Back in Chesapeake – Again

Back in Chesapeake – Again

The rain started during the night and continued throughout the entire trip. Through six coastal states, heavy, torrential rains were responsible for poor visibility, flooding and generally an unpleasant, very long ride home. When we finally arrived in Chesapeake at the Atlantic Yacht Basin, parts of the boatyard were under water

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Chesapeake - On to Mount Vernon

Day 7 – 43 nm (passage total: 223 nm) We were up by 0600, drinking coffee and waiting for enough light to haul anchor and be on our way. Today makes a week since we left the marina in Chesapeake and we've fallen into an easy routine. We were up anchor and cruising towards the Harry W. Nice Bridge by 0650. On our trip from the Baltimore airport to the boat a few weeks ago, we paid a $6 toll to cross this bridge. Luckily, there's no toll for passing under its 105' high span.

harry w nice bridge chesapeake

It was another grey, hazy morning as we passed by the “Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay”, rotting hulks of WWI military vessels that weren't completed in time to be of use during the war and later abandoned. ghost fleet of mallows bay chesapeake

The Potomac River is quite circuitous in this area and the channel narrows considerably due to shoals. As we rounded Maryland Point, we noticed a pair of birds perched on a green can. We'd seen lots of gulls and cormorants and figured that's what they were.

gulls and cormorants on the chesapeake

It wasn't until we got closer and I took a pic that we were amazed to see two bald eagles. What a treat!

bald eagles on the chesapeake

The Potomac is a natural boundary between states …  Maryland to starboard and Virginia to port. We passed by Quantico Marine Base and the FBI training center. The facility doesn't look like much from the water although they do have a nifty marina there reserved for marines. We weren't invited to stop for a tour, so we carried on.

Another change in plans. We were making good time and instead of stopping at our intended anchorage at Mattawoman Creek, we continued another 12 nm and anchored just off George Washington's Mount Vernon. We were all ready for a visit to George Washington's historic homestead in the morning when we heard a Coast Guard broadcast on the VHF radio advising that there would be fireworks at Mount Vernon on this very evening. Really? In honor of our arrival?

We enjoyed a spectacular sunset and expected several boats to join us in the anchorage.

sunset at mt vernon

By 1945, when the fireworks barge began shooting off rockets, we remained the only boat in the anchorage and we appreciated the display all by ourselves.

mt vernon fireworks

Tomorrow we head in the dinghy to the wharf and plan to spend the entire day exploring George Washington' Mount Vernon.

Chesapeake - Smith Creek to Bank O'Dees

Day 6– 32 nm (passage total: 179 nm) It was still wet and the slate sky was thick and heavy with clouds as we headed out of Smith Creek about 0730. After we raised and washed down the anchor, Paul stood at the bow watching for crab pots, of which there were many. At low tide, it was skinny water crossing the entrance bar.

paul at bow on the chesapeake

Though the day was grey, it wasn't raining and there was enough to see to keep us occupied as we motor-sailed along. There was a small, but conspicuous white country church on shore just before Piney Point that caught our attention.

white country church on the chesapeake

Ragged Point Light was probably efficient to build and functional, but it certainly wasn't attractive.

ragged point lite on the chesapeake

Then the Piney Point Lighthouse came into view. We learned later that it is the oldest permanent lighthouse on the Potomac River. The 40' white cross next to it commemorates the landing of the first Maryland colonists.

piney point lite and cross on the chesapeake

The fishing must have been good because the hungry gulls descended en masse to several spots close to the boat.

hungry gulls on the chesapeake

Once again, we had a change in plans. We had thought to stop at the tiny community of Cobb Island for a night, but the inclement weather kept us moving along to Bank O'Dees near Cuckold Creek, in sight of the Harry W. Nice Bridge and the billowing stacks of the Morgantown Power Plant. We were off the channel and positioned for an early, easy exit back into the channel.

morgantown power plant on the chesapeake

The guys attacked the leaking head with a vengeance. They could not find the leak in the pump assembly nor the hose connections. They deduced it was probably at the bottom of the head or the basin itself. In the end, they removed the entire aft head which we seldom use and moved it forward and then re-installed the forward head aft. A long procedure, but ultimately successful. The forward head is working perfectly now … it pumps and no leaks. The leaky faucet and hatches will wait till another day.

We ate dinner, played cards, watched a movie, drank a little wine and hoped for better weather tomorrow. Not a spectacular day, but not so bad either. That's how it goes when you're sailing.