Getting to a computer while underway, with wifi on, and some time to think has all proven very elusive. While I am waiting out this gale storm in Belhaven North Carolina I will try and catch up.
So we left off in the Chesapeake, at the end of a very long 50 hour sail. Our 50 hours got us thru two nights and mid day arrival at Solomon Island, MD on December 8th. We were so very tired, we tied up to the first dock we came across. We were assured by the dock master there were showers etc…note to self: when tired…DO NOT pay for a night’s stay until you have seen the bathrooms…
Turns out we tied up to a dock/gas dock/bar/bar/bar….Did I mention we tied up at a bar???? Eegads…Needless to say we would not be showering in the (home depot do it yourself special) shower in the BAR BATHROOM! Thank goodness we were so tired, we walked to lunch of soft shell crab sandwiches and rockfish sandwiches at a local restaurant, came right back and all dropped off to sleep around 300pm. We woke up at midnight, had snacks then went right back to bed.
Ahhh….sunshine makes everything better, and when we woke up Wednesday morning we looked across the little harbor and saw a nice looking marina. We called up and the dockmaster Quinton said…”Yeah I see you over there, you’re at the bar” (need I mention this again?), so the lines came off and we motored the 500 yards across the harbor, tied up to a really nice brand new marina. Plugged into 30 amps, showers (new – read clean) laundry room (clean) lounge with TV and wifi for kids (read quiet time for Michael and me) and literally downtown! On top of it all they still had their dock water on so we were able to fill our water tanks! and here was the kicker…Quinton took our propane tank(cooking) on his lunch break into town and filled it for us. Did we die and arrive in heaven?!?!?!?! Must have been. Showers, laundry, food shopping, heaters plugged in we were some very content people. The weather window quickly closed on us though and we ended up staying there several days. Not a bad place to be though. The Chesapeake is notoriously shallow and the winds tend to fetch up the sound so we knew we would be there a bit. Michael was able to log into the “office” and do some work, I took the kids to a great museum Thursday, The Calvert Marine Museum, a wonderful local history lesson for the kids. We spent all day there and were some of the only people so we got a lot of attention from the volunteers.
Michael joined us at 3:00ish and James took Michael through the entire museum again, rather quickly though. We all walked to the grocery complex and stopped at the West marine to buy some extra supplies and lo and behold! They were having a customer appreciation barbecue! ribs, slaw and potatoe salad, sodas coffee and donuts. Are we true sailboaters or what? Able to sniff out a free dinner on a Thursday afternoon…
We had hopes for leaving Friday but the weather again had us sitting out the small craft warning and the cold winds. So a few more loads of laundry, a few more walks around the neighborhood that Friday.
Saturday was proving to be more our kind of weather, we left around 8:30 that morning and unfortunately the sail turned into a motor, the wind died right away and then was right on our stern, it was more surfing than sailing that day. We really had hopes of making Norfolk that day. The traffic on the Bay that day was amazing, there was a HUGE barge with great piles of sand. One of the largest vehicles I have ever seen. There was a Coast Guard cutter replacing bouys, and if you have never seen a bouy out of teh water, these things are enormous. We also say Airforce One taking off which was really cool! Mariah made us some great food that day, always keeping the tummies ful and the water bottles hot. James is our great navigator, always letting us now what kind of obstructions are coming up on our heading.
We continued to motor across the bottom of the Chesapeake, it was getting to be late at night, and the lights of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel were a great marker, but again, we were right back into the shipping channels of Norfolk Harbor, so we had our eyes wide open! big ships, moving very quickly (especially in the dark) and us motoring across the Thimble Shoals, a very shallow shoal outside Norfolk Harbor did not make for cal nerves! We were headed for the Willoughby Harbor, an anchorage just outside of the Harbor. It turned out to be a well lit, well marked channel. We were able to navigate into it, thankfully the waves subsided as soon as we turned into the channel. We got to the anchorage, distanced ourselves equally from the other two boats in the anchorage and got some well deserved rest!
Another day and more south than we started so it was a good day!