Up the Chesapeake Bay

The next part of the journey homeward became a challenge thanks to the weather and sea conditions. We needed to go up the Chesapeake Bay, down the Delaware Bay, and then up the New Jersey coast.  It will be a total of about 230 nautical miles, which will take 36 hours total of non-stop traveling time, and isn’t going to happen even under perfect weather conditions. The driving distance would be 210 miles, not much different than over water, but would only take 3.5 hours!

Up, and down, and up again .......... Or, in more nautical terms - north, then south, then north again.

Up, and down, and up again ………. Or, in more nautical terms – north, then south, then north again.

For these bodies of water, you need specific conditions, for wind and seas, currents, and weather. The weather pattern of Winter 2016 in the Bahamas has continued into Spring 2016 here on the east coast. The fronts are quick moving, with only short durations of good conditions for traveling by boat. Oh well. I am working very hard on accepting the reality that I cannot change or influence Mother Nature. Notice that I have not said that I have accepted it, just “working on it.” 😉

Cutting Class and Kindred Spirit both left Portsmouth’s free dock on April 21st to head across Hampton Roads to Hampton, Virginia. A two-hour hop.

Al gives Cutting Class a helpful shove off the Portsmouth dock.

Al gives Cutting Class a helpful shove off the Portsmouth dock.

We only intended to spend one night in Hampton, but strong winds in the lower Chesapeake Bay and some rain kept us there for 3 days.  Arriving in Hampton meant that we were completely finished with the Intracoastal Waterway now. Hampton is designated as ICW Mile Marker 11.2 . Yes, that is an intentional negative number. I find that funny. Portsmouth is really where it begins, at zero.

There’s not much to say about our stay in Hampton this time. Sunset Creek Boating Center is convenient, reasonably priced, and friendly, but not scenic, and not quiet. The lifts were busy plopping boats in the water right next to our slip. Interesting, but not quiet. Down the creek a bit, there was a barge being loaded with crushed stone. Lots of stone, It can not be said that we have not experienced a variety of marinas and anchorages.  We did use our bikes for a grocery shopping and an ice cream run into Hampton. Alas, the little ice cream shop has left. The Crouch clan invited us to join them for lunch at the SurfRider and we had crab cakes that definitely made up for missing the ice cream (Yes, Al, honey, it does!)

Captain AL uses our quiet time in Hampton to catchup on checking and modifying routes for the days ahead.

Captain Al uses our quiet time in Hampton to catch up on checking and modifying routes for the days ahead.

Hampton to Mill Creek –  54 nm, 7.5 hours

We left Hampton on Sunday morning with hopes that the predicted change in winds would make the trip to Mill Creek, Reedville, VA, comfortable. We had strong north winds and 4 foot seas until 2:00 pm, then the sea calmed and the wind finally lessened and turned south. We anchored just inside for an easier start the next day. Much to our surprise, it was not such a peaceful night!! We were rocking and rolling.

Surfing along

Surfing along. At least the sun was shining.

Sunset at Mill Creek, Virginia

Sunset at Mill Creek, Virginia

Mill Creek to Annapolis, MD –  75 nm, 10.5 hours

Just before sunrise at Mill Creek. We needed an early start because this would be a long day!

Just before sunrise at Mill Creek. We needed an early start because this would be a long day!

First challenge is to miss those fish sticks as we exit Mill Creek and re-enter the Chesapeake Bay.

First challenge is to miss those fish sticks as we exit Mill Creek and re-enter the Chesapeake Bay.You can just barely see the sticks in this light.

It wouldn't be the Chesapeake Bay without the crab skiffs out and about taking care of their pots.

It wouldn’t be the Chesapeake Bay without the crab skiffs out and about taking care of their pots.

Love to eat crabs, but the crab pot buoys create an obstacle course as we travel on the bay. The autopilot does an incredible job of following a well-laid out course, but "Otto" cannot see the pots. That is our job. Crab pot ahead! Be sure to avoid it -- look back...... yup, it is in our wake.

Love to eat crabs, but the crab pot buoys create an obstacle course as we travel on the bay. The autopilot does an incredible job of following a well-laid out course, but “Otto” cannot see the pots. That is our job. Crab pot ahead! Be sure to avoid it — look back…… yup, it is in our wake. Did not catch it (sigh of relief follows that).

Some moments of sparkling water on the Chesapeake Bay.

A few moments of sparkling water on the Chesapeake Bay.

My favorite lighthouse in the Chesapeake - Thomas Shoal Light.

My favorite lighthouse in the Chesapeake – Thomas Shoal Light.

If we can only stop in one place on the Chesapeake Bay, it has to be in Annapolis to visit with our special cruising friends, Mary Marie and Frank. They bought a lovely home with a dock for their boat, Eleanor Q, and welcome all of their cruising friends to stop by when traveling through the bay.

KS Lake Ogleton

Mary Marie not only welcomes you at the dock, she photographs you! We have never stayed at any marina that does that. 😉

We did not intend to stay long, but the weather “convinced” us that another day here with Mary Marie and Frank would not impact our pace going home.

Kindred Spirit and Cutting Class are snuggled in with Eleanor Q at her dock.

Kindred Spirit and Cutting Class are snuggled in with Eleanor Q at her dock.

It really is possible to pack a heap of fun into a short time. This stopover was meant to be, on this date  — Frank was home on a Tuesday following a business trip. How lucky can we get??

The six of us decided a trip into Annapolis was on the schedule for the afternoon. The guys decided to go by boat in the little runabout.

The six of us decided a trip into Annapolis was on the schedule for the afternoon. The guys decided to go by boat in the little runabout. The girls went by car. We didn’t think the skiff would fare well carrying 6 in these winds.

Windy, but like a summer day, in the 80's. A stop for ice cream!!

Windy, but like a summer day, in the 80’s. A stop for ice cream!!

Hanging out with friends. The temperature dropped from 80s (bottom pic) to high 50s the next day (top pic). Wow, that was short summer!

Hanging out with friends. The temperature dropped from 80’s (bottom pic) to high 50’s the next day (top pic). Wow, that was a short summer! Or did we stay too long and fall has arrived??

After ice cream, we had beers at Eastport Yacht Club. Beer and ice cream - what could be better?

After ice cream, we had beers at Eastport Yacht Club. Beer and ice cream – what could be better? And what a great deck for watching the sailboats in the Annapolis harbor.

I was intrigued by the Eastport Yacht Club’s burgee. I studied the cocktail napkin, trying to figure out the meaning of the design. On the napkin, it looked like a bird’s tail, to me. I’m glad my curiosity prompted me to ask Frank and Mary Marie. The burgee’s design is a graphic representation of the Compromise Street Bridge, a drawbridge, that crosses over Spa Creek in Annapolis.

The EYC burgee’s design flies from the flagpole, it decorates the napkins, and it lines the bathroom sink. We got a kick out of that sink.

We returned to downtown Annapolis the next day for another walk around. Such a great place that I hope we can spend more time here again in the future.

Couldn't resist snapping a photo of this man in his historical garb and his cell phone - An anachronism in action.

We couldn’t resist snapping photos of this man in his historical garb with his cell phone – an anachronism in action! He was very cute about it.

I am the only one in our little trio with brown eyes.........

I am the only one in our little trio with brown eyes………

Our first experience at Chick and Ruth’s Delly last September (Chesapeakin‘) turned us into fans which meant that we were not going to miss an opportunity to eat there while in Annapolis.

We HAD to eat dinner again at Chick and Ruth's Delly. We love this place! Funniest staff (and some are very dedicated to Maryland as our waiter's tattoo demonstrates), retro cool ambience, and delicious crab benedict.

We HAD to eat dinner again at Chick & Ruth’s Delly. We love this place! Funniest staff (and some are very dedicated to Maryland crabs as our waiter’s tattoo demonstrates), retro cool ambience, and delicious Crab Benedict. 

Having fun at Chick & Ruth's Delly. I thin I have finally written the name often enough that I amy no longer confuse it with Chris Ruth Steakhouse. Maybe.

Having fun at Chick & Ruth’s Delly. I think I have finally written the name often enough that I may no longer confuse it with the ” Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse”.  Maybe.

A favorite photo from the day!

A favorite photo from the day!  3Ms, or would that be 4 Ms in all  – MaryMarie, Marcia, Michele? OR, if you count my middle name, Marie, then it would be 5Ms……. enough!

It was time for us to leave the next day  to finish our trip up the Chesapeake Bay.  Both boats delayed departure long enough in the morning to catch Frank’s daughter, Nicole, on the Today Show with Matt Lauer. Coley was a Next Food Network Star finalist in 2014. We cruisers, family, and friends all avidly watched and cheered her on. It seems serendipitous that we could watch and cheer for her again as we finish another season of cruising. Nicole has a terrific website, Coley Cooks  and a YouTube channel with fun and informative videos ( love the “no fail kale chips” and the salted caramel videos.) Once I am back home in my land kitchen I will be checking out and trying more of her recipes.

We all enjoyed watching Coley on the Today Show with Matt Lauer. It was extra special because we got to watch it live with Mary Marie.

We all enjoyed watching Coley on the Today Show with Matt Lauer. It was extra special because we got to watch it live with Mary Marie.

Kindred Spirit departs from our favorite "marina." Thank you so much Mary Marie and Frank! We were a little sad, but eager to get underway again.

Kindred Spirit departs from our favorite “marina.” Thank you so much Mary Marie and Frank! Where is that survey for guests???

Off we go on another cold and dreary morning. Sad to say goodbye to friends, but eager to be underway and heading homeward.

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