Friday, September 20, 2013

Besting the Bays

At 12:15a.m. on Monday, September 16th, the alarm went off; and we prepped for our night time passage up the Delaware Bay.  In order to ride the current, we needed to be through the Cape May Canal by 2:00 a.m.  At the end of the canal, we were confused by the lights of a dredge barge and went over his submerged pipes.  Good thing we were a catamaran!

The forecast called for 5 to 10 knot winds with one to two foot seas.  We found winds of 15 to 20 and much larger seas.  Unrolling the genoa, we charged up the bay.  We did not want to reach marker 32 on the ship channel until daylight, but the winds kept increasing and so did Passage's speed.  When the gusts reached 26 we rolled in half of the jib, but still we were sailing too fast.  The beam seas tossed us around some, and the sail was not that much fun.  We reached the shipping channel at 5:30 a.m., but there were no ships until after daylight.  After 4 hours of sailing, daylight brought a wind shift to the northwest and a dying breeze, so we motored the rest of the way to Chesapeake City, Maryland, at the end of the C and D canal.  We tied up at the free dock, took a little nap, then explored the quaint little town.

There were many homes built between 1840 and 1880, all well maintained.  We visited with cruising sailors Jim and Bonnie Cleary from SV Dana.  He recommended an anchorage that we would eventually use on the Chesapeake.  Tired from our overnight sail, we went to bed early and slept in a little.

After breakfast in town, Passage cleared the dock at 9:30 on Tuesday, September 17th.  We planned a short day, hoping to anchor in Still Pond Creek, just below the Sassafras River.  With light winds astern, we motored down the bay and entered the narrow channel to Still Pond Creek.

We had enjoyed a peaceful night at anchor here in 2006, but we soon found that conditions here had changed.  As we turned up into the creek, we ran aground!  Backing off, we worked the channel farther east and tried again.  The depth sounder read 6, 6, 6, 5, bam, we were hard aground.  Good thing we were going slow.  Still, with the current going out we needed to get off soon.  The current slowly spun Passage sideways,  We were hung up on our starboard hull and rudder.  When we were pointing the right way, we gunned it and forced our way off the sandbar.  We got out of there!
We headed  down to the Magothy River, where we enjoyed a peaceful night at anchor with eight other boats north of Gibson Island.  Thanks for the recommendation Jim and Bonnie.

Wednesday the 18th we raised anchor early and were under way by 8:00 a.m., the first boat out of the anchorage.  We motored into light southeast winds past the Sandy Point Lighthouse and then under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
Two hours after departing our Gibson Island anchorage, we arrived in time to catch the ten o'clock bridge opening at Spa Creek in Annapolis.

We entered the mooring field and Sue picked up the mooring ball like the veteran she is.

We no sooner secured Passage with two of our black lines than long time friends and fellow Grand River Yacht Club members Phil and Lorraine Dolsen drove over in their dingy for a visit.

Our visit was interrupted by the harbormaster boat, who informed us that we couldn't spend our planned month in this mooring field, so we had to move a little further up the creek to mooring ball 64.  That settled, we enjoyed a great visit with Phil and Lorraine, including lunch at a bar and grill in downtown Annapolis.

All good things must come to the end, and soon Phil and Lorraine were off to get ready to depart for St. Michaels the next morning.

Thursday, our first full day in Annapolis, was spent getting the lay of the land.  Thursday evening we enjoyed happy hour aboard Dana with Jim and Bonnie and Hunter 36 sailors Rock and Diane.  We have a full weekend planned already, so we will not be bored in Annapolis as we wait for the boat shows.

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