September 27 – October 1.
Bohemia River, Sassafras River, Magathoy River (Sillory Bay, Dividing Creek), Rhode River (covered in our last log update)
October 2-8: West River.
The Whitby 42 Owners Rendezvous and the Annapolis Boat Show. There were 9 Whitby’s on site, and it was interesting to see what the other boats had done and talk with them about their experiences.
A Gathering of Brewer designs and some creative ideas
The Annapolis Boat Show was productive for us. We purchased a new set of davits for the dinghy / solar panels, a set of duplex “walkie-talkie” headsets (no more “over” since they behave like a telephone), charts and other useful gadgets. We talked with a number of suppliers of products we have installed and found to be less than satisfactory.
October 9: Aberdeen Creek, South River.
A moment of peace and serenity … notice the power boat is not creating a wake … for once
We anchored in Back Creek in Annapolis, free of charge, quite secure, and within a city block of the Kato (davits) factory, so it was a convenient way to get delivery of our new davits. Brian did the install while at anchor. There must have been well over 300 boats in this little creek, and that is only one of about 6 major creeks in Annapolis. Docks line the sides of the creek and then boats anchor in the middle. It is hard to figure out which way the creek turns there are so many boats and little creeklets feeding the creek.
Back Creek main entrance… lots of boats … very little channel
deeper into the creek … not so many boats, but house & cars & boats
One of the many boats anchored in the middle of the channel.
An old boathouse … ready to fall down in the next big storm
Both sides of the river were lined with farms, barns, farmhouses, silos, and outbuildings. Along the shoreline, in about 6-9 feet of water there were a number of fish weirs. These are netted enclosures around a number of stakes driven into the riverbed. We are not sure what they were catching. We could almost hear Beethoven’s 6th Symphony (the Pastoral)
as we drifted along.
Silos for livestock feed
A very peaceful environment for horses, cows and sailboaters
Crops are in – time to do the autumn stuff
There was a house that had been made by converting two adjacent silos and creating a walkway between the silos. It was four stories high, and the first two stories had very large decks. It was quite strange looking. I cannot imagine it to be a comfortable home.
Silos for people … wonder who they are feedstock for?
Guess this could be an example of low rise and high rise housing
We spent a day in Chestertown, well up the Chester River
Chestertown plaque … George slept here …no mention of his roommate
Chestertown from the river with the marina in the foreground
An historic house in Chestertown
There were Irish settlers in Chestertown … they know what is important
Dads busy on his cell phone … there are3 coins in the fountain
Gotta get one …there are still 3 coins in the fountain
A pretty park in the centre of the town attracts people of all ages. One guidebook said the parking meters were on quick-release stands; many period movies are shot here, and the parking meters need to be removed quickly. But they looked like regular parking meters to us.
The town folk take parking infractions seriously … notice cannon
Most of the sidewalks were still brick … not much grass to cut
Jane on our walkabout
October 18-19: Wye River, Dividing Creek
The waterfront property on the Chesapeake would lead you to believe that Maryland is a very wealthy state. The poor and dispossessed hardly every live on beautiful shorelines and if they do they get taxed so high they are forced to move.
A modest house and property by Chesapeake standards.
This one is more the average
but it has a great backyard
A single family home American Style
The banks of Dividing Creek are Maryland State property: the home of Great Blue Herons, Eagles, Swans, and muskrats.
At least some areas are preserved for the original inhabitants
Fall has arrived
Dividing Creek just starting to turn colour
Better than a sunset
A quiet centre
The long wait for lunch
We went back to west shore of the bay to see Jane’s sister and her husband and hunkered down in the Rhode River for a gale from the northwest.
Pilgrim in 40 knots at anchor
We sailed back to the east shore and through a sailboat race near Oxford.
A spinnaker jibe that didn’t quite work
Lets see…they are on port tack we have right of way …should we push the issue?
We bore off to let them pass …we are still racers at heart
but for some folks it doesn’t matter how much room you give them
20 knots and building … rail under …and an overlap … guesses?
We anchored in Trippe Creek. Is this really just one house?
A single family dwelling in the fine Chesapeake tradition
October 23-24: San Dominico Creek and St. Michaels:
We spent two evenings in San Dominico Creek because it was so cold and very windy … a steady 20 knots. We took the dinghy into St. Michaels, another historic city on Maryland’s eastern shore. No pictures because it was too cold and wet in the ¼ mile dinghy ride in the waves to a fishing dock at St. Michaels “back door.”
October 25: Solomons Island, Patuxent River: The cold weather helped us understand it was time to head south. We crossed to the west shore and sailed past Cove Point, where there is a large research establishment with a huge structure rising out of the water.
Restricted area and they mean it …there is nothing on the chart
Solomons Island is a large boating community, almost rivaling Annapolis. We anchored in Mill Creek, well away from the marinas, but still crowded with boats.
We finally managed to anchor after many failures due to the muddy ooze
A large military base is located at the mouth of the Patuxent River.
The installation creates a lot of radio frequency noise
No wonder we had difficulty getting out a HAM radio message the previous night
October 27-28: Wilton Creek, Piankatank River. The forecast was for Gale force winds once again, from the southeast moving through south to the west. We checked our cruising guide and decided on a small, meandering creek certified as a hurricane hole.
The hurricane hole … we had gusts of 30 knots and dragged once
Luckily worst of the storm passed to the south
We stayed for two nights. The first we had strong southeast winds, but the second day and evening we felt practically no wind. Yet, we heard reports of 54 knots of wind on the Chesapeake Bay, and 25-foot waves on the open Atlantic Ocean.
During our layover in Wilton Creek, we removed our self-steering rudder. Much of the bottom (sloughing) paint had worn off, and a green hair-like growth was 8 inches long. We will not need the rudder until our next ocean crossing; it is resting on our stern deck waiting to be painted.
Brian guiding up the self-steering rudder for a new coat of paint
October 29-31: Willoughby Bay: We left our hurricane hole perhaps a bit too early. The waves were only 4-6 feet, but the bay is shallow and the waves were steep. Probably this is the way Lake Erie is in gale winds. The wind was from the west-southwest, and we were traveling south, so we were on a close reach and running right into the waves. Pilgrim usually rides waves pretty smoothly, but she was slamming down these waves, sometimes with a bit of a shudder. If the waves were not “slammers” they were “splashers.” A splashing wave would hit Pilgrim and the wind would blow the breaking wave clear over the cockpit. Even though the cockpit is enclosed (canvas and plastic windows), we took so much splash that the seams of the enclosure leaked. Everything was wet and salty. It took us 10 hours to travel the 55 miles to the south end of the bay. We started our Chesapeake voyage with thunderstorms and a tornado; the Chesapeake gave us a good kick as we left.
Jane in her element …close reaching at 7.8 knots in 28 knots of wind
We have re-provisioned the boat, filled the water tanks and cleaned the boat, our cloths and us as much as possible. It is time to begin our motor-trip down the Inter Coastal
Waterway (ICW), a 1100 mile water-highway from Norfolk, Virginia to Miami, Florida.
Chesapeake Weather: When it was good it was very, very good …
Wing on Wing going up the Chester River …
Sunset on the Corsica River, a tributary of the Chester River
Sunset on Langford Creek, another tributary of the Chester River
And when it was bad it was horrid. During our month in the bay, we had three gales and one rainstorm that included a tornado.
Northwest Gale at the Rhode River anchorage
Rhode River anchorage in 30-35 knots
Sailing up the Choptank River
Ominous barometer … 5 hour drop
Duck Blinds: There are many duck blinds in the Chesapeake and some of them are even mentioned on charts. We heard shotgun blasts in several locations. Evidently duck season had begun.
This is a male Mallard duck …slightly smaller than a KFC chicken
This is a duck blind built at great cost and is even marked on charts
They start shooting before daybreak and continue into the night
Canada Geese: The geese seem to travel in groups of about 150-300 and are quite spectacular in such concentrations, whether flying (they appear to be grey clouds from a distance, but then show as a flock and finally when overhead are visible as individual geese), on the water, or grazing on land. We flushed out two groups as we rowed up Emory Creek off the Corsica River (not intentionally, of course). The sound of flapping wings, then the honking was awesome, not to mention the power of them flying right overhead (and no, we were not hit by any droppings). We saw some large flocks of geese grazing in fields on the Chester River.
A field covered with grazing Canada Geese …guess what else It’s covered in
Fish Weirs We encountered many fish weirs in water up to 20 feet deep, often at the mouth of rivers. They are not on charts, and in some weather conditions are difficult to see until you are almost in them. Some are operational, others abandoned, but not dismantled.
This one is marked with lights … most are not
Seagulls (as fish finders): We observed up to a hundred seagulls swarming the surface of the water; they had found a school of small fish that were being pursued by larger fish, driving the small ones to the surface. Fishermen look for these bird swarms to find good fishing grounds.
The gulls at a column of bait fish during 25 knot winds
Monarch Butterfly: We continued seeing many migrating monarch butterflies, and one took a ride with us for a few moments to rest its wings.
Blue Hereon stalking some lunch
Eagles: Four eagles soared and swooped low right in front of our bow as we motored up the Wye River. Jane observed one eagle chasing a pestering seagull at the mouth of Dividing Creek on the Wye River. Two eagles almost appeared as plastic scarecrows on a dock in the Chester River.
The Eagles are in the centre of the photo on top of pilings
Muskrat or River Otter or ?:
Just checking out the visitor to his home stream
Pelicans: We knew we were getting south when we saw pelicans in Virginia. They are much larger than even the black-backed seagull, and love to skim along the water.
Pelican at rest
A flight of Pelicans checking out the fish weir
Watermen on the Chesapeake:
Folks who harvest crabs, oysters and fish from the Chesapeake are called Watermen. Boaters generally dislike watermen because they set out crab traps with floats; if a boat runs over the float line, it could wrap around the propeller and cause major damage to the shaft. When we were in Galesville on the West River, we met a waterman who was selling crabs and oysters from his house. He took us on his boat (40 foot wood) and showed us his oyster tongs made by his father, a blacksmith. He explained how watermen set their crab traps; since many work alone, they drift out with the tide to set a line of crab traps. Hence, once you have found two floats from the same waterman, you can follow the “channel” of the tide and avoid surprise floats. He told us about his activities with the Maryland government regarding regulations in the water-harvesting business, the educational programs he puts on for children, as well as the long hours he puts in on the water and in maintaining his equipment and boats on land. He was articulate about the industry and issues. He is in the 2% of watermen who actually live right on the water; most cannot afford waterfront property and keep their boats in marinas. We were glad we had stopped to buy his crabs and oysters; we learned so much in the process.
Watermen using a hydraulic lift for oystering
Crabber on Chester River using a long line of chicken necks as bait .. line comes up to a fitting on the boat …he nets any crabs that are hanging on to their “free” lunch
Boat on cold, blustery day … Rain, sleet, wind
Two fishermen in outboards on Magothy River …
Hydraulic lift oystering
Blue Crabs … ALIVE AND FIESTY
Lone waterman in outboard … crabbing