Down the Delaware Bay

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.

A sweet little lighthouse sitting upon a cliff at the top of the Chesapeake Bay, just before we turn towards the C&D canal.

A sweet little lighthouse sitting upon a cliff at the top of the Chesapeake Bay, just before we turn towards the C&D canal.

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:

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.

The town provides the survey map froth recent soundings done i preparation for possible dredging. It's posted outside the town hall and on the website.

The town provides the survey map from the recent soundings done in preparation for possible dredging. It’s posted outside the town hall and on the website. Very helpful as we planned our exit strategy.

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.

We walked around town, had coffee and pastry in the Bohemia Cafe. One shopkeeper told us we were half of the visitors to town that day. Another told us that perhaps they won't dredge the channel so that people get stuck and have to stay and visit. But this little sign indicates a sense of humor.

We walked around town and had coffee and pastry in the Bohemia Cafe. One shopkeeper told us we were half of the visitors to town that day. Another told us that perhaps they won’t dredge the channel so that people get stuck and have to stay and visit.
This little sign confirms a townwide  sense of humor.

Cutting Class passed by Chesapeake City because of their deeper draft. We waved to them from the shore, on their way from the Sassafras River anchorage to Reedy Island.

Cutting Class passed by Chesapeake City because of their deeper draft. We waved to them from the shore, on their way from the Sassafras River anchorage to Reedy Island.

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.)

Enjoying time with the grandchildren, Aaron and Ella.

Enjoying time with the grandchildren, Aaron and Ella.

Funny story -- Aaron, 6 years old, steps into he salon and immediately asks why our mugs have socks on? Very observant kindergartner! I tried to explain that when the waves and water are strong they rock the boat and the mugs swing and hit each other. The socks protect them from crashing and breaking. He seemed to accept this as a normal thing.

Funny story — Aaron, 6 years old, steps into the salon and immediately asks why our mugs have socks on? Very observant kindergartner! I tried to explain that when the waves and water are strong they rock the boat and the mugs swing and hit each other. The socks protect them from crashing and breaking. He seemed to accept this as a normal thing.

Timer shot of all of us - Pap, Alicia (mommy/daughter) Nana and Aaron and Ella, the little ones.

Used the camera’s timer for a picture of all of us – Papa, Alicia (mommy/daughter) Nana, and Aaron and Ella, the little ones.

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.

At night, the Chesapeake Inn Marina lights up like a circus.

At night, the Chesapeake Inn Marina lights up like a circus. The lights were still on when we left the town dock before dawn.

It was dark as we left, but the canal was lit up like a highway, which made things quite easy. Easy, but cold again. We spent the whole 62-mile trip inside using the lower helm.

It was dark as we left, but the canal was lit up like a highway, which made things quite easy. Easy, but cold again. We spent the whole 62-mile trip inside using the lower helm.

Port and Starboard, both sides of the canal are nicely lit. Just like a highway.

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.

There are four bridges in all on the canal. None need opening. :-)

There are four bridges in all on the canal. None need to be opened for us. 🙂

 

The odd looking specks on the high wires become birds as we slip below. Brings to mind, "Bird on the Wire by Leonard Cohen, 1969.

The odd looking specks on the high wires become birds as we slip below. Brings to mind, “Bird on the Wire” by Leonard Cohen, 1969.

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 want something more like the left side, not the right side.

We want something more like the left side, not the right side.

Al studying weather rand current forecasts on the computer. THat's a cookie, not a cigar.

Al studying weather and current forecasts on the computer. (That’s a cookie, not a cigar.) We have to review the weather several times each day because it continues to change quickly. The different weather sites don’t even agree much lately.

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.

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