Friday, May 11, 2012

Hello Chesapeake

Days on cruise:   49
Distance Today:  45.6 miles
Travel Time:  5 hrs 19 mins
Total Odometer: 1,110 statute miles
It’s been two weeks since we last spent a night on the hook, having been at a marina in Norfolk for the past week, and at free docks in Elizabeth City,  the Dismal Swamp and Portsmouth before that.
This morning beginning at 6:30 a.m., dozens of Looper boats pulled out of the marina and almost all headed north. Below are our new friends Jim and Mimi from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in their newly purchased Marine Trader, heading out.
The Norfolk harbor was busy, as always, and after 10 days without moving much at all, we had to review our procedures for various tasks. It felt good to be moving again! Following 10 miles in the shipping channel we finally and happily rounded the corner (below) into the Chesapeake Bay.
The Chesapeake is huge: 200 miles long with 11,000 miles of shoreline covering six states and 64,000 square miles, including 50 military installations, so there are lots of restricted areas. It’s 30 miles wide at the south end where we began today, and 3 miles wide at the north, with an average depth of only 21 feet. Its’ water is brackish south of Annapolis and fresh north of there. So this is a big change from the past 1,000 miles we’ve traveled in the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.  There are very few dredged channels here, and lots fewer day markers by which we have to navigate, though shallow shoal areas continue, so vigilance remains important. Because of the long fetch and shallow water, any wind over 15 mph produces choppy seas, but fortunately most of our journeys each day will be short as places we want to see are closer together.
Wolf Trap Lighthouse is seen above, built in 1894. This lighthouse was auctioned in 2005 and bought by Nick Korstad of Seattle (our hometown). He wasn’t able to get financing for his planned Bed & Breakfast, so it was sold again, this time for $119,000, also to a private citizen.
39 miles after leaving the marina, we turned into Mobjack Bay, then up the East River (which oddly goes north, not east, despite its’ name).
This is a rural and bucolic area, with only scattered houses and few docks or boathouses. Finally we anchored in a small cove and soon found ourselves surrounded by local high school students training in their rowing shells.
We’re happy to be back on the hook, and had no trouble setting our anchor using the new-and-improved method learned from Jim A and Boatman Mark last month.

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