Previously, on Kindred Spirit, the crew had decided to arise early on Friday and head up the Delaware Bay to the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. And that is just what we did. In the dark, at 4:42 am, we pulled up the anchor and left Cape Henlopen (Lewes, DE). Over the river/bay, and through the canal, to Chesapeake City we go…….
My knees did not shake this time as we maneuvered out of the anchorage into the bay entrance. The moon was still quite full and provided a beautiful lightness to the darkness. Even so, we are grateful to have the AIS system along with radar, especially in a waterway with so many tankers and barges. By 6:15 am, we had the moon on our portside and the glow of early dawn on our starboard side. The sun rose right on schedule at 6:46 am.
Once we were into the Delaware Bay, the current really gave us a boost. Sails were also hoisted to help out the engine. Without straining we were able to do 7.5-8 knots consistently, and later in the day, 8-8.8 knots.
There aren’t many sights along the Delaware Bay and River. It just isn’t that attractive. The water is muddy looking even when it is 50 feet deep. And those tankers are BIG! The photos are mostly tankers, barges, and tugs, with a few lighthouses thrown in.
A late morning Dove chocolate (yes, we do indulge before noon) gave me a message – “Renew your sense of discovery.” A later chocolate (yes, it was a two-chocolate day) went even further, “You are exactly where you are supposed to be.” I admit that at times, the trip has seemed to be overwhelming now that it has finally begun, but I will listen to these chocolate encouragements.
As we neared the C& D Canal, we saw the Salem Nuclear plant. I took a photo. Not exactly what I had in mind for scenic beauty, but it is part of the trip.
Then came the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal! When you time the trip right and get the current in the right direction, the C&D Canal is an easy ride. There are bridges, there are barges and tankers, there are homes, and there are more bridges. All of which we were able to pass under quite easily.
At 1:30 pm were settled in the tiny anchorage of Chesapeake City, Maryland on the south side of the Canal, near the western entrance. 9 hours and 64 miles for the day’s trip.
We knew we would be here for a few days so that we could visit with children and grandchildren. That afternoon we took the dinghy to shore to walk around. What a nice little place! Very charming and scenic with more to do than one would expect -shops, parks, live music and our first taste of Maryland crab. 🙂
On Saturday, after a leisurely breakfast onboard, we went to the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal Museum. A self-guided tour, it was very informative and interesting. The canal was opened in 1829 but the idea of a canal to connect the two bodies of water (Chesapeake and Delaware Bays) was first proposed in the1600s. It did not become a reality until 1822. Times were different then – 2600 men dug and hauled the dirt for an average daily wage of 75 cents. It was originally 14 miles long, 10 feet deep, and 66 feet wide with 4 locks. Fast forward to today — after many projects over the years to improve the canal, it is now 14 miles long, 450 feet wide, and 35 feet deep, no more locks. Vessels over 800 feet long (that’s 20 times larger than Kindred Spirit) are permitted to transit the canal, which saves them 300 miles compared to going around and up the Chesapeake Bay.
We walked around town again, exploring more shops and antique spots that we had missed yesterday. An interesting tidbit of information — the houses were often built from the locally milled lumber but also from barges that were too large to complete the trip through the canal. During a recent renovation project, a homeowner discovered an old wooden rudder inside of a wall that was used as support for the structure.
Artists were everywhere painting scenes of the town. We learned that it is “Paint the City” weekend. Local artists have two days to create a piece of artwork, all of which are displayed at the Town Hall on Sunday.
On Sunday we also had a special treat – visitors!! Alicia and Shawn, with Aaron and Ella, came to visit us for the afternoon. Chesapeake City has a free dock for 24 hours so we moved over to it.
Chesapeake City was a very nice little town and harbor – glad we stopped here! Tomorrow we will head out again, into the Chesapeake Bay. Oh, by the way….. we have a new Jetpack wifi device now!