Godfrey Bay Before Sunset

We weighed anchor just before sunrise.

Zahniser’s Yachting Center

Put our running lights on.

Starboard Side Looking Aft

Radar pings from the numerous boats lining the docks.

Radar targets in magenta

Soon we were making our way out into Chesapeake Bay.

Up Came the Sun

We did not see many boats out in the bay but we did pass this sailboat under-tow. I’m thinking the rudder must be broken or they’d be using that sail.

Sailboat Under Tow

Our leg today

Solomon’s Island

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.

A nice view of a pink sky off to starboard.

Time to watch some football on the iPad.

Today’s leg looked like this.

Anchored in Annapolis

Well sadly Old Glory did not survive the strong winds we went through getting up Delaware Bay. I was thinking of retiring it before the storm made my decision for me.

We had to retire Old Glory after the storm tore it up

We enjoyed our two night stay at the Granary Marina in Fredericksburg, MD. 

MV Simple Life was safely tied in her slip

MV Simple Life  at Granary Marina

The marina was empty as it was mid-November. 

Granary Marina Empty in Mid-November

The sun was setting on the Sassafras River so that meant it was Happy Hour @ the Granary Restaurant.

It was a cold walk and Kelly was telling me to hurry it up. Restaurant has a great outer deck overlooking the marina & river.

I loved that someone bolted an old dead tree to the top of a marina piling and put an eagle’s nest on top.


Rather than getting underway before sunrise we slept in and took our time leaving.

Soon we were making our way down the sinuous 10 mile stretch of the Sassafras river to the Chesapeake Bay. 

Beautiful Home on the Sassafras River

When we came in the river at night we had to dodge these fish weirs that extend out from the banks. Easy to spot this morning…

I wonder how well these weirs work?

Heading down the Chesapeake we passed a huge car carrier called the Triton Leader. 

The dogs were happy that today’s leg of our journey was calm and flat. 

Soon we were passing under the famous Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

two bridges side by side

Soon we were anchored behind the Navy Bridge. We had the whole anchorage to ourselves.

Tonight’s Anchorage

W02L006 (Leg 6 of our second winter living aboard) looked something like this. 

W02L006

Gale Warnings, Snow, Sleet and a Beam Sea

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.

The blue dot is MV Simple Life and the red-purple are 30-40 MPH winds

A quick check on the weather back in Warwick, RI showed it was even colder than what we were feeling in Delaware Bay.

Warwick, RI Nov 15th Temps

The water in Delaware Bay was cold. Not something you want to fall overboard into. 

Delaware Bay Sea Temp

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. 

Container ship passing us in Delaware Bay

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.

Delaware Bay Early in the AM

Soon we could hear the sleet bouncing off the outside of the boat.

Then came the snow…

Why didn’t I bring a snow brush on this Bahamas trip?

The snow brought with it FOG.

Fog starting to close in around us

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.

Wind on the beam, Fog closed in around the boat Fog Horn wasn’t frozen yet.

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. 

Function + 8 plays the ICOM VHF fog horn

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. 

Snowy Catamaran

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. 

My boat hook was buried in snow

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

After 13 hours at the helm, this IPA tastes great 😉

This leg of our trip is pictured below.

Winter Season #2, Leg 005

Annapolis MD

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.

Small Craft Advisory
SCA due to a low and a cold front 

Annapolis Weather
Small waves with gusts

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.

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.

Luckily all the canals in Annapolis offer free dinghy tie ups.

2nd stop Dock Street.

Dock Street
Dock Street

3rd stop Middleton Tavern.

3 Middleton Tavern

4th stop Federal House.

4 Federal House

5th stop O’Brien’s.

5.1 O'Brien's 2

6th stop ACME.

6 ACME

7th and final stop Castlebay.

Castlebay 2

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.

And just like that I was returning to MV Simple Life and would sleep like a rock.

MV Simple Life return 1

Solomons Island MD

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.

Satelitte Dishes
Maybe it’s just someone who wants fast internet?

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.

Dry Dock Restaurant
Dry Dock Restaurant at ZYC

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.

Calvert Route 4 IPA
Calvert Brewing Co Route 4 IPA

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.

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.

Fried Chicken

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.

Lead Weight
Love the old-school simplicity of design

Atlantic City NJ to Ocean City MD & CathyPaul

We left Atlantic City @ sunrise.

AC Night 1
Atlantic City @ Night

Sun at 7AM
7AM off the Coast of Atlantic City, NJ

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”.

Breakfast
Epic Egg & Cheese with Corned Beef Hash & Stubbs Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce

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.

 

AC CG Station
USCG Station Atlantic City

The dogs like the cockpit grass and they often they need me take them there while we are underway.

Pups.JPG
Don’t tell them this ain’t real grass

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.

salt good.JPG
Salty Boat

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.

Leg AC OC.png
Today’s Route Skipped over Delaware

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.

Sunset Grille.JPG
Sunset Grille in Ocean City, MD

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..

Chincoteague Island Anchorage
Chincoteague Island Anchorage

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?

Ponies in the water
Ponies rather than horses? Is that what you call em?

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.