Days 14 – 20 – Back to Atlantic Yacht Basin Total mileage for the trip: 429 nm
Our time in Washington, DC was up and we reluctantly made our plans to head back to the Atlantic Yacht Basin in Chesapeake, Virginia and put Nine of Cups to bed for a couple of months. We shopped at the local neighborhood Safeway for our return trip provisions and made sure Cups was ready to go. Paul cast off the mooring and we chugged down Washington Channel back into the Potomac River.
Our plans for exploring were curtailed considerably by big winds, torrential rain and the impending arrival of Category 5 Hurricane Matthew. The heavy downpours caused significant inland flooding and made our transit wet and dreary. We anchored at Banks O'Dee again on our return trip, where it blew and drizzled throughout the night.
We had planned to stop at St. Mary's City since we missed it on the way up, but once again heavy rain changed our minds and we wended our way through the crab pots into Smith Creek for the night. We headed out early the next morning, but after an hour of fighting adverse current, 30 knot winds on the nose and bothersome waves, we hightailed it back into the calm of the creek and tucked in for another night.
It cleared slightly off and on the next day, but the sky remained dark and gray. We noticed a waterspout just off Fishing Bay which caused a bit of excitement on the radio. The spout dissipated after a few minutes and no harm was done.
We had a bit of excitement when a small fishing boat hailed us as we passed by. They had blown a coolant hose and needed fresh water to complete their repairs. David glided up near them and using a monkey fist attached to a line with a plastic water jug, we were able to provide them with the water they needed. We waited till the repair was complete, then recouped the water jug and monkey fist in the same manner. Good practice for throwing lines and recovering stuff at sea. We were hoping for fish for dinner, but they were just heading out, so no such luck.
We saw eagle after eagle on our way south. Sometimes, lone eagles soared above the water scouting for dinner; other times we saw pairs and even parents with an eaglet nesting in a crude nest on the top of a marker.
We had been tracking Hurricane Matthew diligently as he wreaked havoc in Haiti and the Bahamas and headed for the US east coast. We became anxious about getting Nine of Cups to safety before the hurricane's approach. We breathed a sigh of relief as we negotiated the Great Bridge Locks and the Great Bridge and spotted the Atlantic Yacht Basin once again. The place was crazy busy. Everyone had the same idea as we did. Luckily, we had reservations and within a couple of hours Cups was nestled snugly in a protected slip, her docklines doubled up and secure. As it turned out, Matthew took a turn out to sea after passing the Carolinas and Nine of Cups was spared any problems.
We'll be winterizing Nine of Cups and putting her to bed now as we head to Boston and Las Vegas till after the holidays.
By the way, today is Just A Little Further.com's 4th anniversary. Thanks for hanging out with us all these years!