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.

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.

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.

Homeward Bound, Part 1- Chesapeake Bay to Cape May, NJ

The waiting and anticipation finally came to an end. We picked up a rented cargo van and loaded it with everything we thought we might need, and could fit into it. We attempted a minimalist approach, which applied to clothing, food,and galley needs, but not safety equipment or tools.

We needed to bring our dinghy and outboard engine with us. Hmmmm, is this really going to fit?? This is not our old 11ft Novarania dinghy that we loved. Sold that in Florida. This is our “new” 9.5 Caribe, bought on Craig’s List. Guess it is a good thing we downsized!

We needed to bring our dinghy and outboard engine with us. Hmmmm, is this really going to fit?? This is not our old 11ft Novarania dinghy that we loved. Sold that in Florida. This is our “new” 9.5 Caribe, bought on Craig’s List. Guess it is a good thing we downsized!

Everything fits!! Al is the supreme packer and loader.

Everything fits!! Al is the supreme packer and loader.

This side view proves that even the dinghy is in the cargo van. We are ready to roll.

This side view proves that even the dinghy is in the cargo van. We are ready to roll.

We began our third drive to Maryland, one to view the boat, second for the survey and sea trial, and this third one to bring it home to Connecticut. Back over the George Washington Bridge in New York and down the Jersey Turnpike.

ThIs bridge goes over the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. Next time we are here, we will be under it!

ThIs bridge goes over the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. Next time we are here, we will be under it!

We drive through Middletown. Not in Connecticut, but in Maryland.

We drive through Middletown. Not in Connecticut, but in Maryland.

By 1:30 pm on Saturday, we had arrived at Piney Narrows Marina on Kent Island where Unfunded Requirement sat waiting for us. I did not take photos of either Saturday or Sunday because all we did was unload, clean, and unpack for hours and hours. With the emphasis on clean. We also filled a dumpster with things abandoned on the boat by the previous owners. It became more and more obvious that this boat had not seen real attention in several years. Somebody lost interest. Poor thing. Looks like another rescue job for us.

Sunday evening - first dinner onboard the boat. A Toast to us and the new, soon-to-be Kindred Spirit.

Sunday evening – first dinner onboard the boat. A toast to us and the new, soon-to-be Kindred Spirit.

The only "decorating" we did for this trip was to select three bears from our little collection of sailing  bears and bring them along for good luck.

The only “decorating” we did for this trip was to select three bears from our little collection of sailing bears and bring them along for good luck.

It was now time to start the journey home and step into “trawlerhood.” Monday morning we pulled out of the slip and stopped at the fuel dock.  Our first moments on the “dark side” brought that inevitable, and expected, sticker shock at the pump. 120 gallons of fuel added to the 300 gallon capacity tanks. Our little tank on the Morgan only held 50 gallons.

That first day was a long rough ride – strong winds (20 -25 knots) and seas of 4 feet. We both discussed reefing before setting out into the Chesapeake Bay. OOPS! Wait a minute, we don’t have sails to reef anymore! Old habits die hard. We took a lot of spray over the bow and even up to the flybridge. What a baptism into “trawlerhood.”

Al begins the day at the lower helm. He already looks pretty comfortable, doesn't he?

Al begins the day at the lower helm. He already looks pretty comfortable, doesn’t he?

When we move up to the flybridge, I get to drive the boat. Windy day!

When we move up to the flybridge, I get to drive the boat. Windy day!

We arrived at Chesapeake City at the western end of the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal at 4:30 pm. Hooray –There is a spot at the end of the free town dock and Al maneuvers the boat into it.  Two fine docking jobs in one day!

At the Chesapeake City dock. Reminds us of our trip south last September when the Morgan sailboat was at the dock.

At the Chesapeake City dock. Reminds us of our trip south last September when the Morgan sailboat was at the dock.

Our reward for the long rough ride was a visit from Alicia, Aaron, and Ella!!! What a nice way to spend the evening. We introduced the grandchildren to the new boat.

~Aaron in the helm seat on the flybridge. Ready to captain! ~ Ella investigates the transom door. Trying to escape??

~Aaron in the helm seat on the flybridge. Ready to captain!
~ Ella investigates the transom door. Trying to escape??

Hanging out on the bow

Hanging out on the bow

The boys go for a dinghy ride.

The boys go for a dinghy ride. This is the first time we have tested this dinghy.

Sunset at Chesapeake City. A good first day.

Sunset at Chesapeake City. A good first day.

Day 2 of the trip home begins with the trip through the C&D Canal and down the Delaware Bay. It was a much calmer day, both the waves and the winds had died down. The air was cool and dry, and the skies were a little overcast.

Here we go under the bridge we had driven over just two days earlier.

Here we go under the bridge we had driven over just two days earlier.

The Delaware Bay is looong and not very scenic. It just isn’t.

~ A lighthouse marking shoals ~ The nuclear power plant spewing smoke.

~ A lighthouse marking shoals
~ The nuclear power plant spewing smoke.

This yellow nun (not the usual red one) shows the current against us. Once the current changed and was with us, our speed increased from 6 knots to 9 knots, while always running at 1850 rpms.

This yellow nun (not the usual red one) shows the current against us. Once the current changed and was with us, our speed increased from 6 knots to 9 knots, while always running at 1650 rpms.

While I was at the bridge helm, Al investigated the anchor lines and windlass in preparation or anchoring in Cape May Harbor for the night.  Hmmmm…..

Measuring the anchor lines

16 feet of chain! You have got to be kidding us! This will have to change. We loved our rocna and 200 feet of chain. We want to be able to sleep at night on the anchor.

This time we can go through the Cape May Canal instead of around the tip of southern New Jersey. With the sailboat we didn’t dare try that. The bridge clearance is 58 feet and our mast was 59 feet.  The Cape May Canal is man-made, 12 feet deep by about 100 feet wide, and was built by the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II.  This was done so  that maritime traffic wasn’t exposed to German U-Boats that may have been patrolling near the coast. Today, for pleasure craft and smaller fishing boats, it makes a shorter and more protected run from the ocean to the Delaware Bay, avoiding   “the rips” off of Cape May Point.

The Cape May Ferry makes the run across the lower Delaware Bay from Lewes, Delaware, at Cape Henlopen.

The Cape May Ferry makes the run across the lower Delaware Bay from Lewes, Delaware, at Cape Henlopen.

We approach the entrance to the Cape May Canal. It  was an easy 3 mile ride and cut about an hour off the trip to Cape May.

We approach the entrance to the Cape May Canal. It was an easy 3 mile ride and cut about an hour off the trip to Cape May.

We saw quite a few people fishing along the shore of the canal. From the look of the water, I am not sure I would eat anything from it.

We saw quite a few people fishing along the shore of the canal. From the look of the water, I am not sure I would eat anything from it.

Our second day ended with our first anchoring experience in a trawler. It was successful, and we slept peacefully in the Cape May Harbor for the night.