Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Annapolis Md. to Hampton Va.

Our destination for the night was Dun’s cove on the other side of the bay. We had a nice motor sail across to a little channel called Knapp’s Narrows that would shave 15 miles off the trip.  It was a somewhat easy pass to find though you still had to be careful with all the crab pots and the narrow channel. Once lined up though it was a straight shot in with a tight turn at the end and then up into the cut between. We stopped at a marina but the fee would have blown my budget yet again so we called for a bridge opening and went through. The other side was a wide sheltered bay, part of the Choptank River, with a marked channel leading out. There were a couple towns we could go to on the far side but we elected to head up to Duns Cove about 4 miles up. After threading the pass we rounded a point and motored in the cove. There was one other boat there and after we set the anchor we took a closer look and thought they looked familiar. We motored over in the dingy after dinner and found Phil and Lorraine on Changes, a 34 C&C that I last met up in Sylvan Beach on Lake Oneida. They were the couple that told us we should get the boaters cards to pass out to the friends we meet along the way. They were heading to the Solomon’s and we were planning to go in the back way to St Michael’s. They had a weather report that said the next day was going to be the last good day for the next few. We socialized with them until well after dark and then headed back to our boat. We tend to go to bed soon after dark and are up with the sun. We woke up early and changed our minds about St Michael’s and after breakfast we followed them to the Solomon’s leaving about about an hour or so behind.

We motor sailed in about 12 knots out of the NE and gusty for the 40 mile run down to the Patuxent River and up into Back Creek. We arrived about and found a spot way back in and were anchored by . Some of the popular anchorages get very crowded early and you need to get in early to find a good spot. We found a nice spot but had to move as a barge was to come out the next day. We ended up staying there 4 nights. The weather was cold and rainy most of the time and we are now on a mission to get farther south. You can dingy to the Holiday Inn dock and for $2 tie up for the day and drop your trash in their bin. Around front there is a small shopping mall with a grocery store and other shops, a fast food place with internet access and next door a West Marine store. In front of the grocery you can catch the bus over the bridge and into town for $3 for an all day pass and go to Wal-Mart, Target and other big shopping stores. While there we ducked into a Pantera Bread store just before a torrential rain fell and used there internet while we had lunch.

Eventually we had to leave for the 60 mile run from the Solomon’s to Jackson Creek on the Piankatank. We awoke at departed at as the sun was just barely starting to lighten up the horizon. By dawn we were well out and dodging crab pots as we headed out to the bay and started going south again. Soon after the sun was up we were motor sailing at 7+ knots in west winds that were gusting over 20. We put in one reef and then a second reef and had rolled up a quarter of the headsail. Later that afternoon the winds lightened and went to the SW at 12 knots. And we were tight reaching with a full headsail and a reefed main. We carried that until we had to turn into the wind to get into the river as we headed towards Jackson Creek and motored the last 10 miles into the anchorage. This one was trickier to get into, Head up into the bay until you found the channel marks, then a sharp right turn and northward into the tight channel. Then stay close to the last red and make a sharp left turn just short of the beach and stay close to the next green. And then follow the three green marks straight into a well protected creek with two branches to anchor in. By we were at anchor and soon chatting with a couple on a boat close to us. We planned to sleep in till at least the next day as there was no way I was leaving in the dark.

We Left a little after and promptly ran aground when we missed the narrow channel by a few feet. After backing out we followed two other boats out that had used us to find the channel, maybe a boat length to our left.
Our next stop was to be Hampton VA about 45 miles south. We motored in light northerly winds all day to keep the speed up to 6 knots and were passing warships about as we headed into Hampton. We anchored out until we found out we could get a free night at the dock. So we tied up next to our friends and liked the place so much we stayed for 3 nights with showers, electricity and WiFi. They had loaner bikes we took to get groceries and a short walk over the bridge was a Laundromat. Kate the dock master was very friendly and helpful. I rode a bike about 3 miles to a welding supply and refilled a propane tank and found I had only used 5 lbs of propane since September 13 for all the cooking we did.

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