The beach on the Yorktown River
07/08/2009, Yorktown to Mobjack Bay to Deltaville, VA
July 7th... East River to Deltaville, VA
We were up and ready to go a little before 8 and headed out the mouth of the East River into Mobjack Bay. There was a little west wind so we got the sails up and in an hour made the turn north around New Point Comfort. Our wind died, but was still helping some so we left the sails up and motor sailed up to Wolf Trap Light where there were a few fisherman as is normally the case around lighthouses.
By then the sails were flogging so we took them down and gave up on sailing. We following the high tide north and were getting a nice rush from the current all morning. At about noon we made the turn into the mouth of the Piankatank River and headed NW to the entrance to Jackson Creek which is quite interesting. There are red and green daymarks about 400 yards from shore and the channel is well marked heading directly toward a cottage on shore. We continue on this heading until our bow sprit is almost over the beach and then make a 90 degree turn to the port for another ¼ mile run into Jackson Creek. The channel is narrow all the way in and there is little margin for error.
We anchored off the marina and went to work lowering the dinghy and then the outboard. Kathy went to work cleaning and waxing the shower while I went ashore to take a walk and to check in with the Boatyard and to let them know that we would be ready for haul-out tomorrow.
Later we took the dinghy ride exploring both arms of Jackson Creek, the entire distance of which is only about two miles. The homes are sensible with very few of the starter mansions that we see so often on the waterfront. Everyone has at least two boats tied up and there are at least 50 work boats.
On our return, we hauled the dinghy on the foredeck for our stay on the hard. It is way too heavy. We ended up using the windlass to haul it up but just moving it in place was a chore. We must be carrying some extra ballast somewhere. I'll have to check it out at some point in the next week.
Our freezer needs to be empty in a week so tonight's menu was cracked conch. We used up another can of green beans and Kathy made a nice salad which rounded out a nice meal.
July 6th Yorktown VA, to Mobjack Bay
It rained on and off through the night was still gray and ugly in the morning. The forecast called for clearing in the afternoon. We really needed to move on but didn't really have any good destinations in mind. Our haul out was scheduled for Friday and Deltaville is only a day sail to the north. We felt like we were just wasting time until then so I called and asked to have our haul out moved up to Wednesday. We have so much work to do that the extra days will help.
With that decision made, as soon as it quit drizzling I made the mile drive up to the Marina to pay for last night's stay and dumped off a bag of trash. Back at the boat we got things organized and hauled anchor at 11:15.
Today's trip to the East River in Mobjack Bay is about three hours sideways and one up. We are about an hour up the York River but have to continue easy another hour to clear a shoal. Then we head north and around the corner into Mobjack Bay. Mobjack Bay is huge and has four or five large rivers that all offer great anchorages. We chose the East River because it was the closest and is reported to be the most scenic.
Our trip was uneventful. The sky cleared a little as the afternoon progressed and by the time we arrived it was quite nice. We entered the East River and headed up stream to check out some of the anchorages that we had read about. After about 4 miles of exploring the river we turned around and headed back toward the mouth and found a nice quiet anchorage in front of a small farm.
We spent the remainder of the afternoon reading. Kathy found a flank steak in the freezer yesterday so we got it thawed out and marinating. Later I fired up the grill and for once got it cooked to perfection. I tend to over cook them on this grill ... but seem to be learning.
July 5th... Yorktown, VA
It was gray and rainy all day. Boats that had spent the night after the fireworks filtered away during the morning and those on the moorings left as well. By noon we were the only boat on the water, where last night there were hundreds. It continued to rain and be ugly so we decided just to stay where we are and spent the day on projects and reading.
4th of July in Yorktown
07/08/2009, Yorktown, VA
July 4th... Yorktown, VA
Sometime around midmorning we took the dinghy in to the marina and tied up. The beach was filling fast. There was a portable tower with speakers up high playing music and there were people everywhere. We walked across the street to catch the Trolley out to the Battlefield. The walking tour time had been changed, but there was one still in sight so we caught up and listened to the Ranger talk about what had happened here.
Having taught American History for many years I was well versed with the siege of Yorktown and its importance. However, unlike most of the Battlefields in Virginia, I'd never visited here. It took just a minute to see that I've had some things wrong in my head all these years. The first thing was the orientation of the site. Since Washington and his army had walked down were from New York and the peninsula runs west to east, in my mind I had the battlefield on a west to east orientation. In fact the siege was carried out from a more south to north direction. I also had visualized the road coming into town being straight.... it's not. The last item that surprised me was how close the two lines were to each other. The distance between the two armies was much less than the normal Civil War site.
The ravine where the British command post was dug in now has a bridge, but is about 60 deep with very steep sides covered with bamboo. I was surprised about the bamboo.
We walked the battlefield for a couple of hours and then headed back down the hill to town where things were really hopping. The beach, which runs for about a mile was packed, traffic was almost at a standstill and there were way too many people to watch. Our favorite Pub was over run with bikers, so we wandered down the Riverwalk to another restaurant and were seated right away.
After a nice meal we motored the mile or so back to the boat and spent the remainder of the afternoon watching boats anchor all around us for the fireworks. There was a fly-over at 4pm... and we were planning on heading back to the park for a concert at 5 but decided to listen to it from the boat instead. It was a good plan, but just before 5 an old Egg Harbor with three couples (and kids) anchored next to us and immediately turned on the nearest country western radio station.... at a volume that effectively drowned out both the Fife and Drum Corps of Yorktown and the Air Force Band that played later.
The river here is deep and there's a lot of tidal current, which is why we're paying for a mooring, and it was fun watching little boats come in and attempt anchor. In some cases their anchors never even hit bottom, but most boats just didn't have the anchors or the scope to hold. Fortunately no one was going to be leaving their boat untended.
The fireworks started as the band put a bump note on their last John Phillip Sousa March and were amazing from beginning to end. The finale had about twice as many explosions as the entire show back at Crystal Lake. I have no idea how many folks were in the area watching but it certainly numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
07/04/2009, Yorktown, VA
July 3rd... Yorktown, Va
We woke up to a cool north wind. It was probably only about 70 degrees and felt nice. Using the rangefinder to check the distance from our boat to where the fireworks will be launched, we found that we were about 700 yards away. The enforced limit will be 400 yards, so we should be ok.
The battle field is set up as a parking lot for the fireworks with portable lighting and orange barrels. If half the people show that they have space for .... there will be loads of people here.
I think that we will take our bimini off and break out the fire extinguisher. I assume that we'll be in line for some ash and debris.
After breakfast, Kathy cleaned and I read a book. Soon it was lunch time and so I made a big pot of goulash to get rid of some of our canned goods and pasta.
We spent most of the afternoon reading. I did begin the process of refinishing teak... heat gun and scraping, but made such a mess we decided we'd just wait until we were on land and had unlimited power to run tools and a our vacuum.
Before dinner we took the dinghy across the York River to check out Sarah's Creek where there is sheltered anchoring. There were a few boats anchored there and we spoke with one couple for a few minutes. Space is limited but there is probably room for 10 or 12 boats.
I grilled the last of Dave's venison which we had with some wild rice and corn. It was an excellent meal.