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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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Uneventful, peaceful day
High 58, Low 36; Winds 20-30, wave & small craft advisory out
10/22/2008, Cockrell Creek, Great Wicomico River, Reedville, VA (37o50.262 x 076o16.537)

There was small craft weather advisory out today so we just stayed at anchor. Pretty uneventful day. We listened to the wind howl and did unfinished boat chores. I figured because it was cold it was a good day to make beef roll-ups (it's been a longggg time). I had thin sliced steak; stuffing stuff too, sooo spent the afternoon listening to music, making dinner, etc.

This is a cute little fishing town. Beautiful houses, but the fishing industry must be faltering. There were many factory buildings and large ships that looked derelict. Only one factory & fleet remains. Very nice anchoring in here though - there are 6 boats, one of which is one of the schooners that was in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race - The Martha White out of Chestertown MD. She's a 65 ft double gaff-rigged wooden schooner purchased by Bob Kay to be used as a waterfront stage for playing bluegrass music with friends (turquoise hull makes her stand out). The race supports future preservation of the Chesapeake through education programs to make kids (students) aware of the great traditions and natural resources they have here.

Yay - waterr again
Low: 38 this am; High: 70 this afternoon and sunny
10/21/2008, Yeocomico River, MD (38o01.815 x 076o33.969) to Cockrell Creek, Great Wicomico River, Reedville, VA (37o50.262 x 076o16.537)

Well, we anchored in the W. Yeocomico River near Kinsale Marina to fuel up this morning because it's supposed to be one of the bigger marinas here. At 8:50 we hailed them, no response. At 9:05 we hailed them, no response so we went to the next cove to White Pt Marina, no answer either on channel 16 or 68. I couldn't get my phone to work so couldn't call either place and had to assume they were closed for the season. With all the shallow water surrounding us and showing on the chart, plus all the crab pots, we didn't want to try and go in to either place without talking to someone first (we weren't ready to call Boat US again). So we moved on back to the Potomac to try elsewhere. As we approached the Coan River I noticed I had a bar on my phone so called the Coan River Marina (840) 529-6767 and got an answering machine saying he wasn't there but to leave a message or call his cell phone - so I called his cell phone. He said he wasn't there but he'd have a guy looking for us. Yay! It was tricky getting in there between the shallows, crab pots and oyster aquaculture beds, but he gave us pretty good directions, so we were able to fuel up and fill our water tank. Later he told Wayne that he'd forgotten that the markers had moved in the storms and was glad to see we made it in okay (Wayne told him - shhhh...don't tell my wife that).

I got a nice hot shower in our tub while Wayne handled the helm J. Ahhhhh.....

I should know this but don't. What do you call a family of pelicans? A squadron? There were 5 flying in formation - kind of interesting to watch them diving into the water (looked more like crashing into the water head first). One came up with a good size fish not far from where there were fish stakes standing up in the water (it looks like a bunch of sticks poking out of the water in 12-18 ft depths).

We put in for the day down the creek from a seafood place that processes various seafoods. There are huge ships there - looks like a rather large operation with a fishy smell as you go by it. We can't really smell anything at our anchorage though & we're anchored next to a crab shack that makes and sells crab cakes. They weren't open for business though - shucks. So I made steaks and salad for dinner instead of dingying over to the Crab Shack.

The winds are really howling this evening. We reset our anchor - it looked like we'd dragged a bit towards the Crab Shack (see the boat even wants me to have crab cakes!) and we figured do it now while we can still see. I hate how the days are getting shorter - 7:30ish sunrises, 6:30ish sunsets. Our dingy blocks our stern light so we'll have to do something about that if we want to do any late day traveling.

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.

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