There wasn’t as much VHF chatter on our way from Annapolis to Solomons as there had been on our previous leg. At one point on our way to Annapolis someone (presumably a fishing boat) was calling for a radio check and when no one responded he asked, “Am I all alone out here?” “I can hear you. You’re not alone” came a response. After a few beats someone else came on and said in a solemn voice, “We’re all alone.” That cracked us up.
Anyway, after motor sailing for 45 nm from Annapolis, we were happy to drop the anchor in Solomons, MD. Solomons is an extremely popular destination for Chesapeake boaters, but being late in October we didn’t get a real feel for it. It’s kind of like being on Block Island after Labor Day compared to the height of summer. A lot of places were closed for the season, but it was o.k. because we knew we would definitely be coming here again.
One place that wasn’t closed was the Calvert Marine Museum. The museum had several great exhibits, including many fossils, an outdoor habitat for river otters (so cute!), the Drum Point Light (which had been relocated from its original location), and indoor aquarium exhibits.
We were able to tour the Drum Point Light which was very interesting. One of three surviving Chesapeake Bay screw-pile lighthouses, screw-pile lights are so named because the piles they stand on are screwed into the sea bottom. The tour guide said that when the light was going to be moved to the museum, the relocation company came with hacksaws thinking that they could cut through the screws in a few hours. That’s when they discovered the screws were actually solid metal, so they had to come back with cutting torches which took several days to cut through.
The device on the left was used to wind the bell which would ring during foggy conditions.
Ultimately we ended up spending several hours at the museum. I’m not typically the kind of person who can spend a large amount of time in museums, but this one was fantastic and we will definitely be returning next spring.
Weather required us to stay in Solomons for several days, but we were tucked away in a creek and were well protected from the nor’easter that blew through.
Once the seas settled down we raised the anchor and headed 45 nm to Reedville. We weren’t the only ones who had the same idea, and we actually were part of a flotilla of sailboats and motorboats heading south. This was the first time we had really seen other cruisers, and it was fun to feel like we were with our tribe, so to speak.
In Reedville we anchored in Mill Creek which was very pretty.
A one night stopover turned into two when the winds howled the next day (will we ever be able to string together two days in a row?), but eventually we were off for a 24 nm trip to the anchorage in Deltaville. We were actually able to – gasp! – sail! It had been so long, we joked that we weren’t sure we would remember how to do it!
The next day was going to be sporty, with 15-20 knot winds on the nose, but we wanted to get to Hampton. A sailor’s worst enemy is a schedule and we truly try not to let that happen, but we were going to be heading up to Connecticut in a few days and we already had reservations in Hampton for a rental car and a marina. We also REALLY wanted to see our friends Tom and Anita from S/V Lone Star who had been anchored there for several days. We had been missing them by a day or two all of the way down the Chesapeake.
Steeling ourselves for a long slog, we gritted our teeth, raised the anchor, and headed out. It was definitely sporty. The winds were a steady 18-20 knots and the infamous Chesapeake Chop was out in force. We kept taking water over the bow, but at least this time we had been smart enough to wear our foulies and boots from the start (unlike our trip down the Jersey coast). At one point Jeff looked at me and said emphatically and in all seriousness, “I am not having any fun at all.” He was right. It wasn’t fun, and we vowed not to go out on the Chesapeake again if the winds were forecast to be 15 knots or higher – at least not if they were going to be on the nose!
Fortunately there was very little ship traffic as we headed up the James River towards Hampton. We did dodge out of the way of this bad boy, however.
After 41 nm we were rewarded when we anchored only two boats away from our friends. As they dinghied over to say hi they told us that if we hurried we could take one dollar unlimited hot water showers at the Hampton Mariner’s Center before it closed for the day. SHOWERS! YAY!!
Once we were clean a happy reunion followed with Tom and Anita feeding us burgers and coleslaw on their trimaran. As an added bonus, they had given us a Bon Voyage ice cream cake right before we left Shenny, and had saved the last of it in their freezer for our eventual reunion. We joked that it was like the top of the wedding cake that people save to eat on their first anniversary. Everything was great, and we had a fantastic time catching up.
Of course all good things must come to an end, so the next day we raised our anchor and waved goodbye as we motored down the creek to Sunset Boating Center where we were leaving Pegu Club for our trip to Connecticut.