Lower Chesapeake - Annapolis to Norfolk

After the family left we headed across the Bay to St Michael's dodging the many sailboats of all sizes racing in the Annapolis bay. We had taken a mooring in Annapolis, knowing we had to be off Sunday morning so they could begin construction of the docks for the Sailboat Show.

 

We headed across the bay to St Michael's, a must see for boaters as well as land cruisers in the area. We met hundreds of boats exiting the St. Michael's bay and were not disappointed to find the north cove empty. We dropped hook just off a lovely Lodge. St Michael's has a large Marine Museum covering many acres. It includes an operating bascule bridge, an oystering operation, a crabbing operation and several Skipjacks.

These beautiful boats were used when the law prevented being motorized when crabbing.

St Michael's is great for provisioning so we laid over Monday and did just that, plus a few other jobs.

We moved Tuesday, October 3, 2000 to Dunn Cove. First we needed some practice with bridges, current and narrow channels so we passed through Knapps Narrows into the Harris Creek on our way to Dunn Cove. It was very tricky getting in to the inner bay of the Cove but we used our North Channel skills and made it [with a little help from e-charts]. Nice spot and the thousands of Canada Geese on their way south agreed!

If you want to see and hear them try this mini-movie.[2.8 Mb AVI file] Dunn Cove has another claim to fame - I caught my first Blue Crabs. They were delicious! For those that don't know, now that I'm an expert, all you need is some raw meat tied to a string and hung over the side of the boat [I must give credit to Steve and Rae here]. Slowly draw it up and get a dip-net under the poor little suckers. Steam or boil in Old Bay Seasoning.

Have a look!

Don't laugh too hard at the look of determination on face of the old crabber!

 

We headed down the Choptank River to the Solomon Islands. We anchored up Mill Creek. It looks like you could cruise a summer on the Chesapeake and stay in a different Mill Creek every night! We departed the Solomon's under fog that was to lift in the morning. It lasted most of the day and made tug spotting a challenge. We headed up the mouth of the Great Wicomico River in Virginia and turned left at, you guessed it, Mill Creek. On the way today we saw pelicans, a leatherback sea turtle and the usual jelly-fish. Just a beautiful spot, much like Ontario. We got wind stayed for several days and there couldn't be a better place but it did turn cold. We had to commission the wood-stove and stoop to gathering firewood, when we ran out.

Beaches! We must be getting closer to the Bahamas!

While walking the beaches we saw hundreds of fiddler crabs. They continuously avoided us by scurrying away into the grass or the water. The weather held us up again so we celebrated Thanksgiving [Canadian] at Mill Creek with all the trimings. After sitting in Mill Creek for several days waiting for the winds on the Chesapeake to be more favorable, an anchor chain can gather a wee bit of mud!! We've really grown quite fond of the anchor wash.

 

 

From Mill Creek we headed to Deltaville, Virginia, on Jackson Creek. We had quite a sail! Winds hit 30 knots and we exceeded 8.5 knots with a double reefed main and a working jib, close reaching. Lots of spray. Certainly shook out the cobwebs on Enchantment and a few for the crew as well. All in all, quite an exhilerating sail. We laid over a day and did boat chores, like grocery shopping, email, fuel, pumpout and a rinse for the saltwater spray from the last sail.

Next we headed for the bottom of the Chesapeake and a get together with fellow Aloha owners, Bill and Bettie Sirine. We planned to meet them in Hampton, across the river from Norfolk. It was a romping motor sail and we were escorted into the Norfolk area by a Canadian warship and 2 US Navy escorts. When the Canadians saw our flag they cheered and waved ethusiastically!

We pulled in to Hampton and took a dock at "City Dock" to meet with Bill and Bettie. Bill showed up immediately. He was crossing the bridge and saw the mast! We made plans for the evening and then did a few chores.

That evening Bill and Bettie took us out for a beautiful Italian dinner and then showed us their home. You can always tell a cruiser when they ask if you'd like to do laundry! They keep their boat just outside their back door, at Salt Pond - a lovely home and not too shaby a dock either. Carol says it's the neatest boat she's ever been on. Well, as all Aloha owners do, we compared notes and ideas, had a great gam and kept the Sirines up too late - they had to work the next day!

Hampton is a recomended stop, from our point of view.

Next morning was an eyefull. We passed the Norfolk navel shipyards. Many were in "dress" in honour of the visiting Canadian ships, we believed. Here are a couple shots from the many we took [if you look carefully in the middle picture you'll see the Canadian flags:

This brings us to the end of the Chesapeake. We planned to "vacation" in the Bay for a month to a month and a half. We have, and we certainly enjoyed ourselves. The next section and update to follow later will be the Intracoastal Waterway [ICW]. At about Norfolk is Mile Zero of the ICW. We will be moving at a quicker pace through the Carolinas and Georgia so the may not have time to do an update for a while.