We finally threw off the mooring ball lines and left Annapolis. We had originally planned on being in Annapolis for just over three weeks but two days short of three weeks we left. It was time. Not because Annapolis isn’t a great place, because it is, but because of all the work and stress we went through in the past couple of weeks we needed to get going again and regain our confidence in the boat and how we handle it. We didn’t have anything particular we were looking for at the Boat Show this year so it was perfectly fine to skip it and leave early. It also probably gave us a jump on other boats heading south, although many also stopped in Annapolis briefly and then left to go south too.
We did a trial run of the steering system this past Sunday by going up and down Spa Creek. We turned and weaved between boats and the steering worked great. (Yes, we did have the emergency rudder out and ready to go just in case. Was also probably good we got it out and got a feel for it in case it would ever be needed.) In fact, the steering feels even better than it was before we tore it all apart. Our steering has always been very hard and tight and we presumed that was just the way it was. Now that we have new everything under there I think in putting it back together I don’t have the cables quite as tight on the quadrant (which sits on the rudder and turns it via the cables) and it feels so much better. There is no slipping with it being too loose and is very responsive. Before, our shoulders would actually get sore from working the wheel after going all day, so this may be a good thing. I will continue to monitor it and look under there on a regular basis to be sure all is good. The batteries are doing amazing as well!
We did celebrate our 36th Wedding Anniversary on Tuesday and had a rousing day of doing a huge amount of laundry, getting last minute provisions and stopping in again at West Marine. To highlight the day we actually even took showers – when you’re cruising this does not happen nearly as often as you are used to! Just before we left to go to the Harbormaster Office showers Luc and Karrina from Ungava stopped by! We had not seen them since the Abacos this past March so it was so good to see them again. They returned to Canada with their boat and spent the summer up there before heading south again in late September. They are headed back to the Bahamas again so we are sure we will see them numerous times this fall and winter. We had spent a lot of time with them last year so it was good to reconnect. A neighbor boat, Our Time, also invited us over for a glass of wine later on so that was a good way to end the day.
The weather turned significantly cooler in the last part of last week into this week – which is fine with us. Instead of being in the low 90’s it is now in the high 60’s with a chance of rain. We left Annapolis yesterday, Wednesday, even though there was a chance of rain – which of course never happened. We made the 9:00 am Spa Creek Bridge opening (it doesn’t open between 7:30 am and 9:00 am for traffic) and headed out to the Chesapeake Bay. The winds in the Chesapeake were forecasted to be 15 – 20 knots from the NE, pretty much directly from behind us, with 2 – 3 foot waves. They were pretty much spot-on with the forecast as we headed down the Bay – we saw pretty much 16 – 22 knots all day). When the waves are from behind you, as was the case, it has a tendency to throw your stern around a lot making for a bit of an uncomfortable ride. We have had more uncomfortable trips, but this was a good reminder that we will continue to try and read the weather and stay out of big waves and wind if possible. If it is not possible we certainly can handle it, but would rather not if we had the choice.
We made it about 45 miles south yesterday and pulled into the Solomon’s area where we are anchored way up Mill Creek. We are anchored pretty much where we were when we waited out the hurricane after-effect from Michael last year. Ungava also pulled into the anchorage and spent the night. They left early this morning as they wanted to keep going but we will be staying here for a couple of days. The wind on Friday is forecasted to be 20 – 25 knots from the north on the Chesapeake with 3 – 4 foot waves so we will wait until Saturday when it will be settled down. Apparently there is a big disturbance on the Atlantic going up the East Coast and this wind is from that.
We had a wonderful day today of just reading and relaxing and it was good. Max and I went for a wonderful dinghy ride while Sharon did some baking on the boat. Tomorrow we may go into the little town that is nearby and we will just continue to relax. We will leave again on Saturday and eventually get to Norfolk in the next couple of days and begin the ICW once again. We’re not sure how far we’ll get in the next week so we’ll see how it goes and let you know.