The Route South

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Flying Manatee...myth or reality?

Our stay in Solomon's was all work, work, work!

Saturday June 2, 2012
After three weeks and two days in Solomon's, its time to be on the move again. Most of the To-Do list has been completed.  Certainly the ones which were "mission critical".  The others - well, if you ever owned a boat, you know that the list is never complete.
The weather forecast is uncertain with strong winds out of the wrong direction.  Finally, at 1030 we can't stand it any longer.  The forecast doesn't seem to have panned out and we decide to go and give it a try.  If it turns bad we can always turn around and go back.  Plus, there are a couple of bailout spots, if needed, so off we go.
In a half-hour we have rounded Drum Point.  The breeze is out of the west so when we round the Cove Point natural gas terminal we headed to the beach.  Once we got to within about 1/4 mile from the beach, the waves were down to a manageable size and we decided to continue on.  After lunch the wind is up to 31 kts. across the deck, but the seas are manageable so we continued on to Annapolis, rounding Thomas Point Light and entering the Severn River at 1715.  The Spa Creek draw bridge opens on the hour and half hour and we had to wait until 1830.  Ten minutes later we had picked up a mooring in the shelter of Spa Creek, where we would wait for four days while the wind blew itself out.  It gave us the opportunity to have lunch with Dr. Jane and Fuller one day and John and Pam from Compass Rose (KK42) the next.
48 n.m.

Wednesday June 6, 2011
Finally!  A good forecast!  We are up with the chickens and have dropped the mooring pennant at 0545 to catch the 0600 bridge opening.  As we entered the Bay, we knew that the forecast was right - light winds and a fair tide.  Cindy fixed lunch as we flew down the C&D Canal, passing Chesapeake City at 1235.  We have never stopped there and have been threatening to do so, but not on this trip.  We are making great time and shortly after 1400 we are out into the Delaware Bay, passing Reedy Island where we saw Almost Perfect (KK48) anchored.  The surface of the Bay was flat as we passed the entrance to the Cohansee River, our last available anchorage before Cape May.  We had a fair tide and Morning Star was making 9+ knots!  Cindy commented "We are flying!!" At this rate we can go all the way to Cape May before dark.  As we passed Ship John Shoal lighthouse, we started to notice a bit of breeze rippling the surface of the water.  The warning bells should have gone off then and there.  But we were flying down the Bay and we were greedy and we didn't want it to end. did.  By 1800, by the time we passed Miah Maul Shoal, the wind was on the nose and building.  Holy Crap!  When the wind blows against the current it sets up a short, steep wave pattern and we were getting spanked pretty hard by 3 to 4 footers.  The only way its going to get better is for the wind to drop - unlikely - or the current changes.  Well, the current changed with a vengeance.  We traded 9 knots of speed for 4-1/2 knots!  And the darn waves are still smacking us around.  The sun is setting behind us when we finally have the Cape May Canal entrance in sight.  The day's last Cape May ferry entered the ahead of us at 2100, but it took another hour of slow-speed crawling in the pitch black with the radar spinning and the spotlight searching for unlit marks or obstructions.  Finally, at 2200 the anchor bit into the bottom off the Coast Guard station.  We were exhausted!!
113 nautical miles or 130 statute miles - a new record for us!

Entering the Elk River.

Car carrier entering the C&D Canal

Pay attention.  They pass close!

What's that stuff coming out of the stack!?  Nuclear  power plant on Artificial Island.
Notice the smooth, calm water.

Ship John Shoal lighthouse, when Delaware Bay was nice.