The Chesapeake
(and Norfolk, VA)
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Sunday/Monday June 22 & 23 – Norfolk VA MM 0
After waking at the visitor centers docks in the Dismal Swamp, we decided to get an early start to make the 11:00 a.m. opening of the locks on the northern end of the dismal swamp.  We had about 20 miles to make so we left at 6:30 a.m with time to spare.  We made it through the Dismal Swamp and the locks and entered the port of Norfolk.  What a stark contrast to go from a peaceful serene ditch with approximately 6 feet of water, to a huge wide open harbor bustling with recreational, commercial and major naval ship traffic.  We did fine getting through the Norfolk area, as busy as it was, even for a Sunday.  We all enjoyed getting a bird’s eye view of the big naval ships that call this port home.
We meandered our way up the Lafayette River to the Norfolk Yacht & Country Club where they welcomed us.  It’s a nice facility with brand new floating docks, pool, club, etc.  The only thing they didn’t have was showers and laundry, the two things we needed most!  After showering in the tiny shower we have on board, we were all looking forward to a regular size shower at the club…oh well, we’ll continue to be “closet” shower’ers!

Sunday evening Tony’s son, Michael, who lives in Virginia Beach, met us for dinner.  We had a nice dinner at the club and all called it an evening.

Monday we planned to stay put as we had arranged for a diver to meet us in the afternoon to install the repaired auto prop which was damaged underway.  We took the day to clean the boat, catch up on email, and take a long walk on terra firma.  The weather was still cool and pleasant which made for a beautiful day.

Tuesday June 24 – Norfolk, VA to the Rappahannock River on the Chesapeake in VA
We sailed for 10 hours, from Norfolk, not quite making our goal of an anchorage in the Great Wicomico River. We were tired and had enough so through out the hook in an anchorage just off the Chesapeake near the Rappahannock River.  The anchorage was beautiful, but it was hot!  It went from pleasant and dry in the low 80’s to hot and sticky in the mid 90’s.  When we went down in the cabin, the temperature read 92 degrees and it was 7:00 p.m.!  We were reminded of our trip in the Keys where we experienced similar conditions.  We decided we would tough it out, but with the heat wave that hit the area, we would head into marinas until we found cooler climes.
Wednesday/Thursday June 25&26 Solomons Island, MD – Chesapeake Bay
We pulled into the Calvert Marina about 3pm on Wed. afternoon.  We began the day at 7:00 a.m. and were fighting wind and tide so decided to call it a day.  We pulled into the marina to a hot, muggy day on shore so we were happy to be at a marina where we could crank up the air conditioning.

The Solomon Islands are located about a third of the way up the Chesapeake Bay on the Patuxent River,  on the western shore of Maryland.  It is a series of islands that is truly a sailors paradise.  The masts were so thick it was difficult to see shore.  They are rich in history so we took the time to visit the Calvert Maritime Museum that gave us a good background of the area.  The industry that has supported the islands for centuries is fishing.  About 200 years ago, it was oysters, now it is crabbing and local fish like red drum.  The area is also rich in history, during the War of 1812, the Patuxent River route was used by the British to plunder the nations capital.  They made their way up the  Patuxent to burn the White House in Washington D.C.
Rappahannock River Anchorage
The Solomon Islands
At the museum, we also learned of the Calvert Cliffs that are now an important site ofr archeologicl digs where they have uncovered fossils of whales, sharsk and crocodiles dating back ten to twenty million years ago.
The town also has a beautiful boardwalk with old historic homes dotting the main street.  Traveling by dingy is definitely the preferred mode of transportation. Aside from the fact that Monica and I were pulled over by the “Natural Resource Police” (do you believe Maryland taxpayers support such nonsense?), to write us a warning due to the fact that our registration sticker was more than six inches away from our numbers.  It is certainly a spot we will come back to visit in the fall…when the weather is a little more pleasant.

Friday/Saturday June 27 & 28 – Rock Hall MD, and the Bohemia River - Chesapeake Bay
We had another long day of sailing fighting a tide most of the way up to Rock Hall MD.  This is a quaint town that has its history in fishing of course. What we discovered about the eastern shore of the Chesapeake is, it is a  power boat haven.  Sail boats are definitely the minority and most of the power boaters have no regard for the sailor, creating huge wakes, and many times we had to steer off course to avoid them. 

We left early to head toward Chesapeake City.  We discovered however, Chesapeake City was hosting “Chesapeake Days”, an annual festival that draws hard-core power boaters from the surrounding areas.  There was no way we were getting into the sweet little anchorage in Chesapeake city or any of its three marinas.  We decided to anchor out in the Bohemia River, just seven miles from Chesapeake city. 

It was a pleasant anchorage, (disturbed only by the constant wake of power boaters!) and we had a cool front come through making it enjoyable to be on the hook again.  The Bohemia River is a fresh water river, without the obstacles of jelly fish.  With this knowledge, Monica decided to take a dip before dinner.  She was joined by two ducks who were curious as to what she was up to.  After sharing her dip in the river with her feathered friends, she decided to feed them a little snack…they hung around the boat the rest of the evening.

Chesapeake continued...
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