Today we began our boat trip to New England, leaving at about 8:30 this morning. This was earlier than we had planned because the weather report called for afternoon thunderstorms and we wanted to make sure we were tied up at Chesapeake City, our first destination, by noon at the latest. The Chesapeake Bay was very calm with only a mild breeze when we left. It was perfect cruising weather, and we thought we were in for an uneventful first day. And it mostly turned out that way.
When we were south of the Sassafras River, which feeds into the Bay, I was driving past a slow moving trawler. We were both in the shipping lane and so were close to each other’s wake. The trawler’s wake was no problem for us but we were doing about 25 nm/hr. and were throwing a much bigger wake. So I slowed the boat down to idle to kill our wake. That set off an alarm to let us know that the starboard engine oil pressure was too low. Sudden alarms on a boat are not good things. They make your heart drop out of your chest. The only good thing about this was that the same thing happened to us a few times last year, so our hearts only dropped to our knees, not the floor. We determined last year that the alarm didn’t indicate anything serious and seemed to happen only when the boat slowed down suddenly resulting in a sudden drop in oil pressure, which was perfectly normal. Jim checked out a few things after this happened today, and we concluded that today’s alarm was more of the same. Jim is going to look at the alarm settings for this parameter to see if they need to be reconfigured so that we don’t get any more sudden alarms.
Once we dealt with the alarm issue we proceeded uneventfully up the Chesapeake Bay and into the Elk River, which feeds into the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. Chesapeake City sits a few miles east of the entrance in the canal. This stop was recommended by several people and various cruising guides as a good waypoint before exiting the canal into the Delaware River. So we had made reservations at the Chesapeake City Inn and Marina for the night. I hailed the marina at around 10:45am and got no answer. I hailed them again, and then two more times. Still no answer. Finally, I called the marina only to learn that neither the dockmaster nor the dock hands had arrived yet. The girl who answered the phone had no idea where we should dock, so we agreed we should just tie up at the end of one of their docks and wait for the dockmaster to arrive, which was expected to be no later than 11. The canal was calm with no wind, so tying up on one of their T-docks was no problem. We sat back and waited , and waited, and waited. Around 12:40 a kid showed up. It seems the dockmaster had the day off and the kid was in charge and he just sort of got to work a little late. This was annoying, but no big deal. He helped us push the boat a little closer to the power supply, tie up for good and then hook up the power and water lines.
At last the boat was secure, so we turned to some housekeeping matters, many of which required internet access. No problem, the marina has free wifi. The only problem is that it’s kind of “finicky”. Finicky here means that no matter how many time you put in the password you get a message that you’ve put in the wrong password. Okay, scratch the internet; we used our 4G connections.
By this time we had had lunch and were planning on walking through the town of Chesapeake City, which is supposed to be the home of many quaint shops. But the thunderstorms were upon us, or we thought they were. The sky to the west was thick with black clouds and thunder, and the radar showed lots of red just west of the city. So we waited, and waited and waited. The storm just seemed to stall out on the edge of the city. We took a chance and went.
The city is a short walk from the marina. And it was just as advertised. There are many homes that date to the mid-1800’s, and the usual gift shops and antique stores. Things were pretty slow, but there were a few other groups who were doing the same thing we were. I’ve posted a few pics of the town.
As we started back the heavens decided to open up. We were fine. It didn’t rain hard, and we had an umbrella with us. As soon as we got back to the boat, the rain stopped. Of course! I think we’ll have some more showers tonight because the western sky is looking pretty dark as I type these words.
Tomorrow we head for Cape May, NJ. We’ll have another early start to get in before any weather shows up. The weather report has calm winds for Delaware Bay in the morning. Good news!