It took us seven days to get out of Chesapeake Bay.
Weather was the culprit as it whipped up two storms that swept through the area in quick succession. The first was a gale force storm that held us up in Solomons for three days. During that stay at Calvert Marina, we were fortunate to be on the south side of one of their floating piers. The wind was from the north and our lines held us off the dock about a foot and a half. It wasn’t too bad for us, but the boats on the north side of the docks got rocked pretty hard. The crews were out almost hourly as they adjusted their fenders to protect their boats.
There was one unfortunate crew of a thirty foot cruiser that made the mistake of actually going out into the bay on the first day of the storm. They limped their way into Solomons on one engine. All of us gathered on the dock and helped them get in and the crew looked beaten and bruised. After we got them tied up, the main question on everyone’s mind got asked almost immediately. “What was it like out there?” The captain of the small boat, Dofu 2, at least was honest enough to say, “It was someplace we shouldn’t have been.”
While in Solomons, we befriended a crew from Canada, Frank and Kathy of Salty Paws. They were cruising with another couple, Dave and Jackie of Tempo, also from Canada. Salty Paws was tied up with us at Calvert while Tempo was at another marina for some quick repairs. We all traveled together from Solomons to Deltaville (sort of). They went to the anchorage on Jackson Creek, the south side of Deltaville.
After Solomons, we had one good cruising day and made it into Regatta Pointe Marina in Deltaville. There we sat for only two nights, with some of our dockmates from Solomons tied in also. That storm was not as bad as the previous one, but enough that it made things rough in the bay.
We all left our moorings on that seventh day out of Chesapeake Bay and headed on into Norfolk under nearly perfect conditions. The conditions were so good that we skipped outr original destination, Hampton City Pier, and motored on down with Salty Paws and Tempo to the free dock at the mouth of the Dismal Swamp canal where we enjoyed docktails and a peaceful night.
In the morning, they all went down the Dismal Swamp. We headed on down the Virginia Cut to our destination, Coinjock. My god, the boating was sooooo slow. We first had to wait for the Steel Bridge to open, along with ten or eleven other boats. Then it took forever to get everyone into the Great Bridge Lock, out, and past Atlantic Yacht Basin. Then, for the first time ever, the railroad bridge between Great Bridge and the Centerville Bridge was down for a train. We had to wait for that. That threw the timing off to get through Centerville. Then, we had to wait for the North Landing Bridge. All in all, it took us four hours to cover 12.5 sm. Eesch.
Crossing Albermarle was a real treat, and I do mean that sarcastically. The 15 mph winds were from the southwest, and just like it always happens at Coinjock, all of the boats peeled off the docks shortly after sunup. There was, again, a line of a dozen or so boats that made their way down the North River out into the sound. The faster boats made their way easily and quickly, while us slower boats and to sludge through the two to three foot close swells until about midway through the sound. After that the wind lost some of its fetch and things calmed down enough that it was tolerable. But that first half was pretty rough. Our bell rang twice on its own.
We were going to anchor out in a large anchorage field just at the northern tip of the Pungo River, but the weather reports we were getting were beginning to sound a bit ominous. We decided instead to pull into Dowry Creek Marina and sit out a day. Overall, from Coinjock, it was an 81 sm day. That next day, s it turned out, the weather reports were wrong and we learned it was a pretty good day out there. But we committed to stay put and, actually, we’re glad we did. I was exhausted. I pretty much collapsed and slept in a lot of the day.
As I write this on November 1, 2014, we are at Whitaker Point Marina in Oriental, North Carolina, where we will once again sit out another gale force storm that is churning its way into the area. Here, we’ve made some new friends already; Larry and Sue of K’ten, from Troy, New York…or Connecticut…or Delaware. They’re like us in that they have several properties in different states and declare their residency to suit their needs.
And low and behold, Salty Paws and Tempo have made their way in here also.
So what of the future? Well, starting on Monday, it looks like we are going to have some very good boating conditions. The winds are going to pretty much lay down, and with us entering the heart of the ICW, we expect to get into Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach by the end of the week. After a few days there, we will continue on down to Jacksonville where we are still thinking we will have to head back to St. Louis and Denver for a short stay each.