|Chesapeake Bay! Day 2
We are now boating in the Chesapeake Bay. It's something we have been looking forward to and something we have been very apprehensive to travel. We've been told and have read that the Chesapeake can turn on you in the blink of an eye. Yikes... ready or not, we were off to our first destination.
|Chesapeake Bay, day 1
The marina has: restaurant, pool, showers/washrooms, gym, fuel, floating & fixed docks and great staff that made us feel like family. A neighboring (sort of) yacht club had their shake down cruise at the same time as we were there. The Urbanna Creek Yacht Club (UCYC)- what a great group of boaters! They invited us (total strangers) to join their "Dock tales & pot luck" and treated us as if we were long lost friends. We spent a wonderful time getting to know them and sharing stories, they went above and beyond, making us feel welcomed. They have added Urbanna to our list of places we need to visit. We really hope our paths cross again. (I can't believe I didn't take any pictures of the group... But I did borrow/steal 3 pictures from their facebook page 😉)
The next stop on our list: Solomons MD. We decided to go with the marina we had identified with Waterway Guide and Aquamap instead of going with UCYC's recommendations... maybe we should have listened to them... But, we got a spot on the floating transient docks at Calvert Marina, an older marina that has lots of history in the area. At first glance we were... do we stay here more than a day or do we move to the recommended marina. But to be honest, this is a good marina, not flashy or fancy. It has new floating docks, electricity that does not fluctuate (an issue at certain marinas) and we are well located with access to a courtesy car. (The pool opens in a couple of weeks) And the price was great, with the BoatUS discount, it's 1$/ft. We're very happy with our choice.
|Not bad looking after the waves we faced.
We stayed there for three days, waiting for the winds to die down - we did "NOT" want a repeat of travel day two to get there. We were expecting choppy conditions, but the "chop" at the mouth of the Potomac River was bad. But we passed thru it by adjusting speed and trim... so all good. Then we neared the mouth of the Ratuxent River (not far at all from our destination - Solomons) we experienced something out of a movie. The chop of 1-2 feet became 3-4 feet waves coming from "all" directions. We got caught in crazy seas that lifted the nose of the boat to the point that we were at least angled at 45 degrees, then we slid down sideways. (like when you get caught in someone else's wake before you cross it). Papi was steering (like a madman) to try to keep the nose of the boat into the waves, I was just holding on, feeling totally helpless/useless and thinking - should we put on our PFDs?. It was a very long 15 minutes, and then we were out of it and back to the "normal" chop. When we talked about our experience with other boaters, they think we were at the right place at the wrong time. The incoming tide + flow from the river + the opposing winds = total chaos... We have to agree - it was chaos. It's a good thing we know our boat and how to stay calm in intense moments. What a way to remember our 18th wedding anniversary 😅.
From Solomons, we had intended on going to Annapolis or maybe St Micheals. However, we didn't do either of those... We decided we were going to check out the free dock at Queenstown Creek up the Chester River on the East side of the Bay. We went via Kent Narrows instead of going all the way around. There were nice marinas there that we could have stayed at, but we just bought gas and carried on.
When we got to "Little Queenstown Creek Dock" we decided against staying there. Not that there was anything wrong with the location, but it was a small fishing community with no other "pleasure boats" in sight. So we thought... "well, the weather's good and the waves on the Chesapeake Bay were not too bad, lets see how far we can get today...".
We went back out into the Bay and headed to the Bohemian River, where we had the option to find a marina or anchor out. The Bohamian Bay Yatch Harbour was a very welcome stop after our travel day.
We covered such a long distance the prior day, we only ended up going 16 KMs to the "Town of Chesapeake City Docks", our shortest travel day since we came out of the Canadian Historic Canals. Chesapeake City offers free dockage for 24 hours, but you pay for electricity and water if you use them. It was a really cute and charming Town. (If Loopers are still coming up behind us, don't miss it!)
I know we sped through Chesapeake Bay, but we have every intention of coming back by boat one day. (Possibly a bigger boat with diesel engines, lol). We were right in being nervous about the Chesapeake, but with a better understanding now, next time we might pick "slightly" different routes when we travel. But that's OK, it's all part of the adventure, we live and learn!
Now that we've passed/done the Chesapeake Bay, we are waiting for a good weather window to go down Delaware Bay. We arrived at Delaware City Marina yesterday, attended the afternoon briefing on weather analysis and advise for transiting the Delaware Bay, and left this morning at 06:58 only to turn around after an hour. We were told that the weather system had moved in quicker than expected and that our "window" to get to Cape May was until 11:00 am, after that it would be very "unpleasant". So when we started getting 3' waves not even an hour after we left, we decided not to risk it and headed back to the marina. With the speed adjustment we had to make, it would take us longer than anticipantes to get to Cape May. We texted a couple other boats that had left before us (bigger than us) and they were getting some 4' waves, at 3 seconds intervals, further up the Delaware Bay.
So it was a good decision on our part to turn around, we'll see what the weather's like tomorrow. This will allow us to visit Delaware City a bit. We heard the milkshakes are awesome here.