Wow, time sure gets away from us these days. Seems like we just got here and bam! It’s December. We hope you’re getting ready for the holidays which are fast approaching – I know we are! Many folks have asked us to write a post “summing up” the trip down via the Intracoastal Waterway, aka the ICW. They’ve asked about the barges, bridges, currents, the tidal ranges and much, much more. As you can imagine, that could fill volumes and most of it has been written and told already. That said… I’ve pulled out the log book and will re-cap (Reader’s Digest like) some of the incredible moments of this amazing trip, which I will break down into a couple different posts.
The reason we didn’t go off-shore straight to Florida was because Melody wanted the opportunity to experience the ICW, and more importantly she needed to be connected to the internet for her job so it was imperative that we stayed close to shore. Our Verizon 4G hot-spot performed perfectly in this capacity. We also traveled with Jet and doing a long off-shore run was not possible since he refuses to “go” on the fake grass patch that we bought him for the sole purpose of him being able to pee on deck – instead he uses it as a soft spot to lay on. (More about what lengths we’ll go to for Jet’s bathroom needs in future post).
I will say though, if and when you make your plan to do the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in it’s entirety, plan on getting a different emotion from everyone you discuss it with. I liken it to getting one’s wisdom teeth out. Every single individual will regale you with horror stories and tales. My advice? Just do your homework, get the guides, ready your vessel and your spirit… and go.
The Chesapeake Bay
The night before we left, several of our Rock Hall friends came over to our boat for one last get together before we left. (This is after they threw us the best send-off party we could have ever hoped for the weekend before). Somehow we managed to have ten – yes, TEN people down below where we drank wine, told stories and laughed our butts off.
We left Rock Hall on the morning of September 22 with winds from the south @ 20 – 25 knots which means that once again, we were bashing into the wind and that does not make for a very comfortable ride. We planned on making it to Solomon’s which would have been about 60 miles but had to duck into the Rhode River/West River about 25 miles into the trip due to the conditions. When you miss your mileage targets due to weather and/or breakdowns, your trip changes and you either have to make it up with super-long days later or adjust your targets.
On our second morning, we headed up the Potomac (which flows into the Chesapeake) a good ways to a little anchorage in Jutland Creek. Just off the end of Point Look-Out Marina there is a small area called Deep Cove that was perfect for the night with room to take Jet ashore. The Marina has facilities, gas, diesel and pump-out if you need. The anchorage was calm, well protected with great holding and better still, Spinnakers Restaurant at the marina had a fantastic cheeseburger. After a long day on the water, we’re all about a good burger or pizza.
Once we left Jutland, it was quite a haul to get back down the Potomac and into the bay. We were headed to Kiptopeke State Park, which is at the southern end of the Delmarva Peninsula and just northeast of Norfolk, VA. As we headed towards our destination, we watched a Navy helicopter doing their training exercises as the sun set in the background.
It had been a 12 hour day and about 70 miles when we finally got to Kiptopeke State Park but it was well worth the long day. If you don’t know about Kiptopeke, you can read more here. Nine concrete WWII Liberty ships form a crescent break-water that protects the anchorage. They are weathered, crumbling and beautiful. Deep water and very surreal. We anchored in 20 feet of water due to several other big catamarans in there. The next morning, it was blowing 10-15 and I had to pull 120 feet of anchor rode in by hand. Dear Santa, if you have room in that bag… a windlass would be nice. Although Mel says, “honey I have a windlass… YOU.”
All in all, the Bay is everything they say it is. When she’s bad, she’s very bad. When she’s good… it’s astounding how beautiful she is. So much to see on that amazing body of water. We are lucky to have such a place and if you’ve never been there, you should go spend some time on the Chesapeake. You will leave a changed person.
We’ll be putting up our detailed anchorage notes and info we gathered on the ICW on a separate page so check back soon for that. In the meantime, let us know if you have questions or want to hear about something in greater detail. More highlights to come in our next post!
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Fred Facker says
Great photos. How long did the ICW trip take?
Thanks Fred! Well, we left on September 22nd and got to Ft. Lauderdale on November 8th, so that’s almost 7 weeks, but we had a 3 week delay due to engine issues and my mom’s passing. Our target goal was originally 4 weeks (which is doing the trip pretty fast). We needed to get down here because Chris had a boat delivery lined up (which he ended up having to pass up due to the circumstances). It’s an exhausting trip, but I think if you had the time to stretch it out some and stop long enough to rest and see all the beautiful towns along the way, it would be really nice. I’d love to do it again, but not for another year or two, and definitely with more money in the cruising kitty in case things go wrong (which they are bound to do!)
Caleb Davison says
Yup. The Chesapeake (“the Chessy”) is a wonderful area for sailboats. I’ve been to both Rock Hall and the Rhode River several times.
I look forward to the rest of your reports about the ICW on the way south.
There is a very interesting and fun book about the ICW as done by a New Englander in 1912 or so: “Me, the boy and the cat” by Henry Plummer. Worth the read for the historical perspective and his ship’s logs can actually be humorous.
Hey there! We use a Verizon hotspot to get our internet fix as well… just wondering, are you heading south of Florida and, if so, what are you looking at to stay on the internet? (We also work from our boat, so it’s pretty imperative we stay connected). Happy travels…love reading your blog!
Hey Tasha! We hope to one day head south, but for now, we’re going to spend the next year or so in various spots up and down the East Coast. Most people I know who are sailing in the Caribbean have a Wifi Extender, which isn’t terribly costly to set up. The caveat is that although it gives you much better range than say, the extenders you’ll find in stores like Best Buy, etc., you still have to be within range of an unsecured “hotspot” or wireless network. I’ve heard lots of people say that’s usually not an issue, especially in the Bahamas. There are hotels, marinas, and cafes that have hotspots. I’ll send you some more info as I get it. On another note, are you guys planning on heading down to Ft. Lauderdale at all? Would love to meet up if you’re heading this way!