UPDATE #6 5/15/06 - 05/18/06
Most all of you have already read through our email updates that covered the period 4/1 thru 5/14. We have heard from some of you that you enjoyed hearing about our trip so far
Please send us your comments, thoughts, and ideas via email. We are very interested in hearing from ya’all. If you have missed out on any of the previous emails and would like us to re-send them, please let us know.
Several of you indicated that some pictures would enhance the updates. As you wished, we will attempt to add some in this and future updates. I know some of you have slow speed connections. Please let me know if these emails containing pictures are too large and we will you a version with text only.
Walden’s Marina, Broad Creek, Deltaville, VA
The early morning dawned beautifully and the clear skies and calm waters beckoned us to press onward. What could hold us back? The first reason was the promise of another round of possibly severe storms in the afternoon. The second reason was that the saga of the new GPS continues. We knew that we would need to resolve this logistical problem soon and this location would allow us to remove and re-ship the unit back to the distributor. When time permitted, the phone calls began and arrangements were made to return the entire assembly package. I set out to work and removed, rearranged, and repacked the unit and left it with the marina office to be picked up by UPS. Lets hope it all goes as planned. We were so busy this morning that we completely forgot about breakfast. At lunchtime, we thought we would go out for burgers, however, this town closes most of the restaurants on Mondays so Judy made us a great grilled ham and cheese sandwich served with chips and dried fruits. It was better than lunch out would have been.
The weather was still beautiful and so we lowered the RIB (rigid inflatable boat) and loaded the safety gear for a little jaunt around the Broad Creek area. There are numerous marina facilities and boat docks nearby. This community houses a population of about 850 residents but is host to around 3000 boats. We enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of puttering around the creeks. We tried to go outside the creek, however, we were soon soaked from the roughness of the waves outside the confines of the harbor.
As we returned to AMARSE, the evidence of her travel was readily apparent. Cruising boats often acquire a darkened, brown staining along the hull and especially at the front end or “bow”. Cruisers affectionately call this the “Waterway Smile”. It is caused by the bow wake and waves flowing over the white fiberglass hull. Especially in the river areas and canals, the waters get a heavy buildup of “tannins” or “tannic acid”. This occurs as leaves, roots, and vegetation decompose and break down. The waters are actually quite dark and brown colored in these areas. The result is that heavy staining occurs and is not easily removed.
Judy was feeling somewhat energetic and decided to tackle the stain. Using a product called “FSR” (fiberglass stain remover), she sat, stretched, reached, leaned, and scrubbed on the hull. My job was to hold the dinghy in place with two ropes while she did the rest. I definitely had the easier position. Judy was able to get to about 85% of the hull from the dinghy. We will tackle the rest another day. What a difference. I am so honored, thankful, delighted, and so grateful to have the privilege of sharing life with this terrific woman. How lucky can a guy get?
Dinner was a special treat tonight. Judy prepared a traditional green salad, scalloped potatoes, and some wonderful stuffed crabs that were delightful. Her chocolate cake topped it all off perfectly. As the evening turned to darkness, the storms came in and several bouts of heavy rain occurred throughout the night. With conditions like these, we rest much better tied securely to the marina facilities.
Broad Creek, Deltaville, VA to Jackson Creek, Deltaville, VA
Another fantastic morning greeted us early today. We filled the water tanks and loaded our gear to cast off the docks. By 7:35, we were idling out of the harbor, through Broad Creek, out the channel, and out the Rappahannock River. We rounded the shoaling area by Stingray Point and soon entered the mouth of the Piankatank River. We wanted to do some exploring of this beautiful area and its extensive waterways. Deltaville is on a peninsula of sorts and entering the snaking channel of Jackson Creek brought us to the southern side of the town. Although very narrow, the harbor that we had left over an hour ago was again visible from the other side. Separated by only this short distance, the location takes on a completely different view and feel from its northern counterpart. This side is more relaxed and tranquil and maintains more of the natural beauty. We hoped to return here again to enjoy this place even more. We idled around for nearly an hour before exiting the channel leading back to the Piankatank River. Our next side excursion took us into Fishing Bay. This is a lovely little bay that has provided comfortable anchorages to me several times in the past. Rejoining the river and continuing upstream, the tree-lined banks were a gorgeous green and wonderful tidewater estates, homes, and mansions dotted the shoreline.
Although the temperatures were a little cool (60’s), the
isinglass enclosure kept us happy and comfortable. We continued up the river
until the waters shallowed to the point that we were no longer comfortable
navigating further. Turning around, we retraced our path along the river. Along
the southern side near the mouth, a small bay leads to Gwynn Island and Milford
Haven. Coming out of Hills Bay, the swing bridge opens to lead you into the
channels. This swing bridge has the most openings of any moveable bridge in
Virginia. How is that for some serious trivia?
Today, the waterways were relatively quiet as it is still off-season and during the week.
By early afternoon, we had dawdled around the most interesting areas that the Piankatank could offer and we opted to return to Jackson Creek where we had seen those lovely anchorages. In the most lovely spot imaginable, we released and set the anchor to lazily relax for the rest of the day and evening. What about my nap? OK…. An hour and a half ought to be about right.
Soon the grill was smoking nicely, the cocktails were flowing smoothly, and dinner would be served on the sundeck of AMARSE under clear, sun-drenched skies. Imagine, all of this in one of the most beautiful and tranquil settings that either of us has ever experienced. In the words of one very famous philosopher, “ I like it a lot”!
Jackson Creek, Deltaville, VA to Tangier Island, VA
Sunrise now occurs before 6am local time. In those first
rays of light, the images of the trees, homes, and resting boats reflected
peacefully and serenely. We eased quietly away from out anchorage to get an
early start on the crossing of the bay.
As the day passes, the heating of the landmasses causes the breeze to increase and the bay can become uncomfortably wavy. Our plan was to cross to the eastern shore early enough to enjoy the smoother waters. Tangier Island is inhabited primarily by watermen and their families just as it has been for centuries. The island retains much of the unique charm of years gone by. In many ways, its like a step back in time. There are no automobiles, however, golf carts, scooters, and bicycles provide the major modes of land transportation on this small island. The harbor is the hub of activity with large numbers of small commercial boats especially set up for the crabbing business. Rows and stacks of crab pots, or traps, line the edges of the harborside. Numerous shanties provide the tanks and bins used to sort and harvest “peelers” yielding soft shell crabs. This area is famous for harvesting more blue crabs than any other place in the world.
We were tied up to the marina pilings by 10:45am.
We strolled along the pretty lanes and admired the many old homes that line the way.
Perhaps the most famous restaurant on the island is Hilda Crockett’s Chesapeake House. Family style meals consisting of cole slaw, potato salad, Virginia ham, green beans, beets and applesauce fill the tables. Their bread rolls are absolutely wonderful as is the unique “corn pudding” which is sort of a corn soufflé. The specialties, of course, are the flavorful crab cakes made with local, blue crab and their tasty clam fritters. All of this is served around large tables where everybody is family. It is quite delightful. Only accessible by boat, Judy and I had visited this quaint island some years ago and we were pleased to see that nothing much seems to have changed.
Once again, the afternoon seemed the perfect time to partake of a peaceful nap. Judy opted for some more strolling around the island and I “sawed logs” in the warming afternoon. We chatted in the late afternoon with folks at the dock and enjoyed a visit from fellow “Loopers”, Larry and Wynn, from WyLaWay. We have seen them a couple of other times along the way. Too full from lunch, we skipped the evening meal and rested quietly aboard AMARSE. Tangiers Island is, indeed, a lovely place to visit.
Location N37 49.800 W075 59.666
The Tangierman that hosts the marina is a very interesting and delightful gentleman. We enjoyed meeting and visiting with him.
To give you some reference as to the mileage, the Chesapeake Bay is delineated in straight-line miles from a bridge in the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal (C&D canal) at mile 0.0 southward to mile 207 near Norfolk, VA where the ICW begins at mile 0.0. Our route has been far from direct. We have chosen to wander leisurely up and down the rivers and creeks, as well as, crossing back and forth from the western and eastern shores to enjoy the sights. Mobjack Bay is perpendicular to mile 172.0, Deltaville is adjacent to mile 152.6, and Tangiers Island is east of the line at mile 131.0. Of course, many, many more miles must be traveled to reach these points of interest.
Tomorrow morning, AMARSE will bring us back across the Bay to the western shore. Actual destination is still to be determined. Stay tuned for late breaking events.
Tangier Island, VA to Spring Cove, Mill Creek, Solomons, MD
The wind was quite brisk at the Tangier Island dock this morning. We readied AMARSE for departure and eased out between the pilings with out too much difficulty. As we exited the confines of the harbor, the open Chesapeake Bay had about 3 foot seas. We rocked, we rolled, and we pitched as we continuously dodged the thousands of crab pot buoys along our path. It was like a minefield and the markers were hard to see in the wavy conditions. We tempered our speed to provide a bit easier ride as we moved northwesterly. In the distance, we could see Smith Point Lighthouse. Unfortunately, our course was too far away to get a picture. At about 8:30am, we crossed the Virginia/Maryland border. It was still quite rough in the 75 plus feet of water in the middle of the bay. We encountered several large ships traveling at fast speeds. It is amazing how fast they bear down on you. The prudent mariner maintains a safe margin of distance from these behemoths. We planned our course to take us close to the “Point No Point” Lighthouse. It is typical of many of the lights on the bay. The picture shows the small building attached to the side of the main tower. Can you guess what it might be used for? No, it is not a phone booth.
You can also see evidence of the current flow at the base of the tower.
Just before noon, we rounded the Green #1PR marker buoy that signaled our entrance into the mouth of the Patuxent River. The river meets the bay at mile 97.5.
Thirty or forty minutes later, AMARSE was headed between the channel markers of the Solomons. This lovely location has developed since the 1970’s into one of the most popular cruising destinations in the Chesapeake. Numerous marinas tend to the needs of thousands of boaters. Several creeks branch out to provide scenic and secure anchorage to the overnight cruisers. We waved and spoke briefly to our friends, Mike and Karen, aboard “Mi-T-Mo”, the former tug turned cruiser. We had not seen them since St. Augustine, FL. Tomorrow, they will reach their semi-permanent destination in Baltimore.
We were early enough to explore the creeks and coves throughout the area. A slow, peaceful cruise amidst the beauty of the Maryland waters provided a wonderful afternoon. We selected a calm spot surrounded by trees and some lovely homes for our anchorage. We needed protection from the strong westerly winds that were forecast to increase even more as the afternoon progressed. After a slightly delayed lunch, the “Nap Angel” paid a visit and I slept like a baby. Judy said I even had the look of a little kid tucked in with my little blanket. An evening thunderstorm preceded our dinner plan. As the skies began to clear, the magna-grill worked its magic on the chicken breasts. A salad and farfelle noodles rounded out the menu that was enjoyed on the sundeck of AMARSE. Another round of storms is scheduled for the later evening. Hopefully, we will rest well in between. Tomorrow morning, we will check into a marina and rent a car for the weekend. It is time again to do some laundry, re-provisioning, and do some preventative maintenance on AMARSE.
Position N38 19.883 W076 26.657.
"AMARSE". is pronounced "AM-ARE-SAY". Our website is: www.amarse.net .
Check it out while we will attempt to keep you informed via email. We have had the pleasure of hearing from many of you. We would like to hear more about what is happening in your lives. Let us know as we very interested in what’s going on with our friends and family. Please DO email us with your thoughts and comments and ideas too. Thanks
Lot of Love,
Fred Reed and Judy Law
Fred H. Reed
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