Wednesday, October 19, 2016

An Easy Day

Although we wanted to leave Solomons early this morning in order to take full advantage of the tide, we realized that, if we didn't get a pumpout today, our next opportunity would not be for two days, and that would bring us to four days since a pumpout.

Our holding tank is barely good for three days!

As a result we got to sleep a little later, as the pumpout at Zanheizer's doesn't open until 8am.  And so, at 8:30, with holding tank empty and water tanks full, we set out for Sandy Point VA, on the shores of the greater Wicomico River.  We would still get a lot of boost from the tide, but it would turn against us about 1:30 in the afternoon while we would still be partway across the mouth of the Potomac River. 

Those who have sailed this area know that it can be particularly rough at times.

Things started out pretty smooth, and we got a big boost from the ebb tide as we came out of Solomons.  It was actually showing 6.7 kts speed-over-ground (SOG), but every time I tried to snap a picture, it changed!
Smooth Motoring
Great Speed Over Ground
Since we had gotten underway without breakfast, just coffee, Joan took this opportunity to whip up a scrumptous breakfast wrap.

Once on the Bay, we saw an increasing procession of southbound sailboats, all under power as we were.  I suspect many, if not all of them, were bound for the ICW too.  Most were larger than us, and able to motor faster.  And all of them were further out in the Bay, probably to take better advantage of the south current in the deeper water.  We hung in closer to the shore in order to minimize the distance to the entrance to the Wicomico.

As we passed south of the Patuxent Naval Air Base, I noticed a small navy runabout visiting all the southbound boats one by one, and asking them to switch to channel 14.  Suspecting what was coming, I followed suit to 14 and listened in.  Turns out, the Navy was preparing to conduct an exercise on their target range (which encompases most of the width of the Bay!) and were requesting the boats to stay within 3/4 mile of the western shore until south of Point No Point.  So my inshore course was right, but for the wrong reason!  This was why we hadn't earned a visit from the Navy.
Point No Point Light
When southbound, Point No Point marks the beginning of the crossing of the wide mouth of the Potomac River.  We almost immediately noticed a change in the waves.  The short chop was replaced by longer, rolling swells, which Dolce Vita easily rode up and over instead of subjecting us to endless pounding.  Seems we got lucky this time!  The whole crossing was quite pleasant.  About 2/3 of the way across, the tide turned, and we noticed our speed steadily dropping until we were down to 4 kts, but the passage remained smooth.  And once we cleared Smith Point and turned towards the Wicomico, our speed improved again.
Smith Point Light
At the entrance to the Wicomico, the fish trap stakes extend annoyingly far out.  I watched another sailboat "cut the corner"  by motoring through a large gap in the line.  I was unwilling to risk this, as who knows what pieces of lost line and netting are hanging in there, waiting to snare an unwary prop!  So we went the long way round.

We pulled into Sandy Point at 4:50pm, and found three boats already there.  Within another 20 minutes, two more came in after us, and another one right before sunset.  This anchorage is large, and could hold many more boats easily, so our seven boats were widely spaced.
Loads of Room
We poured end-of-voyage drinks and watched the sun set, and then grilled up burgers for dinner.
Our total distance for today was 42.6 nm.  That's more like it! :)  All in all, a very good day.

Tomorrow, we're going to go slightly out of the way and go SE across the bay to the town of Cape Charles, and take a slip there.  It's another 40 nm run.  We will take this opportunity to replenish some of our perishables, and perhaps wait out the bad weather that will be moving in on Friday.

1 comment:

  1. Safe travels. Its nice to see you are on your way! We will be leaving on Sunday From Rock Hall hopefully connectng with Pope. We hope we connect with you on the way someplace.

    Bruce and Gayleen sv Pearl