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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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All the antennas - is it Seti?
Sunny, High-pressure, upper 60s, waves 1-3 ft.
10/20/2008, Mill Creek, Patuxent River, MD (38o20.10 x 76o30.162) to anchorage between Seldom and Sloop Points on the Yeocomico River, MD (38o01.815 x 076o33.969)

It got downright frigid last night - 37 degrees. There's condensation on all the ports and as I rub my sleeve across one window and look out, I see steam rising from sections of water portside, and a layer of fog blankets the water to the starboard side of the boat. The sky is pink where the sun should be rising and it is cold in the boat. Time to kick on the heat and jump back into bed for 10 minutes after pouring water into the coffee pot and lighting the burner... Brrrr. Watch out Wayne, here come the cold feet Ha ha ha...

After coffee we hoisted the anchor and I made grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches for breakfast (just because...) and we threaded our way back out of the creek to the Patuxent river, then back to the Chesapeake and headed toward the Yeocomico River. Destination roughly 38 miles.

Along the way we saw a huge group of antennas, radar, etc... and it turned out to be part of the Patuxent Naval Air Station. One plane doing touch and goes was a Naval mid-air tanker (the kind that refuels planes in the air) He came right over us very low one time as we approached the restricted bombing range and a fighter plane also left the base (very fast, very loud). It was very cool watching the trainers - kind of the next stage for the cadets we saw at the Naval Academy. We'd learned that the Navy actually has more planes than the AirForce does - imagine that!

Speaking of the bombing range - we saw our first pelicans today next to the bombing range! It seems mighty cold here still for pelican's to be showing up already! Hopefully it means we're making progress south.

The Potomac is much bigger than I pictured. At the mouth it appears to be about 10 miles across, and it snakes up quite far. Captain Wayne would love to take our little boat up and park her near some monuments if we didn't have the cold weather barking at our heals. There's a lot of history and area to explore that we're just passing by. The Chesapeake alone is 200 miles long, and there is soooo much to explore. It's a veritable gunkholers heaven passing through 3 states, with tons of crab, oyster and fish boats to watch, and now looking at the Potomac and thinking about it's history. Amazing to visualize the British sailing ships moving up these same waters that we're passing through on this beautiful fall afternoon.

We pulled into the Yeocomico River towards the marina for gas at 4:01pm and hailed the marina but got no response. They either closed at 4:00 or are already closed for the season I guess, so we went to the next cove up between Sloop and Seldom Points and dropped anchor. It's beautiful here. The trees are in color, the peepers are chirping, a blue heron is fishing on the shore and a king fisher is hailing another in a tree branch on the water's edge. The bottom of the cove is a very fine black silt that the anchor doesn't want to set well in, but it's so calm and protected, Wayne doesn't think we'll have a problem in here. There's a chill in the air but the smell and crispness reminds me of home. Maybe it's the trees along the water and the color change too.

The oven cooperated nicely this evening in reheating the meat pie from last night. Much better now that the alcohol in it has been replenished. Wayne just finished reading me an article on a couple transiting the Southern Ocean, and it's time for bed (I want to get under the covers). After listening to him, now I'm really cold.

So much for hot cocoa
42 last night, 60 today 15-20knot NE winds gusting to 35.
10/19/2008, La Trappe Creek to Mill Creek Patuxent River

Wow - ccccold this morning. Got up kicked on the heat, turned on the coffee and jumped back into bed until the heat came up. Then made sweet rolls to go with coffee, which had a double bonus of adding heat to the cabin as well as making it smell a sweet cinnamon/orange. Heated up another pot of water for the day since that worked well yesterday. We had hot water all yesterday in the large push top carafe for hot cocoa, and tea to keep warm, so it was really a good purchase.

We headed for Solomon Island (38 miles) and it was a very cold, brisk wind that had the waves kicked up until we were able to turn south and run with them and the current. Motor sailed with the headsail and we actually got up to 8.6 knots between the engine, sail, current, and tide. What should have taken us about 8 hours took us about 6 woosh.... It was a cold, wet day but at least it was sunny out! The waves were rough at times and I heard "crash" down below. When I went below, my large carafe was on the floor with water and sparklies all over the place. The inside glass had shattered, and what I thought were sparklies were little shards of glass. What a mess. Hot water and glass all over the sole of the cabin in the galley and at the bottom of the steps! Cleaned that up and went back up top. So much for marvelous hot cocoa to stay warm (it's that peppermint cocoa that I'd buy for the kids at school during the holidays ymmmmm). I need to find another large push top thermos server. I liked that one.

Instead of skirting in to Solomon we went a little further to the next creek on the Patuxent River past the 100 ft bridge. Mill Creek - a very nice isolated spot that we're sharing with 2 motor boats (1 large) and a couple of fishermen. This area is known for its Ocean Miocene fossils 10-25 million years old. I need to refrain from collecting (there's no room on the boat). The cabin has stuff strewn all over from being tossed about today & I was looking forward to warming up with a warm shower - only.... We appear to be out of water... Weird because the gage says we should still have ˝ tank (50 gallons) but when I kick on the pump, it just keeps pumping air... oh no.... Now we'll have to find somewhere to replenish our water. Did I say replenish? I mean't replace - we have none except what's in my bottle.

Okay, next up is dinner. I'm making a beef pie right now that appears to be taking over 2 hours. I chopped up the vegi's, added the meat, mixed the cornstarch in for gravy, put it in the crusts and threw it in the oven only for some reason my oven isn't coming up to temperature tonight. 1 ˝ hours and its only to 300. I checked twice to see if it ran out of fuel but the fire is there! Wow. Temperature in the oven was now down to 275... Shades of an Arizona Thanksgiving (LOL). This meat pie is going to be a marathon cook like Thanksgiving day... Only I doubt it will taste as good as my all day Thanksgiving meals... actually the one in AZ was scrumptious - later...

Hm, it actually wasn't bad. The crust could have been a little better cooked but overall quite eatable, with my side of peaches J

Army blanket is on the bed tonight - it's going down into the 30s tonight.

Birds, sandbars, skipjacks
N. Winds 20-25, 2-5 ft waves, high 54, low 37
10/18/2008, La trappe to Cambridge MD

Woke up to the sound of geese calling each other before sunrise. I wish I could speak goose this morning. I wanted Wayne to hear them lowly calling to each other in the darkness. Big mistake. Remember the rain last night? It collected in the window and as I opened it, Wayne didn't appreciate the cold water in the face. Oops... There's a lot of conversation going on out there that I don't understand as they collect into bigger groups. The conversation in the bed after the wet face I do understand...perfectly...

Made some coffee and went up top to look at our surroundings. Since it was about dark when we pulled in last evening, I didn't really see much. The colors are more pronounced here than in Annapolis and there's an amazing amount of birds here. I couldn't begin to name them. They're different than what I'm used to back home. An osprey is sitting atop a tree branch, various petrels are soaring and diving for breakfast, hundreds of little white birds are sitting on the sand spit off Martin Point, and there's a huge flock, no two huge flocks of some birds that are into synchronized flying - darting and flitting around as one entity above me. The geese are collected all over the creek and river in various groups calling to each other. I can hear guns in the distance so I know that there is some kind of hunting season. Wayne says "it's probably water fowl" since there seems to be an abundance of them migrating right now. He reminds me of the first time I was on a sailboat (Hans' boat - a little Westerly) on Lake Erie. We ran aground and stayed the night there in the fog. At daybreak there was the sound of guns going off, even though you couldn't see anything, duck season had begun. Funny how I'd forgotten about that - it seems so long ago, also in October, also cold and damp. Who'd have thought that 30 some odd years later we'd be sitting on our own sailboat, in the cold, listening to water fowl and guns again remembering my first time on a sailboat. Well, at least we're not aground, and in the fog (yet). Not sure where we're heading yet today. Depends on weather. It looks like maybe the Patuxent River, Solomon's Island is within our distance at 35.3 miles.

Hmmmm... well scratch that place on Patuxent River. In coming out of the Creek at 10:00 am, we ran aground in 4.2 ft of water. We were supposed to follow the same path out as we took in (9ft), but veered off to the right a little ran into mud and couldn't get off. Phone has no dots but we tried backing out. No luck. Tried going forward, no luck. Tried hoisting the sail to heel us over, and the sail ended up in the lazy jacks, shrouds, and got a bit twisted due to the wind abate (abaft? Behind) at 20 knots. So basically, no luck. A fishing boat came by and signaled do you want me to call someone? I yelled yes please - Boat US. So he called and wished us "Good Luck". I brought my phone up top and got 1 dot and tried Boat US and got through. I asked if someone called for us and she said Nick called. Thank you Nick, where ever you are. I hope you catch a lot of crabs (the good kind), or fish, or whatever you try to catch. Tow Jamm 2 showed up at around 12:30 and we were freed at 1:00pm. To late to go 30 miles, so we decided to go down to the Little Choptank (I couldn't see returning to the same anchorage - even though it was gorgeous - and having a repeat tomorrow morning). There's free tie up in front of the Dorchester County Building with enough room for 4 boats (ifff they tie up nicely to let a 4th boat get in). We couldn't snug in behind the small sailboat that had taken up a lot of room that he didn't need. In trying to, I ran aground (4 ft) but was able to back off again. We circled around the little area between the drawbridge leading into Cambridge proper, the Dorchester County Building and Snappers Water Front Café in 11 ft of water. Hope we're okay here (2:40pm) because Skipper Bob's called this an anchorage (???). Sooo all that's missing now is the fog (from that first time on a sailboat) LOL. Wayne says I jinxed us this morning mentioning running aground. I told him he ran us aground on purpose because I put it in his mind... We passed a pretty little skip jack coming through Little Choptank. What a beautiful little boat! Low shear, large sail and a boom longer than the back of the boat. It was taking people out on the Choptank River.

After dark a riverboat came by us. It was the kind with the big paddle wheel off the back. There were people partying inside and outside - it looked pretty fun.

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