We awoke to realize the sun was already up and rising above the Navy bridge we anchored behind.
There was one other sailboat on a mooring ball in front of a home and some great foliage.
When we arrived in Annapolis we anchored right next to a brand new UUS Sioux City (LCS 11) Navy warship.
The future USS Sioux City (LCS 11), a Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship, will be commissioned a United States Ship (USS) on November 17, 2018 in Annapolis, Maryland. More than 5,000 people are expected to attend the commissioning ceremony at the United States Naval Academy….
The patrol boat was actively keeping any boats from getting close but we were able to snap this photo on our way past.
The trip down to Solomon’s Island was smooth and we came in and around the triangular island before finding a spot to drop anchor.
We anchored in Cape May at night and the wind was whipping. We tried to tuck in behind the Cape May canal Jetty to get some protection but alas the boat was a rocking.
I finally had to get out of bed, weigh the anchor and re-drop as close as I could get to the jetty. It worked. Well it worked a little. We did not sleep much.
Next morning we left before sunrise because I just was not sleeping anyway. The gale warning winds were nipping at our heels as we worked our way North up Delaware Bay.
A quick check on the weather back in Warwick, RI showed it was even colder than what we were feeling in Delaware Bay.
The water in Delaware Bay was cold. Not something you want to fall overboard into.
Traffic was hard to find. This Chiquita banana container ship passed us as we slipped out of the channel to give her space. I think only 2 other boats passed us on this gusty, snowy, foggy day.
As we made our way up Delaware Bay the wind and waves were on our beam. The wind alone was giving us quite a list to port. A beam sea is never fun in a flybridge trawler with a 400lb dingy and two kayaks on the flydeck. eek.
Soon we could hear the sleet bouncing off the outside of the boat.
Then came the snow…
The snow brought with it FOG.
As the fog crept in on us it was time to turn on our Khalenberg automatic fog horn. If you are ever near MV Simple Life in the fog you’d think a giant tanker was bearing down on you. What made me laugh was… it stopped working in the freezing snow. With each blow of the horn it iced up more and more until it just stopped working.
Once the Fog horn froze up and stopped working it was time to go to my backup fog horn. Yes, my VHF’s loud hailer fog horn played but in the wind and snow I’m sure nobody was hearing it. Heck, there wasn’t another boat out on this day anyway.
The fog had closed in so tight to the boat that we could only see a single boat length in any direction. Thankfully, we have a 4′ open array Digital HD radar with overlay right on our chart plotter that helps us identify boats from buoys. We also rely heavily on AIS (Marine Automated Identification System) to make sure we show up on the chart plotters of other boats as well as us having all the details about the boats around us (boat name, course, speed, MMSI#, etc.
We soldiered on with the idea that once we made it into the C&D canal that the weather conditions would improve. They did!
The visibility returned and the winds and waves were held at bay by the high canal hill sides.
Soon we were passing marinas where the boats were covered in snow.
When we exited the C&D canal into the head of the Chesapeake Bay the wind was whipping up a following sea so we decided to anchor in the Bohemia River. Great plan until the depth alarms went wild when the depth dipped below 6 feet. This was not good concidering we were only minutes away from high tide. Not wanting to run aground or get stuck waiting for high-tide to return we decided to push on further to the Sassafras River.
The sun set and we watched as the last light disappeared as we entered the Sassafras River. It’s a long trip up the river to the Granary Marina but we decided with the strong winds and rain it would be nice to sleep tied to a dock. Neither of us wanted to spend another night trying to brace ourselves in the bunk.
The dockmaster left for the night and left us directions on how to find our assigned slip. That plan failed when we could not find our slip using our searchlight. The wind and the rain were coming down sideways and driving from the pilothouse in the dark is not a place you want to be poking down random fairways trying to find a slip. So we decided to grab any open slip and call it a night.
Docking alone in that wind was difficult enough but when I jumped out of the pilothouse to tie up I almost slipped on the snow and wound up going swimming.
Soon we were tied up and I was changing out of my work pajamas, kicking my snow filled crocs off my frozen feet and thawing my toes by the heater while enjoying a well-deserved IPA
Leaving Solomons Island we checked the weather and saw that there was a SCA (Small Craft Advisory) in effect. Thankfully we were getting higher up in the Chesapeake Bay. As you approach the head of the Chesapeake the fetch (amount of water the wind has to blow on) shrinks.
The trip North had us staying out of the way of many large ships which we would see again anchored just outside of Annapolis. Maybe they wanted some shore leave in Annapolis too?
I thought it would be more interesting if the ocean was not flat and these ships could simply slide down or be forced to push up hill.
There were many interesting structures in the bay like this lighthouse.
Lighthouse in Chesapeake Bay
Rays from above
Upon arrival in Annapolis we grabbed a mooring and I dropped the dinghy and raced off to do a one-man pub crawl of Annapolis.
1st stop Pussers.
Dinghy Dock for tie ups
Luckily all the canals in Annapolis offer free dinghy tie ups.
Docked in the canal
2nd stop Dock Street.
3rd stop Middleton Tavern.
4th stop Federal House.
5th stop O’Brien’s.
6th stop ACME.
7th and final stop Castlebay.
Castlebay was alive with karaoke.
As I made my way back to the dinghy at the end of the canal I recalled seeing this Alex Haley’s Roots statue the last time I was here.
Alex Haley Roots
And just like that I was returning to MV Simple Life and would sleep like a rock.
After getting some much-needed rest on anchor in Godfrey’s Bay it was time to push North to Solomon’s Island. This meant dodging the many fishing boats that dotted our path and taking in the sights along the shore. There appear to be many military type buildings which were festooned with satellite dishes and other communications equipment.
As we got close to Solomons Island, we hailed Zahniser’s Yachting Center and requested a slip for the night. With each attempted to pronounce the name right, I butchered it worse. It’s sounds something like “Anheuser” in “Anheuser-Busch beer” except starting with a “Za”. Turns out it was a Sunday and they were closing at 3PM but the dockhands would be around till 3:30PM. We pushed the throttles down and MV Simple Life roared from our usually leisurely 6.5 kts to 9.3 kts. We arrived just in time for Jason the dockhand to catch our lines and we had no sooner tied up and plugged into power and we off to dinner at the Dry Dock Restaurant.
Bartender Timmy introduced me to a local IPA called Calvert Route 4. Apparently we were in Calvert County MD. It was great and so was dinner.
We chatted a bit with some of the locals at the bar and soon we would be back aboard to race off to sleep. In the morning, I walked the dogs around the yachting center and found many interesting boats.
Hinkley named Dragonfly
You don’t see sailboats on lifts back home
SV Grey Owl on a custom trailer
Stubby shoal keel and add on bow thruster
37 foot Hunter
Sharp knife-like keel with bulb at bottom
Must be difficult to slip like this?
Chesapeake Bay Deadrise Boat
Jason the dockhand was nice enough to use the courtesy van and drive us to the local Weir grocery store to reprovision. I was starving and purchased some precooked fried chicken. As I chased Kelly around the grocery store with the carriage I kept taking bites of fried chicken. Kelly remarked that “she could find me simply by following the smell of fried chicken down the isles”. I can’t believe I ate all 8 pieces of chicken and was now in need of a napkin.
At the checkout I heard a “hello” and it was the friendly couple from the bar the night before. Calvert County seems full of very friendly people. As we made our way back onto MV Simple Life, we passed through this simply designed gate and we were gone. On to Annapolis, MD.
Kelly promised a breakfast “to die for” and delivered in every way.
My favorite. Corn beef hash (“ova ah’d” as I say) with eggs a bit “sunny” and American Cheese on toasted wheat bread.
“Wheat bread” said with the emphasis on the “H” like how Stewie from Family Guy would say it. It sounds like an “Haach”.
Here is a video of us leaving AC. It was so calm that I simply untied the boat, stepped on and put it in forward to leave the slip.
We slipped past the Atlantic City USCG station where their rescue boat sat quietly.
The dogs like the cockpit grass and they often they need me take them there while we are underway.
While underway we were happy to find the sea state somewhat tame for the end of November. Our passage to Ocean city, MD was 9 knots the whole way.
While we did not have to slow down, the 25 knots winds made for a wet ride. Thankfully I stayed dry & never had to change out of my PJs and slippers.
The boat feels heavier than normal since we have her loaded with more stuff than usual. Even the bow spray seems to throw further.
Every marina we have visited thus far seemed to be shutting down due to the freezing temps.
This presents a challenge for us as there has not been any water to wash the boat or top off the water tanks. Thankfully, MV Simple Life has ~450 gallons of water aboard in her two tanks. As long as Kelly is not doing laundry (she loves doing laundry on the boat), water is not an issue.
The ride from AC to OC left plenty of dried salt crystals on the boat. Our salty windshield
glistened like a diamond in the sun.
Today’s trip was about 70 miles. That’s about an 8 hour trip. This late in the season you only have about 90 minutes more of daylight.
Upon arrival I was a bit embarrassed to have to hail the marina and ask where they were located. My Navionics chart chip from 2012 had the marina in a different location. The marina is actually very protected once you slip past daymarkers 1,2,3 & 4. Austin the dockhand was there to catch a line for us and hand us the diesel hose to top off our tanks. I added 350 gallons of diesel @ $3/gal.
That means we made it from Wickford, RI to Ocean City, MD on roughly 350 gallons of diesel. Not too shabby though if I were slowing down I could use half that.
Here are some pics us at the docks.
After a long day I needed to sneak away to a bar called the Sunset Grille.
We enjoyed happy hour with new friends “CathyPaul”. It’s actually Cathy & Paul but I’m sure I heard them combine themselves into a single name, “CathyPaul”. They were lots of fun and kept me entertained the whole time.
They also taught me how to say the name of the island that I hope to anchor at tomorrow morning. It’s called Chincoteague Island “Chinko Tee gah”. Tomorrow’s trip there will look something like this..
The anchorage is exposed to the Atlantic but in a NW or W wind, I believe it will do just fine. I must say that after studying the charts there are very few inlets at this point in the trip. The inlets that you do find caution mariners about unmarked shoals, breakers over sandbars and shallows everywhere. If we had a faster boat we’d have more options to skip over the more challenging inlets. Instead we often must either stop sooner than we’d like or try to use all of the daylight to make it to the next anchorage or marina.
I found this webpage for Chincoteague & Assateague Island . It talks about wild ponies on the island.. Maybe I should take the dink ashore and let the Chief Martin Brody and his sister Happy run with the ponies?
Well it’s late and I better hit the sack. These days we are running from sun up to sun down and it’s leaving us wanting more downtime.
Good night for now and Kelly & I want to give a shout out to all our high school classmates who had a reunion tonight. We wish we could have made it but we left New England too late as it was.