Thursday, May 31, 2018

One Day in Delaware

Thick fog covered the northern end of the Chesapeake this morning and was threatening to make our 0930 departure a no-go.  Although this trip was only 27 miles long our window of opportunity was very narrow.  The tide and current all had to be timed along with our cruising speed in order to be able to take advantage of the positive aspects of each.  In other words, there needs to be enough water to get out of the marina,  the current needs to be running eastward in the C&D canal, we need to arrive in Delaware City Marina at close to high tide to have enough water and no current and our overall speed needs to be such that all this happens on both ends.  All this timing of events is fairly straightforward but the start time is crucial or it all collapses and conditions become less than optimal to not doable. 

At 0930 there was about one mile visibility and the fog was lifting slowly so our four boat flotilla idled out of the marina watching our depth sounders, AIS and radar were turned on and we made our way out of the mouth of the Bohemia River toward the Elk River channel.  There were some skinny spots along the route but just enough water to clear them and by the time we got to the channel markers and turned into the deep C&D waters there was a good mile and a half of visibility and no sign of traffic along the 17 mile  C*D canal. 

Our speed jumped to a steady 10 mph and we navigated the ditch, crossing into the state of Delaware, all the way eastward to the Delaware River.  Once there we called the marina for instructions on how to enter the Delaware river, travel north and then turn back west into the narrow channel that leads to the marina.  The current in the C&D canal was approaching slack tide by the time we got to the Delaware, but the current in the Delaware was running strong.  When we turned west into the marina channel we had to pass upstream of a day marker dolphin structure no more that 30 feet upstream and maintain a straight line off the river and into the channel to avoid running aground.  A healthy crab angle was necessary to accomplish this while staying on the throttle long enough to clear the river current. 

Once in the canal the current was on our bow but weakening because we had come in at high tide and it was in the process of turning giving us a calm slack tide while docking.  Once all four boats had docked, the dock master informed us that as soon as the tide started running again in the opposite directions, he would spin our boats around so that they pointed out for our departure in the morning.  This procedure was performed by one dock hand by untying the stern line and pushing the stern out and into the chanel and the current did the rest. The bow line was cleated off and the boats rotated 180 degrees and came to rest pointing east. 

There are some technical aspects of cruising the Loop, if not considered, that can make the difference in a good day or a bad day.  Today was a good day and having the tools available to plan around the natural ebb and flow of the waterways makes this trip challenging but fun at the same time.  As we are constantly moving each day is a new problem to solve with many variables to consider.  It's just one of the things that makes this trip an adventure.

That's the news and here are some views:

We are here

Today's Route through the C&D canal to the Delaware River

Entering the C&D (Back Creek) from the Elk River

Work Boats Docked along the C&D

One of a hand full of bridges spanning the C&D

The Delaware River is just beyond the last bridge

We have Arrived!

Docked along the pier at the marina in Delaware

Work boat takes supplies to a ship and brings back the tarsh

Clinton Street in Delaware City, DE


All boats heading east

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Last Day on Chesapeake Bay

It would take several weeks to explore all the great cruising locations on the Chesapeake Bay.  We are glad to have been able to retrace some of the most historical waterways and destinations that people before us used to make our country.  It's hard to take it all in but now we have a visual and spacial sense of what these places looked like and that makes reading about the historical events more personal.  Navigating the waterways in and around the Chesapeake Bay gives you a new respect for what early explorers faced and they didn't have the luxury of real-time weather, GPS, maps or flushing toilets.  We will never forget the people and places along the Chesapeake Bay.

The northern end of the Bay narrows and we took a path toward the east that goes up the Elk River and then into the Bohemian River that takes us to our last marina on the Bay.  This stop sets us up for preparing our exit of the Chesapeake by taking the C&D (Chesapeake to Delaware) canal.  The ideal window for this passage is a function of tide, current and weather.  All three need to be favorable to make the 27 mile passage as comfortable as possible. Viridian's fuel tanks were topped off with about 112 gallons of diesel and the holding tank was pumped before we went into our assigned slip.  

Bohemian River Yacht Harbor is not located close to restaurants but some restaurants deliver to the marina.  We were all in the mood for some pizza and chicken wings so a phone call was made and in no time we were digging into the boxes as we sat around the pool that overlooks the river where a sailboat regatta was taking place under a gray misty sky.  Osprey carried fish into the wind until they couldn't fly anymore and landed on boats moored close to shore.  It is almost June and we still needed to dress for cool weather.  The sun has not been seen since we left Solomons Island but the wind has been unusually calm giving us good cruising conditions and cool nights.  We hear reports of historic flooding taking place in the Baltimore area but all we see as we pass these places are a few logs and sticks floating in the channel.  It keeps us on our toes on a long quiet cruise.

That's the news and here's some views:

We are here

Today's Route from Rock Hall Marina, MD, to Bohemia River Marina, MD 

Bohemia River Marina, MD

Chesapeake Bay tapers as we come to the northern end in Elk River

Relaxing at Bohemian Bay Yacht Harbor

Docked under a brief break in the clouds

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

If it Weren't For Boat Wakes We Would Have No Waves At All & Tankers on Anchor

Another foggy morning start put us on glass smooth water as we steamed 35 miles northeast toward Rock Hall Marina, MD.  The only waves on the Bay were from our wake and the wakes of the few boats we saw on the water.  The visibility was about 7-10 miles and a light fog covered the distant shores.

As we made our way north we began to see large tanker ships lining the channel emerge from the fog.  We calculated that they were all anchored waiting their turn to go into Baltimore, MD to load or unload.  We decided to deviate from our charted course to pass to the south of the tanker line and run up the eastern side between them and the bank.  It took an hour or so just to pass all the ships as we made our way to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge that spanned the narrow northern section of the Bay.

Passing under the bridge we  heard two different foghorn tones blasting from somewhere out of the middle of the bridge.  This was a new experience.  The fog seemed to thicken to the northwest but we turned eastward to make our final approach to the marina.

As we came around Love Point there were dozens of fishing boats anchored in the still water.  Too thick to pass through them we went north of them and turned toward the bank and picked up the approach channel that ran parallel to the eastern shore of the Chesapeake.

A 90 deg port turn into the channel  gave us a view of the water with fog and clouds in the background.  The color of the clouds and fog reflected on the still water and gave it the same color, totally erasing the horizon line between the water and the sky.  The #3 marker buoy appeared to be hovering in the air and gave me a very disorienting feeling as there was no fixed reference to relate to.  I had to look over to the bank to get my bearing and break the vertigo spell.  The approach into the marina area was kind of sketchy as the dock master had to direct our turns inside the jetty to avoid running aground in side the marina.  We followed his instructions and made it into our slip alongside the face dock where all transient boats stay.

The bikes were taken off and we made a run into town to West Marine and the local grocery store for a few items then came back to Viridian to get a little rest.  We all met at 5:30 PM at the Waterman's Crab House for another fabulous seafood meal.

Will be moving on tomorrow to our last stop on the Chesapeake Bay waters.  Then it's across the C&D canal and down the Delaware River to Cape May to begin making our way to New York Harbor.

That's the news and here's some views:

We are here

Today's Passage North on the Chesapeake

Rock Hall Marina

Leaving Herrington Marina, MD

Calm Waters all Day Long

Tanker Ships at Anchor

 Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Monday, May 28, 2018

Solomons Island, MD To Rose Haven, MD - About the Half Way Point

Time to exit the mighty Chesapeake Bay and make our way north into New Jersey, New York and up the Hudson River.  Sadly, we won't be stopping at St. Michael s or Annapolis but will save some days for Canada and the Great Lakes instead.  Viridian departed Solomons Island at about 0800 this morning with low, gray clouds hanging over the calm waters of the Chesapeake and the cold front that passed last night dropped the temperature down to jacket weather.  A thin mist was falling as we turned around Drum Point and into the northern end of the Bay.  The 39 mile cruise was smooth and uneventful and we slid along side the face dock in Herrington Harbour Marina, MD. 

One of Meg's cousins, Max, and his wife live near D.C. and drove over to visit with us over a platter of fresh, steamed crabs with crab dip and cheese biscuits in a downtown restaurant.  It was good to see familiar faces and talk about things that only kinfolk can relate to.  Naturally, ice cream was found after our crab meal and we walked down the sidewalk of an old MD town.  Time to do some clothes washing and get ready for an early morning departure for Rock Hall, MD.

That's the news and here's some views.

We are here

Today's Route to Herrington Harbour Marina, MD

Herrington Harbour Marina

Fresh steamed crabs!

A meal with family

Docked at Herrington Harbour Marina, MD

A little over halfway, approximately 3200 miles

Friday, May 25, 2018

Tangier Island, VA to Solomons Island, MD

Ten miles north of Tangier Island Viridian and crew left the state of Virginia and entered the state of Maryland.  Our destination took us northwest 46 miles to the mouth of the Patuxent River, into the Patuxent River and north into Back Creek to our dockage at Calvert Marina, Solomons Island, MD.  We left Tangier Island at 0730 and our cruising buddies left Dozier Marina in Deltaville, VA at 0630.  By the time we got to the northern end of the mouth of the Potomac River we were finally in radio range and identified our group on AIS heading north.  Viridian fell in with the three looper boats at the mouth of the Patuxent River and we cruised right into the Calvert Marina and slid alongside the face dock and tied up.  We all wanted to get off the water for the Memorial Day weekend as that marks the beginning of the Summer boating season.  Several other Looper boats came into the area and docked at our marina and other marinas in the immediate area. 

After checking in, the crews of Viridian, Second Wave and Dash Away launched our dinghies and explored the upper end of Back Creek and found all the dinghy docks for the various restaurants and museum.  We finally pulled into the dock at the Charles Street Brasserie and had a nice supper at the end of a long cruising day on the Chesapeake Bay.

The next day we tested out Dash Away's new dinghy fuel tank to make sure the hose and fittings all worked and didn't leak.  Later that afternoon we dinghied over the the Culvert Maritime Museum and spent an hour or so checking out all the displays on exhibit concerning the history of maritime activities in and around the Solomon area of the Chesapeake Bay.  A bike ride on the gravel roads around the marina and a fine meal at the Hidden Harbor Restaurant ended the day as a storm system moved from the west over our area and brought wind and rain for the evening.  It is expected to continue raining for a few days so we will stay tied up until the weather breaks and gives us a good travel day to go to St. Michaels next week.

That's the news and here are some views

We are here 

Today's Route from Tangier Island, VA to Solomon, MD

Early morning on Tangier Island, VA

Crab boats coming and going in early morning

Burgee Flag Pole repaired

Diving Bell?

Out exploring Back Creek 

Supper time at Charles Street Brasserie

Viridian and Second Wave Admarials

Saturday - May 26, 2018

Two Old wooden work boats

Captain Mike from Dash Away testing his new fuel tank

Checking out the Lighthouse that once stood over Drum Point at the Patuxent River Inlet
There is also one like this on Mobile Bay that is still in service I believe

This is the mechanical bell ringer referred in the Notice to Mariners above

Later Same Day

 Calvert Marina has traces of the old military base still visible.  You can see some of the old sidewalks and barrack foundations along the shore where we are now docked.

She was worn out from chasing down a gopher rat and too tired to care that we were close by

Once she got her breath the picked up her meal and vanished