Winter Wind, Summer Heat
We motored out of Baby Owl Cove dodging more trot lines at 0720. Had we found it necessary to motor home, I wouldn’t have been surprised or all that happy. As it was we set sail in the mouth of Broad Creek and sailed somewhere between a beam reach and a beat all the way home, tacking but twice off Chesapeake Beach and Holland Point. The air had a look between stannic and cupric, but a steady-ish 9-12 knot breeze between 355 and 015 °, belied the look of impending meteorological violence. We crossed Long Bar with four inches to spare at the low spot and were quite pleased to tie off at 1300 – a swift passage considering. The pool beckoned and we heeded the call.
Posted in 2010
Tagged Mid-Bay, Sailing
Now we know what Dim Sum feel like…
Got away at 1000 — motoring out into a zephyr-rilled Choptank. Passing Castle Haven, Janet suggested we delay returning home in favor of Baby Owl Cove.
Never one to interfere with inspiration, I shut off the diesel and we set sail for Broad Creek. Once again our newly recut jib pleased. The boat sailed itself most of the way to the creek. Unfortunately, the wind more or less evaporated as we tried to reach north. So we motored yet again.
Anchoring in this welcoming creek, it was clear we were in for a scorcher. As the day progressed, even showers on the transom failed to banish the fire. So we dove below into air conditioning. It only took three hours to get the interior temp below 80 deg F. Ugh.
Posted in 2010
Tagged Mid-Bay, Sailing
Warming (is “Hotting” a word?)
Independence Day dawned warmish and with a light SW’ly. After the watermen cleared their trot lines from around us — one crossed our anchor chain, but that’s rare — we motored down to Yacht Club Point to set sail. We swung by Serena again; no joy again. Light traffic in the lower river meant it was possible for us to keep the sails full and drawing. In 6 kts of breeze we were able to beat at 3.8 kts down toward Bachelor Point. Nearing there, we got a helpful bend in the breeze off Benoni Point that lifted us clear of the shoal. From there, we were able fall off a bit and foot down to the entrance to the middle Choptank at Chlora Point where an ebb current slowed us quite a bit. We still fetched the entrance to La Trappe, just slowly.
Motoring in, we had three power boats decide to contest the space we were traveling through. None of them were looking at us as their battle of egos commenced, so we did a 360 to put some distance between us. There was clearly a booze factor involved with the biggest of the three. The man at the helm was having a hard time just standing up.
We anchored in our usual spot and were glad for the SW’ly breeze. Our awnings went up, and we spent the day reading in the constantly moving shade. By sunset, it had cooled enough we were in the mood for fireworks and more satellite watching. Cambridge and Horn Point filled the first bill. Who knows who filled the second with the two satellites we saw cross the handle of the Big Dipper.
This cannot be July already.
After luxuriating in the peace, quiet and cool temps, we decided it was time to sail back down to West River for fuel and to pump the holding tank. The wind went light on us for a while, and thus we arrived too late in the day to do either without rushing so, we kicked back and relaxed some more. The next morning, I called the pump out boat and was told he’d be in our area between 1000-1100, so we waited. Later, when he motored past us at 1130 without stopping, I called him again and was told he’d forgotten.
Even so we made it to the fuel dock by Noon, where an indifferent dock minder lounged around waiting for a tip while Janet schlepped the trash all the way to the back of the marina. I gave her the tip. Once clear of the West River mouth, we set sail and were able to sail on a variable N’ly all the way to the mouth of the Tred Avon River. There, we encountered two racing fleets starting off the Yacht Club with the ferry to Bellevue in the mix. We zigged and then zagged in such way we didn’t discomfit anyone. We saw Serena in the Oxford Moorage but saw no dink and pressed on to anchor in Flatty Cove well out of the river channel and well positioned for fireworks viewing.
Anchoring took three tries. Twice the Bruce anchor skidded across what had to be an old oyster bar. Moving 100 yds south solved the problem. Fine weather continued to make open-hatch sleeping possible. Fireworks were excellent but one could tell the show was economically constrained and there were far fewer boats out to see it than in years past — we still rocked and rolled from wakes for an hour after as the boats that dribbled into the viewing area over the day all went home at once. After that…quiet and satellites! I saw my first Iridium “flare” where the solar panels caught the sunlight just before the satellite disappeared from view creating a flaring match phenomenon. The second one was in a strangely inclined orbit and persisted in view for quite some time.
So, Sunday and time to go home for real. After a transaction with the West/Rhode Riverkeeper Honey Dipper (Pump Out Boat) we set sail about 500 meters from where we were anchored and reached in a nice breeze to the mouth of the West River where the wind went to ZERO. Three times it teased us on the way south. Three times we set and furled and cleaned up after. Three times we watched boats east and west of us sailing in breezes that were opposing and meeting right on top of us and going UP we assume. After the third come and go of breeze, we pointed the bow toward home and fired up Yanmar-san.
Fifteen minutes later we had 18-15-12 knots from the WSW. We could have sailed, but at this point we said, “nah.” Over the next four miles we encountered more boats out with sails up than we have seen in this area in many years. Very pretty — a few clueless made admiring the view more about paying attention for sudden and inexplicable course changes though.
Arriving at our slip we found marina workmen had left their floating platform in our slip, so we had to deal with that before we could get the boat secured. Fortunately, we were back to ZERO wind. I had a bit of trouble maneuvering the platform to where it wouldn’t create a potential for damage. In the end, I had to lay down on the dock and force it because it kept bumping into something submerged.
The German Embassy folks (few slips away) returned while I was dealing with the work-float, and Janet noticed quite a bit of high volume, high pitched sturm und drang at their arrival even though it was dead calm. It turned out, as we left for early dinner 20 minutes after that, they had spotted a human corpse floating in the water behind their boat — right where whatever I shoved out of the way with the float would have ended up. To their credit they had thrown a blanket over it so the constant traffic of to-from pool kids wouldn’t have to see. It had been a 62 year old live-aboard who’d been in our marina 18 years. The investigation lasted well into the evening, as it should have. The police wouldn’t let anyone on the dock, as was right. So we ended up at the pool conversing with folks we hadn’t seen in quite a while. Current speculation is a heart-attack.
We left today. Even with the ephemeral nature of the event, one’s eyes were drawn to where the blanket had been floating.