After leaving Oriental we made steady progress north. We reluctantly decided to skip our beloved Belhaven, which is the first time we’ve missed it. Unfortunately Covid cases were increasing in North Carolina and from what we could observe on Facebook, Belhaven residents weren’t fans of masks. Sadly, if that attitude remains Belhaven will have to be a pass for us until Covid is somehow resolved.
We had a sporty ride across the Albemarle (it’s a large, shallow body of water so every time a gnat farts a nasty chop kicks up), spent several days sweating it out in the Dismal Swamp Canal, and rode out the Fourth of July weekend anchored at Hospital Point by Portsmouth, VA.
The reflection on the water on the Dismal Swamp was stunning:
Hospital Point actually turned out to be a really good choice for the holiday weekend. We had never anchored there before, but it’s a no-wake zone and thanks to all of the military work being done in the area, it’s well patrolled so boaters actually abide by the no-wake rule. As long as the wind is cooperative, we’ll definitely be stopping there again in the future.
After we left Hospital Point we had several wind-free days as we worked our way up the Chesapeake, stopping in our regular anchorages. Regular readers may recall our back and forth debate as to where to go for the summer, eventually choosing Annapolis. So where did we actually end up? Cambridge, MD.
After posting about our decision to go to Annapolis for the summer, cruising friends of ours on S/V Aurora suggested Cambridge (where they have a house). Located on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake, Cambridge has a very affordable marina with good reviews, a small grocery store within easy walking distance and a larger Food Lion two miles away, and a cute downtown.
The marina website showed a monthly rate for a 35′ slip at $205, including electric, which sounded too good to be true, but a call to the marina confirmed that it was. The rate in Annapolis was going to be $635/month plus electric. With a savings of $1,000 over two months (taking into account our anticipated electric usage) it was a no-brainer. Cambridge it would be!
Once our reservation was set we texted our cruising friends on S/V Barry Duckworth to tell them about it, and they promptly made a reservation too. Between Aurora, Barry Duckworth, and Pegu Club, it was going to be a reunion of the cruising class of 2018.
We knew we were taking a bit of a risk booking a two month stay in a place we’ve never been, but it’s actually worked out quite well so far. Cambridge is cute, the marina has been fine (with spotless showers and restrooms) and it’s been nice having friends here. Staying in one place at a marina is also giving us a chance to take care of some long-delayed projects (the subject of future blog posts).
Of course by the time mid-September rolls around I’m sure we’ll be more than ready to move on. But the question is where will we go? It’s a topic of frequent discussion on the S/V Pegu Club, and it changes several times a week with every update of the news.
8 thoughts on “A no-brainer.”
I have a Bristol 35.5 in Cambridge that I use every weekend. I’m not in the city marina but further up the creek past the draw bridge. If you’d like to get together let me know. If you’d like to borrow my car on a weekend let me know also. Cambridge is a real bargain and lots of creeks off the Choptank to explore. Annapolis and St Michaels are a day sail away. There is also a WalMart a half mile past the Food Lion.
Hi Kevin – thanks for getting in touch, and for the kind offer of your car. We’re looking forward to checking out some of the creeks around here once we take a break from boat projects. Meeting up would be great – we’d love to see your boat! We’ll definitely text you. Kimberly and Jeff
We liked the Eastern Shore a lot. If you have time go to Kaeptopeke state park cement ships, the bike paths are good too. Not in heavy wind but during a hot spell, good swimming.
Hi Nina – thanks for the info on Kaeptopeke State Park. I noticed that on the chart when we were in Portsmouth, so maybe we can check it out when we head south again. Hope you two are well! Kimberly
I found Cambridge on the map. There is a Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument South of where you are. Looks like a drive on the 16 and more. maybe it is too far away. Just saying. love you,
Thanks for the tip, Nikki! We’ll have a car when we head to Connecticut so maybe we can check it out. Love you! Kimberly
Hey! Great to know where you will be for a while…I have had some spirited sails in that Albamarle too! Going south, I sailed so fast, my drive shaft came out of the coupling…just as I was rounding up to take in sails before the RR bridge at Alligator R. Lucky for me, my cape Dory 28 has a full keel, and the attached rudder kept the whole thing from dropping out altogether! It took 3 dives for me to realize what had happened, and that I had not fouled a pot. I was able to grab it from the inside and work it back into the coupling.
Now, In Kingston, NY, I have the shaft and coupling out of the boat, to be replaced by new units….the keyway was beyond hope.
On the way back north, It piped up to 30+ kts at the mouth of the river… I bought a used monitor vane over the winter, and it was fantastic. close reach up the river, while I got two reefs in the main, and after a 20 minute struggle, one in the jib. ( I have a Hank on jib, and the club foot design is a problem. I have since taken the club off the jib. It still has a single sheet, self tacking set up) even shortened up like that, I was making 6.5 + over the ground. The boat was easily handling the wind and gusts, and I think this combo would work up to 40kts. Then the jib would have to come down, and or a third reef in the main. I am not that anxious to try those combos in 40+kts! But I will probably have to, some day.
I plan to head south again in the fall, I hope we can meet up. Cheers! Josh s/v Wayfinder.
Hi Josh – Great to hear from you! I think the Albemarle and the Alligator River are my least favorite parts of the entire ICW, but I’ve never had an experience on them quite like yours. Try to keep that a one and done! 🙂 We’re going to be moving south very slowly this fall, so I’m sure we’ll be sharing an anchorage again. Keep in touch! Kimberly