Chesapeake Bay at last
20 June 2007 | B-dock in the Deltaville Marina, Middlesex County, VA
Winds NW 10-15 knots, seas 1-2 feet. Chance of thunderstorms as a cold front moves through the area.
Bruce is back on his home stomping ground and I have had my first sail on "the bay." We made quite a push to get here with our longest day yet on the ICW. I put together a little slide show of just a few of the photos I've taken on the waterway through the wilds of North Carolina and Virginia.
We awoke at 4:30 a.m. in Coinjock and we were underway by 5:00. The sky was just starting to grow light in the east, but since we were on the ICW in the middle of a marshy area, the ground fog was so thick, we couldn't see more than 1000 feet at times. With the decks wet with dew, we started north, our running lights casting halos in the misty half-light.
Almost immediately, the depth sounder started dropping. We squeaked past the first day marker with a depth of 8.5 feet. You should know that Wild Matilda draws 6'8" - or she did until I came aboard with my bags of books. We usually just figure seven feet of water. On a sailboat, when you start measuring the depth in inches, it gets just a tad hairy. Bruce tried easing her over a little to the left and the depth sounder read 7.5. We could see nothing but the circle of water around our boat - all the channel markers and the canal banks had vanished into the fog. When it read seven foot I started calling out the depths.
Now Bruce swears that his depth sounder is calibrated to give an accurate depth, but that baby got down to 6.3 and we never felt her touch bottom. Either it was very thin mud and we were plowing furrows on the bottom and didn't know it, or the depth sounder isn't quite reading the actual depth, or the fact that Bruce has me drinking decaf has got me hallucinating. All I know is that I didn't need coffee to get my heart pumping that morning.
After 10 hours of motoring and passing through miles of waterway, half a dozen bridges, a lock and the city of Norfolk, we managed to sail for the last few hours when we came out into the Chesapeake. We dropped our anchor around 7:00 p.m. just to the northeast of the New Point Comfort lighthouse at the entrance to Mobjack Bay. The weather had turned hot and since Matilda has no Bimini to shade the cockpit, I felt like I'd fallen asleep in a tanning booth. Talk about needing a cold beer!
The following morning, we motored up here to Deltaville on the Piankatank River and we are at the dock at a lovely marina with a swimming pool, laundry, hot showers and free wi-fi. Life would be great except for the fact that this morning Bruce checked the oil on the engine and the problem we had back in Beaufort (which we thought we had solved) has returned. Diesel is getting into the crankcase and we are waiting for a mechanic.
Many people who dream of quitting their day jobs and taking off to Paradise on a sailboat get disillusioned with "the dream" when the boat breaks down. That wasn't part of their fantasy. It's supposed to be cocktails on the fan deck and all that romantic milarky.
The thing about the cruising life that really appeals to me is the way things change so quickly. At home, when you are working your day job, all the days are so similar and time just seems to dissolve. It feels as though time is flying past because the days are unremarkable. Out here, it feels as though we have been gone from Fort Lauderdale for ages because so much has happened to us. We've visited so many places and met so many really delightful people. We only have a measured time to walk through this life. I want my trip to be memorable - even if it means we have to suffer a few breakdowns along the way.