10/30/2007, Hospital Point in Portsmouth, VA
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Well here we are back at Hospital Point in Portsmouth, VA. The red light flashing a little ways away is on red buoy #36 which marks Mile Zero on the East Coast Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). We are sharing this anchorage with over 30 other boats that when the sun comes up tomorrow, will be doing the same thing we are doing: heading south. So tomorrow morning, we'll be heading down the Ditch (ICW) with a lot of company.
Coming through Hampton Roads this morning was no big deal. So what if it's the world's largest Navy base. We only met one Navy ship today and it was only a small aircraft carrier. Of course this was the 4th time we have come through this area so maybe understanding how the game is played here had something to do relieving the tension. Truthfully, Hampton Roads is one confusing piece of water. There is a lot of ship, barge and tug traffic and it comes at you from all directions. But today, I figured out how to handle it. I gave Patti the wheel and I went below and fixed lunch. By the time I had lunch ready, we were passed the worst part. As I said, no problem!
10/29/2007, Back Creek, just south of Gibson Island, between the York and Poquoson Rivers.
Monday, October 29, 2007
We hoped to make it to Norfolk today but that didn't happen. The winds were down from yesterday and we had a 1K current against us most of the day. We got a good early (for us) start from our anchorage this morning and unrolled the staysail as soon as we were finished dodging fish traps in the mouth of the river. After getting tossed around yesterday, we decided to start with a small sail and see how much wind was out on the bay. Once we got out on the bay, it was obvious the wind was down from yesterday and we switched to the jenny. We never did shut down the engine, there wasn't enough wind to keep our boat speed up. By noon, the wind had dropped further and moved dead astern of us. At this point the sail was flopping around so we rolled it up and became a motor boat. With the current against us, pushing hard our boat speed over ground was only about 5 K. It was time to consult the charts and cruising guides to find an anchorage we could get to by about 4 PM. So, here we are anchored in Back Creek, just south of Gibson Island, between the York and Poquoson Rivers. It's not the prettiest anchorage we've been in, but in isn't bad. We are protected from the north wind and have room to swing if needed. And, even though we are getting back to suburbia, Patti sat in the cockpit for the longest time watching a pair of eagles flying from a treetop at the edge of the creek. Not a bad place to spend our last night in the Chesapeake for this year.
10/28/2007, Great Wicomico River
Sunday, October 28, 2007
By 7:30 this morning, the coffee was made, the anchor was up and stowed, we had 3 layers of clothes on and we were under way. It was a bright sunny, cold and windy morning. We were part of a mass exodus leaving Solomons this morning. Yesterday afternoon, after the rain finally stopped; you could hear people shouting from boat to boat in the anchorage - "Are you leaving tomorrow?" - "Yeah, are you?" - "Yeah, we're going." Most of our fellow cruisers had been holed up in Solomons since Monday; same as us. The weather forecast for today had the sun shining, the wind in the right direction (from the north); but about 10 miles per hour faster than most of us would ask for.
The weather forecast was right on the money. From the north - yep it came from the north. Wind speed 20 to 25 knots - yep it was blowing 20 to 25 K with an occasional 30 K gust. Waves 3 to 4 feet - yep waves were 3 to 4 feet with an occasional 6 footer slapping us in the ass. We left Solomons with the jenny unrolled and the diesel running. The engine soon was shut down and we were doing 6K thru the water and 7.5K across the bottom. The wind kept building and we rolled the jenny part way up. We were still doing 6K thru the water and 7.5K across the bottom. The wind and waves continued to build and we rolled the jenny all the way up and unrolled the staysail. Our speed dropped to 5K thru the water and 6K across the bottom and the boat was easier to control.
We crossed the mouth of the Potomac about noon and entered Virginia waters. The wind and waves continued to build and we decided we had had about enough fun for one day. We aimed for the mouth of the Great Wicomico River and entered the river about 2:30 PM. We turned off the Wicomico into Cockrell Creek, looking for a protected anchorage. About a mile up the creek we found a nice little cove with good protection from a north wind. We are anchored here with one other boat. Another cove a little further up the creek has about ten boats anchored in it. We were not the only ones who decided enough was enough for one day.