Welcome to the blog of Fred and Julaine as we chronicle our adventures traveling the "Great Loop" on Boreas, our Carver 405.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 330 – at anchor in Dividing Creek off the Wye River - May 30, 2012

We have enjoyed our anchorage in Dividing Creek.  It did take awhile for the boat to cool off from the heat of the day yesterday, so it was a bit warm for sleeping last night – hopefully tonight will be better.

We spent today relaxing – Fred worked on house plans for an addition to our home in Midland and I caught up on my reading.  We also launched the dinghy and took a ride around Dividing Creek and Granary Creek (the next creek up the Wye River).  In addition to all the wildlife we saw yesterday, we can add snake to our list of animals seen in the Wye – we saw the snake swimming across the river while we were in the dinghy.
            Miles: 0           Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

Dividing Creek

turtles catching some rays

an "artsy" picture of Boreas at anchor

Boreas at anchor in Dividing Creek

you can never have too many pictures of your boat in a beautiful anchorage

Day 329 – St. Michaels, MD to anchorage in Dividing Creek off the Wye River - May 30, 2012

As I mentioned in the blog a couple of days ago, it isn’t far from one terrific place on the Chesapeake to another and today is a perfect example.  We traveled less than ten miles from the beautiful town of St. Michaels (where we would stay longer if the dock fees weren’t so high) to a beautiful anchorage on the Wye River.  Dividing Creek is about six-tenths of a mile long from where it leaves the Wye River to its end.  There are a number of small coves along the creek and we are just barely inside of one of them – this gives us plenty of swing room in case the wind changes directions (and it always does).  There are two other boats in the creek when we arrive and one more comes in after us, but we don’t feel crowed in the least.

The neat part about this anchorage is there are no houses around, just beautiful trees and awesome wildlife.  We’ve seen turkey vultures, osprey, blue herons, turtles and rays and we have heard fish jumping and the songs of lots of other birds.  We plan to be here for two nights, so we will launch the dinghy tomorrow and explore a bit.

            Miles: 8.2        Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

Bennett Point at the entrance of the Wye River - this is a private
lighthouse, not an official aid to navigation

entering the Wye River

our anchorage in Dividing Creek

looking across Dividing Creek from where Boreas is anchored

two turkey vultures on a dead tree

a blue heron fishing in the shallows

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 328 – at St. Michaels Marina, St. Michaels, MD - May 29, 2012

As predicted, it was EXTREMELY warm here in St. Michaels today.  While Fred was doing his engine checks this morning, he discovered that the AirSep unit on the starboard engine was loose.  After trying to tighten it unsuccessfully, Fred removed it and discovered that the flange was bent and would not tighten properly.  A little straightening work and a call to Walker Engineering (the company who makes the unit) for advice and the AirSep is successfully re-installed.  We will be looking to replace this unit somewhere along the line, but fortunately we don’t need to do it within the next few days.

We visited the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum today.  This is a mostly outdoor museum celebrating the way people live, work and play on the Bay.  There is an amazing boatyard where traditional boat builders restore Bay boats.  They are currently working on restoring a skipjack sailboat.  Their boat yard has some of the most amazing boat building tools.  This was definitely Fred’s favorite part of the museum.  We also got to climb the Hooper Straight Lighthouse which was moved from Hooper Strait to the museum in 1966.
            Miles: 0           Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

Hooper Strait Lighthouse

the Boat Yard building at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

old wooden blocks hanging in the Boat Yard building

the current restoration project - a skipjack sailboat

the underside of the skipjack sailboat

a new rudder post being worked on while the original post sits on the workbench

this is the biggest band saw I have ever seen

a nine log canoe turned into a race boat - they have a fleet of these boats that
race on the bay - when the boat tacks, the boards the crew are hiking out
on have to be moved from one side of the boat to the other

looking at Boreas and the St. Michaels Marina from the Hooper Strait Lighthouse

Day 327 – Tilghman Island, MD to St. Michaels Marina, St. Michaels, MD - May 28, 2012

Today was an amazing day to be out on the Chesapeake Bay.  It is Monday of the Memorial Day weekend and all the boaters who spent the weekend away from their home marina were on their way back home today.  So there were literally hundreds of boats moving from one harbor or marina or anchorage to another.  The way boats travel here seems so different from what we see on Saginaw Bay.  Here there are so many creeks and rivers that feed the Bay that boats can be anywhere, headed in any direction.  In the Saginaw Bay we all depart from the mouth of the Saginaw River and return back to that same place.  And here the distances from one great place to the next are very small.  In our last few moves around Chesapeake Bay we have been in three marinas and an anchorage and we’ve moved less than 35 miles each day (most days much less).  Our closest place to go from Bay City is Tawas which is over 45 miles away.  It is easy to see why people want to spend time cruising here.

Our stop tonight is St. Michaels Marina.  Part of the reason we are at a dock tonight (and will be tomorrow night) is that the heat index today was 96 degrees and is supposed to be the same tomorrow.  We decided that a dock where there is electricity and air conditioning would be a good decision.  We plan to be at anchor later this week after this heat breaks.  We took a stroll through town and visited some shops this afternoon and we will do more tomorrow.  The marina has been absolutely packed for the last three days (because of the holiday weekend), but it is now quite quiet – there are less than a dozen boats here tonight – that’s just the way we like it.

            Miles: 22.5      Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

two osprey feeding their young

passing Tilghman Point on the way to St. Michaels

the view from Boreas at St. Michaels Marina

another view from Boreas - looking across the harbor

one more view from Boreas - looking toward town

Days 325 and 326 – at Knapp’s Narrows Marina and Inn, Tilghman Island, MD - May 26-27, 2012

Knapp’s Narrows Marina and Inn is a great place to spend a few days.  The dock we are tied to is almost in the middle of the narrows, so we don’t get too much wake (the speed limit through the narrows is 6 mph, but we’re not sure everyone knows how slow that actually is).  We are also right next to the drawbridge, so we have a great place to watch boats waiting for and traveling through the bridge.  We even had a chance to watch one of the “rites of passage” for kids here on Tilghman Island – that is to jump from the bridge.  We not only saw a young man walk to the center of the bridge and jump into the (extremely cold) water, but he climbed up on the bridge’s fender system and hung by his arms from the steel beam and then rode the bridge up as it was opening, jumping off just after he came into the view of the bridge tender.  All I can say is kids are crazy!

It’s also a great place because of all the great people.  The regulars who keep their boats here enjoy spending time together with docktail parties and potluck/grill-your-own dinners and they were happy to add us to their activities.  We grilled out all three nights and had wonderful side dishes to taste and enjoy.   
            Miles: 0           Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

the busy Knapp's Narrows Bridge

the regulars at Knapp's Narrows Marina and Inn enjoy the shade (and
breeze) at the corner of the marina property - they also have a great view
of the bridge from this spot

the Knapp's Narrows Bridge - you can see Boreas at the end of the
marina's long transient dock

Boreas on the transient dock at Knapp's Narrows Marina and Inn

the sunset from Knapp's Narrows Marina and Inn

another shot of the spectacular sunset

Day 324 – Cambridge, MD to Knapp’s Narrows Marina and Inn, Tilghman Island, MD - May 25, 2012

A short ride down the Choptank River took us from Cambridge to Knapp’s Narrows.  The Knapp’s Narrows Marina and Inn is where Greg and Kate from Grianan keep their boat when they are here in Chesapeake Bay.  When we decided that it would be a good idea to stay in one place for the Memorial Day weekend we chose to hang out here with Greg and Kate.

It was a bit hazy when we left Cambridge, but by the time we got to Knapp’s Narrows the sun was out and it was beautiful.  Knapp’s Narrows is a shortcut from the Choptank River to the Bay across the northern end of Tilghman Island.  The bridge across the narrows is the busiest drawbridge on the bay – it opens on request and there are LOTS of requests.  We get tied up on the 500 foot long floating transient dock at the marina.  They are expecting a full house this weekend, but we are lucky and are the first to arrive so we get our choice of spots on the dock.
            Miles: 16.9      Bridges: 1        Locks: 0

it was a bit overcast as we departed from Cambridge

one of our favorites - an osprey nest (with an osprey in it) on a channel mark

the Knapp's Narrows Bridge

Day 323 – La Trappe Creek to Cambridge Municipal Yacht Harbor, Cambridge, MD - May 24, 2012

Our anchorage at La Trappe Creek was wonderful – very quiet and well protected.  Since we only have a few miles to travel to get to Cambridge today, we stay in the anchorage until after lunch.  We got to watch a couple of watermen work their trot lines to catch blue crabs.  They set their line along the edge of the cove we were in and worked the line all morning.

We didn’t realize quiet how protected our anchorage was until we headed out into the Choptank River and got hit by some pretty strong wind.  Fortunately the Choptank River isn’t very wide where we were traveling so there was only a light chop, no big waves.

We arrived at the Cambridge Municipal Yacht Harbor just in time for the city’s farmer’s market which takes place in a parking lot right at the edge of the marina.  We were able to pick up some very nice looking fresh fruits and vegetables.  We then took a walk through town.  There are a few shops and restaurants open along the main street, but there were a lot more storefronts that were empty or boarded up.  It is unfortunate because this looks like it was once a beautiful bustling town.
            Miles: 6.1        Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

looking at our anchorage as we leave and head toward Cambridge

Hambrooks Bar Light in the Choptank River

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 322 – Solomons, MD to anchorage at La Trappe Creek (near Cambridge, MD) - May 23, 2012

Weather forecasts have again set our direction for the day.  Although there are some interesting looking anchorages along the Patuxent River (on the west side of the Chesapeake Bay), we decide to head across the Bay to an anchorage on the east side (closer to Knapp’s Narrows).  That way if the weather predictions for Thursday are accurate – big wind which would bring big waves – then we don’t have to cross the Bay in those conditions.

Our Bay crossing was uneventful although very gloomy.  There are lots gray clouds, some that look like they could hold some rain.  I’m still waiting for a beautiful sunny day for traveling on the Chesapeake.  We make our way up the Choptank River and set our anchor just behind Martin Point in La Trappe Creek.  This is a beautiful anchorage that we are sharing with just one other boat.

Not long after the anchor is set the rain begins.  Small storm cells pop up in the area all afternoon, so we experience on-and-off showers for the rest of the day.  With storm cells coming from many different directions, we get wind from every direction as well.  Fortunately the anchor is well set and all we do is swing from one direction to the next.  The rain stops in the early evening and we spend a peaceful night at anchor.
            Miles: 35.3      Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

Cove Point Lighthouse - the large domes you can see above the trees are
liquid natural gas holding tanks

this is part of the liquid natural gas loading dock (it goes with the tanks
in the picture above)

the green mark at the entrance to La Trappe Creek

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 321 – Deltaville, VA to Solomons Yachting Center, Solomons, MD - May 22, 2012

Yeah!  We have finally started moving again!  We made a good decision letting the waves calm down yesterday and our travel in the Chesapeake Bay was again accomplished with very little waves or wind.  We had researched a couple of places to anchor out between Deltaville, VA and Solomons, MD (where we ended up for the night), but weather forecasts for the next few days encouraged us to travel further today.

Although we are not on a schedule, we do have reservations for the Memorial Day Weekend at Knapp’s Narrows Marina and Inn.  This is the marina where Greg and Kate on Grianan will be spending the summer.  Holiday weekends (actually most any weekend) on the Chesapeake can be EXTREMELY busy and many of the marinas get full.  We didn’t want to take the chance on not having a slip for the long weekend, so we made the reservations.  Stopping in Solomons tonight puts us in a good position for getting to Knapp’s Narrows no matter what the weather throws at us.

Because of all the recent poor weather, a good travel day like today had lots of boaters out on the Bay.  In addition to the usual pleasure boaters, we also encountered the menhaden fishing fleet and the USS Carney, a Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.  The menhaden fishing fleet sails out of Reedville, VA.  The menhaden fishing industry was brought to Reedville in 1874 by Elijah Reed.  There is one remaining factory in town, owned by Omega Protein.  They process 100,000 metric tons of the fish per year.  We do not eat menhaden, but they can be found in products from fertilizer to vitamin pills.  Reedville is the second largest fishing port in the U.S. in terms of fish landed.

The town of Solomons is truly a boating community with many marinas along the shores of Back Creek.  Beth from Kismet arranged for ten Looper couples to meet for dinner at one of the marina restaurants – we came from three different marinas in the area and enjoyed great food, drinks and conversation.

            Miles: 54.9      Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

one of the boats in the menhaden fishing fleet - they are not fishing
in this picture, we assume they are looking for a good spot to let out their nets

another boat in the menhaden fishing fleet

USS Carney, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer

Smith Point Lighthouse

Point No Point Lighthouse

the north shore at the mouth of the Patuxent River

Days 319 and 320 – at Dozier’s Regatta Point, Deltaville, VA - May 20-21, 2012

We spent another two nights in Deltaville. Not much more to say than that.  The wind was still very strong on Sunday and the waves on Chesapeake Bay were still rolling.  By later on Monday morning the wind was dropping, but the waves took awhile to calm down, so we stayed where we were.  Larry and Brenda, the event managers at Dozier’s, got a potluck dinner (and bring your own meat for the grill) going on Sunday night – it was called “Stuck in Deltaville Potluck” for all those boaters (lots of Looper’s) weathered in at Dozier’s.  It was a great get together with eleven or twelve couples attending.
            Miles: 0           Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Days 316, 317 and 318 – at Dozier’s Regatta Point, Deltaville, VA - May 17-19, 2012

It is official – the weather is holding us hostage.  We have been incredibly lucky on our Loop and have not (for the most part) had to stay in a port due to weather when we were ready to move on.  There have been a few times – waiting to cross from New Buffalo to Chicago, in Orange Beach when we had hoped to move while we had friends visiting and when we waited to cross the Gulf – but most of the time when we have wanted to move we have been able to.

The weather pattern we are in right now seems to be stuck on high winds.  It has been blowing here for two days with no end in sight.  There are some great anchorages in creeks along the north shore of the Rappahannock River, but we aren’t interested in leaving a dock and going to an anchorage when the winds are blowing over 20 mph.  There were small craft warnings on Chesapeake Bay on Thursday and then on both the Bay and the Rappahannock River on Friday.  Saturday afternoon we got a tiny reprieve from all the wind, but it is kicking up again and Sunday is scheduled to be windy and rainy.  So, we watch the forecast and wait for a better day to move.

They have a courtesy car here at Regatta Point, so we (along with Greg and Kate) have taken advantage of it.  We’ve been to West Marine, the grocery store and a couple of gift shops.  We’ve also gone to the Deltaville Maritime Museum & Holly Point Nature Park.  The museum was opened in 2003 and it contains many beautiful model ships as well as information on the history of boat building in this area.  One of the museum’s missions is to preserve boatbuilding skills and as a result they support the rebuilding/restoration of old boats as well as the construction of new boats.

Fred has had time to work on a number of boat projects while we’ve been here, so the stainless has been getting polished, the anchor locker cleaned out and re-caulked and a leaky sump hose has been replaced along with a check valve being installed.  It’s great to be getting so much done, but we are ready to move on and see more of the Chesapeake Bay.

             Miles: 0           Bridges: 0        Locks: 0

one of the model ships at the Deltaville Maritime Museum

another model ship at the Deltaville Maritime Museum
the F.D. Crockett - one of the restoration projects done
by the Deltaville Maritime Museum

there were a number of bronze statues in the Holly Point
Nature Park, this is my favorite

the pelican statue (note to Carrie - they may be bigger than
Poindexter, but not nearly as cool)

another one of the many statues in the Holly Point Nature Park

the daytime weather may not be good for moving the boat, but the evenings
have been beautiful