Annapolis to Deltaville MD, Day 2

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Woke up at about 6:30 a little stiff and sore from the previous day.  Was excited for coffee and a good aggressive teethbrushing.  We took our time and planned out our day.  We knew the weather would be a little rougher than the previous day so we wanted a good plan of attack.  The previous day the winds were 5 to 10 knots out of the west, and this day they were supposed to also be out of the west, but 10-15 knots with gusts up to 20, so we knew that it would be a bit rougher and colder.  We decided we should leave as soon as possible to try to catch the calm early morning before the winds picked up and get as much distance as we could before that happened.  Dad needed to drink his coffee so he could “go to the bathroom” so we didn’t get out of port until 9:20.  When we departed Annapolis it was fairly calm, about 5 knot winds with a wispy fog rising from the warmer waters. 

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  Once we got out of the harbor, the winds picked up a bit, but we were pretty sheltered by the land on our western side.  We hugged the coast as much as we could, but it was difficult because there were a lot of flats and sandbars.  We made pretty good time.  There was plenty to see, there are a ton of lighthouses in the middle of the Chesapeake, some in use, some abandoned.  But its interesting to see them.   These used to be occupied by a permanent groundskeeper back in the day, I think they are automated now, but I couldn’t imagine spending my life in this kind of isolation.

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Things went pretty well since we were mostly sheltered and the only sketchy thing we had to deal with was the Potomac river.  Its not that big of a river so it should have been fine.  Except, that the winds were coming from the west and its wide open to the west.  Dad decided to take over the helm before we got into there, and while he is a great boat driver, I think his age might have taken a little of that skill away.  The rollers started getting bigger and bigger, and he kept saying, “I think we should think about heading back.  This is getting a little rough.”  I kept telling him to keep on trucking, we are headed towards shelter, to go back we will have to hit all this mess again.  He said that if it got any rougher, he would head back.  I told him no, we are more than half way, to go back would be crazy.

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Unfortunately pictures don’t do it justice and you can’t tell how big this is, but there were 10 foot waves, 15 foot apart.  The stern of this 27 foot boat were cresting a wave as the bow was trying to dive under the next wave.  They were just slightly too tall or this boat was too long.  But once we had deep green water blow over the bow dad decided he had enough and he tried to turn around.  When we did we were broadside to the waves and he realized that back wasn’t an option.  So instead of heading west into the waves, we headed southeast following the waves.  This meant we had a much longer time to reach the shore, but we at least weren’t diving under the waves and it was much calmer in the cockpit.  Once we got to the other shore about an hour later (12 miles) things calmed down significantly and we were again making good time.  We decided we would stop at Deltaville, about 20 miles away… the gas gauge was half way between 1/4 and empty.  We have a 100 gallon tank and that should mean we have about 13 gallons.  On perfect seas this boat gets around 2 miles per gallon, so it shouldn’t be a problem, but in these rough seas we have been averaging about 1 MPG.  Dad made a bet, how much fuel would we fit in the tank when we arrived at Deltaville.  He said 25 gallons.  I said 3.5.  But really, in my head I was thinking: Deltaville, we aren’t making it there; we are beaching the boat and asking some nice neighbor if they had a gas can.  Anyway, we made it to Deltaville and refuled, and we only fit 68 gallons.  So in reality, dad knows the gas gauge is wrong and let me worry the whole way.

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The marina where we made a reservation looked more like a service center so we stopped at a different marina named Doziers, which in the prime of summer I bet is rocking, there is a huge BBQ section, a pool and a big fire pit with adiorandac chairs.  It was very nice. 

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We asked about food, and they didn’t have any, but the dockmaster called the owner of a nearby restaurant called CoCoMo’s and the owner came and picked us up in his giant Dodge pickup.  Super friendly people in Deltaville and would definitely recommend it.  CoCoMo’s was delicious, and had regular American fare.  I got a cheeseburger and it was delicious.  While we were waiting for our food we played Barrel of Monkeys.

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I am definitely better at barrel of monkeys than dad, I suppose that’s because of all my practice as a kid.  He had never seen it before.  After dinner, the owner took us back to our marina and we hit the sack.  It was about 8:30.

North East MD to Annapolis

 

Well, where to start.  My father and I are in process of taking a 1997 Sea Ray Sundancer 270 from North East Maryland down to Jacksonville Florida.  I flew up to Philly from Jacksonville on September 30th 2011.  The weather was calm and sunny and we stopped and had a cheesesteak in Wilmington Delaware, ate outside in shorts and a tee shirt.  IMG_0536Our boat trip started October 1st, Saturday at around 11:00 am. 

It was cold and cloudy but at least not rainy or windy.  As we shoved off it still seemed like we would be in for a nice pleasant journey, even though it was about 20 degrees cooler than the day before.  We cruised South West from Cara Cove and once we passed the terminus of the Susquehanna River the water turned bright brown and there were logs everywhere.  Not just middle of the road firewood mind you, there were full length trees in the water.  Some of them over a foot across and 20+ feet long.  Some of them were just logs, but they were huge and water logged so they hovered just below the waters surface, a little scary. 

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We decided we better go slow.  Apparently with all the flooding up north they had opened up all the dams wide open to drain the upper river which meant that all the flood debris was directly in our path.  But luckily we didn’t have far to go to get to the main channel of the Chesapeake.    The day was looking nice and the water was relatively calm… there was even sunshine.  It wasn’t as warm as I would like, but it was pleasant.  Once we got to the open water we ate ham and cheese sandwiches and enjoyed the beginning of our trip.  The driftwood was gone and all was good.  Right away however, we saw a pirate ship.  Not a very good omen.

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We decided we needed to get gas at a small marina town called Rock Hall on Maryland’s eastern shore.  It is not far from our starting point, but we only had half a tank and it was a perfect place to fill up so we headed there.  About a half hour into our journey towards Rock Hall the clouds came in and the seas got angry, 6-7 foot seas very close together.  The wind was coming out of the west and we were on the eastern side of the Chesapeake, so we had no shelter.  IMG_0561

Dad was arguing that we should stay there.  I said hell no, its only 40ish miles from our starting point and without the driftwood and rough seas it was only a little over an hour from home.  Our plan is 100 miles a day, and this was not going to cut it.  I put on the marine weather channel on the VHF and they said that each day was going to be a little worse than the previous, and I said that making slow progress is better than no progress, because we would be stuck in Rock Hall Maryland until Wednesday at the earliest if we went with his plan.  Dad was adamant, but we ended up compromising.  After we filled up with fuel, we would at least go to Annapolis, which is a half hour further if the seas were calm.  They were rough, so we figured an hour more. 

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Once the tanks were topped off we headed towards Annapolis.  It was brutal.  Couldn’t go fast because it was too violent, couldn’t go slow because it was too wet.  So we went inefficiently in the middle.  Worst gas mileage we could do, but it was all we could do to keep the bottom of the boat in the water.  Every wave we hit (they were about 12-15 feet apart) made a nice sized splash, and since we were headed south west and the winds were coming out of the west, the water splashed out away from the boat, and the wind blew it right back at it and came over the windshield and splashed me in the face.  Needless to say I was soaked.  Once we got to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge it seemed like we were close to Annapolis.  But in reality we weren’t.  And of course Dad said “It could be worse, at least it isn’t raining.”  Murphy’s law said I should punch him in the face for saying something like that.  Luckily for him, it didn’t start raining.

We decided that we better hug the western shore so we would have some shelter from the wind, and it worked, it just took forever to get there at a comfortable speed of 10mph.  Once we did, it calmed down considerably.  We eventually got to the bridge and then we were pretty sheltered as we neared Annapolis harbor.

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There were Navy guys out on sailfishes hauling ass in the gusty winds.  We also saw more than one sailfish keels pointing up and Navy guys pointing down.  Even though I was soaked, through and through, at least I wasn’t one of the Navy guys.  It also wasn’t too cold out…yet.

We arrived at Annapolis and docked the boat without incident. 

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IMG_7237I changed into dry clothes and we hit the town.  First we went to a Piano bar, but the piano didn’t start until 8pm… since that is our bedtime we figured we probably wouldn’t get to see piano bar goodness. 

Next we went to an Oyster bar and ordered 2 beers and a dozen oysters.  Yummy, they were delicious.  IMG_7241This place was pretty cool.  It had trees growing inside and a glass ceiling, and it was packed to the gills.  We then ventured on to see what else we could find, and of course, since its what I always do, we stopped in an irish pub and got a few more beers.  I stuck to bud light and Dad got some Nitro beer.  Since Irish food usually isn’t very good we ventured on to Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs.  It a giant place on the 2nd floor overlooking the harbor.  Dad ordered the Steamed seafood festival and I the Fried Seafood something or other.  They arrived and were huge.  There was way too much food and we decided we should have just ordered one of them.  With our belly’s overstuffed we headed back to the boat and went to bed.