Higgins Yacht Yard, St Michaels, MD to Rock Hall Landing Marina, Rock Hall, MD — May 28, 2014

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Pretty nice morning today with the sun out and temps about 70.  Forecast for today is heavy thunderstorms and the different forecast pretty much say this afternoon.

Kind of hated to leave St Michaels after only a day and half to look around.  We did make a commitment to meet the other boats in Delaware City on Friday, the 30th.

We got an early start today to miss the rain while we are on the water. We left the dock at 7:00.  The water was pretty flat with extremely light winds.  They got a little stronger as we got further out into Eastern Bay but not a problem.  We were headed to Kent Narrows which was another recommendation form the Oxford Yacht Agency Owner. He said it would keep us from backtracking and save a lot of time.  We had about 13 miles to Kent Narrows and another 13 to Rock Hall on the other side of the Narrows.

Kent Narrows shows as a pretty shallow area on the charts but there certainly are a lot of boats at the marinas around the narrows and some f them looked large to me.  We did see about 5′ water depths as we went thru and we were on a falling tide.

The sky did get darker as we went and we did get a few drops on the windshield but nothing serious.  I kept an eye on the weather radar and saw that we had several hours before the serious rain arrived in the northern part of Chesapeake Bay.

Traffic was relatively light all the way.  We had a few boats that left St  Michaels after us and they got close to passing us until they had to stop for the bascule bridge in Kent Narrows.  They then crossed the Bay and it looked like they were going to Baltimore.

We arrived in Rock Hall about 10:30 and had lots of help to tie up.  After we were all settled in Candy and I went to the office to get checked in.  Well Candy likes this marina office.  She has not seen this quantity of treats since Plantation Yacht Harbor. It was hard to get her out of the building when we were done.

I walked about 3/4 mile into town to stop at the grocery.  It was a small store but had the required essentials we needed/wanted.  I did not spend a lot of time waling around town but did see some of the restored buildings and the ice cream shop.

It is supposed to be cold and rainy on Thursday and we leave tomorrow for Delaware City if the winds are favorable.  We have about 40 miles on Chesapeake Bay before we get into the C & D Canal (Chesapeake-Delaware Canal). The forecast right now is not bad for tomorrow.

Oxford Yacht Agency. Oxford, MD to Higgins Yacht Yard, St Michaels, MD — May 26, 2014

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We were on the water early today and were able to avoid most of the holiday traffic as we left Oxford.  The wind was out of the southwest and we were traveling west as we headed toward Knapps Narrow, one of the spots John had pointed us to to save miles instead of going all the way back to the Bay.

We stopped in Knapp’s Narrows to fuel.  The only place we have found so far that you use your credit card at the pump.  A self serve fuel station.

After Knapp’s Narrow we did not have all that for to go but we were staying far enough off shore to avoid the shallower bottom.  The boats on the bay were incredible.  We were on The Eastern Bay and St. Michaels was emptying after the holiday weekend.  There must have been 150 boats in this armada headed west.  About 60% of them were sailboats and about 1/2 of them had their sails up even though there was minimal wind.  The wake was incredible and a lot like Lake St Clair on a Sunday afternoon.

On the way into St Michaels we were catching up to a sailing catamaran (no sails up). As we got close we realized it was Off Leash.  We had met them on the Trent Severn last year and kept in touch but have not met up since Pentwater in Lake Michigan.  We talked on the radio and they came into Higgins Yacht Yard for the night.

It was really good to see Mike and Hiromi again along with Syd.  We had time to talk and we went to the Carpenter Street Tavern (Irish Pub) for dinner.

Off Leash travels slower than us so they are leaving tomorrow and we should see them in Delaware City on Friday.  That maybe in doubt because there are 60% chance of thunderstorms today and tomorrow. We will need to keep our eye on the sky and be prepared. Some storms are forecasted to be heavy.

St. Michaels is a lot like Oxford except it appears to be larger.  Geographically they are probably only about 10 miles apart by car but a little over 30 by water. The harbor gets a little rocky on a holiday afternoon.

The marina is close to the shopping area with an easy walk to the market.  The residential area streets are a little over 1 lane wide with the houses right next to each other and very small. It is an interesting community that dates back I believe to the early 1600’s.

Somers Cove Marina, Crisfield, MD to Oxford Yacht Agency. Oxford, MD — May 25, 2014

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We stayed in Crisfield for a couple of extra days because of the wind.  It was out of the north and that is the direction we are traveling in.  There would have been no protection and going directly into 4′ waves would not be fun.

One of the boats in Crisfield was a trawlers, High Cotton.  We met them in the Dismal Swamp at the north lock.  We rafted off them while waiting for the lock.  They are traveling up and down the East Coast and enjoying themselves.  They have a young Yorkshire Terrier that is a little afraid of Candy. I think the size is intimidating.

We have been emailing with Humbug and Off Leash about meeting in Delaware City and traveling from there to New York City.  There is a 3rd boat Carol Anne.  They are Loopers but we have not traveled with them.  We have seen them at several ports. Anyway, all 3 boats will be crossing their wake and completing the Loop in NYC. It will be neat to celebrate with them on this special occasion.

The traffic on the water today was not as bad as I had anticipated.  Being the holiday weekend there was a lot of traffic but there was more than enough water and space for everyone.

Todays route went thru several pages of the chart kit book so I really had not done a good job of estimating the distance to Oxford.  Once we were underway I checked it more carefully and it is about 80 miles so this is a pretty long day.  After a couple of hours we went on plane to cut the time.

I called the marina on the phone and left a message.  In their message there was a cell number but the message was also from March 10th. When we did not get and answer back and we were about 15 miles from the marina I called the cell number. John, the owner, answered the phone and said he had room for us and would meet us at the dock.

As we got closer the holiday weekend was in full swing with lots of boaters on the water. Oxford is a popular area and where we were staying was all the way at the end of the river. I felt this would limit the amount of boat wake we would feel.

Once we were tied up John said to bring my charts and he would go over the best routes for the remainder of our trip on the Chesapeake.  He said he could limit the time we spent back tracking by going thru some of the narrows between the islands. We spent about an hour and he made copies of the chart areas and gave me detailed navigation data that will help.  Boy local knowledge is really great.

Candy and I did our local walking and we were pretty well located at the south end of Oxford and walked past some of the stores and other marinas. The Town was originally settled in the 1600’s and the homes are well kept.  Lots of brick pavers used on the sidewalks although the roads are black top.  Very nice area and from the flyers in the window at the real estate office the price are quite substantial for nice property.

We went to the Oxford Inn for dinner.  It is an Inn with Room upstairs from the restaurant.  The menu was limited with maybe 6 or 7 entrees but it was really great. The building is an old, old structure with sagging floors and an old wood bar. It was named Popes Tavern and out front Mr. Pope had an old English Taxi parked complete with right hand drive.

Tomorrow on to St Michaels.

Parks Marina, Tangier, VA to Somers Cove Marina, Crisfield, MD — May 21, 2014

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It was a little gray in the sky today and it had rained a little overnight.  The winds were still out of the west about 10 to 15 mph.

Candy and I had a good walk this morning with Candy acting as stimulation for some of the local dogs.  We also saw a lot of cats.  Candy actually was sniffing under a bench and at first I did not notice that there was a cat on the bench seat. Candy never noticed. On the way back to the boat we saw 7 cats on Mr. Parks back porch area and Candy wanted to meet them but I said no.

We did not have far to go so we did not get underway until after 9:00.  Crisfield Maryland is only north about 10 miles and it is on the eastern shore. We did see a lot of fishing boats during the cruise to Crisfield.  From what we heard this has been a very, very good year so far for the Watermen (fishermen) in the area. They are bringing in bushels and bushels of crab where that last several years were pretty lean.

We had no cell service so we waited until we were half way there before we called the marina. Somers Cove Marina had a slip for us.  I got the impression that Memorial Day is the start of their season.  I know the weather around here has not been great until the last 2 weeks or so. Their floating dock is all reserved for the weekend so we are staying at a fixed dock but it has a full finger pier so that is great. Their swimming pool is almost ready to go, but the Department of Health will be out tomorrow to test and approve.

The day brightened up and the sun came out.  I walked to the local Food Lion grocery Store to pick up some of the essentials were low on. I had decided not to go to the grocery at Tangiers because we were not desperate for anything and in all likelihood the food would be less expensive in a mainland grocery.

Crisfield is on the end of a peninsula on the eastern shore. The Main Street is divided and mostly has houses on it but there are some businesses down near the end and about another 1/2 mile out. The walk to the grocery was probably 1 1/2 miles or so. Candy did not get to go for the walk.

 

Baltimore Inner Harbor to Penn’s Beach Marina, Havre de Grace, MD. — May 23, 2013

It rained last night around 10:00 pretty hard for awhile and then tapered off to a drizzle.  Not sure if it rained much overnight.  It was not raining this morning when we went out for Candy’s walk at 6:20.

We checked the radar this morning because they were calling for thundershowers most of the day.  The various weather services could not agree on when was the most likely time.  The radar indicated that while there were a few showers in the area we had a decent window to move North to the top of the Chesapeake Bay.  The wind today was out of the south at 10 to 20 mph but tomorrow and Friday it will be from the Northwest 15 to 35 mph with Saturday not much better.

The ride was decent for the first part and then after a course change we were pretty much with the wind and the ride was not bad.  As we got closer to Havre de Grace the water settled down as there was more land protection.  When we leave Havre De Grace we will be going with the Northwest winds to the Elk River to get to the C & D (Chesapeake & Delaware) Canal.

Other than a few ferries and tour boats moving in the Baltimore Inner Harbor area all we saw today were 3 sailboats headed south on the water.  A little wind and gray skies kept everyone else at home.  It is kind of interesting that they use range lights for a lot of the channels in the northern Chesapeake.  Pretty powerful lights that you can pick up easily from at least 5 miles and are focused well and disappear as soon as you leave the channel they support.  The front and back light blink at different rates and it is really easy to see these.

Overall our impression of Baltimore is very positive.  I like the marina right down in the Inner Harbor and its amenities were very good.  The vibrant waterfront area was a big plus with lots of runners even at 6:20 in the morning.  The city appears very clean and safe and a lot of the things they do are part of their clean/green initiative which they started long before it was nationally fashionable.  They did this as part of cleanup the Chesapeake effort.

We have included pictures of a condo development right on the waterfront right behind our marina.  We understand that Tom Clancy, the author, has a unit in the development.  Actually he bought 4 units and made them into one.  The guy we were talking to said it is worth approximately $16 million.  Writing has been good to him.

Butler’s Marina Annapolis MD. to Baltimore Inner Harbor Marine Services, Baltimore MD. — May 21, 2013

Yesterday started as a cloudy day with very high humidity.  Temps were in the low 70’s but climbed to the mid 80’s by late afternoon.  The sun came out around 1:00 in the afternoon.  Water conditions were great with a light breeze from the Southeast so we got a small boost from the light chop behind us.

The tide was going out for the first couple of hours so that slowed us down but we were able to make it up once the tide stated coming in.  We started later than normal because I had to get the dinghy back onto the davits.  We had lowered it so we could get further into the slip at Butler’s Marina and get off the boat onto the short finger docks.

Our intial portion of the cruise took us under the bridge north of Annapolis that connects the east and west sides of the Chesapeake Bay.  Bridge is high enough for the freighters to pass under but yesterday there was a large fleet of recreational fishermen on the bay in almost ever type boat imaginable.  They real did not care whether they were in the marked channel or not so we just motored thru the crowd at our slow pace of about 8 mph.  The strange part was that once we passed under the bridge I think we passed maybe 4 other fishermen on the rest of the trip to Baltimore, about 25 miles.  We passed a couple of tows headed down the bay and one tug near Baltimore.

The approach to Baltimore Harbor is quite nice.  We had a lot of haze but were able to pick up the building skyline from maybe 7 to 8 miles out.  There are lots of commercial docks as you get closer to the Inner Harbor and you pass under the Francis Scott Key Bridge with a great view of Fort McHenry.  We were humming the Star Spangled Banner.

There were several Navy ships in the harbor area but once you get into the Inner Harbor area it is ferry traffic and recreational boaters that dominate.  The Marina we are staying at is the Inner Harbor Marine Services Marina which is on the South side of the Inner Harbor.  It is the furthest into the harbor you can go.

The water’s edge walk or park area the City has built around the Inner Harbor is really something.  It is a wide promenade and is used extensively by the residents.  The Maryland Science Center is on the walk along with the US Constitution Sailing Vessel, The Baltimore Aquarium and a couple of shopping centers.  The whole are is full of people and a real vibrant downtown area.  The Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Raven Stadiums are close enough to walk to from the harbor.

We went to dinner last night at a restaurant in Little Italy.  It is a section of downtown that is about a mile form the marina and there are 18 Italian restaurants in Little Italy.  The restaurant, LaScalla, even provided courtesy ride back to the marina after dinner.

Next to the Marina and part of the waterfront park is an area devoted to volleyball courts.  The courts are lighted for nighttime use. They have 7 sand courts and last night all seven were in use.

Sorry about the Looper Locater.  AGLCA said they were going to discontinue use on May 1, 2013.  They kept it online until approximately May 20, 2013 but it was gone yesterday.  I am looking into what else I might be able to use.  I will let you know if and when I find something that works.

Solomon Island MD. to Butler’s Marina, Annapolis, MD. — May 15, 2013

We started early today to try and avoid any wind on our beam as we exited the river back to the Chesapeake Bay.  The cruise today was North and the winds were predicted from the South so once on the Bay we were traveling with the waves and it was comfortable.

Not a lot of boats on the water except for the fishermen.  They were all over the area and everyone of the fishermen seemed to be trolling.  I had to keep tabs on them because they were moving and they appeared more interested in what they were doing then the fact that someone was motoring North in a relatively straight line.

As we made preparations to leave the sky looked a little dark to the North but it cleared as we were leaving and the sun was nice.  It did not last for long as the clouds moved back in and we did have a few light showers as we got closer to Annapolis.  Nothing serious in the rain and it was not a problem at the marina.

We did see a few freighters moving out toward the Atlantic as we moved North and closer to Annapolis there were three freighters that were anchored.  I am not sure where their port is unless it is Baltimore and they are waiting for their dock to open up to go in and unload/load their cargo.

We arrived at the marina around noon and there was nobody on the radio to talk to.  The Owner/Operator, Sully, had given me detailed instructions where the slip was that we were to occupy.  The only problem was that we did not fit between the piles and while I thought I could spread the piles I decided the rub rail did not need the abuse.  There was a guy working on the docks and he motioned for me to come over to another slip.  The marina only has 29 slips so there is not a lot of choice for a boat our size.  We spent some time getting into the slip because I had to drop the dinghy so we could get the boat all the way back.  The finger docks only extend out about 10′ on one side of the boat and the fingers are pretty narrow.

Well we finally made it into the slip and we found out that the boat that is normally in that slip is out of the water for some work and the guy I talked to thought the boat was going back in tomorrow or the next day.  Well that was wrong because Sully talked to the boat owner and we are ok until next Tuesday.  Donna and Jon are coming to visit and will be here Saturday and Sunday and go home on Monday.

We went to dinner at the Davis Pub across the street and for a Wednesday night they were doing a lot of business.  Lenore said they were featured on the Food Channel’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”.  The area around the marina is a residential community that is very old and very well maintained. There are a few commercial businesses mixed in but probably 90% to 95% residential.  Good restaurants within 4 blocks including a Ruths Chris Steakhouse.

Candy has enjoyed walking the neighborhood and it has given me a chance to see more of the area that I might have otherwise.  She even had a chance to run with a fellow boaters dog at a local school yard the first evening.

Reedville VA. to Solomon Island MD. — May 13, 2013

Candy and I walked the town of Reedville several times a day.  Yesterday we stopped at the Fisherman’s Museum.  Captain Elijah W. Reed founded the town and started fishing for Menhedan. Reedville is home to the fishing industry for Atlantic menhaden, a small oily fish found in great abundance in Mid-Atlantic coastal waters.  At one point in history there were 39 processing plants in the Reedville area.  According to a Reedville resident,  because of the tree huggers the fishing for Menhedan has been curtailed to the extent there currently is only one processing plant left.  Yesterday was a dedication to the chimney remaining from one of the plants that survived a fire that destroyed the Plant.   The chimney was struck by lightning and the town raised $350,000 to restore the stack to it original condition.  150 people showed up for the dedication.

We started our cruise late today because we had a short run to Smith’s Creek VA.  This is a small creek off the north side of the Potomac, just West of the Chesapeake Bay. As I was checking the Active Captain Website for tonight’s marina, it did not look good as the docks were fixed height and the last report was there was a few missing boards.  So we decided to skip Smith’s Creek and go to the next stop, Solomon Island MD.

The wind was still out of the Northwest and at Reedsville it was pretty strong.  I checked 4 different weather sites and about the only thing they agreed on was that the wave height would be 1′.  We decided to leave and see what the water was like once we got out to the Chesapeake (approx. 5 miles).  The waves were about 1′ when we got out on the Bay and we headed northeast to follow the buoys marking the shallower water. The ride was a little rolly and when we changed course to the North, or almost into the waves, the ride was better. Once we got to the Potomac the crossing is about 12 miles and the wind seemed to pickup and the waves were a little larger but the ride did not change much.

Once past the Potomac, the wind and wave calmed down a little and we picked up the speed to 14 mph and it was a decent ride.  The Solomon Island is on the Patuxent River and the wind was gusting pretty good as we entered the river but there was protection from the land so the waves were pretty small.

We are staying at the Solomon Harbor Marina which is all the way in at the end of Back Creek, about 2 miles up the River.  Solomon Harbor is a small marina but it is attached to a Holiday Inn so we get to use all the perks of the Holiday Inn.  They have a pool, fitness room, and showers.  There is a West Marine in the shopping center out front and Candy and I visited it during her dinner walk.

There is also a larger shopping center with a Walmart and a Target that is a couple of miles away but there is also local bus transportation.  We will stay here a couple of days and then move on to Annapolis where Donna and Jon will be visiting later this week.