Saturday, July 21, 2012

Vacation on the Southern Chesapeake Bay

We've never really been to the southern part of the Chesapeake.  I've passed through it a couple times and we've driven around it, but not sailed it.  So the Dalby's joined us and off we went for a week long trip.

The wind started off out of the North so it was a good chance to try our old cruising spin on Paperbird.  It's a little small, but works nicely.  Small made it easy to handle which could come in handy when it's just the 2 of us.

We decided to read and discuss Keller new book on marriage during the trip.  It's a little wordy but made for some good discussions along the way.  His core message: become best friends with your spouse.  Spend time together and cultivate shared interests and hobbies.  Between the Dalby's and us, we have well over 60 years of marriage so I guess we're doing OK so far.  

Of course the week couldn't pass completely without a project or 2.  We finally sorted out the rest of the mast wiring harness.  Turns out a couple of the 12V breakers were mislabeled.  Shoulda known to test everything, assume nothing.

The grill got some good workouts starting with fresh striped bass on day 1.

We visited a couple of museums along the way.  This one in Solomon's with some very interesting restored old boats.  It's interesting to see how purpose-built boats on the Chesapeake were.  Shallow drafts for the thin water, wide beams for working and lots of sail area to catch the light winds.

Of course, ice cream was at the top of our shore search list!

Beautiful scenery!  The southern Bay is different than the middle Bay.  Wider, fewer boats, fewer towns.  Different but beautiful all the same.

Footnote:  Friday night on the way back north, we anchored in Mill Creek behind Solomons at about 8:00 after a 70 mile day starting in Deltaville, VA.  During dinner in the cockpit, we saw occasional heat lightening to the west.  Since the temps had been in the upper 90s, conditions were ripe for thunderstorms.  We had tucked up against the west bank of the creek in about 15 ft of water.  Just in case, we secured everything on deck and got the boat ready for a blow.  A little after 11, we turned in and listened to the VHF weather.  They said a line of storms was moving quickly through the mid-Atlantic with very strong winds.  About 10 min later, we heard the trees on the riverbank rustling as that very strong wind, the derecho, neared.  We jumped up, fired up the engine just in case and watched as the winds blew like crazy for about 30 min.  Later we learned that peak winds were reported at 70-80 kts.  Maybe.  But not at deck level.  Best guess maybe 40-50 kts at most.

Couple things were in our favor.  We were tucked up against the west bank which sheltered us somewhat.  The derecho moved so fast that the winds never reversed like in a normal storm.  So we sailed back and forth a little, but mostly just hung back on the chain.  And, most importantly, no one else was anchored anywhere near us.  One boat had pulled anchor about 8:30 or 9 and left.  Hopefully he was secure before the winds hit. 

Interestingly, the next morning, a trawler was anchored not far from us.  He wasn't there during the storm.  Not sure when he arrived.