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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Destinations > Chesapeake / Central US east coast > Chesapeake Bay
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Old 06-30-2010
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Southern Chesapeake Bay Cruise 2010

WOW, two weeks went by waaayyy too fast, but what a fantastic time we had. We visited many new places and a few of our favorites. That much time at once on the boat is rare for us, something we will not take for granite anytime soon.

Needless to say, after a Spring filled with many projects and repairs, more than we would have liked, we were ready to spend some time aboard enjoying the boat, and enjoy we did!

We were thrilled to find that the bay seems healthier than I ever remember. Maybe its just the areas we visited? Maybe the efforts are actually working? I dunno, saw lots of wildlife though!

I took off an additional two days before to prepare the boat and get our new dingy and engine ready for the trip among a few other little projects. The boat has never run better! Nothing broke with one exception, a reefing block, no big deal.

Day 1: Rock Creek to Rhode River
Departed: 14:00 Arrival: 18:00
Weather: Sunny Temp: 90 Wind: Light & variable building to WSW 10-15
After motoring out the creek we raised sails and enjoyed a wonderful sail making good time. Dropped the hook just SW of High Island. A visit to the little beach off Flat Island was in order followed by dinner on the grill. A great way to start of trip.














Day 2: Rhode River - A day of leisure
Weather: Sunny, storms late Temp: 90+ Wind: NW 10
In no big rush to go anywhere, we decided to stay put for the day and enjoy our beautiful anchorage. Swimming and playing on the beach. By late afternoon the anchorage had cleared out and we had it to ourselves. Weather reports were calling for severe storms and tornado warnings for the area. The weather did not disappoint. (What does one do on a boat if there is a tornado/water spout? I guess you pray A LOT!) After the passing of the storms we enjoyed a much needed cool breeze. The new Rocna anchor easily held in 40+ knot gust, I'm getting much better sleep on the hook now.




Day 3: Rhode River to St. Leonard Creek - On the move
Departed: 06:30 Arrival: 15:00
Weather: Sunny Temp: Mid 70-75 Wind: NW 10
Our first time here, what a beautiful creek, on my top ten list for the bay now. We choose a quiet secluded little cove about half way up the creek. The rolling hills and cliffs and little boat traffic made for a wonderful evening on the hook. We will most definitely be back someday!














Day 4: St. Leonard Creek to Reedville/Cockrell Creek - Airshow
Departed: 08:30 Arrival: 17:00
Weather: Sunny Temp: High of 80 Wind: NW 10-15
Lots of action at the Naval Air Base in the morning, we had own private air show, very cool. Two 747's (?) took off and flew right over top followed by several F16's (?). I think they were doing bombing runs on the ghost ship East of the mouth of the Potomac?
We had a great sail down the bay with good wind through the afternoon. On our approach into Reedville we were buzzed by a low flying private aircraft, he couldn't’t have been more than 100' off the water, then several of the fishing fleets 100'+ vessels accompanied us in. After a tour of the creek we finally dropped the anchor in a spot upwind of the fish processing plant (Note: double check weather report for winds overnight, more to come on that later) Dinner at the Crazy Crab and a stroll through the town of Reedville. Very friendly people, no place with in walking distance for provisions, although we did get an offer from someone at the restaurant to take to a store if needed, we declined, we were well stocked.






Day 5: Reedville to Mill Creek – Oh that smell
Departed: 10:00 Arrival: 12:00
Weather: Overcast, Light Rain Temp: 70 Wind: SE 25-30
Oh my god! I awoke to maybe the most horrible odor I have ever smelled, yup, the upwind of the factory. Seriously, I don’t know how the people whom live there stand it. I thought I was going to hurl. We couldn't’t get out of there fast enough; I had the anchor up almost before Irene had the engine started (sorry residents, no disrespect meant) After finding some fuel for the dingy, which took visits to three different gas docks before we found one that was open? Not sure what that was all about. Considering the winds we not in our favor and a beat to wind didn’t inspire us, we chose to make a short hop across the river to Mill Creek, the closest upwind location of Reedville. (Funny note, the other three sailboats in the anchorage did exactly the same thing LMAO) Getting into Mill Creek required paying close attention to the chart, but once inside, it was as if we went through a time warp. Calm, little to no wind, and absolutely amazing. We dropped the hook off the old abandon mill with the company of a few others. Once settled, we took a dingy ride to shore and explored a bit. It reminded me being on Deep Creek Lake, I highly recommend stopping there, lots of places to anchor.








Day 6: Mill Creek to Carter Creek/Irvington off the Rappahannock – The purr of the Iron Genny
Departed: 08:30 Arrival: 14:15
Weather: Sunny Temp: 85 Wind: Light
We got another decent start, Irene made me a perfect cappuccino and we settled in for a motor sail South to the Northern Neck. We intended to go to Corrotoman Creek but changed plans and went into CarterCreek. We spent some time cruising around drooling over some incredible homes! I was overwhelmed by the size of these places and their beauty…WOW. The Rappahannock Yacht Club was neat and very friendly. Irene had sent me on a mission to find dish soap, they kindly gave me some and I picked up some ice as well. We were hoping we could find a place in Irvington to purchase a new camera, ours bit the dust, but no avail. All the rest of the pictures are taken with a Blackberry. Not much to do or see in Irvingtonlace except the Tides Inn & Marina (very nice place but doesn’t have the charm of a place like Spring Cove Marina in my opinion). We looked for a place to buy a new camera but could only find a gas station with in walking distance. A nice stop going South but I wouldn’t return anytime soon, just not much for mariners IMO, but then Deltaville is not far










Day 7: Carter Creek to Sarah Creek/York River Yacht Haven – Pool Time
Departed: 06:45 Arrival: 15:30
Weather: Sunny Temp: 90+ Wind: E 10-15
We started the day with a beautiful sunrise and great wind through mid morning then it died around mid day and then picked up again nicely for a few tacks up the York River. I’m not really sure why we skipped past MobjackBay but we’ll come back, something for next year right. The heat was cranking up again and we wanted to get the girls to a pool so we opted for YRYH. I was impressed with the marina and the staff, especially their marina store! The pool was a pleasant sight, the girls had put on their suits before I had the boat completely secured, you could say they were ready for a swim.






Day 8: York River Yacht Haven – Breakfast & a History Lesson
Weather: Sunny Temp: 90+ Wind:
We woke up and were invited to breakfast on the deck, then arranged for their shuttle to take us into historic Yorktown for a history lesson. It was fun, but HOT. We did the usual tour and enjoyed a light lunch at the Carrot Tree Restaurant. The battlegrounds were impressive, although I expected something more like Williamsburg, it wasn’t. I had mixed feelings about Yorktown, here we were in an area filled with so much history, in the historic district, and then we’re on the beach surrounded by beach goers and a rock band playing at the little farmers market? Um, I guess I missed something We did pick up some great produce at the market though. So the kids chose the pool over a trip to Jamestown and Williamsburg, the right choice I think. There was a delay with our shuttle pick up, apparently the marina had a boat catch fire and they were a little busy attending to it, said it was the third one this year? I can’t say enough nice things about the marina and its owners, very nice place and people with great accommodations. (Well except maybe the bathhouse) I highly recommend them.


Day 9: Sarah Creek to Cape Charles/Kings Creek/Bay Creek Marina – Marble Bathrooms
Departed: 09:30 Arrival: 15:00
Weather: Sunny & Hazy Temp: HOT Wind: No where to be found
As we prepared for another day of motoring, not so exciting but at the same time its pretty relaxing…put in a way point and sit back enjoy the sound of nicely tuned engine I was really enjoying the wide open spaces of the lower bay, and disappointed we didn’t have the wind to enjoy it, but still, motoring vs. sitting in the office…it’s all good. We were planning to take a slip at the public dock in Cape Charles; I had made a reservation and was really looking forward to visiting the town. Those plans changed after we were given our slip assignment. Irene wasn’t going for being sandwiched in between to work boats and the girls really wanted to go swimming again. Here I was contemplating another marina for the night, all ready adding up the $$$ signs, and what do we choose, the most expensive marina yet, Bay Creek Marina. I don’t get it? What were they thinking? Please explain someone. Don’t get me wrong, nice place, in fact the nicest bathhouse I have ever seen in a marina, marble and all…then the smallest pool ever? Just weird. The channel up to the creek was interesting; I could not imagine having to navigate it in bad weather, no thank you. That might explain why the marina was maybe 30% full, sad actually, such nice facilities with NO charm. My biggest disappointment, we didn’t make into the town of Cape Charles. We will have to go back for sure, but I think we’ll stay at the public docks









Day 10: Cape Charles/Kings Creek to Dymer Creek/Fleets Bay – Heading Home
Depart: 09:00 Arrival: 14:00
Weather: Sunny & Haze Temp: 95+ Wind: NE 10-15
Onancock? Nope, not this time, bummer really but I couldn’t take another marina and from what I could gather there isn’t much place to anchor in and around the town? I read that there is an area to do so but on our first visit I didn’t feel confident after our attempt in Cape Charles. So Mobjack Bay for a week and a jump over to Onancock next year for sure. We had the wind on the nose for most of the way which was a welcomed relief from the heat; we tacked up the bay then finally losing the wind by early afternoon and fired up the engine. At this point there were some bittersweet feelings aboard as the compass pointed North and that meant the end was approaching. We chose Fleets Bay area; it looked like a reasonable distance considering they were calling for severe storms late. I had read that GrogIsland was a Chesapeake treasure one must see, but learned from a few locals that it was all but gone, marked only by a few stakes in the sand. We toke a ride around in the dingy, enjoyed the water art one creek west. A storm rolled in about dusk and lit up the sky for over an hour, pretty impressive, the crew was glad we were in a protected cove. BTW, this is the first year I’ve had Internet access aboard, I was great to be able to track the storms from the laptop.










Day 11: Dymer Creek to Solomon's Island – Dolphins?
Depart: 08:30 Arrival: 18:30
Weather: Sunny, low Humidity Temp: 75 Wind: NW 10-15
The girls helped me with breakfast and we weighed anchor and set out for a long haul. The cooler tempo felt great and everyone was looking forward to visiting our favorite marina, Spring Cove. We had some great sailing tacking up the bay, near perfect conditions. The bay was flat as could be and our apparent winds were in the high teems all day. We tacked all the way into Solomon’s, awesome. I would be amiss not to mention the dolphins, never have I seen them on the bay, but while I was taking a shower, Irene at the helm entering the Patuxent, and a school of Dolphins appeared, scaring the you know what out of her at first. I am told they were so close to the stern wake that Irene thought she could almost touch them; said they gave her a nod and a wink, very cool. I can’t believe I missed it but thrilled the girls got to see them. They followed for a while, like an escort into Solomon’s, then back to searching for dinner.

Day 12: Solomon's – Lazy Days
Weather: Overcast & Drizzle Temp: 80 Wind: n/a
Woke up to what made for a lazy day, you know the kind; drizzle, quiet, boat is secure, and the timing made for lots of naps mingled with a swim here and there. The cappuccino was especially good this morning. I wont ruin the report with much about my lunch at Catamarans Restaurant, you can read about that in the Chesapeake Bay Eats thread Whenever in Solomon’s we must stop by and say hello to the river otters at the Calvert Maritime Museum, the girls wouldn’t let me live it down if we didn’t. All they do is play all day, what fun! Irene stopped in Woodburn’s “Gourmet” Market for some ingredients for the upcoming rendezvous, not sure about the gourmet part, but a nice place.






Day 13: Solomon's to St. Michaels – Dinner at Dusk
Depart: 12:00 Arrival: 21:15
Weather: Clear, Sunny Temp: 85 Wind: NW 15-20 Gust 25+
Everyone enjoys a early morning dip in the pool and a nice breakfast. We prepare the boat for the weather prediction by moving the dingy to the fore deck and putting a reef in the sails, I anticipated a rough ride ahead. It was not bad, but the wind was making for some step short chop fighting the tide right on the nose. Tacking we wouldn’t have made our destination till very late, we sailed for a while, about 3 hours before motor sailing. We wanted to make St. Michaels before dusk as the weather was uncertain as a cold front was coming in later that night. As we turned up Eastern Bay the wind and chop had calmed down and we were still running with the tide a little so we shook out the reefs and had a great tack up EB then turned South for a nice run down the Miles. Dinner under full sail at dusk coming into St. Michaels…sweet! BTW, You on the cigarette boat doing about 60 mph at dusk…turn your running lights on idiot!




















Day 14: St. Michaels – Antique Boat Show
Weather: Gorgeous
Ah, St Michaels, this is the best town on the bay IMO, we love it there! It has everything you could need; a great crab house, an ice cream shop, a grocery store, the museum, a few bars, coffee shop, and more. We anchored off the Inn at Perry Cabins and the Maritime Museum. It can be a tight anchorage during any summer weekend but we got lucky arriving on a Thursday night (usually we anchor off Parrot Pt.). The antique boat show was going on at the museum, so many beautiful boats. Sail, Power, Large and small, but all of them wood. (I think)…amazing!
We strolled into town to stretch our legs and get some ice cream after crabs, nice way to wrap up our vacation before heading back home. Later that evening we were serenaded by a string quartet playing for a gathering at the Inn, pretty nice place to be uh.

















Day 15: St. Michaels to Rock Creek/Maryland Yacht Club – Rendezvous Time
Depart: 11:00 Arrival: 16:30
Weather: Sunny & Clear Temp: 90 Wind: SW 15
After a ride into town for breakfast at Blue Crab Coffee we headed for the Kent Narrows. We timed the opening of the bridge just right with about five minutes to spare. After we exited the channel we were set for a glorious sail out the Chester River across the bay to the Patapsco. I was busy down below preparing some food for the gathering later that evening, Irene was at the helm enjoying the ride. The girls seemed to be a little sad we were headed home. By 17:00 we were anchored off MYC for the 2010 SailNet rendezvous and were anxious to meet everyone, many for the first time. We piled the food, cooler, kids and everything else in the dingy and ran over to the pavilion. What a bunch of fun people, and a great spot to have such an event, thanks again Dave & Donna for hosting. We had a few boat tours and lots of good chats, tons of fun.










Day 16: MYC to Home – Safe and Sound
Depart: 11:30 Arrival: 11:40
Weather: n/a
We goofed off as much as we could before weighing anchor and the very short trip back to our home port. It was time to reflect and remember all that we saw and did and think about where and what to do next year J Of course, once back at the marina there was one little project I wanted to complete before we left for our other home, fit the dingy cover…well two hours later…oh never mind.






Map of the trip:

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Last edited by T37Chef; 07-07-2010 at 07:22 AM.
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Old 06-30-2010
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Sounds like a great trip! Thanks for sharing. I especially like your map showing your route!
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Thanks for the write up Chef. Sounds like a fun trip!

I'm surprised you didn't see more dolphins on the southern bay. I see them almost every time I go out in the summer. You also probably saw stingrays, but didn't realize it. They often look like brown blobs floating a few feet below the surface. Last summer on my July 4 cruise to the Patuxent they were so plentiful it seemed you could walk on them across the bay. I also get a kick out of seeing pelicans on the southern bay.

With all the wildlife and the wide openness of the water, the lower bay certainly has a different feel than up north.

Scott
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We did see many rays, interesting creatures...the pelicans are fun to watch too, man they fly soooo close to the water, ugly as heck though

The Southern bay is different for sure, but awesome nonetheless, love it!
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Carter Creek is the first place my wife and I ever anchored out and spent a night on a boat, so it will always have special memories for us. We dropped the hook not far from the dock at one of those fantastic million+ dollar homes and I remember thinking, that guy had nothing on us. A while later I saw a boat approaching us in a bee line and thought it was the owner coming to shoo us away. It was one of those Duffy electric Picnic boats, and the skipper motored his nearly silent boat close alongside congratulated us on having found a really nice spot to anchor, complemented the boat and wished us a pleasant evening.

Glad you had a great trip and your daughter(s) are adorable young ladies. (Sorry I didn't look at all the pics at first)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NautiG View Post
Thanks for the write up Chef. Sounds like a fun trip!

I'm surprised you didn't see more dolphins on the southern bay. I see them almost every time I go out in the summer. You also probably saw stingrays, but didn't realize it. They often look like brown blobs floating a few feet below the surface. Last summer on my July 4 cruise to the Patuxent they were so plentiful it seemed you could walk on them across the bay. I also get a kick out of seeing pelicans on the southern bay.

With all the wildlife and the wide openness of the water, the lower bay certainly has a different feel than up north.

Scott
Gemini Catamaran Split Decision
I think last summer was an anomaly. I'd never seen rays in previous years like a did last year. Last summer we'd see flocks of them swimming so near the surface their wingtips were breaking the surface.

The dolphins seems to be more plentiful during periods of drought. I think the higher the salinity in the Bay, the further north you tend to see them.
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Great narrative

Dave
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Bays Health

Since I mentioned my observations of the bays health and others comments, I was interested to find out what the most recent reports were saying.

http://www.eco-check.org/reportcard/chesapeake/2009/

Bay Barometer: A Health & Restoration Assessment of the Chesapeake Bay and Watershed - Chesapeake Bay Program

Its good to see the crab population is its highest since 1993, and some areas of the upper bay doing well, but Baltimore & DC areas look bad, as if we didn't already know that
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Nice description of the Southern Bay. Reedville will forever and always have the smell to me. Thanks for the reminder...
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Thanks for sharing!!!
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