Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Adventure Has Begun

Believe it or not, but Mark, the dogs, and I did leave Edgewater last Wednesday. Our first destination would be St. Michaels. Not exactly on our way south, more like a huge detour, but we had heard nice things about the place. We motored out of the South River and tried to get to the other side of the Chesapeake Bay under sail. That only lasted one hour because of lack of wind. This bay is nothing like San Francisco Bay, where the wind is a steady 10-15 knots (in the afternoon). We started the engines again, and reached our first anchorage around 3pm. St. Michaels is a quaint little town with friendly people, historic buildings, a European style church bell that plays a little melody every 15 minutes, and the most expensive fuel prices along the Maryland coast. While we were on the boat, we got startled by four helicopters. Being in the Washington DC area, that could only mean one thing… A huge army chopper landed on the grounds behind a building nearby, followed by two identical white helicopters. The fourth one stayed in the air and circled around until the other ones left again. It was a pretty exciting event. We never found out whether it was Number 1 or Number 2 who paid the town a visit.

Friday morning, we left at dawn. A big storm was coming our way, and we wanted to beat it by getting to the next anchorage by early afternoon. We got about two hours of sailing in, before we needed to head straight into the wind to reach Knapps Narrows with its narrow channel and little draw bridge. To get there, we had to dodge hundreds of crab pots, a very challenging and tiring activity, especially under sail. Around noon, we arrived at our secluded anchorage in Dun Cove, to ride out the bad weather. The anchor dug deep into the thick mud, and we made sure we had enough anchor rode out. The “terrible” storm didn’t hit until 10:30 at night. For about an hour, the wind gusted to 20 knots and it rained for less than ten minutes. I’m glad we were well prepared… :-)

The next day, a computer voice on the VHF weather channel told us it would be very windy on the bay. A small craft advisory was in effect. Mark and I decided to risk it. Not every day you get a strong west wind and we felt silly not to take advantage of this favorable wind for our trip south. When we reached the bay, it was dead calm. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. We tried to sail and reached a pumping speed of 1.5 knots. Aaaaah, weather men! It was a relaxing two hours, though, and Mark had the bright idea to throw a fishing line out. Totally unprepared and unskilled, he caught a fish… Everybody got excited there for a second, until the fish chose to get back in the water. Ooooops. I’m glad Mark has a new hobby, though. Maybe one of these days, we get a good meal out of it!

A little later, the wind picked up and the trip became a blast. With all the sails out, we reached speeds over 7 knots. It was a gorgeous day on the water, and we found a nice place to anchor near busy Solomon’s Island. Today, we will replace the gaskets of our emergency exits (they leak) and explore the area. It’s another sunny day in Chesapeake Bay.

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