouse, Wolf Trap Lighthouse, Smith Point Lighthouse, and Point No_Point Lighthouse.

20150623_newptcomfort 20150623_wolftrap 20150623_smithpoint 20150623_ptnopt

We also passed a towboat pulling a barge of gravel…interesting sight to see on the open water.20150623_towgravel

Another interesting sight on the Chesapeake that day: a RORO (roll on, roll off car carrier transporting up to 8,000 new cars across the ocean)…20150623_roro

We arrived in Solomons, MD mid-afternoon and felt immediately at home in a favorite stopover town for sailors that we both know well.  The photo below shows Drum Point Lighthouse, which was retired and relocated to Solomons at the Calvert Maritime Museum.20150623_calvertmuseum

We rowed ashore in the dinghy for dinner (hooray for no canned goods!).  A serious lightning storm passed over us, so we waited it out in the restaurant until there was a brief break in the weather so that we could safely (and without too much discomfort) row back to the boat.  We will stay in Solomons tomorrow (June 24) to re-provision, and then HEAD TO ANNAPOLIS!!

Cheers!

Karen and Murph

Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 July 2015 13:49 )

 

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! We’re finally in the Bay!!

150621dltavlThe Norfolk Harbor is an amazing 15-mile stretch of maritime commerce and operations.  The photos below, all taken in the Norfolk Harbor, show…

The aircraft carrier “Ike”, which was one of 4-5 aircraft carriers in the harbor (more than most countries own);20150621_ike

the battleship “Wisconsin” 20150621_wisconsin(a celebrated battleship that served in World War II and the Korean War) alongside the schooner “Virginia” (a replica of the original schooner “Virginia” that served as a pilot vessel during World War I);

the Portsmouth skyline;20150621_portsmouth

and the Norfolk skyline.20150621_norfolk

We saw huge and colorful container cranes loading cargo on the barges.

20150621_containership 20150621_containeruscg

  The second photo below gives you some sense of their enormous size.  The “small” boat in the foreground is actually a US Coast Guard security boat, capable of mounting a 50-caliber machine gun on its bow…looks like a toy boat in the photo!

The afternoon provided the title for this trip report…”Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! We’re finally in the Bay!!”  We entered the Chesapeake Bay by noon. What a sight to see the water open up with nothing but the horizon and an occasional boat in view.20150621_chesapeake With wind speeds of 15-20 knots and 3ft waves, we had 3-4 hours of “boisterous” sailing (read that: stuff flying all over the cockpit!).  Murph was at the wheel for most of it because it took great force to keep the boat at its proper heading. Murph later admitted that he probably had too much sail up…I wonder if that explains why the books in the cabin flew over the 2” lip and off the shelf :-).  We ended the day tired but exhilarated.

The next day (June 21) provided another wonderful 3- to 4-hour sail.  This one was “brisk” as opposed to “boisterous” (which made it more comfortable), but Murph still tested the limits of the wind and currents.  He put out the whisker pole (see photo) to take advantage of what he thought would be 5- to 10-knot winds, but the winds stayed at 15 knots and Murph was hesitant to take down the whisker pole, so we had quite a ride.  The short video (click on the photo)20150621_mobjack was taken during the sail.

We pulled into Deltaville, VA in early evening and anchored in the very small harbor.20150621_deltavillecottages  There was a flotilla of Aqua Lodge floating cottages (see photo) nearby…something I had never seen before, though Murph says that there is a live-aboard floating cottage at Annapolis Landing Marina.

Cheers!

Karen and Murph

Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 July 2015 13:47 )

 

150619dpckbrgHello to All,

Hope you are staying cool in this hot summer weather.  Nothing terribly exciting to report, but wanted to share a few photos that you might find of interest.  We will not have Wi-Fi again for over a week, so I will send out back-to-back trip reports once we have access.

We departed Oriental, NC (where it was 104.6 degrees the day before) on June 16.  20150619_towneuseOn the Neuse River, we passed a towboat pushing a barge transporting building materials of some type (photo). It was noteworthy because the bow of the barge was submerged in the water.

We tied up at Belhaven Guest Dock that evening. 20150619_birdonlineThe next morning (June 17), before departing, we captured the photo below of a colorful (blue, orange, yellow) little bird on the bow line.  (Unfortunately, the photo does not do it justice.)

As we traversed20150619_vultures the Alligator-Pungo Canal, we passed a dead tree onshore with several vultures lying in wait (photo below)…Guess they were waiting for someone to keel over (no pun intended) so that they could swoop down and grab dinner.

To add to the excitement of “nature’s specimens” on the ICW, we were again blessed with the opportunity to be bombarded by horse flies all afternoon as we traveled the Alligator River.  As if our last encounter were not terrifying enough, this time they sent The Big Kahuna of all horseflies and his mighty band of warriors, who chose our cockpit as their kamikaze practice location.  Those suckers were more than an inch long and had big green bulging eyes…looked like something out of a sci-fi movie.20150619_horsefly  One of them decided to stop in the galley (perhaps looking for a cold beer?) and I took him out with one swat.  I was so impressed with his appearance that I kept him in a plastic cup as a souvenir (shown in photo below beside a teaspoon to indicated relative size).

We tied up at Alligator River Marinagatordock that evening (actually, a few slips behind a truck stop :-).  The next day (June 18) proved to be a great sailing day in Albemarle Sound (Video).  It was the first time during the entire trip that we were able to put up both the main and the jib with the motor off and have enough wind and navigable water to get in a good sail.  We were on a beam reach, doing 4-6 knots, and were able to sail for almost 3 hours. It was so comforting to hear only the waves lapping against the boat.  It is hard to capture that in a photo, but I did take one in the cabin to show the heel of the boat.20150619_sailingheel  (I hung a shirt from the grab bar (a no-no when underway and done only to capture the photo) in order to show vertical.)

That afternoon, a Coast Guard rescue helicopter (photo) flew over us several times.  Hopefully, he was practicing his drills and not rescuing some poor boater who was overcome by waves or insects!20150619_uscgcopter

We spent Friday, June 19, traveling the Dismal Swamp.  The Dismal Swamp does not look dismal at all (at least, not in the bright sunlight).  It is actually a 5-hour cruise through a peaceful, though algae-filled, narrow waterway.  (The second photo below was taken by Murph when he traveled south last Oct.)

So what makes the Dismal Swamp so dismal??  Think two things…swarms of sweat bees and periodic loud thumps on the bottom of the boat!  ‘Nuff said :-).  We truly are enjoying this wonderful adventure, with all of its unexpected little pleasures and challenges along the way, but after 5 hours of the above, Murph proclaimed, “We are NOT traveling the Dismal Swamp again.”  (Fortunately, there is an alternate route.)

20150619_dscalgae 20150619_dscfog

The Dismal Swamp is essentially bracketed by two locks…the South Mills Lock to the south, and the Deep Creek Lock to the north. We traveled through the South Mills Lock early in the day but did not make the Deep Creek Lock by their last opening at 3:30pm.  dscraftupSo we rafted up with two other boats that were also waiting for the next lock opening and waited it out overnight at the Deep Creek Bridge (photo…we are the boat farthest from the bridge, with the brown mainsail cover).

The next morning (June 20) we went through the lock (photo) and headed for Norfolk, VA.20150619_dscdpcklock

More to come....

Cheers!

Karen and Murph

Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 July 2015 13:43 )

 
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