Sunday, May 8, 2011

Chesapeake Bay to Cape May, NJ

Sunday, May 1
Passage Deltaville, VA to Solomons Island, MD
Distance Traveled:  59.74.nm
Miles to get Home: 1439.89nm
Total Distance Traveled:  4107.52nm

Today we are going to Solomons Island, MD to visit April Majni-Holko and get mail!  We raised anchor at 627am and brought up hugs gobs of mud on the anchor chain and the anchor.  Yuk!  There was so much mud I could hear the strain on the anchor windlass motor, but we finally got the anchor up.  The water was glassy with just some wind ripples.  As we left, I saw the M/V Side by Side, whom we had met in Hampton, VA.  It took us about 6 min to navigate through the channel, and we didn’t hit once.  Good for Phil!  By 8am the wind was from 210 degrees (SW) at 2 kts and 170 to port wind angle.  The water continued to be glassy so we were just motoring along.  By my watch, the wind started to clock and was now coming from 250 degrees and up to 5 kts.  By 9am we rolled out the head sail with winds up to 7 kts.  Motor sailing lasted until noon as the wind dropped again.  We tried the head sail again mid afternoon, but that lasted about 15 min as the wind just wasn’t strong enough to keep the sail full especially with the downwind wind angle. 

We received a call from Jim Evans from S/V Winsome.  It was good to hear from him and get information about where to anchor close to them in NJ. 

By 43pm we entered the channel into Solomons Island and were anchored by 452pm close to the dinghy dock for the Holiday Inn.  We’re close enough that Phil and I can paddle the dinghy to the dock instead of having to take the time to put the 8hp engine on.  We also saw M/V Side by Side in the same anchorage and call Bente on the cell phone.   We were invited to their boat for wine.  But first I finished making taco soup, which was good as it’s been a cool day.  We got to Side by Side by 745pm and had a great time catching up on our adventures.  They had spent the winter in Charleston, SC and are planning on spending the summer close to Washington DC on the Potomac.

Tuesday, May 2
Solomons Islands, MD

I spent the morning downloading updates for the computer, which I’ve neglected for a long time, but since we start a new month of data tomorrow, my as well use up the GB’s that we have today.  We had some more taco soup for lunch and then met April Majni-Hoko about 1pm.  First we visited her S/V Susanne.  Susanne is a Spray reproduction built of steel.  She was built by the previous owner who took good care of her, but couldn’t keep her any more.  Now Kevin and April are working on renovating the inside.  It’s 40’ long with a 14’ beam.  Boy can they have the guests on the stern deck!  What they’ve done looks great and we can’t wait to see it all finished.  They want to start cruising fall of 20112.  Then we went down to the Solomon Pier and had Orange Crushes, but these were the adult beverages.  Then we went to the grocery store, back to the boat to put them away and pick up our things, including the laundry.  April was kind enough to offer to let us use her washer and dryer while we had supper over at her house and I’m not one to say no to an offer like that!  We had a terrific supper and then got back to the boat about 11pm.  Way past our boater’s midnight but had a wonderful afternoon and evening.

Tuesday, May 3
To Annapolis, MD
Distance Traveled:  50.97 nm
Miles to get Home:  1490.86 nm
Total Distance Traveled:  4158.49 nm

We got started at 631am as this was to be the last day the winds are from the south and we want to get as far north in the Chesapeake Bay as we can before the NW winds come.  When we started the winds were 8kts, 9degree wind angle from 200 degrees (SSW) with Blue skies.  It was warm feeling like it was in the upper 60’s with just a light dew.  As we passed Zahnisers, we saw S/V Bad Boy and Jubilee, who we had seen in Georgetown.  By 706am we had passed Drum Point and let the head sail out reefed as the wind was between 15-19 kts at 131 degree angle to starboard coming from 230 – 235 degrees..  By 828am when I came on watch, the wind was still 16-17 kts, about the same wind angle and Phil put the barberhaul on and no reefs.  The bay had a 1 ft chop with some white caps.  It was so calm, that Phil put the spinnaker pole on the jib about 11am. 

As we get close to Annapolis, we see 8 ships empty at anchor within a 1 nm area south of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  Pretty amazing to see.  (insert photos)  We came into Annapolis Harbor on my watch and then Phil took the helm once we were close to the mooring balls.  We got some gas and water and then picked up mooring ball #8, which was close enough to the dinghy dock that we could paddle and not go through putting the 8hp engine on the dingy.  As the afternoon progressed, there were more boats that came in and picked up mooring balls.  Once was S/V Thistledown whom we met in Solomons Island and the other was S/V Horizon who we met at Lee Stocking Island in the Bahamas.

We had left over clam, asparagus linguini and then later in the evening chatted with Grant Edwards.  We’re so out of it regarding what’s going on back home and forgot that it was Tuesdays at Capps Restaurant in Leroy.  We were tired, so went to bed at 930pm.

Wednesday, May 4

Early to bed and early to rise is the saying, and for us that was true.  We woke at 6am even though we weren’t traveling today, but as it was cold we stayed in bed for a while until we got up the nerve to get out in the cold.  The AT was 52 and our cabin temp was 66 with rain coming down.  Even though the winds were NW at 9kts, it was calm in the mooring field.  We didn’t do much in the morning.  I’ve been working diligently on finished up Phil’s socks so I can get on another project.  Sue Brannan called and let us know that her favorite singer, Brian Roberts from Key West, was here in Annapolis.  She was kind enough to check it out and told us that he was playing at the Rams Head Tavern and worth the walk to get there.  I made lobster salad from the last of the cooked Bahamian lobster tail for sandwiches and then we paddled to shore for showers and then walked to check out how far Rams Head Tavern was.  It turned out close enough for us to come back to later in the evening.  On our way back, we visited the Annapolis Museum and then watched the crew take up the square sail on the yard on the S/V Pride of Baltimore.  It was interesting to see 5 crew up high standing on a line folding the sail.  After we were back on the boat, I continued to knit while Phil read until it was time to leave again.

I'm in withdrawal - from not seeing the friends that we made on our trip.  I really miss talking to ladies that I have a lot in common with and realize that there won't be many at home either.  Cleveland isn't really the meca of people cruising to the Bahamas and the Bahamas are just so different than the States.  I've been feeling sad

615pm we are in the dingy paddling to shore and then walked to the tavern.  It was a little confusing at first at the Rams Head Tavern as Brian Roberts was to play on the patio, and we asked and at first sat on the patio, but the 10 min before he was to start – no Brian Roberts.  We asked our waiter and he’s in the Down Bar (the bar that is literally downstairs), so we go there and get the last table.  I say Hi to him before the start of the show and introduce myself letting him know that Sue and Jack from Marathon say Hi.  He recognized them and then we proceeded to listen to a great show.  He’s very personable, tells some stories and plays really good music and a loudness you can hear and still talk.  Amazing!  We had nachos and stayed until 9pm and then walked home and went to bed. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011
Annapolis – We stay another day

The alarm went off at 5am – no sleeping in here. Phil got up and got dressed, listened to the weather as we could hear the wind outside.  The forecast is worse than predicted so I stayed in bed and Phil joined me so that we could sleep in – and we did until 830am.  Really unheard of for us but the cabin temp was 57F.  It’s much warmer in bed.  Phil did get up to make coffee and the cabin temp went up to a whopping 62F.  At least it’s sunny outside and it will eventually warm up.

We didn’t do much for the day not even getting off the boat.  Phil put conductive grease on the connections for the depth sounder.  We’ve been having on and off periods where we get dashes or its not reading the correct depth.  Think it’s from corrosion from the salt water even though it’s in the locker behind the port settee cushions.  I continue to knit and Phil reads.  The Harbormaster comes up alongside us and we pay for another day.  I fix Oriental Pork and rice for supper and we go to bed at 930pm as we are leaving tomorrow to go north and see how far we can get.

Friday, May 6, 2011
Passage to Salem, NJ
Distance traveled:  66.93 nm
Miles to get Home:  1557.79 nm
Total Distance traveled:  4225.42 nm

We woke at 5am to cabin temp of 57F.  Making good time, Phil starts the engine at 537am and 2 min later we release the mooring ball.  There are still 6 ships at anchor.  By 653am we are north of the Chesapeake bridge with the winds from 235 degrees (SW) at 7 kts with 155 degree wind angle to port.  GPS is 6.6 Boat speed is 5.6 so it’s nice that we were able to time it to get a positive current.  It started waning by 11am and then started to pick up again around 1pm when we passed Harbor North Marine at the top of the bay the GPS speed was 7.3 and boat speed with 6.7.  By 130pm we passed the last marks for the Chesapeake Bay and the marks for the C&D canal started.  Winds are 15-17 kts with gusts to 21kts.  We had passed the Saffafras River, which is where Phil thought we would end up for the day, so we’re making good time. 

Skipper Bob says to make the bridge at Chesapeake City, MD 1 hour before high tide at Riddey Point (where the C&D canal ends at the Delaware River).  We are 50 min behind that mark so feel like we’re doing good.  We have been doing our typical 2 hours watches and so at 3pm Phil’s watch starts and the winds are 4 kt from variable direction anywhere from S to W but the winds had been variable too.  GPS speed is 4.9 Boat is 5.52.  By 415pm we exit the C&D Canal and enter the Delaware river.  Our new wind angle is 58 degrees to port, the waves are 2ft with   white caps and we’re taking spray into the cockpit.  So much for continuing out trip in the Delaware river and we can’t anchor behind the breakwall.  We decide to go into the Salem River about 1.5 nm south on the canal.  Shortly after we enter the channel at 505pm we get some protection from the waves and encounter a 3kts negative current as the tide is going out.  We go is an oxbow and anchor at 525pm with the current still going by.

About 6pm we hear some noises from the anchor chain.  Changes is sideways to the current and the anchor chain is tight against the hull scratching the paint.  Phil tries letting out more chain – no difference.  He starts the engine and tries going in reverse –nothing – then forward – the chain is tightening – STOP.  He does.  It looks like the anchor chain is wrapped around the keel.  Will have to wait it out and see if things resolve themselves when the tide changes.  About 930pm we hear the anchor chain move and fall away from the keel.  We can only hope that it doesn’t happen when the tide changes at night.

Supper is carrots and cabbage with ham slice warmed up on top with instant mashed potatoes.  At 1015pm it starts to rain but last only about 30 min.

Saturday, May 7
Passage to Cape May
Distance Traveled:  47.24 nm
Miles to get Home:  1605.03nm
Total Distance Traveled:  4272.73 nm

We woke at 5am to cabin temp of 61F and air temp of 54F.  It’s very wet outside from the rain and a heavy dew.  We start the engine at 556am but wait a few minutes to sync my watch to the satellite so I can have correct time.  The anchor chain is not wrapped around the keel so we have no problems raising the anchor at 605am.  We have the positive current with us this time and range from GPS 7 kts to boat 4.7 kts to a high of GPS 9 knts when we are in the Delaware River/Bay.  When I come on watch at 8am the GPS speed is 8.4 kts.  The wind is 8-9kts with 165 to starboard wind angle and the head sail has been out since 720am.  There is a slight chop and a few white caps but it’s sunny outside.  Gradually as the morning goes on the positive current decreases until it disappears about 1030am.  To be expected.  During my off watch while I was taking a nap, the seas turn into coming directly behind us causing the boat to roll side to side. It’s not easy to sleep on the port settee and keep yourself in without the lee cloth.  By 12 noon I’m on watch and the ETA to the Cape May canal entrance is 210pm.  Phil fixes lunch of cheese and crackers (usually I fix lunch) as I don’t want to be below with the side to side boat motion.  I’m not seasick, but don’t want to be either. The winds are 6-7 kts with wind angle 161 to starboard – winds are from 290 (NW).  We tried having the head sail out, but have to roll it in as it’s flapping too much.

We had some excitement for the day.  As we are getting close to the canal channel entrance we are boarded by the Coast Guard for a routine boat inspection. They pull up beside us and board while we’re underway and while I had slowed down per Phil’s request.  We pass with a couple of minor fixes – chain on mascerator pump handle and garbage placecard for what to do with the garbage.  By this time we had a strong current pushing us sideways so I had to really increase the engine rpms so that we wouldn’t be pushed in the red marker at the breakwall and make it into the channel.  Turns out that the Coast Guard are making many inspections as they board another boat immediately after they leave our boat.  By 213pm we pass under the first fixed bridge with the current still positive – GPS 6.7kts:Boat 4.9 kts, pass the RR bridge and then the last fixed bridge at 222pm.  By 237pm the anchor is set between the Coast Guard Station and the channel to the ocean in front of the Seamanshp Training Facility with 7.7 ft of water under our keel.  The winds are from 320degrees at 18 kts.  Eventually they calm down.  It also helps that the Coast Guard start working on Marker 7 and then 8 so the boats have to slow down so they don’t cause any way.  That reminds me.  As we were in the canal between the Delaware bay and the Cape May harbor, there were many, many power boats passing us – and not slowing down either.  Can sure tell it’s a weekend.

We have an early supper of warmed up oriental pork and rice with warmed up canned green beans.  I continue knitting the baby blanket in between being on the internet typing up the blog and downloading Apple software.  We also talk to friends on the phone.  I  have checked the NY State Canal Bardge alerts and the Erie Canal isn’t going to be opening until sometime the week of May 23.  We need to work up alternate plans.  Looks like I’m going to have to drive home in a rental car unless someone can drive my van to Castleton on Hudson by May 16 so that I have enough time to visit from Brother.  We make a couple phone calls and have some tentative plans in place but are still open to suggestions.

The weather looks good for the next few days.  N 5 kts for tomorrow.  We are going to Barneget Bay and visit our friends Jim and Linda Evans in Forked River, NJ to stay 2 nights and then leave Tuesday morning while the north winds are still light to go into the Hudson River.  Phil would like us to be able to take the NJ ICW north so we’ll be calling Boats US to see if the water will be deep enough for us or not.   We hope so as it will be protected and also a shorter distance.

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