Saturday, June 2, 2012

End of Chesapeake Bay: Delaware City, DE

Days on cruise:  71

Distance traveled:  42.1 miles

Travel time:  5 hrs, 9 minutes

Total trip odometer:  1,464 statute miles

Thursday evening at the Sassafras River anchorage was another beautiful, fun evening.  We had dinner on the Sundeck and sat up talking until past Bob and Cathryn’s usual bedtime. Mackenzie and Matt regularly assure us they don’t normally stay up late either, but we’ve stayed up later while they’re with us than usual.

Friday morning we pulled up the anchor at 7am and headed to the north end of the Chesapeake Bay. Conditions were mild, and the travel was easy. Matt took another stint at the helm, Mackenzie worked on her laptop for the morning, and we did showers and breakfast while underway. 

We crossed the boundary from Maryland into Delaware, and the scenery became more rural. Those are cows along the shoreline in the photo below. Really? People can afford to buy waterfront property for grazing cows? Not in Seattle where we come from!  Very cool.


Just as we entered the C&D Canal (the 12-mile long, 350-foot wide canal that connects the northern ends of the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay) look what we saw coming around the corner?


See how close this behomoth was to us? We pulled as far to the south side of the Canal as possible, put the engines at idle speed and waited for it to pass before we proceeded.


And mid-day we pulled into the Delaware City Marina in Delaware City, DE.  This is a really nice marina with very nice, helpful staff who even took us to the grocery store and West Marine!


We took a walk around this small (1,500 population) and pretty town.


“Crabby Dick’s” restaurant seems to be the most popular hangout for both locals and transient boaters, but we decided to eat on board Friday night so skipped it. This is the scene that greets you at the entrance: a mannequin with a crab head and claws for arms.  Funny!


The local blacksmith shop was closed for the day but had some interesting forged art out front.


Saturday morning the marina let us use four of their kayaks to explore the area. The current in the channel runs 2-3 knots, so we paddled hard upstream then floated back down.


The marsh grass was about 12 feet tall and teeming with birds that we could hear, but mostly not see.


Yesterday on arrival at Delaware City, we took the wrong channel off of the C&D Canal and ended up at the bridge in the photo below, which has only 6-foot air clearance. We called the bridge tender repeatedly and got no response. Since the marina we were headed for was just on the other side of the bridge, we phoned the marina to inquire about bridge opening protocol. We were very politely told that we took the wrong canal, needed to spin the boat 180 degrees in this shallow, narrow channel and go back to the C&D Canal, continue another mile, and THEN take a turn to port in the Delaware River to come to the marina, though we were already only 500 feet away from our slip for the night.  This bridge never opens. We laughed about this one, and the marina owner later told us there are always boaters who make this same mistake.  OK, another reminder to be more vigilant in our chart plotting! So today we kayaked under this same bridge.


We also explored a side channel that was only 2 feet deep and eventually became too narrow to proceed.


We returned to the boat for lunch on the bow, and then, sadly, put Mackenzie and Matt in a taxi to the Amtrak station at Wilmington, Delaware where they’ll catch a train to New York City, spend the night and see Mackenzie’s cousin Leslie and family tomorrow, then fly back to Seattle.  We adored having them on board for 6 nights, they were very easy guests, and we had great fun exploring,  talking and laughing, and watching them do their work.  They definitely have a return invitation if the schedule should ever allow.


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