Champ III: Going Places

The adventure starts here.

Harve de Grace, MD to Delaware City Marina, DE. — May 26, 2013

Cold morning today with 46 outside but the sun came up into a cloudless sky.  The wind was pretty light at 6:15 when we came out for Candy’s walk this morning.

I decided to fuel up at the City of Havre de Grace Yacht Basin this morning because the wind was down and the tide had been rising for the last 3 hours.  I called yesterday and they only had about 2′ of water in the channel because of the high winds out of the north.  Well with the wind down and the tide rising we had 4′-0″ of water under the boat today and the diesel was $3.60 per gallon, hard to pass up.  We had a minimum of 4′-0″ water under the hull.

We left the fuel dock at 9:00 headed for Delaware City Marina at the other end of the C&D Canal (Chesapeake & Delaware).  We had about 8 miles to retrace our route south to the Elk River entrance then about 6 miles to get to the start of the C & D.  The C & D was built back in the early 1800 and had 4 locks when it was built.  The locks are all gone because the Delaware River opens right to the Atlantic just as the Chesapeake Bay does. The C & D Canal is about 14 miles long and 450′ wide.  Approximately 15,000,000 tons of cargo transits the canal each year as this is a major shortcut to Baltimore from Philadelphia.

Being Memorial Day weekend I was hoping we would not meet any barge or ship traffic in the Canal.  Well we did pass two barges headed into the Chesapeake and there was one empty barge in front of us being towed at a much faster speed than we were doing so there was no real problem with traffic.

We did get to the North end of the Canal and the wind was blowing pretty good from the northwest but we only had 2 miles to the Delaware City Channel and it wasn’t that bad.  The Delaware City Marina is a little unusual in that it is one long dock along the side of the channel for the boats to tie to.  The channel is probably 150′ wide and I might be generous in that estimate. There are no slips and the channel had a pretty good current in it.  The dock hands were great and knew how they wanted us tied and how to handle the current and wind.

The marina was pretty full.  I had made reservations yesterday and they called us today to see if we were coming because they were full.  With the wind the last several days nobody had been leaving for the 51 mile trip down the Delaware River to Cape May New Jersey.

Just as we were finishing the tie up a boater came up and said hi to me and said I looked familiar.  I looked at him and said hi Mike, we met in Carrabelle last November.  Mike and Cindy are from Minnesota and are doing the LOOP.  They are in a 22′ sailboat with a 5 hp outboard and the only break they have taken is to go home for Thanksgiving.  I was actually surprised that I remembered his name and where we had met.  I can’t begin to count the number of people we have talked to and met along the LOOP.

We had a “Docktails” get together on the marina patio this evening and we got re-acquainted with Mike and Cindy.  We also had a chance to talk to a number of other Loopers that were in the marina.

There is going to be a big exodus from the marina tomorrow starting at 4:45.  Lenore and I will leave early but that translates to about 7:00.  We will have an outgoing tide for about 3 hours and then probably about 1 hour of slack tide before we have incoming tide to fight.  The trip at 8.5 mph is about 6.5 hours so it will not be a real long day.