Friday, June 10, 2016

Moving up the Bay

We left York River Yacht Haven on schedule Monday with a destination just around the corner in Mobjack Bay. An easy 5 hour trip. We didn't even make it to the end on the York river before we were considering changing our plan. It was a gorgeous day. SeaClearly was performing flawlessly despite the long winter hiatus. But it was the weather forecast that provided the impetus to change. Just to our south, Tropical Storm Bonnie was rolling up the coast. It appeared that the northern edge would just brush us if we anchoring in Mobjack Bay. But, if we went just a bit further, we could skirt the edges and miss the rain. So, we charted a new course for Fleet's Bay (Little Bay anchorage) just north of the Rappahannock. This was supposed to be our second stop but we just couldn't resist pushing on. It was an uneventful trip (well, there were dolphins, and warship number 51) and the long daylight hours would make for an easy evening arrival at Fleet's Bay.

Junie, soon-to-be birthday girl.
Wolftrap Light in the background
The plan worked as expected and we spent a quiet night at anchor. There is a great little beach to take Tilly to shore. She ran off some of her puppy energy and got soaking wet. Not exactly swimming. More on that latter. We had to give her a quick cockpit shower to get the Bay water off of her.

We got a slow start the next day. We got Tilly to pee on the fake grass so we didn't have to make a dinghy trip to shore. But, it still takes a while to pick up the 'little rubber boat' and hang it on the davits. We are still getting back into the swing of things after a year off but it is coming back quickly.

The target for Tuesday night was Cornfield Harbor on the north side of the Potomac River. The wind was supposed to switch to the northwest and it looked like we could get a little protection there. Isolated but with beach access. When we dropped the anchor, the weather was beautiful. By the time we fed Tilly and started thinking about going ashore, we had 25 knot winds and choppy 3 foot waves. No shore trip tonight.

The next morning, however, was perfect. First of all, it was Junie's birthday. Her 60th birthday - though no one would ever guess that. Sitting at anchor in a quiet cove is not a bad way to celebrate. We took the dinghy into the beach and walked Tilly. We thought about just keeping her on the leash to avoid the bating thing but the beach was just too perfect. She ran up and down like a maniac and waded out into the water. The slope of the beach was ideal for coaxing her a little further. Tilly was a late July puppy so winter came before she got much water time. She has been in the water - and has accidentally swum - but had yet to embrace her Lab-ness. This was the day. After a few sticks floated out of reach, she finally sucked it up and went to the deep end of the pool. It was fun to watch as she consciously decided that she could, indeed, float long enough to reach that stick after all. We have some videos of the event so I will try to get some pics out of them. I suppose there is no stopping her now.

We went back to SeaClearly, pulled the anchor and got underway. There was a nice breeze coming from our port quarter  so we just threw out the genny and sailed along.

Just starting to suck.

And there ends the quiet, peaceful part of the day. It is a typical sailing story. The wind started gusting a little higher. We were glad we just had a headsail out. We furled in just a bit as the wind passed 20 knots. As we turned more north, the wind turned to come north-northwest - basically right on our nose. The waves got bigger and sloppier. We rolled in all but about 6 feet of the genny to keep the boat stable in the stupid waves and started the engine. The wind went into the high twenties and the waves went to 5 feet with no period to speak of. Classic Chesapeake Bay. So much for Junie's leisurely birthday sail.

OK. Really sucking now.
By the time we were approaching the Patuxent River, there was no one out on that part of the Bay but SeaClearly, the tall ships headed for Norfolk and the Coast Guard. The waves were steep 6 - 8 footers and the winds were hitting 35 knots. We had water running down the sides of SeaClearly and sucking out through the scuppers. We have seen this before. SeaClearly has seen this before. Tilly had not. She was shaking and sitting in Junie's lap. When things got really scary, she crawled up behind me and hid her face behind my back, afraid to look.

In the end, of course, all was fine. We coasted into Solomons, Maryland later than we expected but safe and sound. We have been here before and knew we wanted to anchor way in the back next to the Holiday Inn. They have a dinghy dock with easy access to land, food, West Marine, garbage disposal and ice. Our original plan was to get settled and then go out to dinner for Junie's birthday but we were all pretty fried. Fortunately, we had prepared and frozen some great meals ahead of time so it was Shrimp Creole for dinner at another quiet, though far more populated, anchorage. We slept the sleep of tired sailors that night with Tilly dreaming of swimming.
The next day in Solomons. Much nicer.

We will probably stay here for a couple of days. The bouncy ride probably stirred up some crap in our fuel tank so we want to change the Racor fuel filter. And, the weather looks good for some varnish work while sitting at anchor. Not bad.

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