Thursday, September 25, 2008

11th Update... Through the Chesapeake

The Chesapeake........
Bill contemplating how many times I will take him back and forth across the Chesapeake. But as he so frequently likes to say.... he just drives the boat...

September 25, 2008

On Monday, Sept 22, Bill and I left Chesapeake Bay and entered the Elizabeth River near Norfolk, VA. Once we passed the first lock (Deep Creek) on the Dismal Swamp, we tied up to Elizabeth Dock to ride out a big Nor'easter. Predicted strong winds (gusts to 50mph) and rain for 4 days and the lack of other good places along the way made this location an excellent choice.
We are sitting here with 4 other power boats and 2 sail boats. Most of the boats are heading south with us but there is one boat that is heading north, with plans to reach Greenland. I would believe that would be a challenge at this time of the year.
We have had heavy winds and pouring rain all day.
Chesapeake Bay Travels
Chesapeake Bay has been a wonderful place to visit for the past 3 weeks. We have gone to many nice marinas, several museums, and continued to meet lots of great people. The weather overall has been wonderful, until the last few days.

It is our hope to leave the Deep Creek Lock Dock in the morning and move onto the Dismal Canal Visitors Center on Friday and then to Elizabeth City, NC on Saturday. We then will cross the Albemare Sound and be about 75 miles from our property in North Carolina.

After Tropical Storm Hannah, we left Cape May to travel up Delaware Bay. It was a beautiful day and the Bay was not rough. Our destination was Chesapeake City MD on the Chesapeake-Del ware Canal. Along the way we passed several very large freighters and a lot of crab and oyster fishermen, called watermen.

These pictures are from the travels up Delaware Bay and across the C&D Canal. Along the way we saw quite a few eagles. Below is a picture of an immature eagle flying over head. We spent a couple of nights on the dock in Chesapeake City. It was a very nice small town with some very interesting shops. Throughout our travels we came upon tall ships and very large freighters.

Transversing on Chesapeake Bay is about dodging crab pots and oyster/clam lines. As soon as you enter shallower waters, you encounter these challenges. So far we have been lucky and have not hit one.

After leaving Chesapeake City we went to Havre de Grace and visited 2 very nice museums - one Maritime and the other a Decoy Museum. Havre de Grace is known as the Decoy capital of the world and the museum was excellent. Bill was in his glory at the decoy museum. After leaving Havre de Grace we traveled to Rock Hall where we spent a couple of days. While there they had a chicken neckers festival. This was a take-off on how non-native Marylanders catch blue crab. They use a chicken neck as bait.
They had a amateur fishing contest and Bill helped. We also experienced our first all you can eat blue crab dinner at Watermans. It was great but a lot of work. We now know a lot more about how to catch, clean, cook and eat those tasty devils. I also spent some time watching jelly fish / sea nettles in the harbor.

Leaving Rock Hall, we crossed Chesapeake Bay again and moved to Annapolis. What a great city. We stayed right downtown at the City Docks. It was beautiful and a great place for people watching. They watched us and we watched the people in the park. We went shopping, toured the Naval Academy, and had some great seafood dinners. The Naval Academy was very interesting.

On our way across the Bay, we passed the long Chesapeake Bay bridge and cut through a sail boat race in Annapolis Harbor while we dodged crab pots and waterman boats.

What beautiful views as we entered the Annapolis Harbor, first the Annapolis Dome and then the Maryland capital dome. The Maryland capital bldg is the oldest capital in the US.

We had a great lunch at Prussers on the dock and then got a cab to Capitol Bikes, where we brought 2 bikes to ride around the town. This was a little challenging for me with the narrow streets and the amount of traffic and pedestrians. After a couple of falls and some black and blue marks, the klutz (me) survived. As usual Bill was on top of his game. I have now gotten much better with some practice. I had not been on a bike in traffic for over 30 years and I am not as young and flexible as I used to be.

The Harbor was a great place for picture taking... people, boats, sunsets, full moons, and sunrises....

Then we toured the Annapolis campus... It is quite the place.....

Now onto St. Michaels ...... Again we crossed the Chesapeake Bay... but continuing southward, dodging more crab pots... St. Michaels has another nice Martime Museum that we toured. St. Michaels is a very popular crusing spot and has lots of very nice shops. Many very large mega yachts cruise there. While there we saw several 70-100 foot boats and one 130 ft vessel. That boat made us all look like dinghies.

After St. Michaels, we crossed the Chesapeake (AGAIN) and traveled to the Solomon Islands. We saw many fishermen along the way. The Solomon Islands was also another good place to visit... good food, nice marina, museums, tall ships and a very good art show at the AnnMarie Gardens. The Solomons are also known for their fossils.. The musuem there had a great exhibit of fossils over 10 million years old. That was when sharks were much bigger than whales. It is amazing how big the fossilized shark teeth were. These fossils are found along the coast all the way through North Carolina.

The weather looked to turn significantly worse with very strong winds and we felt it would be good to head for a safe port, so Bill and I decided to cut short our trip through the Chesapeake and save the southern portion, including the Potomac, Washington DC and Williamsburg, for another trip. (He promised!!!!!) It would take us 2 good days to reach Norfolk, so we left Sunday morning for the small town of Deltaville.

As we were cruising to Deltaville we came acroos another tall ship heading north.
We also had to deal with another sail boat race right in the Deltaville Harbor. We successfully worked our way through the race without any issues. That night we had a beautiful sunset.
Now onto Norfolk...... More on Norfolk, the Dismal Swamp, the Carolinas and our property in the next segment.