09/08/2006, Eastport Yacht Club
We finally made it. Couldn't have asked for a better day to sail to Annapolis. A gentle breeze, warm sun, and smooth water all the way from Solomon's Island.
when we arrived there were sails everywhere, from old Chesapeak wooden ketches, to little sabots with fledgling sailors at the helm. J boats and Vovo 70s sailed past as we pulled into the Eastport Yacht Club, just across Spa Creek from the Naval Academy.
We had a great dinner with Billy and Donna Phillips who had crewed ZT from Charleston to Norfolk, then repaired to the ship to watch one of the Hornblower movies.
Tomorrow Kay and Susan join us and we will all watch the UT OSU football game together. There are a lot of Texas fans here, and the excitement is building. Yesterday we watched last year's game on ESPN.
For today's history lesson I learned about the last battle of the Revolutionary War called the battle of the barges. It seems that a bunch of Eastern Shore Virginians got tired of the harrasing British Fleet and pulled a bunch of barges out into one of the narrow parts of the bay and took on the remains of the British Fleet on the very day that the Treaty of Paris was signed ending the war. It didn't turn out to well for the Americans, they lost over 50 men, but it did help drive the Britts out of the bay.
So much has transpired in these waters on on this ground. History wispers at you with every step down cobbled streets. It is a wonderful place to sit and think about where this country has been and where it must go to survive. I hope to have the time to do that over the next two months as we sail in and out of these historic ports.
09/07/2006, Solomon's Island
Sailing to Solomon's Island today was a real treat. We started out by motoring back into a little creek in Deltaville to fill up with Diesel and give the boat a good wash down. Then out onto the Rappahanock River and into the Chessy.
We had a nice wind pipe up for a while so we hoisted all the sails and enjoyed the peace and tranquility provided by mother nature. What a splendid display. Fish and birds everywhere, even on Zep Tepi. When I can next upload pictures you will see a very pretty little bird who landed in the cockpit and stayed with us for a while. Getting some rest I assume, before returning to land.
One of the most interesting devices we discovered are the large and beautiful lighthouses that are placed at the entrance to the major rivers. Larry and I took some pictures which will also make the next round of uploads when I get a broadband connection.
We were gong to be late into our anchorage so we grilled steaks on the fantail and had a very nice dinner while dodging crab traps and fish traps between the Potomac and the Patuxant.
We sailed by Pax River Naval Air Station just before sunset. F18s where in the bounce pattern. It felt like we had a CAP overhead. There were many notable ships on the water, from Navy Frigates, to car carriers bound for South America.
The sun hit the lower limb as we made out way into Back Creek behind Solomon's Island. We found a nice cove to drop anchor. Ten feet of water under us now, surrounded by beautiful homes and marinas. We'll explore town a bit tomorrow before we head up to Annapolis.
There was a haze on the water today, a harbinger of Fall. You can see the mellow colors and long shadows beginning, and a huge harvest moon came slowly up from the Virginia pines surrounding our gunkhole just as we settled down on the anchor road. It feels really good to be this far along on our adventure. Even though we won't make it to Newport this year, it's enough for me to know that we have made it this far. Annapolis tomorrow will be a grand view. Beautiful weather that is forecast to stay with us for at least a week. I h
09/07/2006, Solomons Island
We stood down Hampton Roads right at 0800, just as the Navy warships there based called their crews to morning colors. It brought back so many memories of mornings stretching back to the Summer of 1960 in USS Roberts, DD749. Then so many others; Tico, Enterprise, Ranger, Oriskany, Lexington. All great ships, and all gone except Enterprise, the ever ready battery of the fleet.
We sailed past the stern 16 inch guns of the Wisconsin, the entire Atlantic Amphibious Force, and two new Carriers, CVN 71, and 73. I don't even know their names. They were brutally awesome. But the Chesapeake opened up in front of us as we crossed over the tunnel between Norfolk and Hampton, and even those monster ships grow small as mother ocean draws us into one of her small corners of peaceful waters.
The farther north we got the prettier turned the weather. From rain and choppy waves to blue skies, flat seas, and sadly just a soft breeze from the north east. But, after getting the boat squared away we raised the sails anyway, not wanting to look bad on the bay.
About half way to Deltaville we raised the most interesting sight I have seen on the water in these travels. What appeared to cross our path for about a mile was what looked like a fence in shallow water. What was on our charts was something called "wolf trap". Didn't know there were aquatic wolves. Very strange because the "fence" ran right across the preferred route up from Norfolk to Detaville. We'll have to ask after this one.
Deltaville. What a nice, hidden, little backwater. A creek entrance off the famous Rapahanock River. Full of history from the Revolution to the Civil War. Home to the family described in the famous story of "Soldiers at My Door". A beautiful cove full of boats and summer homes. A town of less than 1000 souls. And a fabulous new restaurant, Cocomos. Great seafood, and for the price of dinner we had a free place to tie up. No electricity or water, but the weather was perfect and we needed neither.
While we were at dinner we watched a very interesting old Coronado 28 Ketch with only a mizzen mast work up and down the cove and finally back into a slip next to ours. It turned out the owner, Tom, was a rigger and electronics repair guy at the Deltaville Ship Yard. He saw that we were having a problem re rigging our number 2 reef line down the boom and lent us his talents to get the job down as we watched a beautiful sun set over tall Virginia pines.
We dropped the outside canvas to keep out the possibility of mesquitos and settled in for desert and calls to our wives in Austin while watching a harvest moon ghosting up over the bay.
Day one then was another success in ZT. Tomorrow we head up to Solomons Island. I don't know where my kindergarden is, but it will be interesting to close that loop in my life. It's one of the few places of my youth that I have not returned to since leaving in 1949. Then on to Annapolis.