Three Days on the Chesapeake

On Monday morning, we awoke early hoping to get away from the dock by 6:30 or 7:00. After starting the engines, I’ve looked over the aft portion of each hull every day we’ve gone anywhere on Beatitude for the past 3 years. I do so to check whether raw engine cooling water is exiting from its opening. For the first time ever, there was no water coming from one of the engines (the starboard) this morning. My first thought was, “I hope this is just a dirty raw water strainer.” That would be the easiest problem to fix. We pulled the strainer, cleaned it and… Yes! We had cooling water flowing again. It could have been worse, for example, a clogged raw water intake at the sail drive, or a bad impeller, or who knows what else!

Preparing to raise the main.

Preparing to raise the main.

Mainsail up!

Mainsail up!

A beautiful sight

A beautiful sight

Anyway, after maybe a 15 minute delay, we were underway. At 6:55 we backed out of the marina and headed north down the Elizabeth River and into Hampton Roads Harbor. After crossing above the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, we entered into the Chesapeake Bay. It was pretty exhilarating to have cruised up the east coast of the U.S. and find ourselves in this well-known cruising ground known as the Chesapeake. Initially, we had a little swell coming in off the Atlantic, but this soon gave way to one foot seas from the south. This was ideal for us since we were journeying almost due North today. The winds were light and from the south for most of the day which meant we could not kill the engines, but we did motorsail with the main and genoa all day. This is the first time we used our sails since our return from the Bahamas. It was really nice to feel like sailors once again.

Leaving Hampton Roads Harbor, about to pass over the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel

Leaving Hampton Roads Harbor, about to pass over the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel

We saw several lovely old lighthouses on our way up the Chesapeake

We saw several lovely old lighthouses on our way up the Chesapeake

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Pushing coal

Pushing coal

My first experience with avoiding these: Fish traps.  I never knew!

My first experience with avoiding these: Fish traps. I never knew!

65.8 nautical miles and 8 1/2 hours after leaving Waterside Marina we dropped anchor in about 20 feet of water in the Sandy Point anchorage of the Great Wicomico River, just south of the Maryland border. The huge anchorage, big enough for twenty boats, was occupied by only two this evening. The setting was picturesque and the evening cool. We had a brief thunderstorm roll through around 8:30 p.m. We didn’t mind at all.

One other boat shared this huge anchorage with us

One other boat shared this huge anchorage with us

Our anchorage in the Great Wicomico River

Our anchorage in the Great Wicomico River

An evening thunderstorm passed through

An evening thunderstorm passed through

Sunset on the Wicomico

Sunset on the Wicomico

After a still, quiet night on the hook, we weighed anchor around 6:30 and proceeded back down the Great Wicomico to the Chesapeake. I’m not sure why it’s a “great” river other than the great name, “Wicomico.” By the way, “Wicomico” is Algonquian for “a place where houses are built.” Sure enough, there were houses at our anchorage. Anyway, we raised our mainsail and unfurled the genoa for another day of motorsailing on the bay. Winds were forecast once again to be light (<10 knots) and from the SSW. [caption id="attachment_5862" align="alignnone" width="584"]Sunrise on the Wicomico (I love writing that name).  It looks like this guy has an extra bright anchor light. Sunrise on the Wicomico (I love writing that name). It looks like this guy has an extra bright anchor light.[/caption]

The second day’s sail was pleasant and without any particular memorable event. And, that can be a good thing! There are two things, off the top of my head, that I’m really enjoying while on the Chesapeake. First, of course, the fact that the sails are up. Even though, due to light winds, I’m motorsailing, looking up to see the sails full of wind is aesthetically pleasing. It’s also nice not to be confined to the helm. On the ICW, I can’t wander far away due to the necessity of keeping the vessel in the channel. On the bay, however, I can relax and let the autopilot do the work. While keeping a casual lookout, I can go up on the foredeck for considerable chunks of time and just enjoy being out on the water. By 3:30, we had traveled 58 nautical miles and had gone five or six miles up the Little Choptank River to anchor. We dropped our anchor in about eleven feet of water and settled in for the afternoon and evening. The last two days have gone exactly as planned.

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Beatitude's Sails

Beatitude’s Sails

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Traffic on the Chesapeake

Traffic on the Chesapeake

Cindy reefing the main.

Cindy reefing the main.

Adjusting the 3rd reefing line which our sail guys attached wrongly.

Adjusting the 3rd reefing line which our sail guys attached wrongly.

Sunset on the Little Choptank

Sunset on the Little Choptank

Our third day, Wednesday, July 8th, started much like the rest: Arising shortly after 6:00, weighing anchor around 6:30, and continuing our progress north. The anchorage in the Little Choptank was more exposed than any we’ve had for the last couple of months. While not horrible, there was a little more bouncing and sloshing from the waves than usual. We didn’t sleep quite as well, but tonight we’ll be secured in a slip. The sky was overcast throughout our morning sail, and a slight cool breeze blew from the southwest. By 11:30, we had covered 39 nautical miles and we were pulling into Port Annapolis Marina, Beatitude’s home for at least the next week. I’ll be flying out on Thursday to work in Maine for a few days. In a reversal of fortune from the usual, Cindy will be staying aboard Beatitude without me for five days.

The rising sun behind us as we exit the Little Choptank

The rising sun behind us as we exit the Little Choptank

This poor lighthouse has become the leaning tower of the Chesapeake.  Apparently, it's been leaning 20° since a bad winter in the 70s.

This poor lighthouse has become the leaning tower of the Chesapeake. Apparently, it’s been leaning 20° since a bad winter in the 70s.

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Cindy, readying the spring lines for when we dock.

Cindy, readying the spring lines for when we dock.

I had to play dodge the little sailboat on my way into the marina.

I had to play dodge the little sailboat on my way into the marina.

Osprey Family as we approach Annapolis

Osprey Family as we approach Annapolis

Sailboats everywhere as we motor down Back Creek to our marina

Sailboats everywhere as we motor down Back Creek to our marina

Backing into the narrow space between D and E dock where our slip is located

Backing into the narrow space between D and E dock where our slip is located

4 thoughts on “Three Days on the Chesapeake

  1. Hi! We stayed in the same marina in Norfolk on June 3rd to June 5th, 2010… (Just checked our Boat’s Log) So enjoyed that city!

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