You Can’t Eat Everything You Hook
23 April 2019
Our wake up call came early on Monday morning as the lock keeper arrived at 6:50 to open the bridge and send us on our way. The flotilla set off at a leisurely 5 knot pace in order to get to the next lock in time for the 11:00 opening. The canal is very narrow and there aren't any spots to anchor or tie up so the idea is to arrive at the lock as close to opening time as possible. The army had been through with 6 Landing craft during the night on Sunday and they stirred up a lot of debris off the bottom. When we transited in the fall we probably bumped sunken logs 5 or 6 times; however, this trip it was easily double that but everyone arrived safely, 15 minutes early at the Deep Creek Lock. There is a lot more traffic using the Dismal Swamp because of the Virgina Cut closures but the Lock Master squeezed everyone in and we were soon on our way.
Once we exited the Dismal Swamp Canal we breathed a big sigh of relief figuring the worst was over, however, were we ever in for a surprise. As it turns out they had succeeded in opening the Virgina Cut and the boats that had been stranded for 4 days were heading north as we merged with the main channel. As often happens tempers are short after unforeseen delays and a few terse words were exchanged as the two flows met. But that was only the start, a mile north of the junction a railway bridge was closed waiting for a train. Suddenly we were mixed in with 7 sailboats and 14 power boats trying to hold position in a cross wind and flood tide for 40 minutes until the bridge opened. Just when we thought it couldn't get worse a tug called and said he would be towing 1/4 of a mile of pipe and when the bridge opened we all better be out of his way because he couldn't stop. After some serious jockeying around we managed to be the first sailboat through and got out of Dodge before it got really ugly. We heard later that a second tug bounced off the bridge on the way through. Finally our day came to an end when we arrived at Mile 0 the of the ICW and dropped the hook for the night. We were mentally tired but content that we have completed 2 return trips on the ICW without running aground yet! Touch wood.
Tuesday was our first day in the Chesapeake and we looked forward to wide open spaces and slightly deeper water. However, the day got off to a challenging start. When we hoisted the anchor it seemed to have a really good bite on the bottom. There wasn't any wind so I was slowly hauling in the chain and washing off the mud at the same time but it still didn't want to release off the bottom. As I eased on the power the windlass reluctantly pulled up the anchor, and low and behold there was an old cable hooked on the anchor. We don't know if it was an old mooring hawser or an old power cable, but as I said "you can't eat everything you hook". After a few minutes work with a spare line and boat hooks we managed to free ourselves without further issues.
Today's picture is of an Osprey hovering over us in Fishing Creek.