18 October 2012

The Snow Birds are starting to gather

A little over a week ago we were in pools and swimming.  We walked in the evening, still in our shorts and t-shirts.  Then a cold front came through and I was forced to put on my jeans for the first time since leaving home.

Baltimore was just so much fun we had to do it one more time.  Plus, it was a convenient place to have parts shipped.  We now have our new toilet.  It's not installed yet. :-p  We stayed a fourth night in the area anchored off of Canton (Baltimore suburb) in order to hit a Westmarine and pick up some groceries.  We woke up the next morning to 36ºF!  That's not good!!!  New plan... let's head south.

Before leaving Baltimore I have one piece of Americana to share.  I may have heard this before, but it never really stuck.  It has left much more of an impression now having seen it with my own eyes.  The Star Spangled Banner was penned in Baltimore by a Francis Scott Key.  The short story is that he was being held captive aboard a British ship during the British attack on Baltimore's Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.  Now a Stars and Stripes buoy marks the location from which he witnessed the battle.

The green patch in the middle is Fort McHenry
The first leg is about a 70nm run to Solomons Island, MD.  We bypass the major marinas and head about another mile to Mill Creek.  Our cruising guide suggests that the bottom holding is not the best.  There are already 4 boats anchored and I am focused on finding the best spot for us to drop our hook.  Kerri is up on the bow making the anchor ready as I spin the boat around into the wind.  The boat nearest us catches my eye and I notice it is flying a Canadian flag.  "Hey Macara look, a Canadian boat", I say.  Totally unimpressed, she replies "so is that one and that one."  Snow birds.  All of us.  Four Canadians and a Michigander.  The following night we will all gather on 'Chances' for sun-downers and stories.

Four of us are from the Great Lakes and have similar stories.  The fifth boat is from the Halifax area.  When you live in Nova Scotia, everybody from Ontario is from Toronto.  Not us, so I take a second to describe where Kincardine is.  She counters with "close to Point Clark?".  I am stunned, "yes???"  It turns out she has had a pen-pal from Point Clark for years.  Stranger still. the pen-pal's husband has taught a few of my courses at work.  Six degrees of separation, wow!  It is a small world.

The next morning we part ways.  The forecast suiting sailboats better than power boats.  I hope they had a nice ride.  Nautical data buoys were recording 23knots of wind out on the bay.  Not my idea of a good time.

We decide to give it another day.  The weather the next morning is fantastic.  We are underway by about 7:30am.  And, so is everybody else!  A trawler that we shared Mill Creek with got out just before us and by the time we arrived at the mouth of Solomons Island there was so many boats that we had to yield to traffic.  A flock of over a dozen boats left the Patuxent River all at the same time that morning and by the time we made the Potomac River we made quite the flock.  Mostly sailboats and trawlers moving a nominal 20nm a day.  There is no wind today.  But, that is great for us and we have not yet shaken that chilly morning in Baltimore.  We are driven to head south.  We keep pushing on to Norfolk, VA.  It is has been a while since we have put in a 100nm day and it felt great.

Out on the bay we had our own little air show.  Military jets of all makes and models flew above us.  On the water we saw everything from a schooner loaded with 14 cannons to some sort of military hydrofoil.  An awesome sight for sure.  Unfortunately, I did not have my camera on the bridge.

I would be remiss to pass through Norfolk and not post at least one picture of a Navy ship.

So, here we are over 2 months on the water.  1255nm travelled to arrive at Mile 0!  That's right, Mile 0. The start of the ICW proper.  The Intracoastal Waterway.  A series of rivers, sounds, and canals all connected from Norfolk, VA to Miami, FL and beyond, all the way to Texas.

Here is a bit of an idea of what lies ahead for us.  Open this image up and look for the magenta line starting in the upper right.

The Carolinas ICW

1 comment:

  1. Ha ! yes Ian you will find the older you get the smaller the World seems at times. Too funny..."Point Clark?". Nice to hear you got a new toilet, will be even nicer when installed I am sure... :p . Be safe, warm and dry.