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!