Mar-a-Lago: Heading South for another great adventure!

Sun, May 28 - to Cape May, New Jersey

11 July 2017
Misty, then partly cloudy, then RAIN 60/66 F E 10 - 20
Good morning Iain!
Trip today: 67 miles in 9.5 hours

Alarm went off at 5:30, and we departed half an hour later, into the heavy mist on the C & D canal. We were bundled up against the chilly damp air, and luckily there was no wind. But there was an awful lot of debris floating in the water, so I stood watch on the bow as we travelled along the canal. At 8:00 we entered Delaware Bay, where it was flat calm, prompting Brian to say, if Craig were here he'd be saying "just the way I like my Delaware!" Well, the laugh was on us a few hours later...with our mast height, we are unable to pass under the fixed bridge in the Cape May Canal, and are forced to cross the mouth of the Delaware into the Atlantic, then enter the harbour via the Cape May inlet. Once we passed the entrance to the Cape May Canal, conditions deteriorated dramatically...the strong ENE winds whipped up very rough seas at the mouth of the Delaware and the channel through the shoals off Cape May...nasty conditions for Prudence to endure for the last couple of hours. But timing is everything, and we just managed to tie up in Utsch's marina before the daily squalls and heavy rain arrived!

Sat May 27 - L/O at Chesapeake City

03 June 2017
Rain, very heavy at times 57/64F Wind L/V
Today we remained at anchor...brisk wind and waves would have been right on the nose to transit the Delaware, no thanks said Prudence! However, at noon we almost regretted our decision when a 28' power boat anchored off our bow, then 4 other boats rafted off him. Oh, oh...while in a historic hotel yesterday, we'd seen old photos of over 100 small boats rafted together to celebrate a summer event...could this be happening today? Luckily the weather deteriorated and no other boats rafted in the harbour...but the young adults on the boats in front of us partied hard, even in the pouring rain...the noise was beyond loud, and the dancing and singing went until about 9pm. Late afternoon, Tom from m/v Tadhana dinghied over to commiserate about the noise, chat about plans for tomorrow's trip...seemed we had the same timetable for getting to New York city. During the night we had more rain, but the sound was soothing after the raucous noise of the party people!

Fri, May 26 - to Chesapeake City, MD

03 June 2017
Showers, then partly cloudy 60/76 F W 10 - 20
Trip today: 48.5 miles in 7 hours

Goodbye to Annapolis! Anchor was up by 6:45 am and we passed through the Spa Creek bridge at 7:00. With a 15+ knot West wind, we got a good lift all the way up the Chesapeake, entering the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal (C & D) at 1:00. Half an hour later we turned into the Chesapeake City basin, and anchored with one other sailboat. Once settled, we dinghied ashore for a nice walk through the little town. The old homes are interesting and there are several gift shops (Brians's favourites lol) to browse through. After our walk we returned to the dinghy dock at the Chesapeake Inn & Marina, where, despite the chilly, windy weather, their Tiki Bar was busy with the Memorial day crowd. We enjoyed a happy hour libation while watching the festivities in the busy little marina...until it began raining and we returned to the boat. A couple of other boats had come in to anchor, and it was a quiet night in the anchorage.

May 25 - Last sunset on Spa Creek

02 June 2017
This photo was taken following a vicious Tstorm that raged through Annapolis. Wind was so strong and gusty, Mar-a-Lago was heeled over and twice spun around 360 degrees on her anchor. After the storm passed, we were treated to a beautiful sunset, with amazing colours reflected in Spa Creek!

May 22 to 25 - Front row at Naval Academy Air Show

01 June 2017
Our visit to Annapolis coincided with 'Commissioning Week'. This annual event is hosted by the US Naval Academy, with celebrations and ceremonies to honour their graduating class, and culminating with Graduation Day on May 26. The downtown area was alive with white uniformed graduates, and their families and friends who had come to town to attend the celebrations.

But the highlight of the Commissioning Week was the arial performance of the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squad, the Blue Angels. We knew the crowds would be huge for the Wednesday afternoon performance over the Severn River, so decided to go out in the dinghy to view the show. It was quite chilly, but we bundled up and headed out to the front of the line, to bob around with a few other dinghies and kayaks. There was a huge number of boats anchored in the Bay, estimated at well over a thousand, with patrol boats running the line to keep everyone in order. Well, when the Blue Angels did their first fly by, we realized how close and personal we were to the action! We were astounded at how low the planes flew when they did some of their passes in front of the Naval Academy, and then came zooming very low right over us...we could actually see the pilot's heads! And the noise of the six fighter jets was deafening, especially when they turned and we could see into their fiery engines! Unfortunately the heavy overcast sky limited much of the high altitude performance, and it was cut short by two hours. Nevertheless, it was an amazing experience from our vantage point, to be that close to jets in action, especially when one jet screamed down the river at a very low altitude right in front of us...scared us for sure!

May 22 to 25 - Around & about in Annapolis

01 June 2017
Weather variable, mostly cool & overcast, rain & one big Tstorm
Annapolis, is our kind of town, and we enjoyed our few days anchored in Spa Creek. The town is so 'boater friendly' that all streets ending at the water have designated public dinghy docks. In Annapolis, Spa Creek and Back Creek are the two main waterways, and between them there are 24 designated dinghy landings. Spa Creek has 12 of them, the most famous being 'Ego Alley'! For us, it was a very short dinghy ride to the dinghy dock at the foot of Market Street. From there it's a one block walk to Shipwright St, and one more block to Duke of Gloucester St, and the main part of downtown.

Once ashore, we enjoyed our daily walks in town, looking at all the historic, well kept homes and buildings. Annapolis has a good bus system, and we took the Green and Brown buses to West Marine and Giant grocery store. We visited favourite dining spots...'Chick 'n Ruth's' for great breakfasts and the best crabcakes in town, the 'Ram's Head' and the Boatyard. One afternoon we did oue own walking tour of the Eastport area, where the 'Republic of Eastport' flag flies from several homes & businesses. We visited Eastport Yacht Club, with its fabulous view of the harbour. Since it was race night, the Club was busy with friendly members & we were invited to stay for happy hour. While there, we had a nice surprise seeing Frank, skipper of s/v Eleanor Q, who we had spent time with on our first trip to the Bahamas.
Vessel Name: Mar-a-Lago
Vessel Make/Model: Catalina 42 MkII #947
Hailing Port: Toronto, Ontario, Canada. sv.mar.a.lago@gmail.com
Crew: Brian & Jane Wilson
About: Email: sv.mar.a.lago@gmail.com
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