The Route South

Sunday, June 4, 2006

As a Dreamer of Dreams


“As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man
I have chalked up many a mile….”
"Son of a Son of a Sailor"
Jimmy Buffett

Sunday June 4, 2006

Today we are uncertain of where we want to go. We have a reservation at a marina in Portsmouth, VA, across the ICW from Norfolk. So we slept in and loafed. But once underway we realized that the day was too good to waste so we decided to press on into the Chesapeake.

The anchor was up by 9:20 AM and at 10:25AM we passed Mile Marker 0, the “beginning” of the ICW. Technically the ICW begins in the Northeast but for practical purposes this is considered the beginning. By noon we were passing Portsmouth, Norfolk, the Navy Shipyard, container ship terminals and Hampton Roads. Rows upon rows of Navy destroyers, submarines, supply ships, aircraft carriers and at least one battleship. Quite a sight! A lot of tax dollars afloat. We learned later that the USS Cole, the ship damaged by suicide terrorists in Yemen (?) was deployed two days after we went by.

At noon we passed out of Hampton Roads and into the Chesapeake Bay. We actually made it!! I have to reset the scale on the chart plotter and GPS to read in nautical miles rather than statute. The ICW uses statute miles but in the Bay distance is measured in nautical miles. Since this is what we use in the Gulf and Atlantic, it is what we are comfortable with.

By 2 PM we had passed York Spit and 45 minutes later we were abeam Point Comfort lighthouse and turned into Mobjack Bay. At 5:30 we entered the East River (not to be confused with the one in New York) and by 4 PM we had the anchor set in Put-In Creek. We selected this anchorage quite by accident but it was the most idyllic setting we could hope for. Old farm houses with lawns sloping down to the creek, boats at their moorings, geese honking. WOW! Rain and thunderstorms after dinner and off and on through the night.

Monday June 5, 2006

It rained lightly, off and on until after breakfast. Shortly after 9:30 AM we raised the anchor and headed back out into the river, with one brief delay when our draft exceeded the depth of the creek. At 12:30 we were abeam Wolf Trap lighthouse. The story is that waaaay back when, a British ship, the Wolf, ran aground there and it took something like three months to refloat her – hence the name, Wolf Trap.

The wind is NE at 12-15 knots and the seas are lumpy and uncomfortable. Our speed is down to 5 knots. This sure wasn’t forecast. YUCK! Shortly after 2 PM we entered the Piankatank River. There are several anchorages to choose from and we investigated several before settling on Berkley Island, where we anchored for the day just before 4 PM. Glad that’s over.

We did 37 nautical miles today.
37/37 (since we have changed from statute miles, I have reset the trip log also)

Tuesday June 6, 2006

We loafed this morning, doing some computer work and making phone calls after breakfast. We are heading to Deltaville today and it’s a short trip.

We don’t’ get the anchor up until 11 AM. We pass Stingray Point by 12:45 PM. We are in the Rappahannock River. NOAA lied. NOAA is the weatherman and promised 5-10 kts. of breeze but instead it is 15 and building. Again, the ride is uncomfortable in the chop.

Legend has it that Captain John Smith, when he was exploring the area for England, is supposed to have stepped on a stingray and the poison of the barb made him gravely ill. Local Indians are said to have saved his life by medicating the wound and just on the other side of the river is Antipoison Creek.

Finally, at 1:15 PM we turned into the small village of Deltaville. We took on 150 gallons of fuel at Norview Marina ($2.50/gallon seems to be a good price) before moving to Regatta Point marina. The guy who owns this marina and another in Urbanna also owns Waterway Guide Publications, the old standard in cruising guides.

We took a bike ride about three miles into the town for dinner.

The wind is forecast to stay up and we are going to lay over another day and get a few chores done.

Thursday June 8, 2006 – Cindy’s Birthday!

We want to get an early start to try and beat the wind so we have the engine going by 6:15 AM. We are out of the Deltaville channel and back into the Rappahannock River by 6:30 AM. Shortly after 7 AM we have crossed Rappahannock Spit and are northbound in the Bay. We passed another Manatee headed the other way and chatted them up on the radio. The weather has remained benign and we are making good time. By 1 PM we are abeam Cedar Point and turning into the Patuxent River and at 1:40 PM we enter the harbor at Solomon’s Island. This has been our goal for so many years and it is hard to believe we are finally here. We took a quick spin around the harbor and then went back out and turned up the river and headed for the anchorage at Cuckold Creek where we set the anchor at 3:30 PM.

Today was a banner day on many different levels;

  1. Cindy’s birthday.
  2. Morning Star turned 3400 hours on the engine.
  3. We arrived at our goal – Solomon’s Island.

Friday June 9, 2006

We had a lazy morning, sleeping in until after 7 AM. There are Small Craft Warnings again for today and tomorrow so after breakfast we decided to go in and move into our slip at the marina. We had the anchor up before 9:15 AM and were out into the Patuxent in short order. We got back to Solomon’s Island before 10 AM but took a detour up Mill Creek and St. John Creek ogling the beautiful homes and boats lining the creeks.

At 11:00 AM we are tied into our slip at Calvert Marina, our home at least until the fall. By my calculations we have traveled 1538 statute miles to get here. We put 233.3 hours on the engine.

We have a few days to do some chores and get the boat ready since we will be leaving the boat and flying back to Clearwater for two-and-a-half weeks to live our double life.

The Double Life

By Don Blanding

How very simple life would be if, only there were two of me.
A Restless Me to drift and roam - a Quiet Me to stay at home.

A Searching One to find his fill of varied skies and newfound thrill
while sane and homely things are done by the domestic Other One.

And that’s just where the trouble lies, there is a Restless Me that cries
for chancy risks and changing scene,  for artic blue and tropic green,
For deserts with their magic spell, for lusty fun and raising Hell.

But shackled to that Restless Me, my Other Self rebelliously
resists the frantic urge to move.  It seeks the old familiar groove
that habits make. It finds content, with hearth and home, dear prisonment.

With candlelight and well loved books and treasured loot in dusty nooks,
With puttering and garden things and dreaming while a cricket sings.

And all the while the Restless One insists on more exciting fun.
It wants to go with every tide no matter where…just for the ride.
Like yowling cats the two selves brawl until I have no peace at all.

One eye turns to the forward track, the other eye looks sadly back.
I’m getting wall-eyed from the strain.  (Its tough to have an idle brain)

But one says “stay” and one says “go” and one says “yes” and one says “no”
and one self wants a home and wife and one self craves a drifter’s life

The Restless Fellow always wins
I wish my folks had made me twins.