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!
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.
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.
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.[/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.
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.