October 1, 2016

Chesapeake Bay Believer - Part 1 of 5

"Chesapeake Bay is like a beautiful woman.  There's no humiliation from which she cannot recover."
- James Michener, Chesapeake 

Where does one start when trying to describe the scale, magnitude and stately vibe of the Chesapeake Bay?  

Sailing solo again, I had an epiphany this month that just won't let go. 

After clearing Norfolk, VA, it didn't take long for me to "get it" and begin to understand.  I now know why the Chesapeake is such a magical destination and a desired home port for so many fellow cruisers I've had the pleasure to meet over the past 3 years on the water.

Saying there is just "nothing like it" falls so short of explaining it all.  The Bay embodies all the natural beauty, maritime history, and American nostalgia of our great country. 

It's the largest bay in the U.S. and has so many diverse little towns, rivers, and hidden anchorages that it would take years to explore her properly.  I suppose this is why she is home to so many sailboats that reside here full time year after year.  I have just started to scratch the surface of this fairyland. 

In an attempt to capture the flavor of the ICW, I created this new music  video from a recent song I wrote called Life On The Waterway.  It's a small spark of what goes on here in this unique maritime environment.  Enjoy!

 (Click the bold link to view.)


Departing Norfolk on August 9, 2016 marked the beginning of entrance into the southern Chesapeake. Battleships flanked me on both sides as I passed by Hampton and into the Bay heading north.

Taking the tour of the U.S. Wisconsin proved to be an enjoyable and educational peek into our naval history.  I suppose this mother of a battleship is a killing machine in some people's eyes.  Or is she a protector of freedom?  Either way, she is an impressive testament to the power and engineering of her day.

This is the New Point Comfort Lighthouse located at the entrance to Mobjack Bay where I anchored the night on my way to Deltaville.
Wolf Trap Lighthouse
As I headed north in the bay I was enchanted with a series of old abandoned lighthouses scattered as navigation aids from days gone by.  Although these historic structures still stand, the human aspect has been replaced with automated technology.  

There are 71 lighthouses sprinkled throughout the Chesapeake Bay.  They are the home to decades of history where men lived in them and were on duty 24/7 keeping the light on for mariners. 

Now they stand as historic icons that still add charm and application for navigation in the bay but just without the human touch of keeping old fashion kerosene lights fueled. 

I marveled at how each lighthouse had its own architectural charm.  No two were alike. For your info, the little structure jutting off from the right side of this lighthouse above is the outhouse.

In Mobjack Bay I anchored in front of this antebellum home once owned by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.  I tried to imagine John sitting on the front porch or at his waterwheel barn writing a new song.  The location seemed to have good energy and was very remote, so I seized the opportunity to anchor for a night to pay homage to the man and hero who died so senselessly. 

The following day I was sailing north, just minding my own business, when suddenly this craft passed me like a bat out of hell. She was racing across the surface of the water like something crazy.  I was spellbound by this crazy craft. 

Spray was flying everywhere like dust in a storm. I later found out this is an amphibious craft called a hovercraft. She is part of the U.S. Naval fleet used for making land assaults and was on a training exercise.  I was impressed to say the least.   

As I approached Deltaville, I was hampered by an infection in my thumb that just wouldn't heal.

The infection continued to spread and before long it was next to impossible to use my swollen hand without great pain. That makes it difficult to tie knots or reel in lines for sail adjustments.  

 A week before, a sharp little wire had jabbed into my thumb. At the time I didn't give it much thought. Infection soon crept in and before long just touching my thumb was incredibly painful. 

Pretty gross, huh?  But it did get better after the antibiotics kicked in as seen in 2nd photo... oooey gooey. Sorry for that.


To make matters worse I took a fall off the companionway steps and slammed the infected thumb into a doorway.  A litany of choice colorful words (that I'll not share here) bellowed from my lips! 

Thankfully when I arrived in Deltaville I met up with old friend Mike Vess who drove me to the local clinic.  I received a welcome dose of antibiotics and healing began in a matter of days. Mike lives aboard his boat, Ginny Lee.

Kids learn to sail and compete at an early age along the bay.  "Wild Thing!"
Regattas are a common site in these waters where ever you go. 

Pelicans take flight and never cease to amaze me.

The marina a Deltaville had a nice pool to enjoy on this hot August afternoon.  I had the whole place to myself.  After two nights in Deltaville, I moved further north another 40 miles to one of my favorite coastal towns, Solomons, Maryland where I would linger for a month.

The Patuxent River flows by Solomon's and is seen below.   They have a unique waterfront walkway that faces to the western sunset each day. 

Here lovers walk hand in hand and sneak kisses along the way.  Ice cream cones are in the hands of many.  Also in the hands of many others were cell phones...hordes of people along the walkway stared into their phone screens playing a new game I hear called Pokeymon or something like that.

 Evidently this particular area was crawling with invisible Pokeymons waiting to be captured. Personally I don't get it or care to. The game was out of control here and it seemed to me folks were missing out on the sunset in lieu of phone staring. 

Sometimes I do crazy things when I pass through another new town.  I tend to reach out to new folks I meet and ask a lot a questions.  This was the case when I discovered this solid oak coffee table at an antique store going out of business.  For some reason, I was taken by it, and the proprietor kept dropping the price.  

When he dropped the price to $20 I decided to buy it and pay for the shipping to send it back to Georgia!

It was a gorgeous table.  And when Wayne here offered to take me up to the local hardware store to have her shipped, well I was in too deep to turn back.  

I have found that people are friendly wherever you go, and usually enjoy helping out a new stranger in town like me. We couldn't find a box large enough so we bought two rolls of gorilla tape and wrapped the living shit out it until it was shippable.  Thanks Wayne for all your help and for the ride back to my boat!  

A peaceful anchorage indeed up the creek in Solomons.

Solomon's, Maryland is a cool little town with thousands of sailboats and great people.  I savored 3 more nights here before leaving my boat for the month and flying back to Atlanta to tend to some business and family affairs.

Glory Days was in good hands at Zanisers Marina, one of the best full service marine centers I've stayed at so far.  I also had them re-splice my anchor line here for good measure.

Here are some parting shots taken around Solomons in late August 2016.  In one month I would return with my sweetie, Sherry, to continue on to St. Michaels, Oxford, and Annapolis for the world's largest on the water sailboat show.

Time out.

 The sunsets on the Patuxent River never get old. 
But I do. 

 Solomons is a very quiet small town, but with a total boating community consciousness.
Children learn early here.
 Friendly folks are everywhere.

 And passionate boaters are commonplace.

Settle in and enjoy.
So long for now!

The next entry will be with my first mate, Sherry as we make our way up to St. Michaels, Oxford, and Annapolis

Take me high Lord.  So grateful.

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