Thursday, October 4, 2007

Arrived in Chesapeake

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On Monday October 1 (October!) we left AC and sailed all the way to Cape May with SE winds of 11 knots, making over six knots. As I predicted, a school of dolphins accompanied us out of the inlet. Dolphin must be gamblers as we always find them there. We arrived at Cape May at around five o’clock and anchored in front of the Coast Guard station with a bunch of other boats all heading in various directions. This is not normal. Usually, when you lay your anchor down your boat points into the wind. Sometimes, if the current is strong, or the nearby land is mountainous, you will sit to the current or be backwinded (stern to the wind). We all sat akimbo for about ½ hour and finally all drifted into the wind where one can finally be satisfied you will not crunch into another boat in the middle of the night. Unless the phenomena repeats itself. And of course, there was no way we could predict this. Thus, sleeping was fitful but the night did not bring any uninvited guests.

From Cape May we had to transit the Delaware Bay, one of the lousiest bodies of water we have ever traveled. There is usually a steep chop owing to shallow spots and unprotected shoreline that makes the ride miserable; we were not looking forward to this 8 hour trip. But (is our luck changing?), we rode the current all the way with nearly flat seas (maybe 1-2 feet at first), and made 7-8 knots most of the way. We sailed for five hours until the wind died but made such good time we proceeded to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and transited it in less than two hours. This was great progress but presented a challenge, where to go now? In order to lay the anchor by nightfall (7pm) we had to take a chance entering the Bohemia River, described in the guide books as peaceful and charming, but shoaling to 5 feet. Since we draw something like 5 ½ feet, this would mean we would run out of water unless the tides were helpful, which they weren’t. We had overhead a discussion on the radio (the VHF or very-high-frequency radio is like an open party line). We hailed one of the boats who had anchored in the Bohemia and he gave us advice on how to enter. Our depthsounders each showed less than four feet (they are mounted above the very bottom of the boat so reading them is an art and not a science), and while we were probably kissing the bottom all the way in, we did not run aground.

We awoke to thick fog which parted at around 10 am and we proceeded for a short ride to Worton Creek, which we had visited before with the kids. We once again are waiting for the fog to lift and intend to head to Frog Mortar Creek on the Middle River, where we hope to find provisions. The guide books caution us that boats with masts over 37 feet constitute a hazard to low flying airplanes at the nearby airport. Ours is over 60 feet and we intend to anchor there to annoy Peter’s BF Chuck. Besides, what are the odds that First Edition would be hit by an airplane?

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