After 1000 miles, we are back in Annapolis. It has been a fun journey – a few mishaps but generally good weather and fair seas.
Katherine and I left Solomons Island around 8am. The cruise up the bay was largely uneventful except for the fishing boats. The striped bass season had started on the bay and there were hundreds of fishing boats all across as well as outside the channel. The boats were all dragging planers and were oblivious to us. It was another game of pinball as we dodged the numerous boats. The fact that we often had the right of way was irrelevant to these amateur fishermen; they were yielding to no one. It was quite annoying and Katherine was vocal in her complaints.
We had decided not to go directly to Annapolis but to make a quick stop at Burr Yachts up the South River. Burr Yachts is the East Coast dealer for Flemings and we needed to get our life raft recertified. The plan was to pull up and quickly drop off the raft.
The South River is notorious for crab pots and today was no exception. Fortunately, there is a float-free zone, and after a futile attempt to find a path through the pots on our own, we steered to the far side of the river and followed the float-free zone down to Burr. Usually, one of the face docks is open and I had expected to just pull along side. Alas, that was not the case today. However, there was an open slip on the outside, so with multiple Burr folks watching, I turned Curiosity and backed slowly into the slip. Mike from Burr Yachts jumped onboard and handed the liferaft down to two others waiting to receive it. In less than five minutes, we were done. We had never even tied up but just sat in the slip, while they retrieved the raft. I eased Curiosity out of the slip and we were on our way.
I was quite proud of myself. Of course hubris is a short path to disaster. As we rounded the green marker beyond Burr Yachts, I turned Curiosity up the river. I have made this turn numerous times and know to give the marker a wide berth. In my self-congratulatory mood, I did not give it a wide berth. Within seconds, we were aground. I could not believe it – twice in two days. Fortunately, the bottom is Chesapeake mud. I angled the bow out and slowly increased the rpm. Slowly but surely we powered through the mud and back into the channel. I was so annoyed with myself.
We continued our journey down the South River, and soon were making the turn around Thomas Shoal Lighthouse, headed for Annapolis.
When we were out in the bay, I put Curiosity up on plane to check the engines and to make sure there were no unusual vibrations from the grounding. Fortunately, all was good. By 2pm or so, we were pulling into Annapolis. Adrienne was on the docks waiting for us. She snapped a few pictures of Curiosity as we approached the Yacht Basin.
We were quickly tied up. Katherine did a great job of lassoing the posts off the bow and securing our lines. She had been a terrific crew for the last three days of the journey.
I think we will spend this summer on the Bay, cruising with the Annapolis Yacht Club cruising group and exploring more of the southern Bay. Stay tuned.