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, an 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!
We 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.
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).
We saw another RORO, approaching Bloody Point Lighthouse (photo).
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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 :-).
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!
Karen and Murph
Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 July 2015 13:50 )
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.
We also passed a towboat pulling a barge of gravel…interesting sight to see on the open water.
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)…
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.
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!!
Karen and Murph
Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 July 2015 13:49 )
Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! We’re finally in the Bay!!
The aircraft carrier “Ike”, which was one of 4-5 aircraft carriers in the harbor (more than most countries own);
the battleship “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;
and the Norfolk skyline.
We saw huge and colorful container cranes loading cargo on the barges.
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. 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) was taken during the sail.
We pulled into Deltaville, VA in early evening and anchored in the very small harbor. 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.
Karen and Murph
Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 July 2015 13:47 )
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. On 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. The 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 traversed 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. 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 Marina 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. (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!
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.)
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. So 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.
More to come....
Karen and Murph
Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 July 2015 13:43 )
Dodging Bullets on the ICW?? Thankfully, NO!!
We anchored in Wrightsville Beach Harbor on June 3, picked up a rental car on June 4, loaded our 4ft x 8ft dinghy with our “stuff” (laptops, clothes/toiletries, snacks/drinks, trash to throw out, propane tank to fill in MD…barely room for ourselves!), tied it up at a local pier, and drove to MD for my high school reunion. Had a wonderful time at the reunion, then drove back to the boat the next day. Of course, we took advantage of the opportunity to have a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich and other unnecessary culinary delights, knowing that the opportunity would not make itself available again for quite some time.
OK, I realize that you know what a McMuffin looks like :-).
We departed Wrightsville Beach on June 10. While cruising along Alligator Bay near Camp Lejeune, we passed the infamous “Pink House”. It is located on its own peninsula, with its own lighthouse. It is noteworthy enough to be mentioned in one of the cruising guides.
Also that day, we were surprised to see a fake palm tree with the American flag erected in the water, obviously at low tide, given the exposed sand bar.
The next day (June 11) provided the title for this trip report…”Dodging Bullets on the ICW?? Thankfully, NO!!” We had to get underway at 6:45am in order to get through the Camp Lejeune 5-mile-long war game exercise area (which takes us over an hour to traverse) before they closed the ICW. Traversing the ICW when it is “closed” carries a fine of $5,000. More importantly, live fire could rain down on you and ruin a perfectly nice day on the water!
The photos show the warning sign posted as you enter that stretch of the ICW and the Danger signs that are posted every 100 yards or so along the 5-mile stretch. We were still hearing gun/cannon fire 2 hours after we exited the area!
As we approached our final turn into the Beaufort, NC Harbor, we were approached by a HUGE barge being pushed by a towboat. There was a tug boat tethered to the barge. The towboat had pushed the barge along its route (probably across the ocean). The tug boat was sent out from the Beaufort Harbor to direct the barge through the narrow, local waters. In the second photo below, the towboat begins at the aftmost tall white vertical structure. Quite impressive to be approached by such a huge vessel and even more impressive to watch it maneuver the close quarters.
That evening, we docked at a friend’s pier in Beaufort. Beaufort is a pretty little town. There was a fishing tournament taking place…the harbor was filled with multi-million dollar fishing boats.
OK, back to reality. We will spend tomorrow making boat repairs. Murph has to climb the mast (again!), this time to re-attach the radar reflector that came crashing down today; make some sewing repairs to the bimini, dodger, and mainsail cover; and change the engine oil (an arduous task because of its location within the tiny engine compartment :-(. Maintenance and repairs are challenging on a boat. As for me, I plan to apply another layer of oil to the teak, and sand off the rust and paint sections of the grocery cart that we bought just before starting the trip. Word to the wise…do not leave gear made of cheap steel on the deck in the rain.
Next stop…Oriental, NC.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 July 2015 13:41 )