We are back in Annapolis after 29 days traveling on the boat. Our round trip distance was 1037 miles, which we covered in just under 113 hrs for an average speed of just over 9 kts. We had remarkably great weather and the seas were generally quite calm except for our passage down the Delaware River on our first day. We had no significant mechanical issues. All in all, a great trip with beautiful scenery and an opportunity to reconnect with a number of old friends.
Our journey from Chesapeake City to Annapolis was fortunately a very easy trip. However, had we slept in a little later, it could have been a very different day. Our original plan was been to sleep in on Tuesday morning and leave when we woke up, whenever that was. We knew we could be fighting the current down the Chesapeake Bay if we left too late, but it was not a long trip and we figured sleep outweighed current.
However, Adrienne woke up early, and I was also somewhat awake. A check of the weather showed small craft warnings for early in the afternoon, so we decided to go ahead and get up and get moving. Thank goodness we did.
We roused ourselves and got the boat ready to depart. We noticed it was a little foggy to the west, the direction we were headed in. Of course, the port navigation light, which I thought I had fixed, was out; a futile attempt to fix it before we left failed. The sun was up and the fog did not appear too bad, so we decided to go ahead and go. At 6:20 AM, we left the dock and headed down the canal. We were only about 20 minutes from the canal end. As we proceeded down the canal, the fog got denser until we had very limited visibility. We had our foghorn blaring away. Fortunately, there was no other traffic on the canal, so we were able to proceed cautiously without incident. As we rounded a bend, the fog started to lift only to briefly get dense again and lift again. As we exited the canal and entered the Elk River, we could see the fog was really dense to the west but beginning to clear to the east.
As we entered the bay we could hear on the radio ongoing conversations between the C&D Canal operators and some commercial ships. The fog apparently had continued to thicken in the canal, and shortly after 7 AM, they closed the canal to all traffic – not just commercial traffic, but all traffic including recreational boats. In fact, we heard the operator asking one sailboat, which was trying to traverse the canal, what he thought he was doing and ordering him to pull over and anchor. Thank goodness, we had left before it had gotten worse. The canal did not reopen for over two hours, at which point a huge amount of commercial traffic was waiting to pass.
The Bay, on the other hand, was beautiful, with glassy seas and a strong current in our favor. By 11 AM, we were under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and by 11:30 AM, we were tied up in our home slip at Annapolis.
Our last two days of travel had been remarkably lucky. My early morning revelation on Monday to go to Chesapeake City instead of Cape May and Adrienne’s early Tuesday morning decision to get moving early had saved us hours of travel and given us near perfect sea and current conditions. Sometimes the gods smile upon you.
We will spend a few days in Annapolis relaxing, then take the boat to Burr to get the bottom painted. Adrienne will head north to visit her father, and I will go home to Florida. Sometime in October, we will begin the next adventure traveling south again along the ICW.