There’s no picturesque sunrise this morning because we’re fogged in! I get up and wait for 7:00 am to see if the sunrise will burn off the fog, but no dice. Doug Smith is coming on board first thing this morning to get a few pictures that we’ll send to Beth Crabtree for her Spinsheet Magazine article so waiting for the fog to burn doesn’t really affect us yet. Doug shows up at 8:30 am and we get the pictures taken. By 9:00 am the sky is clearing, so Doug helps us with the lines and Tracy takes us off the dock and out of Solomons Island water. We show a nearly six hour cruise today, so a 9:15 start is just about as late as we want to leave without worrying about docking at the other end in the dark. We just have to be concerned with head currents, etc. as those could add lots of minutes to our total runtime depending on how strong they might be.
But today is really calm, negligible winds and very little head current holding us up. We’re making great time and we planned for a 3:00 pm arrival, our chartplotter is showing we’ll arrive at our destination by 2:45 pm so we’re doing fine. That is, until we approach the mouth of the Potomac River! Al Redfield had briefed us on the potential for some strong currents and eddys around the mouth of the Potomac River oftentimes created by the outflow of the river into the bay. So we plotted our course to take ourselves past this nine mile crossing by staying as far to the left hand side of the bay as our depth would allow and maybe bypass any fast moving waters. Well today turns out to be one of those days where plan for the worst and hope for the best works out because there’s virtually no tossing around as we make the crossing, however, moving water would have been the least of our worries on this very nice early December Saturday morning as there were literally hundreds of fishing boats and charters sitting in these waters going after any fish that were sitting here at the mouth waiting for feeder fish to swim buy. As we were approaching the area of the mouth, we’re looking out ahead and see what looks like a funeral procession of boats forming a wall in front of us. And from this distance it looks like they’re totally blocking our passage along the channel. I don’t get too worried because I know they shouldn’t be fishing in the channel and if they are, they surely don’t have the right of way, so I keep motoring and as the scene ahead develops more closely, we see that we’ll actually be able to get thru this fishing blockade without too much difficulty. The funniest thing is the picture on our radar screen. It looks like the screen has the chicken pox!
This blockade occurs again at the southern tip of the Potomac mouth with similar results. We only see five large freighters all day, maybe most of them get the weekend off? I don’t think so.
Two hours past the southern edge of the Potomac River we start to see our turn-off for Indian Creek in Fleets Bay. My chartplotter had given me a heading that stayed completely in the channel, but Tracy searched her chartplotter and was able to plot a safe depth course that saved us a few nautical miles, so we sort of cut a hypotenuse and saved ourselves the time and miles.
Chesapeake Boat Basin is one and one half miles up Indian Creek and it’s a beautiful little waterway with Indian Creek Yacht Club to starboard and spectacular private homes on the river’s edge. Most of the shoreline is protected with rip-rap stone, but we slow down anyway so our wake is negligible and slowly make our way up the creek to the marina. As we approach, we call Beth on the dock and she tells us they’ll be ready for us and I tell her we’d like to fuel up and get a pump-out before we go to our slip. Beth tells us how to get to their fuel dock and that there’s already someone tied up there, but they should be done shortly and we’ll be able to dock as soon as they’re done with their pump-out. So we wait in front of the marina for the sailboat to pull away from the fuel dock, then we pull in. The pump-out and the fuel are both self-serve, so first we connect the pump-out hose and Tracy sets her sights on getting both tanks down to bare bones, something we haven’t had in a while as the aft tank has been partially full most of this trip. We just haven’t had enough vacuum to get the entire tank sucked out in spite of all the additives we’ve been flushing down the tank that are designed to loosen up all the waste in the tank. Well I’ve got to say, today, Tracy got it done! Both tanks are virtually spotless on the inside and from now on, we’ll not let the aft tank build up so much that it becomes a problem again. It’s just real nice to know you’ve got room in the tank when you really need it. While Tracy was successfully pumping out the two black water tanks, I started fueling up. We took on 163 gallons of diesel and all fuel tanks are full again. Tracy emptied some tanks and I filled up others. That’s teamwork!
After that, we moved Kailani into our assigned slip and hooked up our utilities. We’re now far enough south that this marina has their water on, so we’ll be able to use our city water connection during our dockage and still be able to fill our fresh water holding tank tomorrow before we leave. The other thing I haven’t mentioned yet is that all day the galley has been sending out this terrific aroma that’s coming from tonight’s meal that Tracy prepared yesterday and put into the crockpot this morning prior to departure. So after we hook up all the power and water and firmly secure Kailani to the floating docks, we turn on the heat and settle into the Salon for some cheese and crackers to hold us over until the crockpot meal is done, which Tracy says will be around 7:00 pm. There we are sitting down relaxing after a long day on the water and the power circuit trips on the shore power. I go out and reset the circuit, come back into the Salon, sit down, and one of the circuits trips again. I go back outside and surmise that the problem may be the tower where we’ve plugged in our two 30 amp cords. So I find another tower that our cords will reach to and hook them up to that power and fully expect to be able to sit down and relax with this fix. Oops, this same circuit, just from a different pole trips twice more before Tracy suggests that maybe it could be the juice being drawn for the crockpot and not from the heat compressor. So we turn off the crockpot and lo and behold the circuits stay energized with no additional tripping. So it’s decided that the crockpot meal will have to resume its slow cook tomorrow during the day while we’re cruising and the other high draws (heater and water circulating pump) are off. Oh well, that delicious aroma will have to tease me for another day before I can dig in.
We’ve checked the marine weather for tomorrow and it should be another spectacular day with low winds and waves, and our reservation at Hampton City Piers is confirmed. So we should be moving again tomorrow getting closer to our pre-Christmas destination, which will be Bellhaven, Oriental or New Bern, North Carolina. That’s only one more state to go because today we crossed from Maryland into Virginia.