The Potomac River, Again - October 22-23, 2012

  Sunday, October 28, 2012 / Stephanie / Uncategorized  

We wanted to exit the Potomac as quickly as possible to avoid any PTSD resulting from our less then pleasant entry trip. We also wanted to catch up with Serendipity who left on Saturday. We debated traveling overnight but Serendipity's warning of floating logs, having "dodged them all day," was the deciding factor that overnight was not necessary. So we set out from Mount Vernon at sunrise on Monday morning (day 1) and told ourselves if we have to motor, we have to motor. The fog lifted as we rounded the first bend in the river, motoring. The wind and water were calm. Brian very sneakily was driving and blogging to get this action shot of me making breakfast. Calm and motoring is great for doing anything in the cabin while underway because nothing moves! The boat stays level. But it is very loud and that is NOT fun.

For 10-hours we motored. The weather never even presented doubt that maybe we should set sail, there was no wind and the river was smooth as an ice rink.

We anchored for the night in Lower Machodoc Creek, just off the Potomac. We didn't venture into the creek because the weather was forecast to remain still through the night. So we just dropped the hook outside of the entrance channel. Another sunrise start on Tuesday morning (day 2) and we were off! Motoring. We made the most of our day by researching our route to the Bahamas and making a list of necessary supplies. Then we took turns steering and reading. Oh motoring. Though it does seem to get you where you need to go. When we entered the Chesapeake Bay we were welcomed by that uncomfortable bay chop that we'd nearly forgotten during our Potomac River days. The wind strengthened, but out of the south which was less than ideal. And so more motoring to avoid tacking back and forth and keep our mileage as short and direct as possible. We made our destination, Jackson Creek in Deltaville, VA however getting ourselves anchored was not as easy as usual. For starters we had to weave through a narrow channel to get into the creek. Later that evening we saw a sailboat run aground three times in that channel.

Once successfully through the channel we noticed Serendipity anchored near the mouth of the creek. We wanted to get in for a closer look so we continued farther into the creek. And while Brian was steering, very slowly...BA BUMP! Run aground again! I checked the bilge while a very kind soul happened by on his dinghy. He had watched the whole thing and shared,"I found that same shoal yesterday on my way in and I draw 3-feet." This fellow cruiser and his wife were aboard a tri-maran. He gave the front of our boat a push and it was just enough to back us off the shoal. The verdict is still out whether that counts as a tow but I think we've gotten running aground out of our systems for a while! We found the perfect place to anchor among the sailboats mid-creek. Brian went forward to drop the hook and the chain jammed. He motioned me to make a circle, which involved turning and then backing to avoid coming to close to the tri-maran that had had just graciously un-grounded us. Turned around and chain free we were about to drop the hook when a dinghy approached. There were three cruisers aboard, they had cheered "New Hampshire!" when we rounded their boat earlier. Now while Brian had the anchor in hand they were asking whether we had ever been here, pointing out the dinghy dock, and rattling off the marina facilities. Talk about velcro boaters! We hadn't even stopped moving yet! We shouted a thanks and I redirected Brian to get the anchor down. What a hubbub! (The friendly New Hampshireites proceeded to swing back around as soon as our engine was shut off to introduce and encourage us to join them in the ICW.) That evening we scooted over to Serendipity and caught up over a bottle of wine and a few beers. We were keeping our drinking without supper habit going strong, and for goodness sake we hadn't seen one another three whole days! We made plans for tomorrow's big day in Deltaville and finally parted so that we could feed ourselves.