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 )