Sunday: We awake to rain and forecasted thundershowers, and we haven’t heard back from the marina with a confirmed slip. I don’t like leaving port in the morning without having a plan for where to end. So we aren’t sure if we will go today or not. Without the rain, the Bay is supposed to be the best for sea travel today rather than later in the week. As the rain is letting up and we’ve heard back from Dozier’s Marina, we decide to move out. We pull out of Waterside marina at 9:30am and go straight across the river to Tidewater Marina for 200 gallons of fuel and a pumpout. The fuel is $2.79 per gallon and it will only get more expensive as we travel north. Pulling out of Tidewater at 10:30am gives us an ETA of 4:00 pm since it’s a 5 and a half hour cruise. Cruising past commercial freighters and US Navy ships is quite a sight for today and shortly the sights disappear! As soon as we travel over the tunnel connecting Hampton with Norfolk a dense fog fills the Chesapeake Bay. I initially consider turning around, but with the radar on and the seas being very favorable, we continue towards Deltaville.
About 4 hours into the fog, we see two blips on the radar screen and eventually catch up with them and its our two new friends Luc and Yvon from Georgian Bay Canada! Only loopers are crazy enough to be out on the water today! We fall in behind them with Yvon in the lead on ‘Lake Effect’ Luc right behind on “Lil Hide Away” and Kailani sweeping the tail of the caravan. We travel for the last three hours together until they have to swing into the south side of the Deltaville peninsula and we have to go around to the north side for our marina. I radio Luc and tell him that maybe we’ll get together tomorrow if they’re staying for the day.
Jimmy Mackay is waiting for us and we pull in at exactly 4:30pm after 5 hours in the fog and fairly clear for the last hour. Dozier’s Marina is a well kept marina with lots of usable amenities including a courtesy car which we will use tomorrow for some grocery provisions. They also have a captain’s lounge with 24-hour access that’s outfitted with a large screen TV and DVD, desktop computer and coffee pot. The couches are very comfortable and Tracy settles down to watch Pretty Woman. Sleep will not be hard tonight as it was a grueling day on the water with senses on high alert for the whole trip but a very high sense of accomplishment for both of us as it was a total team effort to get here safely today.
Monday: Today is a planned day off at Dozier’s. We enjoy the sunshine and some chores aboard Kailani. We watch the forecast(s) for tomorrow and plan for a Tuesday cruise to Solomon’s Island Yacht Club. We’ve already made contact with our friend Doug Smith and Tony Baratta the club Dockmaster.
Tuesday: Since it’s a rather long day at 6 hours 30 minutes, we set up for an early departure and we’re off the docks at 8am. The bay does not look calm and it doesn’t take long for Kailani to be banging down on the waves coming right at us from the bow. We last for 5 miles before collectively deciding to return to safe harbor at Dozier’s. and by 9:10am we’re safely tied back up and glad to be back! Some days the marine weather report just to not do the real conditions justice.–tc Later in the day we’re able to get the marina courtesy car and do some grocery shopping at the local Supervalu Mart. Steaks on the grill for dinner and the forecast says we should be good for departure on Wednesday. I’ve already checked with Tony and he’ll have room for us tomorrow as well.
Wednesday: 8:35 am and we’re cruising again. The early stage of this cruise is slightly calmer (not by much) from yesterday, but we’re absolutely certain that the bay will lay down very soon this morning, so we hear the bell ring a couple of times, but we stay moving north and soon the bay is calm and we’re cruising to Solomon’s Island. It’s still a long cruise but 6 hours and 40 minutes later we’re tied up in the Commodore’s slip again at Solomon’s Island Yacht Club. We learn that there’s a member’s dinner tonight and we make the plan for attending. Tracy takes a well deserved nap and I go over to the club to see some old friends and meet some new ones. This club is a very friendly and welcoming membership.
At dinner, we sit with Doug and another looper couple, plus I’m able to see and spend time with Al Redfield again. At the club dinner, we see our Georgian Bay friends from ‘Lil Hide Away’ and ‘Lake Effect’ sitting inside eating dinner. They’re not docked at the club, but they have a friend here and they walked over to enjoy the club dinner. We have a discussion about tomorrow’s weather because small craft warnings are starting to appear for the bay tomorrow. They’re cruising to St Michaels and we’re cruising to Annapolis and we all agree to wait and see what comes in the morning before committing to departure.
Thursday: The small craft warnings are still in effect for the upper Chesapeake Bay and we decide to stay put as do the other 2 looper boats here in the club, however, I look out our friends on ‘Lil Hide Away’ and ‘Lake Effect’ and they’re gone. So I guess they were going to give it a try crossing the Bay to St Michaels. We plan for our Friday cruise by calling Herrington Harbour North Marina. Chris Johnson had told me to give them a try as a great marina, so I call them and they suggest that if we’re just a one night transient, we can save 4-5 miles of cruising by staying at Herrington Harbour South instead. They even transferred my call to them!
Friday: So with a reservation at Herrington Harbour South ahead of us, we leave the friendly confines of Solomons Island Yacht Club at 8:40am. Tracy takes Kailani out of the finger dock and out into the open bay. Seas are calm and comfortable today and we end up dodging at least 200 fishing boats during our nearly 4 hour cruise. We bring Kailani to a safe and secure dockage at 12:20pm and we have the rest of the afternoon to enjoy the marina and it’s resort-style surroundings. Tracy learns that a short walk down the road leads to an area suitable for shore fishing, so off we go to the park. Tracy strikes out, but fun and good exercise anyway. Our new Insta-Pot gets another workout with ribs and potatoes and when we get back from fishing, there’s a delicious meal waiting for us. Throughout the evening, our inverter keeps tripping into battery mode even though the gauges all read that there’s ample shore power coming into the panel. Only thing we can figure is that there’s actually 135 volts coming in where usually we get 118-124 volts and possibly the inverter is kicking in due to the overloading. It’s just a theory and we’ll have to keep watching the service as we proceed to other marinas as this is a new issue and one we have not had ever. We plan for tomorrow’s cruise to Rock Hall Maryland, then Sunday to Bohemia Bay Yacht Harbor where Foster and Susan will greet us.
Saturday: There are small craft warnings for later in the day, so we want to complete this 4 hour cruise before any weather issues. However the warnings are for 2-6pm so we definitely have time for a nice breakfast cooked and cleaned by others, so we walk over to the Chesapeake Market and Deli right on the premises and have a cooked to order breakfast, then back to Kailani to prep for departure. As I’m taking her off the dock, we have an issue with one of our dock lines getting stuck on the dock and we’re not able to depart until we get the line released. Actually it’s a good thing that occurred because I neglected to re-store the stairs aboard Kailani prior to departure. So we switched positions and I worked the line and picked up the stairs. Eventually everything worked out and Tracy had the helm for 95% of the cruise today successfully navigating between no less than 6 commercial liners and 200 sailing vessels all stacked up just south of the Chesapeake River Bridge in the Annapolis area. By 1:05pm we were docked and Rock Hall Landing Marina had four guys waiting on the dock for us and we were safely secured well before any weather issues.
As we were walking back from the marina office one of the seasonal boaters was flipping a little lure into the harbor waters and latched onto a monster catfish. After reeling for at least 25 minutes, he landed the cat and it had to be 10 pounds, if not 15 pounds. He caught it on 2.5 lb test line! -tc It was the largest catfish I’ve ever seen. So Tracy immediately got out her tackle and spent the afternoon going after the local fish.
The electrical does not seem to be acting up, so it’s possible we were dealing with too much juice. But we relax for the rest of the day and get set for another short hop to Bohemia Bay Yacht Harbor tomorrow. We’ve now completed four weeks on the loop and we’re almost back home for our all of our appointments.