28 October 2021: Shelter Seeking Yet Again!
28 October 2021
Reedy Island, DE, USA
Rock Hall, MD, USA
Cumulative Mileage (NM)
Crew on Board
Skipper, first mate, chef, entertainment and more; I guess that is solo sailing for you!
GENERAL WEATHER OBSERVATIONS
10 knots or less
Not a cloud in sight!
Sunny but chilly, peeling layers off around midday and putting them back on shortly after.
Dry, thank goodness!
After a few days stationary and a little more time to plan than my typical in bed the night before review I had been doing, I was able to make a great plan.
I would leave my anchorage in the morning, in the early hours when it will still barely dark. It seemed like a very straightforward anchorage exit to the north towards the C&D Canal. I figured by the time I was at the entrance to the canal after raising anchor, it would be light enough and I would not be nervous about encountering any big cargo ships in the dark.
Given this was my first real canal – well I guess New York City was kind of a canal with lots of planning required – I wanted to sit down and be ready for the bridge I would encounter, read reviews, check the tides and all that good stuff.
I also wanted to make sure that the place I wanted to get too was not too far to do in one day and that it had a pump out available. The spot I had my eye on was near the entrance to Baltimore. The anchorage was a little bit on the shallow side entering but then was suitable. And I read up a lot on the reviews and asked friends who knew it well. Why this anchorage, you ask? Because my cruising friends, an American-Aussie couple, from the Bahamas a few years ago had bought a boat there and were hoping I would catch up to to them! The weather was looking a little so-so and we planned around it, dinner and a movie night!
The First Half
All went according to plan pulling the anchor, following charts and navigation markers and entering the canal. It was pleasantly traffic free almost the entire time (bar one encounter with passing a barge under a bridge during which the motor vessel behind the barge decided it was also a good time to pass).
So far and including today, all of the bridges that I had to pass were either plenty high enough for me to cruise on through or they were by default lifted in the open position (only closing if there was a train). So I had not yet had to worry about using the radio and timing my movements between bridges like I would have to coming up in the Intracoastal Waterway after Norfolk, Virginia.
The day was quite relaxing, the fall leaves were beautiful. The feel of it noticably changed as it I went from Delaware to Maryland. The shoreline was quite cute (sometimes very grand) and it seemed like I was in cottage country, or just that everyone in Maryland lived on the water. It was fascinating to me as someone who would, if deciding to live their life on land, want to be living full-time on the waterfront. Who knew Maryland should be kept in the running!?
As it was light winds, I wishfully had my jib out to feel like I was motorsailing but it was not really doing anything. The old universal engine was doing all of the work. With the autopilot driving, this gave me plenty of time to keep an eye on the weather forecast coming up. I am not sure if it got worse every time I check, or if I just got more nervous wondering if I had chosen the right anchorage to wait it out. The spot I had picked was very protected, almost 360 degrees, but Baltimore was also going to get hit much harder than the east coast of the Chesapeake Bay. As I left the canal on the west side and pointed the boat for Baltimore, I was still second guessing if that is really where I should be going.
The Second Half
In sailing there is nothing like testing what you want to do versus what you should do. It is a skill that needs to be practiced as sometimes you do not even know that you are doing it.
Obviously, I wanted to see my friends and it was a very protected anchorage. But knowing that it was more exposed than other options I had available made it seem like the wrong choice. Since I was still new and sailing less than a month, it was nice to have someone to run these things past. And like I knew he would, Jamie confirmed the east coast of the Chesapeake Bay was the much smarter choice. He was like the little angel sitting on your shoulder, sometimes saying the things you do not want to hear or do but so far he was always right.
So I pulled up the charts, with my pump out option now ruled out I needed a new place to go. If I took a hard left directly east to the shoreline there was a small marina that could pump me out and I could get gas at the same time. Then I should have time in daylight hours to make it to Rock Hall, Maryland. At the back side of town, there was a very protected anchorage with good reviews and as a bonus I had a cruising friend from Rhode Island there who not only I would get to visit with but also confirmed there was plenty of room for me!
I arrived to the pump out and fuel stop just in time before they closed for the day, and made it to Rock Hall before sundown. And since I had been planning dinner with my Baltimore friends, despite sailing all day, I had everything that I needed to offer to cook dinner for Tom on SV Mojo next to me. It was my turn to host dinner anyways as I had already been invited over to Tom’s twice now before he even left Rhode Island!
Plus I think it gave the Rhode Island friends back home lots of comfort to know I had a friendly face checking in on me almost a month into my journey!
It was nice to catch up on plans ahead of us now that I had a better idea of what solo sailing would be like and could be a little less vague. The last time I visited with Tom was before I bought the boat so my plans were very hypothetical. Hard to compare cliff notes when one of you does not even know what city they will be starting in!
After breaking the news to my friends in Baltimore that I would not be coming before they departed south, they assured me we would try and find a time to catch up at some point. They also mentioned how much they loved Rock Hall and got me excited to be spending a few days there, even if the weather was a little gloomy and wet after tonights blow.
Cannot wait to see what this little town has to offter!
“If the plan does not work,
change the plan, but never the goal.”