One could spend a lifetime exploring the Chesapeake Bay. It is 200 miles long with a width ranging from 4 to 30 miles across. The bay and its tributaries have a length of 11,684 miles, only 5,000 miles less than Australia’s entire coastline. The average depth of the bay is just 21 feet making it easy in which to anchor. There are always hidey holes to escape every direction of wind and in a number of places, the anchorages are almost enclosed so that no real weather can intrude. In the last few days, we’ve anchored just off the Choptank River in the Tred Avon River and also the Piankatank River which provides wonderful protection for all wind directions. We passed a lighthouse called Sharps Island Light leaning at a crazy angle off Tilghman Island and is known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This current lighthouse was constructed in 1892 and was knocked sideways due to an ice floe in 1977. Up until I saw this lighthouse, I didn’t realise Chesapeake Bay often freezes in winter.
A tropical disturbance appeared a few days ago spinning off Gambia in Africa called Invest 97L. Today it is expected to be upgraded to a Tropical Depression called Matthew with further development as a hurricane. The models show it travelling in a westerly direction before making a sharp right to pass over the Dominican Republic where it will continue northward through the Bahamas thence onto the USA. These models change daily but we watch them carefully as we need to decide what action to take heading south to Georgia. Yesterday I found an interesting website http://www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/stay-informed/hurricanes/hurricane-history which documents the effects of hurricanes recorded in the Chesapeake Bay since 1635. It was interesting to read the months these hurricanes arrived in the area, the amount of surge recorded (between 8 and 15 feet), the fact that tornadoes associated with the hurricanes also greatly impacted the lives of many and just the sheer damage caused by the force of waves and wind. Just looking onshore at some of the houses near our current anchorage, some are indeed set at 15 feet above sea level, a very wise decision. This information told us that in the event of Invest 97L making an impact on the Chesapeake Bay, we would need to return as far north up the Chesapeake Bay, possibly to Baltimore or Philadelphia to avoid flooding and wind effects.
The Weather 4D model above for October 5 shows Invest 97L passing close to our current position. The weather models only need to move the hurricane slightly westward for us to take action. We either need to wait and watch, ready to move or sneak down the coast ahead of it before adverse weather affects wind and wave heights out at sea. Brunswick, GA is 500 miles away and can be reached in 2 to 3 days if the weather co-operates. Again, if the models change and Brunswick is in or close to its path, we would not like to think what would happen to Vanish. If we wait here until the hurricane passes, it will be several weeks before we can travel south. Time is ticking. What would YOU do?