On The Move Again: The Southern Chesapeake Bay

After being holed up in Solomons waiting for the gale to blow through and the high water to recede, we were ready to move out and move on. Getting to the bottom of the Chesapeake, and entering the ICW proper, was our agenda.

October 31 – November 1, 2021
Location
Days 20 – 21

We had stayed one “extra” day in Solomons. The gale had pulled away the day before and a lot of folks had headed out, thinking conditions would be OK. We had scratched our heads, assessed the finer points in the forecast, and concluded that with breeze still fresh out of the south, the bay could use another 24 hours to lie down. This decision proved correct, as the boats that had left the day before all scurried for cover in whatever creek was available not long after getting under way. The bay was, as we suspected, still rather gnarly.

But when we finally headed out of Solomons, we had beautiful conditions. A breezy but well mannered westerly gradually veered northwesterly. The water was flat. The sunshine was out and we had a delightful day. Even the sailboats were under sail enjoying a great fall trip down the bay.

Rody on watch as we follow the Chesapeake Pilot out of Solomons on a gorgeous fall morning.

The only downside we could see was that Marine Traffic showed large numbers of recreational boats headed south. Granted, a lot more boats are on AIS than ever before, but wow, the southern migration is thick this year.

We were headed for Deltaville, a place we had never been too before. We went to the north side of the peninsula and pulled alongside at Regatta Point Yachting Center. The alternative would have been to anchor on the southern side, on the Piankatank River under the shelter of Stove Point, which we elected not to do because, as usual, we need to get our little fur terrorists ashore lest they try to eat the boat.

Maisie was anxiously inspecting Deltaville as we pulled in the channel. “I smell land!”

Regatta Point was a very nice facility with good staff , good amenities (which we rarely use), and a nice place to walk the dogs. We also found several other boats to chat with during cocktail our and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Bruce particularly enjoyed talking mechanical stuff with Richard off the catamaran Stella Maris, and we saw a beautifully maintained Alejuela 38 – a rare find.

We enjoyed a gorgeous sunset at Regatta Point in Deltaville.

The next morning the pups decided to get me up at 0447. This was not what I had in mind, but it did afford me the rare opportunity to watch the watermen get under way in the dark. Their parade started at 0500. It was kind of fun.

We took the pups for a nice morning walk, talked again with our new friends, and finally got off the dock at about 0930. This delayed start was actually a good thing, as we ended up getting out on the bay just as the current turned favorable and we had a great push all the way to Hampton, where the current in the Elizabeth River turned with us just as we approached.

It was a great fall day, sunny, with a nice breeze out of the north. The trip along the navy yards was fascinating as always, and lots of commercial river traffic kept it particularly interesting.

The sights as you enter Norfolk are always impressive.

We tucked in to our normal stop, Tidewater Yacht Marina on the Portsmouth side. This was just going to be a quick overnight stay so we didn’t need to be over on the Norfolk side of the river, and we actually always have fun at Fish ‘N Slips, the marina restaurant. The river front walk is a great place to exercise the pups. Town is also very historic and is worth exploring, but we didn’t have time for any of that this year.

Rody is fascinated by the city lights of Norfolk, across the Elizabeth River from our slip at Tidewater Yacht Marina.

So the Chesapeake was done. The next day, we would start out on the true ICW. With lots of other boats: that’s going to be one of the big stories of this trip. We.Shall.See.

Rody still on watch as dawn breaks over Norfolk.

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