Sunday, October 31, 2004

Annapolis – Norfolk, Virginia October 2004

Oct.15/04 We are anchored off the east side of the Chesepeake, up the Chester River in a quiet anchorage, after touring Chestertown during the day. It is surprising how rural this area is, farms and a few mega estates are along the waterfront. There are few marinas, and because it is so late in the season, very few boats. We are still travelling with Ron & Larry, both on their own boats, and we have Kathy & Pete (from Hillsdale) visiting us on RAFT.

It has been very cool, especially at night and in the morning. Today it is raining. But we are very comfortable, since the water outside the boat is still warm, and the canvas enclosure keeps the cockpit area dry and cuts down the wind. When the sun shines, the enclosure heats the cockpit up like a sunroom.

We anchored in Back Creek to explore Annapolis. Annapolis is an amazing place, especially if you are a sailor. Everywhere you look are masts, one local sailor described it as an aluminum forest (masts are aluminum). It also seems so strange to pull into a small creek basin, one lined with docks and marinas on both sides, and we just drop our anchor in the middle, along with about another 30-40 boats. The big boat show just ended on Sunday. This boat show runs for 2 weeks, the first week being sail (which we missed) the second week is mainly power boats. We understand the week of the sail show, this anchorage was wall to wall sailboats, and it is "quite empty" now. Sailors being very frugal -- prefer to anchor for free than pay big dollars to tie to a dock.

There is plenty to see and do in Annapolis. The Franklins are still with us. Ross & Pete, have really enjoyed all the marine stores, and boat wreckers in the area, while Kathy and Bev have caught up on some reading, and walking.

Oct. 22, 2004 We are leaving Annapolis, crossing the Chesepeake, enjoying a nice sail up the Wye River. Our Canadian convey has increased to 4 boats, as we have been joined by Ragtime, a CS30, Ted & Gail are out of Waterloo. Ted has sailed extensively on Lake Erie, and Gail is an eager novice. We saw them at Oswego, they were about a day ahead of us, then in Annapolis and for now they are travelling with us, Ron & Larry.
The next day we explored Hudson Creek. Then crossed the Chesepeake to the west side to go to the Solomon’s.

We are at Solomon's Island, 40 miles south of Annapolis, slowly working our way to Norfolk. Today, we is a maintenance day. Ross is changing the oil, and transmission fluid (no problems, just routine as we are putting a lot of miles/hours on the motor. Someone needed to go up the mast to shorten the lazy jack lines. We had installed them when the mast was down on the Hudson. Bev had never been up the mast , and since it was a perfect day, no wind or waves, and an easy job, just tie a couple of knots, and she didn’t have to go all the way to up, she wanted to give it a try. The view from the top was fantastic. After that, its off for a hike to find a propane refilling station. There is one, not to far from the anchorage, but unfortunately when we got there, the only person trained to fill tanks was out driving a bus, could we come back tomorrow? Don’t think so. Fortunately for the cooks in our group, Monday night is $4.99 pizza at the local shop, so after the $1 beer at the western bar, we pigged out on pizza. Life is good.

Bev -- her first trip up the mast

Solomon's is another large marina area, with a huge number of sail and power/fishing boats. There is a Holiday Inn and Comfort Inn right on the basin, plus a small plaza with a West Marine just a block away. We are anchored right in the main basin (something we are becoming more comfortable doing), about 1/2 mile from the entrance to the creek.

The next day we had a wonderful sail, and found a very pretty anchorage, up the West Yeocomo River, near Kinsale (38 01.71N 76 33.85W) There are no services here, just a small yacht club (with a restaurant) and very friendly people. The owners of the home in Long Cove, where we were anchored, even asked us if we wanted to use their dock!
Square rigger sailing down the Potomic as Le Voile au Vent sails by

Beautiful fall day near Kinsale

The following day we motorsailed out the Potomic to Antipoison Creek, another pretty anchorage. The fall colours are really spectacular and we were also treated to a full lunar eclipse. Leaving the next morning we saw deer swimming in the creek. We overnighted in Chisholm Creek and then we were off to Norfolk.

We have had a wonderful 3 week cruise on the Chesapeake Bay. Cruising here is very different than Georgian Bay. You always have to consider tides and currents and salt water, although not difficult, but at times the tide current can run over 2 knots, and it always seems to run against you. You are supposed to plan your trip to use the current to your advantage, but when you only have about 10 hours of daylight, leaving at 8am and arriving in the planned anchorage in the early afternoon takes priority.

When you cruise this area, you are always going in and out of the rivers which flow into the Bay. The rivers have wide mouths, and many creeks and usually you end up motoring up one of these creeks to find a quiet cove to anchor in. These spots are very pretty, but populated. Once we anchored, we usually dinghyed to the local village, or just tootled around the area. The trees are in full colour. The next morning, we would have to retrace our steps, 5 - 10 miles back into the main Bay, and motor sail for a few hours, then find another river/creek to go up and find another anchoring place. This is why it took us a week to travel from Annapolis to Norfolk, which is only 150 miles. The entire Chesapeake Bay is 206 miles long.