Weather obeys the "Law of Averages"
18 October 2013 | St. Michaels
After several weeks of spectacular fall weather we were due for some rain. Mother Nature would have to choose my birthday to "average it out." As we returned to the anchorage in Chestertown on the Chester River, the wind was already up and there were actual waves in the river as the current was moving in the opposite direction of the wind - never a good situation. The boats were dancing on their anchors and one, Harmony, must have dragged its anchor as it was in the process of re-anchoring. They decided it would be prudent to anchor 100 yards upwind of us as the winds reached 25 knots. We promptly re-christened them "Disharmony." The weather reports weren't helping to calm my nerves either as they were talking about tornadoes and 50 knot gusts. The storm was very clear on the horizon and even clearer on the radar app on my iPhone.
The current was coming over the stern which caused the boat to basically tack through the storm. The wind would hit on the starboard side and then we would "tack" and it would hit us on the port side. I tried to keep us "head to wind" as that would reduce the drag on the anchor but it wasn't much good. Once I realized the futility of my efforts and I was confident that "Disharmony" wasn't going to drag its anchor and raft up with us, I decided that it would be ok to head down below for the rest of my birthday. By 5 pm it was all over but it had been a long 5 hours. The river was like glass and the boats were all where they should be. No big deal.
We moved over to Whitehall Bay near Annapolis on Tuesday 10/8 as we needed to get ready for the Annapolis Boat Show. There was another pretty big storm approaching so we decided to head in to the marina a day early. Pretty good decision as the storm came in early and strong the next day.
The approach to our slip was a little tricky. I may have mentioned my disdain for getting the boat in and out of marinas. We circled three times before I knew where we were going and had the slightest degree of confidence that I could put the boat in our slip. The dockmaster's instructions of "oh it's just a little turn to port, then a turn to starboard and you go right in your slip" did absolutely nothing to calm my nerves. The spaces were very small; I couldn't see the slip, and there was a massive classic motor yacht - very expensive - sticking out into the middle of the runway that we needed to head down. (As an aside - the yacht turned out to be owned by Gretta Van Susteren a commentator for Fox News. I'm sure that my liberal friends would have liked me to take off her bowsprit on the way by). Mercifully, I didn't hit the classic yacht and by some miracle managed to get Sanderling into her slip unscathed.
The Annapolis Boat Show is always a battle between the needs and wants for the boat. We went with one primary goal - get some LED lights to cut down on our energy demands - oh - and of course get a new - more fashionable foul weather jacket for Chrisy. Fashionable foul weather sounds like an oxymoron. We made it through two days of the show with only some minor damage to the budget, and we have managed to put everything we bought to quick use. It was a good time to be in tents and on the dock as it rained about six inches over the long weekend.
Our weekend also included a visit to Philly where we surprised our children at a Ballroom Thieves show at the Milk Boy. After a month of cruising it was obviously wonderful to see each of them thriving and to see some very close Philadelphia friends!
Sunday was filled with crazy logistics - drive back to Annapolis after a wonderful stay with Jane and Scott - pick up Casey, get the shopping done, drop off the rental car and move the boat out of the marina so we didn't pay for another night. Getting into the slip was a bit of an adventure; getting off of the slip was also a bit of an adventure. By Sunday afternoon the storm had pretty well run its course so the conditions were relatively calm, but I needed to get out of the slip with very tight runways. I decided that I wanted to head out of the marina bow first and in order to do this we needed to run a spring line and swing off of the spring line to kick the stern to starboard. Unfortunately, the marina helper had another idea as to how I should get Sanderling out. This obviously created a bit of confusion, but once it got sorted out we made it out as planned. It was rather late on Sunday evening so we ran back to Mill Creek for a one night stay in nice calm conditions.
Tuesday we had a great sail across the Chesapeake Bay to St. Michaels, on the Miles River on the western shore. It was certainly nice to be sailing again. Along the way, we were forced to tack several times in order to avoid all the tug boats hauling gravel down the Bay. St. Michaels is a charming town, with all the amenities possible, as well as a famous Maritime Museum. It also seems to be the " next stop" after the Annapolis Boat Show for all the cruisers. We spent 3 nights anchored in St. Michaels, entertaining some friends and Chrisy's parents, and saw many cruisers come and go. After treating ourselves to some amazing crab dinners, we plan to bring up the anchor on Friday and head to Oxford, just south of St. Michaels on the Choptank River, on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.