Sunday, October 9, 2016

Baltimore to Onancock - 2016

--Blogpost written by Bob

We left Baltimore at 8 AM on Wednesday, October 5, 2016 after carefully watching the projected path of Hurricane Matthew coming up the east coast of the United States.   The hurricane's current projected path north and our path heading south will intersect somewhere between Onancock and Norfolk, Virginia on Sunday, October 9.  It is quite possible that the jet stream will force Hurricane Matthew out into the Atlantic Ocean (like most other recent hurricanes) before our paths intersect.  We are vigilant but not worried.  We are both anxious to leave and I hope that we are not making a mistake in leaving with a hurricane bearing down on us.

Baltimore to Galesville

This is the first day of our new cruising lifestyle!   As we motored out of the Potapsco River our breakfast quiche was warming up in the oven in the galley--we ate breakfast as we were motoring along.

As we were leaving Baltimore one of many ships were unloading their
cargo.  This ship just happens to be flagged in Panama.

Here the Francis Scott Key Bridge lies just ahead of us--it marks the mouth of the Potapsco
River.  It took about 1-1/2 hours to motor from our marina to the bridge.

It felt great to be leaving the City of Baltimore and entering the expanse of the Chesapeake Bay again.  The morning was very cool and it definitely felt unusual to be leaving in such cool weather.  The wind was a brisk 15 to 20 knots out of the ENE as we entered the Chesapeake Bay with morning temperatures in the 60's.  Most of the day was spend sailing with jib alone, moving along at 6 knots or so.  The wind died down as the day progressed.  At the end of our first day the wind died down to about 4 knots.

We anchored in the West River across from Thursday's Restaurant at about 2:30 PM.   We celebrated our new lifestyle by having pimento cheese (fake) crab dip--a recipe from Martha Stewart's Appetizers cookbook.  We also had grilled swordfish and cucumber salad!

Our (fake) crab and cheese appetizer was very tasty!

For dinner, we had grilled swordfish and cucumber salad!  I used a silicone baking mat
on the grill for cooking the swordfish--this was a first!  The cucumber salad
was simply cucumber slices marinated in Marukan-brand seasoned
gourmet rice vinegar with dried dill weed--one of our favorites!

The latest projected path for Hurricane Matthew already has it tracking out into
the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday.  While we will continue to watch
its path but we don't think it is a threat to us any longer.

We were the only boat anchored in the West River as far as we could tell.  The relatively windless evening was cool (in the lower 60's) and we slept "like babies with full bellies."

Galesville to Solomons

We started the engine at 7 AM to make hot water and to get rid of the chill in the cabin.  Winds today (and the next couple days) are supposed to be more of the same with rain expected on Saturday.  After two days of northerly winds following the rain, the wind will clock around from the south for a time.

Buoy "1A'" marks the junction of the West River 
with the Chesapeake Bay.

After we left the West River, we motor sailed with the wind from our port aft quarter, slicing through the bay at over 6 knots most of the time.  The chatter on the VHF radio distracted us from the monotony of the rhythmic rocking motion of the boat--the accents in the waterman's speech was barely understandable for us.  An occasional wave came up and slapped the boat's curvaceous left butt cheek so as to lovingly coax it along on its route.

This is the sea state that we dealt with all day.

Here we are moving down the bay under autopilot.

We anchored in Mill Creek in the Solomons at 3 PM in the warm afternoon sun and protected from the winds.  For the second day, we've had terrible communications while anchoring, and this is one of the times that it's most important.  Our Bluetooth communicators work fine but the device doesn't select the words that are needed to communicate.  I don't know how to solve this problem except to get more experience working together on anchoring--we'll have a lot of opportunities down the ICW.

Maggie enjoys reading in the cockpit in our anchorage in the Solomons.

For dinner, we had thin steaks and thick sweet potato slices done on the grill with our favorite rose.

With dinner, we enjoyed a bottle of our favorite rose 
wine, Conde Villar Vinho Verde.

Solomons to Onancock

We got a little earlier start today (about 7:35 AM) because our destination was a little further down the bay and into Virginia.  The quiche lorraine tasted great while we motored out to Drum Point.

We shared our Mill Creek anchorage with two other
sailboats, both seemed loaded for the trip South.

Once we cleared Cedar Point where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay, we started a long tack that lasted 36 miles all the way to our waypoint south of Tangier Island!  Even though we had enough wind to sail, we motor sailed the entire day, averaging 6.5 knots.  (If I was feeling 100% we would have been sailing.)  It actually got kind of boring for us because there wasn't much to see or do along the way since we were far from the shore.  The wind was cool and the skies were overcast most of the day.

We arrived at Onancock Wharf at 5 PM, about 18 hours before the rain started.

Maggie is buying some fresh veggies at a stand in the Saturday morning
farmer's market.  She bought a loaf of whole grain bread, lettuce,
and ghia tori (a Chinese squash).  At this point,
it was only raining lightly.

The forecasted heavy rain started about noon on Saturday (October 8) and continued through noon on Sunday (October 9). 

Maggie is bailing out the dingy on Sunday at noon--it had
about 10 inches of rain in it!

On Sunday, the winds on the bay were 30 knots out of the North--another reason to stay put in the marina.  We reviewed the mail we have received in Green Cove Springs and have had it sent to Elizabeth City NC, our next major stopover.  (Elizabeth City is at the lower end of the Dismal Swamp Canal in the ICW.) 

While in the marina, we were contacted by a T. Lee Byrd (who we later learned is the town's Mayor) by cell phone asking us if there was anything we needed.  We didn't answer his call right away because we didn't want to impose on a local resident on a Sunday.  However, he showed up at the marina, tracked us down and offered to drive us anywhere we wanted to go for supplies.  He took Maggie to the drug store about 3 miles away to get some more cold remedies for me.  This is an example of how friendly local Onancock residents are to boaters!

In the afternoon, we watched the Washington Redskins beat the Baltimore Ravens on TV in the Blarney Stone Pub--a very friendly place!


I'm still suffering from the after effects of the bronchitis, still coughing occasionally and dealing with draining sinuses.  I've raided our first aid kit of our stash of antibiotics to try and facilitate the healing but it is going slow.  I'm hoping I can finally kick the thing before we get to Elizabeth City, NC!  We plan to leave the marina on Monday at about noon and anchor near the mouth of the river so that we can get an early start on Tuesday.

From Onancock, we will be sailing to Mobjack Bay on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay and then onto Willoughby Bay in Norfolk, VA.

Thanks for following our blog!

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