Friday, August 29, 2014

Sailing the Chesapeake: Mill Creek, Solomon's Island

August 1 - 2, 2014

The water was like glass and it was raining lightly as we motored out of the Corrotoman River and into the Rappahanock River.

Phoenix's Perkins 4-236 and the feathering Max-prop continued to impress us with how well they move the boat -- we were moving at 5.2 knots at  only 1,250 rpm! We throttled up to 1,750 rpm and were doing 7.2 knots over the bottom.

As we made our way out of the Rappahanock and turned north to head up the Bay, the winds began to pick up to 10-12 knots. We raised the main and genoa and sailed on a beam reach, moving at 6.5-6.8 knots. Our speeds picked up to 7.2 when the wind was just forward of the beam and we had a wonderful sail up the Bay, despite the rain.

We vacillated on where we wanted to stop for the night, and eventually decided to make our way up the Patuxent (Pax) River for the evening. Our speeds slowed to a leisurely 5.5 knots and we were on a broad reach after we turned towards our evening's destination. Although we were enjoying the sail, we decided to turn on the motor at about 6 pm so we'd have time to drop the anchor before dark. We motored the rest of the way, and arrived in Mill Creek (Solomon's Island) at 7:30 pm.

It was raining when we arrived, so once the snubber was secured, we again pulled out the aft cabin's storm dodger and squall-proof wind scoop -- both vital pieces of equipment on this 2 week trip! We settled in down below with plenty of ventilation, and made delicious flat bread pizzas on the stove top with the remaining pitas that I made earlier in the trip.

Storm dodger over the aft cabin hatch got quite a workout this trip!

We absolutely love being able to keep the forward hatch open in the rain with our squall-proof wind scoop!
We slept in until 8 am the next morning, and woke to find that it had rained 1.13 inches overnight. The temperatures were a chilly 68 degrees -- almost unheard of temperatures for this time of the year! After a leisurely morning, we tidied up a bit and  Bill bailed the dinghy.

Straightening up after the rain

The water was a bit chilly in the dinghy!

Bill hard at work bailing the dinghy

Once the morning's chores were done, it was once again time to continue our trek up the Bay.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sailing the Chesapeake: The Corrotoman River

July 31 - August 1, 2014

We hauled anchor that afternoon in Urbanna at high tide, hoping the extra flood tide would prevent us from again bumping the bottom as we exited the town. As the anchor came up, I noticed that the seizing wire on our anchor shackle had come off, so that would need attention before we dropped anchor later on.

We slowly made our way out of Urbanna at high tide, watching the depth finder and forward scanning sonar as we approached R2 and G3. The bottom quickly came up and and we lightly touched the bottom before the depths quickly dropped to 9, then 13 feet. We turned east and made a short trip to the Corrotoman River.

The Corrotoman River was wide with predominantly deep water, though you should give each mark a wide berth as there was definitely some shoaling near each, especially R2, G3, R4, and R6. We dropped anchor at 5 pm in the Eastern Branch of the Corrotoman River -- the lone boat in a serene anchorage with a few homes peppering the landscape.

Anchored in the Eastern Branch of the Corrotoman River
Scenes from the deep, quiet anchorage on the Corrotoman

Bill pulled out the fishing rods. We caught and released several croaker and I found out first hand why they got their name!

Bill hard at work

They really do croak!
Another beautiful sunset on the Chesapeake
We turned in after a quiet night, and awoke early the next morning to light rain. We were expecting rain all day, so we cleaned and reapplied Rain-X to the windshield, filled up our sun showers, and hauled anchor at 7:45 am. This time we noticed that the seizing wire on one of the snubber shackles had come off and needed replacing -- very strange! We double checked the anchor shackle and began motoring out of the Corrotoman River. We turned east into the Rappahannock River, continuing to make our way back up the Bay.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sailing the Chesapeake: Urbanna, Virginia

July 30-31, 2014

When we awoke in Mobjack Bay, the winds were 10 knots from the north -- perfect weather for an upwind sail. We hauled anchor at 8:30 am, and were the last of the three boats to leave the party. Much to my delight, the wash down pump worked perfectly and I didn't have to pull out the canvas bucket to finish rinsing off the chain and anchor. We determined that it was designed for intermittent use and is prone to over-heating. Something to address when we got home...

We started heading up the Bay on a beam reach with the jib and jigger, and were doing about 5 knots. The winds shifted to the northeast at 10-15 knots, we tightened the sheets to head upwind, and our speeds increased to 6 knots while sailing against a 0.7 knot current. The winds died to 3 knots apparent, so we raised Phoenix's mainsail and were still moving at about 2 knots. As the winds increased to 8 knots apparent, our speeds increased in turn and we were on a close reach sailing at 5 knots. Not breakneck speeds, but certainly respectable sailing half the wind speed in the light air conditions.

Sailing up the Bay

Uncertain at first where we were going to anchor that evening, we eventually decided to head up the Rappahannock River to Urbanna, Virginia. We'd never been there before, but a friend said we'd have no problem getting into the anchorage with Phoenix's 6.5 foot draft -- he saw 10 feet on his depth finder the entire way.

By the time we entered the Rappahannock, the winds had died, we rolled in the headsail and were motor sailing with the main. We dropped the main before reaching the entrance to Urbanna, and arrived there on a falling tide. Motoring at about 5 knots, we were startled when we bumped and plowed through the sand bar between R2 and G3. Luckily, the sand was no match for Phoenix's 40,000 lb displacement, and we did our part to help dredge the channel.

Anchorage in Urbanna -- beware of the shoaling between R2 and G3
We slowly made our way into the town's anchorage, with our depth finder and forward scanning sonar showing only 7-8 feet the entire way. The anchorage was crowded with little room to anchor beyond G9, so we dropped anchor after clearing Bailey Point, just past G7 and across from the Urbanna Town Marina. T-mobile cell phone coverage was non-existent, but we were able to use the Town Marina's wifi to check email and get a little work done.

Urbanna town dock
We met John, who was aboard Epiphany -- a Brewer 42 that he had custom built. John was a wealth of local knowledge. We had previously read that Miss Ann, a 127 foot fantail yacht ran weekly cocktail cruised to Urbanna from the Tides Inn in Irvington, and that Miss Ann's twin propellers (each 4 feet in diameter) and 7.5 foot draft regularly blew out the channel, making the approach easy for most boats. Apparently Miss Ann moved to Colonial Beach in 2008, and since then the entrance shoaled, as we had just learned first hand.

s/v Epiphany -- a Brewer 42
John also had a Spindrift nesting dinghy, just like ours, so we compared notes on the improvements we'd each made when building them.

Around 7:30 that evening, we hear the captain of a boat hailing us as he came into the anchorage, and sure enough, it was Joe and his American Bulldog Buster -- adventurers we had met days before in Deltaville. Joe had a mooring here, and then quickly acquired an Oday 28' for $1 to add to his bounty.

Joe's new boat

The next morning we rowed into town at 7:30 to explore the town. Urbanna is a charming, historic town that is easily walkable. There are beautiful historic homes, antique shops and unique stores selling one-of-a-kind art, clothing, and unique gifts. We had breakfast at the Cross Street Cafe, which has free wifi, and great coffee. There is an Pharmacy downtown with an awesome, old school diner and malt shop inside. We had po' boy sandwiches for lunch at the Chesapeake Bay Oyster company, browsed through many of the local shops and reprovisioned at the local IGA.

Bustling downtown traffic in Urbanna
My Sweet William

Historic homes in Urbanna

Checking out another fine eating establishment!

High tide was at 3:36 pm that afternoon, and we knew we'd need every bit of the flood tide to help us head out. We hauled anchor at 3:00, and slowly made our way towards the Rappahannock. Even with the high flood tide we still bumped bottom, though this time with a lot less oomph!

We had a lot of fun in our day trip here and Urbanna was a great town to visit once, but unless your boat draws less than 5.5 feet, we'd recommend you visit by car.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sailing the Chesapeake: Mobjack Bay

July 29-30th, 2014

The winds blew 20-27 knots all night long, and by morning they calmed to 10-15 knots out of the northwest. We checked the tides and they were running about a foot below mean low water. With the shallow channel leading into Jackson Creek, we decided to wait a bit for the tides to come up before hauling anchor.

Our friend Tom's Tartan 37, Tortuga's Lie, only draws 4 1/2' with the centerboard up, so the tide was less of an issue for him. He hauled anchor at 7:30 am, we said our goodbyes, and he started to make his way back to their marina on the Yeocomico River.

Tom washing down Torgtuga's Lie's deck after hauling anchor

Saying our goodbyes to Tom and Jenny -- she's a good sailing dog
While waiting for the tides to come up, Bill worked on our raw water washdown pump, which stopped working while we were anchored in the Great Wicomico. We had about 80' of chain out, and I wasn't looking forward to rinsing all of the Chesapeake mud off the chain with a canvas bucket! The filter was slightly clogged, so he cleared that, reassembled the pump and cleared the air in the lines. The water pump worked for a while, but once we had about 3/4 of the chain hauled in, the pump overheated and stopped working, so it was back to the canvas bucket again.

We stopped at the Deltaville Marina for a free pump out, and were on our way by 11:30 am for another downwind run. We sailed with jib and jigger on a broad run at about 5 knots. The winds dropped to 1-2 knots apparent, and our speeds slowed to 2.8 -- time to fire up the motor and roll in the headsail. We motored with the mizzen downwind until we reached Mobjack Bay, just north of Hampton, Virginia.

Mobjack Bay is a large, scenic inlet, riddled with fish traps, yet known for its raw beauty. There are many rivers and creeks to that feed into the Mobjack, several with deep water.  At the beginning of our trip, we had hoped to have enough time to explore several of these areas, but the starter delay cut into our cruising time, so our stay was limited to an overnight.  With the winds blowing out of the north, we decided not to venture too far into the Bay, and ducked into an open anchorage just past the abandoned yet picturesque New Point Comfort Light instead.

Mobjack Bay Anchorage

New Point Comfort Light
Open anchorage in Mobjack Bay

One of our neighbors anchored nearby
We dropped anchor at 5:45 pm and had only two other boats anchored in the area. We noticed large sea nettles in the water while setting the anchor, so swimming was out of the question. The weather was clear and calm that evening, a nice reprieve from the days of storm preparations. We had a wonderful evening, grilling and enjoying a bottle of zinfandel under the stars.

Bill manning the grill at sunset
Mobjack also had some of the largest sea walnuts we've seen on the Bay. Also known as comb jellies, sea walnuts are bio-luminescent invertebrates. Unlike jelly fish, they have no tentacles and are harmless to the touch. Sea walnuts can be found throughout the Bay, but the size and number that we saw in Mobjack were impressive to say the least.

Sea Walnut (aka Comb Jelly) -- picture courtesy of

Bio-luminescent sea walnut
When agitated, sea walnuts glow green, which made the water around Phoenix sparkle as the sea walnuts lapped against the boat with the waves and the current. There was also a fireworks display on the horizon to the southwest of our anchorage, so everywhere we looked we were treated to a light show!

The next morning, we woke up refreshed and ready to start making our way back up the Bay. We hauled anchor at 8:30 am, and were the last of the three boats to leave the party! Low and behold, the wash down pump worked this time and did a great job rinsing off the chain and anchor! Apparently it is designed for intermittent use and is prone to over-heating. Needless to say the wash down pump was added to the list of things to improve when we got back to our dock.

Once again they were calling for north winds, so it was finally time for some upwind sailing! We set our sights on our next destination:  Urbanna, Virginia, off the Rappahonnock River.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sailing the Chesapeake: Jackson Creek, Deltaville part 2

July 27-28, 2014

It was raining in Jackson Creek when we woke up the next morning, and the weather did not look good for Tom and Barbara's scheduled departure. Barbara had to be at work the next day, though Toms' summer schedule is a bit more flexible.

They dinghied in to the Boatyard and spoke with the weekend marina manager to discuss their options. In a perfect example of Southern hospitality, the manager's wife offered to give Barbara a ride to her car in Irvington. Tom and their dog Jenny would stay aboard Tortuga's Lie and wait for a better weather window to head back to their marina on the Yeocomico River.

The Deltaville Boatyard and Marina are very accommodating to transients -- for a modest daily, weekly, or monthly fee you can have full access to the marina's facilities including: internet, showers, swimming pool, lounge, bicycles, courtesy car, picnic and grilling area, community garden, etc.

Another example of southern hospitality: the community garden at the Deltaville Marina -- tomatoes, basil, lettuce, mint, chives, and more "for everyone to enjoy"
We paid the daily rate of $11 per person, used the showers and said our goodbyes to Barbara as she headed off to Irvington.

After we cleaned up and the rain subsided, we wandered around the marina and met Joe and Buster -- a retired military vet and his 6-year old American Bulldog. They were also anchored in the creek, staying aboard a Tartan 27 that Joe recently purchased and was preparing to restore. Joe and Buster were an eclectic, free-spirited pair, and the subjects of a series of children's books loosely chronicling their adventures on the Bay. Joe was kind enough to give us author-signed copies of the first two books in the series to share with our niece: The Bridge Troll and the Water Nymphs, and The Bridge Troll and the Church Lady.

The Bridge Troll series -- affectionately known as the Chronicles of Joe and Buster
Once Buster and Jenny were done playing, it was time to bid farewell to Joe and Buster, and for us to explore Deltaville.

Joe and Buster heading off on their next adventure
Bill, Tom, and I took advantage of the courtesy car and did some light provisioning at the local grocery store, and stopped at Nauti Nell's collectable/nautical consignment shop to see if there were any treasures we needed aboard Phoenix. After exploring a bit more by car, we bicycled around town and checked out the other local marinas. We had happy hour at The Railway (formerly Cocomo's), a popular local hangout. The new Railway menu has more fried food offerings that its predecessor, but the local charm is still there.

Later that evening, they were calling for more storms so we let out another 20' of chain, but the storms never materialized. We woke up the next morning to beautiful clear skies and 10-15 knots out of the west. It would have been perfect sailing weather, but we opted for another play day.

Tom and Bill went back into town in the morning while I caught up on some work and cooked up the rest of our homemade pita bread. When the boys returned Bill went out crabbing. Unfortunately the crabs aren't running well anywhere in the Bay this year, so he was lucky to catch 4 -- just the right amount for crab salad sandwiches with fresh pita bread!

After lunch, we went swimming at the sandy point below R10.

Jackson Creek Anchorage
Jenny, Tom and Bill hanging out on the beach

Jenny had a blast playing fetch in the shallow water
Tom came over for cocktails and we had a quiet evening while enjoying a late dinner in the cockpit. Shortly after Tom returned to Tortuga's Lie, the winds picked up and blew 20-27 knots all night long! This made for a bouncy anchorage, but our Rutland wind generator was cranking away, then regulating as our battery bank was fully charged! Many people scoff at the Rutland's relatively low output, but mounted mid-mizzen, our Rutland 913 is very quiet and does an excellent job of keeping our batteries topped off.

The next morning it was time to say goodbye to Tom and Jenny and head off to our next destination: Mobjack Bay.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sailing the Chesapeake: Jackson Creek, Deltaville part 1

July 26, 2014

After leaving the Great Wicomico River, we again turned south to head further into Virginia. Although the southerly winds were only 5-7 knots at our anchorage, we had a solid 17-20 knots directly on the nose and 3-4' waves out in the Bay.

We cut through the waves and had less spray than in the Little Choptank, but there was no point in hoisting any of the sails. Thanks to our Max-Prop, we were moving at 5 knots at only 1,700 RPM -- a respectable speed given the wind and wave conditions.

The winds calmed to 10-12 knots as we approached Windmill Point and started to make our turn into the Piankatank River. We decided to forgo lunch until we made it to Deltaville, and focused instead on navigating our way into Jackson Creek.

If you've never been to Jackson Creek, the approach can be a bit tricky. There is 8-9' of water in the narrow channel that bends it's way into the creek, but it is flanked by sand shoals on all sides with only 1' of water. It didn't help matters that the house on the point just past RN4 had a bright red sun umbrella on their beach directly behind the closely spaced markers, which played tricks on your eyes as you made your approach. After R10, Jackson Creek divides into two separate forks, separated by a sandy spit with 1' of water. We anchored at 2 pm in the right fork, in about 9' of water off the Deltaville Boatyard and Marina.

Jackson Creek Anchorage
Once the anchor was set and the snubber on, we hopped in the dinghy to visit Tom, Barbara, and their dog Jenny aboard Tortuga's Lie, their Tartan 37. The skies soon began turning dark and it was apparent that a storm was heading our way. We returned to Phoenix and began storm preparations: checked the anchor and snubber lines, set up the squall-proof wind scoop and aft hatch storm dodger, stowed the cockpit cushions down below, etc. They were calling for high winds, so we attached the dinghy painter to the starboard stern cleat and paid out extra line in case the dinghy went airborne (this happened in a summer squall with our old Portabote while sailing our previous boat Meandrous).

The winds picked up and the clouds above the marina began to rotate. We watched as small tips started to form under the rotating clouds, then rise back up to the rotating mass just a few hundred yards away.

Storm clouds beginning to form over the Deltaville Boatyard

Rotating clouds as the storm gained strength

Bill had just finished saying that the sh%t would hit the fan if the boat made a sudden spin, and sure enough we had a sudden gust of wind and Phoenix did a 180. As we spun, the snubber popped off and we began dragging the anchor. While Bill fired up the motor, I turned the windlass on, and luckily our 88 lb Rocna anchor quickly reset itself just before Phoenix blew into the 1' sandy shoal behind us!

Bill was about to put the motor in gear so we could move away from the shoal and reset the anchor in deeper water when he noticed that the dinghy painter was caught under the rudder, possibly in the prop. We couldn't put the motor in gear, so we paid out more anchor chain, reset the snubber, and made several attempts in vain to retrieve the painter with the boat hook while anxiously watching the depth finder and anchor line. It was clear that one of us was going to have to go in the water. Bill retrieved the boarding ladder and I hopped in to dive under the boat. After my second dive I saw that the painter was not tangled in the propeller, but was underneath and caught around the protective skeg.

The dinghy painter was wrapped around the protective skeg and caught up in both spots
I freed the line on my third dive, then climbed aboard while Bill moved the dinghy painter and secured the dinghy to a mid-ship cleat. We pulled up the anchor line, put the motor in gear, moved the boat, reset the anchor with more chain and a taut snubber line, then sat out the rest of the storm.

A recent article in Chesapeake Bay Magazine listed Jackson Creek as one of the best places in the southern Chesapeake to sit out a storm. However a Dickerson 37 that was further up the creek past Deltaville Boatyard also dragged anchor during the storm (not sure if they did a 180 as well). Their fire drill was a bit more dramatic than ours, since their anchor did not reset right away and the crew was scrambling to reset the anchor. (They left early the next day.)

Once the storms passed, the evening and anchorage were calm. We dinghied to the Boatyard and met up with Tom, Barbara and Jenny. They thought I had picked a strange time to go for a swim, but once we told them about the dinghy painter, my impromptu afternoon dip made much more sense.

We made the short walk over to the Deltaville Maritime Museum just in time to enjoy their "Groovin' in the Park" concert of the month -- a veritable who's who of Deltaville residents. After listening to Steve Bassett and Robin Thompson for a while, we wandered around the grounds and checked out the historic boats and the gardens around the museum.

Later that evening, Tom and Barbara came aboard for cocktails and dinner. We had a great time visiting with our friends, so much fun that I forgot to take any pictures! Unfortunately Barbara's vacation was coming to an end and she had to head home the next day, but at least we had the evening to catch up with them before their planned departure.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sailing the Chesapeake: Great Wicomico River

July 25-26, 2014

We left the Little Choptank River at 7:30 am on a falling tide. Winds were blowing out of the north, 10-15 knots. True to it's name, there was a great deal of chop; even cutting the waves at a 45 degree angle, we had water spraying over the bow and hitting the windshield. The minimum free board on an Andromeda is 6' and Phoenix's bowsprit is 11' above the waterline, so you know you have your hands full when waves are splashing over the bow!

As we made the turn to head down the Bay and into deeper water, the chop subsided and it was time for another downwind run . We sailed jib and jigger again, just to test Phoenix's downwind performance with different sail configurations. We have less canvas up with this configuration, but on a broad reach, the main tends to blanket the headsail causing it to flog, unless we're sailing dead down wind, wing and wing. Once we get our whisker pole that will be a different story, but until then, we'll keep playing around with the mizzen.

We had a relatively smooth sail down the Bay with only a slight heel angle (5-10 degrees); smooth enough that I was able to make fresh pita bread for lunch on the stove top down below while under sail. After lunch, we decided we needed a bit more speed if we were going to make it down near Reedville for the evening, so we rolled in the genoa, and motor sailed with the mizzen. [We were definitely appreciating our rebuilt starter.]

Once we passed Smith Point Light off the Potomac, the winds began to shift out of the south. This is a good thing if you're planning to anchor in or around the Reedville,Virginia area. Reedville is the East Coast mecca for menhaden fishing, and by most accounts has the second largest fish processing plant in the US -- second only to Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Depending on which way the wind blows, the smell of fish can be anything from a mild aroma to downright overwhelming, and many have cautioned against anchoring in the area we intended to anchor when the winds are blowing from the north.

Smith Point Lighthouse -- just south of the Maryland/Virginia state line
The narrow entrance to the Great Wicomico River is flanked with fish traps, but if you stay in the deep, well marked channel it's a relatively easy approach.

Fish traps flanking the entrance to the Great Wicomico River
We were tempted to stop in Mill Creek [trivia question: how many Mill Creeks are there in the Chesapeake?], but instead decided to tuck in behind Sandy Point for the evening.We dropped anchor at 7 pm in 20' of water. 

Anchored behind Sandy Point in the Great Wicomico River
Sandy Point proved to be a nice, quiet anchorage with only one other sailboat anchored a good distance away. There was some boat traffic as people made their way up the river, but the waters were calm and with southerly winds there was no fishy smell wafting from Reedville.

The weather was calm that evening, but they were calling for heavy southerly winds the following day. The plan was to head out the next morning to meet up with our friends Tom and Barbara in Deltaville. We were both exhausted from the past few days and the lack of sleep in the Little Choptank, and the idea of motoring into heavy wind and waves on the nose wasn't that appealing to either of us. Barbara had to go back to work soon, so if we didn't make it to Deltaville the next day, we wouldn't be able to see her. We decided to play it by ear, hopefully get a good nights sleep, and see what the next day's weather brought our way.

The next morning we slept in until 7 am -- a glorious night's sleep and not a commercial crabber in sight! Feeling well rested, we decided to make the trip to Deltaville to meet up with our friends, and started prepping to shove off once again. The winds were only blowing 5-7 knots in the anchorage, though we knew there was more wind out in the Bay.

Since we were anchored in 20' of water with a muddy bottom, we had 80' of chain out. We began hauling the anchor, giving the raw water wash down pump a workout as the windlass went to work. With about 40' of chain left in the water, the thermal overload on wash down pump cut out and we had no more than a trickle coming through the hose. Out came our trusty canvas bucket, and we used it to haul up water and clean the remaining 40' of chain and very muddy anchor before heading back out to the Bay.

By 9 am my back was stiff from this impromptu morning workout, but we were on the move again, heading south to our next destination -- Deltaville.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sailing the Chesapeake: Little Choptank River

July 24-25, 2014

With the starter rebuilt and reinstalled we were ready to head back out on the waters, making our way south down the Bay. The original plan was to rendezvous with our friends Tom and Barbara in Virginia, and with our slight delay we were a bit behind schedule and had a fair amount of ground to cover.

We left our dock at 9 am and had a downwind run with 10-15 knots blowing out of the north, gusting to 20. We sailed on a broad reach with jib and jigger, and had unseasonably cold weather for late July/early August. Temperatures on the Bay were only in the high 60s -- definitely polar fleece weather!

Who would of thought we'd need our polar fleece in the summer?!?

Okay, no polar fleece, but long sleeves are bad enough!
We sailed down the Chesapeake, passed the Bay Bridge and the Choptank River. They were calling for severe thunderstorms in the southern part of the Bay, so we decided to head into the Little Choptank River.

This was our first time in the Little Choptank, and we were surprised to find several unmarked areas where shoaling had occurred. The charts and Open CPN showed areas that were supposed to be 30-40 feet deep in the marked channel; we found 15-20. Other areas had that were supposed to have 15+ feet had 8-10 foot depths at high tide. There was shoaling around nearly every mark, so it's wise to give each mark a wide berth when entering the river if you have a deep draft boat. We were happy to have our Interphase forward scanning sonar as we headed up the river.

Since we knew there would be storms, we were hoping to find a protected area to anchor. However, we didn't want to venture too far up the river since we would be leaving in the morning. Most of the shoreline area we saw was either beachy sand spit or low lying trees -- nothing that would offer much protection in a squall. We ended up anchoring between Ragged Point and Casson Point. They were dredging the area near G7, so we wanted to make sure we were far enough away from the work boats.

Little Choptank River Anchorage
We dropped anchor at 7 pm, just as it began to lightly rain. Dark storm clouds could be seen moving southeast at a decent speed. We quickly set up our squall-proof wind scoop and aft cabin storm dodger, and we were ready for the storms.

We watched as the storms moved to the south of us, and could hear the thunder in the distance. Thankfully for us, the severe storms stayed far south of our anchorage. The people in Cape Charles Virginia were not so lucky, and a tornado touched down there, killing 3 people and injuring many others. Once the storms passed, out came the rainbows and a magnificent sunset at our anchorage.

Rainbow over the dredge boat in Little Choptank River

A gorgeous sunset on the Little Choptank
A sailor's delight while making dinner
True to the river's name, there was a decent amount of chop all night long. After a fitful night's sleep we were none too happy to wake up to the sounds of commercial crabbers at 5:30 in the morning. One boat -- Wet Willey -- decided to start his trot line about 10-20' off our beam! I wanted to give him a heck of a lot more than a wet willey for waking us up so early!

M/V Wet Willey  running his crab line off the beam
We had little incentive to stay put much longer, so we prepared to take off while sipping our morning coffee. We hauled anchor shortly before 7:30 am, and it was time to continue making our way down the Bay.