Thursday, September 17, 2015

Blasting Through The Chesapeake Bay

Sim and I have raced through the Chesapeake Bay – at least as fast as our boat will take us, pit-stopping at certain chosen locations along the way. Its mostly been a motor but we had one good day of wind and a good sail. It is clear we haven’t allowed ourselves nearly enough time to explore and would have loved nothing more than to go gunk- holing up rivers and creeks with cool names like Little Choptank, the Rappahannock or the Piankatank at our own leisurely pace. But we are feeling that time is creeping on and we would like to haul out before the weather turns and gets too cold.

The red line shows our route through the Chesapeake Bay
The day we spent in Annapolis was grey and drizzly – it looked possible to anchor outside the harbour  and had we known in advance we probably would have done but as we only planned to stay one day and the weather was unsettled we opted to take a mooring ($35/night)  in town.  Annapolis is Marylands historic capital filled with colonial homes, marinas, boatyards, bars and boutiques.  Everything has a nautical feel to it from seafood restaurants to nautical themed shops and art galleries.  We spent the day walking around town trying to absorb as much as possible but mostly getting a good soaking from the rain.

Sights around Annapolis on a wet and rainy day.
The West Street Chicks
All along the West Road in Annapolis chickens have been dotted around the place to promote "hatching the arts"

St Michael's
We opted to visit St Michael's through what is known locally as “the back door” southern route rather than the more traditional northern entrance on the Miles River to save us some extra miles on our journey south.  We anchored in a well protected spot of no name in the San Domingo Creek, off Broad Creek ,off the Choptank River – a little convoluted  - but a lovely spot and an easy half a mile walk into town. Apparently James Michener bought a home here when he was writing his novel – Chesapeake. St Michael's is a one street wonder filled with the usual boutique, antique and classy gift shops and ice cream parlours.  It’s colourful and pretty and an easy place to hangout.  We liked it and enjoyed the obligatory ice cream sitting in the sun.
Cute St Michael's  calls itself "The heart and soul of the Chesapeake Bay"
Some of the nature trails at the back end of St Michael's by the public dock

The Solomon Islands,
Back over on the western shore we pulled into the Solomons Island.- another pretty waterfront town nestled on a small peninsula.  I had wanted to visit Calvert beach where you can hunt for fossils and sharks teeth but realising this was nowhere near any of the anchorages we decided to anchor in Mill Creek.  It was such a pretty spot surrounded by large houses with green well manicured lawns and the anchorage so calm and protected we decided just to stay on board and hangout on the boat. 
A peaceful and serene night in Mill Creek by Solomons Island.
All the bays and ancorages are lined with thick mud - every morning its quite a task washing all the mud from the anchor chain.
Deltaville is a bit of an old haunt for us having hauled here for a few months many years ago.  Not much has changed. We anchored in the southern fork of the Jackson Creek and left the dinghy on the free dock – walking the mile or so into town.  For boats without transport like bikes or without the courtesy bikes and cars offered by marinas and yards everything is a little far apart. A lot of the road doesn’t even have a sidewalk or pavement.  But the locals are super friendly – everyone guessing straight away that we are on a boat (because we were walking, because of our back packs, because we were scruffy?) and offering us rides to the supermarket etc. A part of me would love to haul out again here - it’s so pretty and friendly.  But with a steel boat our needs are slightly different now and though we are not expecting to do any hull work this time, you can never be too sure and Bock Marine is where we choose to be should we come across anything unexpected.
Deltaville - doesnt look like much in these photos - but all the house are pretty - thats the main street in the top right corner -and the anchorage in the bottom  photos.
I was just telling Sim what amazing sunset we use to see in Deltaville and what would you know....
mother nature aims to please
Today we reached Norfolk, Virginia, and within the week we hope to be back in the Beaufort, North Carolina area and getting ready to haul.

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