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. 


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.


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. 


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.


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. 


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.


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