Chesapeakin’

On Saturday, September 19th,  we made another early morning departure (early = pre-sunrise) from Cape May so that we could make it all the way up the Delaware Bay and into the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal to Chesapeake City. Now that we no longer have that very tall mast, we can take advantage of the Cape May Canal and fit under the canal’s bridge.

Aiming for the lights on the bridge at the beginning of the canal.

Aiming for the lights on the bridge at the beginning of the canal.

The lights reflecting from the old narrow swing bridge look nice in the light morning mist.

The banks of the Cape May Canal

The banks of the Cape May Canal in the morning.

The ferries are still sitting in their docks at this hour.

The ferries are still sitting in their docks at this hour.

The trip up the Delaware Bay was long and tedious, but problem-free. We had the current with us for most of the way until we turned into the C&D Canal.

Ship John Shoal Light was the only thing worthy of a photo throughout the day.

Ship John Shoal Light was the only thing worthy of a photo in Delaware Bay this time.

We entered the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal in the sunshine. Because it was also a Saturday the crazy power cruisers and cigarette boats were out in full force! Many were  headed to Chesapeake City for lunch and dinner.  By the time we arrived it was quite the busy place, so we maneuvered into the anchorage at the back of the little harbor. It was certainly more crowded than either of our two previous stops here. After our 9-hour trip from Cape May we were ready to just sit.

Found a spot in the back before all of the other southbound cruisers arrived. Notice the old sailboat on the left? He was anchored near us in Cape May. That boat has seen some miles.

Found a spot in the back before all of the other southbound cruisers arrived. Notice the old sailboat on the left? He was anchored near us in Cape May. That boat has seen some miles.

We stop and  stay overnight in Chesapeake City so that we can visit with our daughter Alicia and grandchildren, Aaron and Ella. The visit included lunch, a dinghy ride, and ice cream.

Riding out tot he boat in the dinghy. Sailor bracelets Aaron and Ella on the flybridge with Pap.

~Riding out to the boat in the dinghy
~Sailor bracelets for brother and sister
~Aaron and Ella on the flybridge with Papa.

During the dinghy ride around the harbor, we spied this crane sharing the old dock with a fake owl.

During the dinghy ride around the harbor, we spied this heron sharing the old dock with a fake owl.

Enjoying ice cream by the canal.

Enjoying ice cream by the canal.

While we lingered over our ice cream, this enormous cargo ship appeared in the canal, dwarfing everything near it. We weren't sure it was going to fit under the bridge!

While we lingered over our ice cream, this enormous cargo ship appeared in the canal, dwarfing everything near it. We weren’t sure it was going to fit under the bridge!

Rather than wait for morning, we pulled up anchor after our family time and began the journey towards the Chesapeake Bay. The bay is approximately 200 miles long from its northern beginning  at the Susquehanna River to its southern outlet into the Atlantic Ocean. It is 2.8 miles wide at its narrowest and 30 miles at its widest, a very large body of water. When we are charting courses in the Chesapeake we never fail to be amazed (and somewhat confused) by the numerous rivers, creeks, and small bays. I think half of them may be named “Back Creek” and they all look the same on the chart to us at first glance. When planning a route into a river or creek, you really have to study the chart closely and double check the critical features.

On the left is a wide view of the bay.

On the left is a wide view of the bay. On the right  is somewhat closer view of the eastern shore around Kent Island (where we boat this boat) and the Choptank River. Either one shows how many little “ins and outs” there are. Chesapeake boaters have so many places to explore!

Worton Creek was a beautiful and peaceful (especially after Chesapeake City) anchorage for our evening and overnight resting spot.

Worton Creek was a beautiful and peaceful (especially after Chesapeake City) anchorage for our evening and overnight resting spot.

Red sky at night, sailor's delight.

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.

Al pulls up the anchor for another early start.

Al pulls up the anchor for another early start.

We are already losing count of the beautiful sunrises that have greeted us so far. Simply stunning.

We are already losing count of the beautiful sunrises that have greeted us so far. Simply stunning.

The previous evening Al had spotted something in the sky that looked like a “giant fish.” It was dusk and had to see even with the binoculars. During our trip in the daylight he searched the sky again to find it. And he did —

This giant balloon-like device, the size of a football field, keeps watch over the nation's capital and a huge swath of the eastern seaboard.

This giant balloon-like device, the size of a football field, keeps watch over the nation’s capital and a huge swath of the eastern seaboard. A search on Google informed us that this is a military surveillance “blimp”, JLENS, short for Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor, that floats at an altitude of 10,000 feet, 24/7. The radar onboard allows the military to monitor spots where the United States has “potential security gaps.” The two blimps are tethered and have no cameras or weapons.

Cruising friends of ours that we met on our first trip now have a house on the water in Annapolis……..with docks! Although they are not cruising at this time, they absolutely love to have their cruising buddies stop and visit. And what a treat that is for us. Not only do we get to visit with Mary Marie (Frank is working out of state), but we also had a dock with water and laundry, and a courtesy car. The stuff that dreams are made of, if you are cruising. Our mini-reunion was a sweet one. Thank you, Ems! 🙂 What a hostess!! And we miss you, Frank. 🙁

Is this awesome or what?? There is Kindred Spirit next to Eleanor Q and Cutting Class on the other dock.

Is this awesome or what?? There is Kindred Spirit next to Eleanor Q, and Cutting Class on the other dock. Captains Al and Dan are waving from the dock.

Ems made us a lovely welcome dinner on our first evening. This marina will get high marks on its survey.

Ems made us a lovely welcome dinner on our first evening. This marina will get high marks on its survey.

At sunset we all blew our conch horns onto deck.

At sunset we blew our conch horns out on the deck.

A trip to West Marine the next day —

This West Marine had the cutest little shopping carts - "Boater in Training." Think Al might be beyond the training phase.

This West Marine had the cutest little shopping carts – “Boater in Training.” Think Al might be beyond the training phase?

We need a new VHF radio for the bridge. Al gets advice from Will Heyer, a Hope Town friend who lives in Annapolis in the winter. Great fun to see Will and Muffin again!

We need a new VHF radio for the bridge. Al gets advice from Will Heyer, a Hope Town friend who lives in Annapolis in the winter. Great fun to see Will and Muffin again!

Later in the afternoon we took a walk around Main Street in Annapolis.

The dinghy docks in downtown Annapolis.

The dinghy docks in downtown Annapolis.

Al sits down with the children and Alex Haley to listen to a tory.

Al sits down with the children and Alex Haley to listen to a story.

Maryland = Crabs. They taste better here than anywhere else. We decided to have dinner at Chick and Ruth’s Delly on Main Street, a local diner with lots of quirks and food.

Chick & Ruth's Delly

Chick & Ruth’s Delly

As we waited for our meals, I asked our waiter about the bagels hanging on strings from the ceiling. It's a fun story and I don't think I should spoil it for anyone else. Should I?

As we waited for our meals, I asked our waiter about the bagels hanging on strings from the ceiling. It’s a fun story and I don’t think I should spoil it for anyone else. Should I?

Read this next picture ONLY if you want to know the story behind the hanging bagels!!

The story of the bagels on the strings. No elephants!

The story of the bagels on the strings. No elephants!

Our "dinners" - I had a ginat crab cake, but Al, Dan and Marcia all got the Crab Egg Benedict, breakfast for dinner. With beer............ It was all delicious. Rob our waiter was the best.

Our “dinners” – I had a giant crab cake, but Al, Dan and Marcia got the Crab Eggs Benedict, breakfast for dinner. With beer…………                                                                  It was all delicious. Rob, our waiter, was the best. Deadpan funny.

 We had wanted to explore Annapolis because we had skipped it on the first trip. It was on our bucket list because of its rich sailing heritage. Unfortunately, the weather drives our decisions now that we live on a boat. BIG winds and rain were forecasted for Friday through Monday. Our choices were stay in Annapolis until next Tuesday or boogie out and down the Chesapeake right now so that we can be safe and secure before Friday. Although we would have loved to spend more time in Annapolis, we opted to move south. We promised Ems we would stop again in the spring on our return. (Short story about names– Mary Marie is known as “Ems” because her name “Mary Marie” has two Ms. My name, Michele Marie, is also two Ms, although the Marie part is never used.  We joke that I am the other MM. Just one of those sweet coincidences in life.)

Reunion of cruising girls - me, Mary Marie, and Marcia. (Is that 3 Ms??) Missing YOU, Annette!

Reunion of cruising girls – me, Mary Marie, and Marcia. (Is that 3 Ms or 4 or 5??)
Missing YOU, Annette!

 We departed, early again (there’s a pattern to this trip – we are 2 weeks ahead of the schedule from the 2013-2014 adventure) so that we could get to Hampton, VA. The first day was 10.5 hours long down to Reedville. We spoke on the VHF with Mark on Spirit and Ben on Loon, both folks we had met in Hope Town in 2013-2014, also heading back there  for the winter.  The Chesapeake Bay was truly a place for reconnecting.

Spirit and Cutting Class sailing along with the northeast winds. This was one of those days when we really missed the Morgan. She would have performed nicely and loved these conditions.

Spirit and Cutting Class sailing along with the northeast winds. This was one of those days when we really missed the Morgan. She would have performed nicely and loved these conditions.

Thomas Light always deserves a photo.

Thomas Light always deserves a photo.

Have to keep a watch for the fish traps marked by their poles.

Have to keep a watch for the fish traps marked by their poles.

We anchored in Mill Creek not far from Reedville, and were now in Virginia, the lower Chesapeake Bat region.

ANOTHER early morning departure!! Leaving Mill Creek as the sky lights.

ANOTHER early morning departure!! Leaving Mill Creek as the sky lights.

The second day of our journey to Hampton, Virginia was a rough day. The winds were stronger and the waves were around 6-7 feet, giving us a washing machine ride, rocking and rolling. After 8 hours of it, we pulled into a dock at Sunset Creek Boating Center. Not a picturesque place, but friendly and inexpensive. And a very safe place to wait out the storm that is coming.

A Google Earth view of the Sunset Creek Boating Center. Smaller boats are stored in the huge gray buildings and are moved on big forklifts when someone wants to use them.

A Google Earth view of the Sunset Creek Boating Center. Smaller boats are stored in the huge gray buildings and are moved on big forklifts when someone wants to use them.

We only had a peek at the Chesapeake on the trip, but here we are on Friday, September 25th, sitting safely, for the next 3 days of rain and winds.

2 thoughts on “Chesapeakin’

  1. Pingback: A Sea of Friendships | Kindred Spirit

  2. Pingback: Up the Chesapeake Bay | Kindred Spirit

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