Cruising in The Bay ~ 1st – 22nd June
We had spent a week in Broad Creek, Deltaville recovering from our eleven day passage from the British Virgin Islands and sorting our shore power leads and connectors to accommodate the American 110v power supply! All done and so it was now time to move on….!
We had arranged a few months ago to join an Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) rally which started on the 10th June from St Michael’sMD and finish in Baltimore,MD! We had 10 days to get there and so we planned to anchor at several spots on the way!
A little about the Bay….!
The Bay is a large estuary, in fact it is generally accepted that it is the world’s largest estuary. It’s name is derived from America’s ancient native language and translates as ‘mother of waters‘, or for some, ‘great shellfish bay‘. There is a strong American/Indian influence especially in the naming of the rivers such as the Susquehanna, the Potomac, the Patuxent, the Patapsco, the Rappahannock and the Choptank Rivers to name a few! And there are masses of Creeks too!
The Bay is approximately 200 miles long and at it’s narrowest it is 2.8 miles wide and at it’s widest it is 30 miles wide, just south of the Potomac River which goes up to Washington, DC!
The average depth of water is 6.4m and at it’s deepest it is 53m. The Bay is also spanned in two places by bridges although the bridge in Virginia is known as a bridge tunnel which links Virginia Beach to Cape Charles and it is where we entered the bay! The other Bridge is in Maryland and crosses the Bay between Sandy Point near Annapolis and Kent Island.
The main industry in the Bay is fishing for Blue Crabs, a local delicacy and Oysters among other species! The Bay is a mass of crab pots and fish traps making it quite hazardous for leisure boats under motor! Like everything else, the Bay has been over fished and supplies have dwindled and the boat men are fiercely protective of their working areas!
Passage to St. Michaels, Maryland (MD)
During our 10 day trip up to St Michaels we anchored in various little creeks, wending our way into to drop anchor while avoiding the shallows, the crab pots and the fishtraps!
Two pretty anchorages on our way!
We both agreed that to sail in the bay at night would be foolhardy in the extreme as none of these hazards are lit?! However, for my part the best place was Horseshoe Bend at St Mary’s! It was a lovely anchorage and oh so friendly people there!
St Mary’s City is a former colonial town which was Maryland’s first colonial settlement and also the fourth oldest permanent English settlement in the United States! Great restoration and reconstruction work is going on on site which it shares with St Mary’s College of Maryland, a secular public honours college, a co-educational state funded arts college.
Horseshoe Bend, St Mary’s – Musetta is the red arrow on this picture!
St Mary’s City is considered to be the birthplace of religious freedom in the States, a haven for both Catholic and Protestant Christian Faiths.
This photo shows a replica of one of the two ships, Ark and Dove. These two ships formed the first expedition to colonise Maryland!
They set off twice from England, once from Gravesend in Kent but having been brought back to swear allegiance to the King of England, a requirement by law, they embarked on their mission again this time from the Isle of Wight with two priests and several hundred settlers to set off across the Atlantic!
The OCC Rally ~ 10th – 15th June
This was our first experience of a cruise in company rally and we thoroughly enjoyed it. There were approximately 12 boats in the rally including two other British boats! We met in St Michael’s and had the opportunity to investigate the Maritime museum there. It was a large museum, covering 18 acres and gave us a good insight into life on the Bay in days gone by!
This boat ‘Elf’ was one of the exhibits!
She was built in 1888 and is oldest active racing yacht in America!!
Our next stop on the rally was to Annapolis, the state capital of Maryland. It is home to the United States Naval Academy. We arrived in the Severn River and then to Weems Creek to anchor and join our fellow cruisers for a barbecue at one of the properties which line the creek. It was great fun and delicious food too!
The next day we took a guided tour of the Naval Academy which was fascinating. A strong French influence in the architecture of the buildings too. The Navel cadets were to be seen in the ultra crisp white uniforms!
Some views from around the Academy, the memorial Hall inside and out and a model of Nelson’s flagship Victory made out of human bone!!!
Baltimore ~ The final destination!
Our cruise was going to conclude here. We attempted to sail there from Annapolis but the winds just wouldn’t play ball and as we entered the Patapsco river we had to motor the rest of the way – very tedious?!
As we motored up the river and into the harbour we passed this fort!
Fort McHenry, Locust Point, Baltimore!
Fort McHenry sits at the mouth of Baltimore’s Inner Harbour where we were to be staying for a few days! It is famous for successfully defending Baltimore from attack by the British navy during the war of 1812 and is also famous for being the birthplace of the US National Athem, the “Star Spangled Banner”.
The Baltimore Orioles ~ Baseball Game!
This was the last item on the programme of the OCC rally. We had never been to a baseball game before and this one was against the Boston Redsox! All agog to see how the game progressed we finally worked out the scoring! The Boston Redsox prevailed
on this occasion! Actually they won very easily. To me baseball is a more sophisticated version of our game of rounders usually played by junior children! This was obviously far more serious! The game came to an abrupt end?! There were no announcements about the winning score, who won the game? Congratulations to the winners – the supporters simply went home?!! Very odd?!!
Walking to Oriole Park, Camden Yards to the baseball game and past the Hard Rock Cafe on the way!
We had been warned that Baltimore was not the nicest place to be especially at night? Actually, we didn’t see any of that but perhaps because we were in a newly developed area at the marina? It was all very clean and tidy and extremely welcoming. We have found that all the Americans we have met have been very friendly and about as far away from the perceived stereotype as you could possibly imagine!!
In fact, with the OCC rally now over and with most boats setting off north, we stayed and were treated to a wonderful couple of days in Washington DC courtesy of one of my eldest son’s customers! His generosity knew no bounds and we had an extremely interesting time! – That is however, another story!
The Capitol Building,Washington DC.
Summer Lay-up for Musetta!
We now needed to make our way back to Norview Marina, Deltaville where Musetta was to be lifted out of the water for a well deserved rest! We had a lot to prepare for her lay-up which included removing all her canvas (sails, etc.) and all the lines which we washed and are now all ready to go back!
The propeller and shaft, before and after Alan had set to work on them!
When she was lifted out of the water we discovered that despite having covered all the thousands of miles we had she was in pretty good condition, nothing like we were expecting at least. Alan was in is element cleaning off all the barnacles etc. and soon Musetta’s undersides were restored to pristine order!
For my part I could hardly wait to clean and prepare her topsides for polishing! One of the most disappointing things about the Chesapeake Bay is the water, it is horrid a sort of green murk which resulted in Musetta’s hull looking horrific!
However, I have some magic potion which is also very potent and has to be used with great care! The results were both very pleasing and a huge relief to be able to restore Musetta’s beauty!
With all jobs completed we were now homeward bound! We had a flight booked out of New York on the 1st July! We hired a car and drove to the Big Apple and enjoyed three days there, gently winding down before our flight home!
We revisited the 9/11 memorial which we had last been to in 2013 before it was completed. The now finished memorial and museum are incredibly moving and very tastefully done!
We had had a very enjoyable few days in New York, time now to fly home to Blighty to catch up with family and friends!
Bye for now!