It was time to leave the Chesapeake and head north, which paradoxically means going south due to coastal geography. We could have gone from Solomons to Cape Charles, VA, but chose to go to Norfolk, VA, instead. The weather has been difficult at best, and there aren’t any decent anchorages near Cape Charles; if we had to wait for weather, we didn’t want to be stuck in a marina for many nights in a row.
So we left Solomons on May 21 and had a lovely sail with winds dead on the stern all day. We kept a reef in the main as the winds were in the high teens pretty much all day. We anchored in Mill Creek in the Great Wicomico River and were serenaded by the resident ospreys; although they are raptors, they have more of a “cheeping” than “shrieking” call. This day was 9 ¼ hours for 45.5 nm.
We left Mill Creek bright and early on May 22 and had another fantastic sail, this time with the main and genoa. We headed for an anchorage in Fishing Bay near Deltaville, VA. When we arrived, there were four other sailboats already there. They were all foreign flagged from Germany, New Zealand, and Guernsey, England. Even though we anchored near the docks for Fishing Bay Marina, it was calm and quiet. This day was 6 ½ hours for 27.3 nm.
We spent a few days in Fishing Bay while we waited for Memorial Day weekend to wind down. We learned early in our cruising life to take heed of holiday weekends, as anchorages and marinas are generally very busy during those times. I worked on some sewing projects; I didn’t want to pull out the generator, so I hand-cranked the sewing machine. This was the first time I had done that, and it worked out well. We also took advantage of Fishing Bay Marina’s day pass; for $10 each, we had full access to the marina’s amenities. We showered, did laundry, got diesel and water in jerry jugs, took the courtesy car into town for Chinese food, and used the internet in the lounge.
On May 26, we left Fishing Bay and headed for Norfolk. Our streak of great sailing was broken, and we had to motorsail with the main for most of the day. It was in the mid-80s and airless. We saw dolphin for the first time this trip, so that perked me up. It took 9 ½ hours to go the 53.3 nm, and the trip was unremarkable until we actually reached Hospital Point. When we anchored, the anchor wouldn’t set; this is only the second time this has ever happened to us. All in all, it took an hour and four attempts before the anchor set properly. We’ve not had a problem anchoring at Hospital Point before, and we think it was a combination of the soupy bottom and wind and current opposing. Whatever it was, it sucked.
We stayed in Norfolk for two days. Since I’m lighter and the Captain stronger, I went up the mast to fix the windex; he did a great job of cranking me up, and the view from the top of our mast was so cool. I was able to bend the windex back to its proper position, and it’s been working fine ever since. We also went in to Tidewater Marina for fuel and water, and I treated the Captain to a birthday lunch at Fish and Slips, the onsite restaurant.
So by May 28, we had gone 126 nm south so that we could turn around and go north. Such are the vagaries of coastal cruising. Next step: offshore.