Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Left Maryland. In the south, ya'll!

Leg 5:  Smith Creek to Deltaville, VA

We awoke to 41F.  That stinks.  We raised anchor at 7:15 am (which apparently was set quite well, thank you very much).   We motored out of the creek and have the sails up pretty quickly (just the genoa for today).  We cut the engine as we enter Chesapeake Bay.  Again, it's choppy as the river meets the bay combined with current, tide and some wind--similar to a washing machine.  However, the NW wind was at our back and Odin surfed quite nicely with the 1-3 ft waves.  We averaged 6.1 knots, and arrived at our destination an hour early (42 miles in 7 hours instead of 8).  Our only real problem was the high of 59F didn't happen until late afternoon.  Odin excellent.  Crew a little chilly.  We saw a few gusts of 25 and 100 ft of water underneath.  For the first time, we couldn't see the opposite shore of the Chesapeake.  We end up sailing 3/4's of the time with 3/4 genoa.  The winds are supposed to decrease, but as usual, they don't.   We have to start the engines to motor into Deltaville.  Docking was less of an event.  A friendly harbormaster tells the Captain there is cable TV in the lounge--his first in 24 days.  It also turns out, the other PDQ we were interested in just arrived from here from Florida.  Small world.  I tidy up the mess down below (clothes, charts, food wrappers everywhere) and the Captain gives the outside a scrub down (oyster shells on our anchor from Smith Creek?!).  Shore power means the espresso machine and space heater are pressed into service.  We go out for dinner.  (The cat is still asleep.  She doesn't think these arrivals are worth getting up for.)

Day 2 at marina:  The marinas we've visited are top-notch.  Here we paid $64/night.  Dozier's gave us a courtesy car so we went out for breakfast, hit the Ace Hardware store (Awesome store!  Remember before WalMart & Target, when you got everything else at Ace?), grocery store and West Marine.  Since we're headed for the ICW (and a lot of anchoring) we put 60 ft of new anchor chain on the port anchor (main anchor with windlass).  We also picked up new line to replace the second reef line and the First Mate got a new foul weather jacket (that should make the sun come out!)  It rained all afternoon.  Laundry day.

Doesn't make me any warmer, but requires fewer layers.

The Captain does chores and cleans the exterior (for those keeping track, he seems to spend as much time cleaning as fixing!)

Day 3 at marina:  More rain.  We're waiting for better weather on Monday, so grocery run, more laundry, hot showers, cable TV and reading (I started the Chesapeake by Michener, so no dilly-dallying!)  THE SUN IS OUT!  Captain replaces the second reef line (bird's nest--more cleaning).  Water tanks are filled (9 days and still above 1/4 tank).  I made crab cakes & Hemingway's for dinner as we prepare to leave the Chesapeake Bay.
Stunning sunset in Deltaville (Odin is far left)

As I prepare for a hot shower at the marina, I notice water on the floor.  It turns out that when Captain switched to the aux water tank, the valve cracked and was leaking.  Most of the water drained into the bilge once he stopped the leak, while I mopped up the rest with a sponge and bucket.  The previous owner left a box of goodies, which helped, but my Captain ends up plugging the lines with a few wine corks (thanks for the cork holder, Pat!)  Gonna need more wine.
(2 corks top left)
We're low on corks--I mean spares.

Leg 6:  Deltaville to Hampton Roads/Ft Monroe, VA (across from Norfolk):  I love crab.  I hate crab pots.  It's the beginning of the season and they are everywhere.  A local told us that they won't drop them in more than 35 ft of water, so we are forced farther off shore than we planned.  Lot's of big container ships in the channel today, including a few large unidentified hovercraft.  We crossed our first shipping channel (with a Naval warship headed our way.  It was pretty far out, but looked bigger when headed straight for us).  The seas were less than 1 ft and the wind averaged 15 kts.  We were finally comfortable enough to drag the stereo over to the companionway so we could have some tunes.  I even managed to duck down below long enough to fashion a hasty lunch--sandwich for the Captain, crackers with peanut butter for me (OK, but it's not Larabars!)  The First Mate was at the helm most of the day.  The bay is starting to change colors from brown/black to green/blue.  We passed a few more lighthouses (my favorite) and Langley Air Force Base (airplane!)
"Traffic on the port side."
Not our prettiest anchorage--next to the highway, but still fun.  A SUBMARINE just went by.

Straight into Norfolk would have been a long day, ending with navigating a shipping channel that includes Naval warships and container ships.  Pass.  The harbormaster at Deltaville recommending stopping short in Hampton Roads and the crew of Kintala helped us find an anchorage at the mouth of the river, right next to the Fort.  Who doesn't want to go visit a fort?!  There's some crab pots, another sailboat, it's next to the highway (and the tunnel that goes under the bay) and it's not completely sheltered but good enough (free!)

Stats: total time 7:11, 44.4 nautical miles, 6.2 avg.  Avg 15 kt tailwinds. 
Another obligatory sunset photo at Fort Monroe, VA anchorage

It's a nice afternoon so, we have dinner in the cockpit.  My wonderful Captain makes Italian sausage with Marinara and squash.  Captain's tip of the day:  Put the cork in the dinghy BEFORE you lower it down to the water.  AND he's gone (the longest dinghy ride so far--I'll kayak it the next day).  I think he loves his dinghy as much as the sailboat--"get the wifi password while you're over there!"

"And he's off..."

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