Continuing the saga of “up, down, up” as we finish the final days of our homeward journey. Still slogging through pretty dismal weather, although not the worst we have ever seen, it is beginning to wear us down. As we listen to other cruisers chatting on the VHF, we are not alone.
Annapolis to Chesapeake City – 49 nm, 6.5 hours
Previously, on this Kindred Spirit blog, we departed from our favorite “marina” in Annapolis on another cold day with morning rains and overcast dreary skies. That beautiful Tuesday in the 80s just two days ago, was only to tease us in the midst of these unusually chilling times. Reflecting on the day, all in all, it was a fairly comfortable ride most of the way. We started on the flybridge but we moved down to the lower helm when the day did not improve. That gave us easy access to hot tea and soup for lunch. Warms the tummies and the cabin.
We decided to stop at Chesapeake City at the western end of the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal. Chesapeake City is a cute little town with a couple of restaurants, an ice cream parlor, several different and interesting shops along the main street, and a free dock or a little harbor for anchoring. All of this makes it a great place for cruisers transiting between the two bays, Chesapeake and Delaware in either direction. We like to stop here:
- Delaware Bay to Chesapeake City, MD in September 2013
- Homeward Bound, Part 1- Chesapeake Bay to Cape May, NJ in July 2014
- Chesapeakin’ in September 2015
But, and this is an important but, the harbor entrance is shoaling more and more which means many boats with deeper drafts cannot even consider entering Chesapeake City.
We were lucky this time in more ways than one. We arrived at exactly high tide, 3:30 pm, and were able to come through the channel and get to the dock, across the shallows. We snugged into the end of the dock behind three other boats. Everyone chatted about the chilly and rainy weather……and the shallows. The town hall was toasty warm when we checked in. The dock is free but electric is $15. We opted for having electric so we could warm ourselves up with some heat.
We certainly hope they dredge soon. It is a shame to have a nice little town, dock, anchorage and harbor without access to it. Even with a 4-foot draft, we have to be careful to only move at nearly high tide water levels.
The really best thing about Chesapeake City is that Al’s daughter and family can visit us when we stay here. They live within a half hour drive. The weather forecast informed us that staying an extra day to see them would not impact our travels at all (which translates into weather and currents were still so bad we couldn’t go anywhere anyway.)
Chesapeake City to Cape May, NJ 62.5 nm 8.5 hours
Saturday, April 30th was a good day for making it down the Delaware Bay, IF we left early enough. We had to leave early in order to leave at all. High tide in Chesapeake City was 6:00 am, so we slipped off the dock at 5:15 am and off into the canal, fighting the current for the 12-mile stretch to the other end of the C& D Canal.
Although the current was against us in the canal (only making 5 knot speed) we had a good run with the current down the Delaware Bay, averaging 8.5-10 knots for four of the hours. Then we slowed back down to 7 knots again near the Cape May Canal entrance.
It was such a long, cold, gray day, that I took no photos after the canal. We anchored in Cape May, NJ at 1:45 in the afternoon, near the Coast Guard station. We like Cape May, but in this weather and with the need to keep moving when we can, we won’t be seeing anything.
Back to watching the weather forecasts, even more closely now that we are on the New Jersey coast. This has become an obsession. We prefer perfect no wind, no seas conditions for the 12 hours from Atlantic City to Atlantic Highlands, but we may be satisfied with so-so (but not dangerous) just to make progress.
We spent a COLD and RAINY Sunday, May 1st, in Cape May, never getting off the boat. Let’s hope we can get moving again. SOON.