We survived Florence! I say that not too flippantly as we feel for those who were in her path. We were very fortunate to be where we were so far away and north of her. We had a little rain and a little wind, but there wasn’t even any surge to really speak of so far up the Sassafras River. We were very relieved!
Florence hit the east coast on Thursday night/Friday morning of last week. I stayed up until high tide at midnight Thursday night, but it seemed like a normal high tide, so I went to bed. The Tuesday before, the water was over the docks a bit because of some storms, but that was higher than Thursday night. So on Friday we just kind of hung around and did some last projects before heading out on Saturday. The weather was gray and overcast on Friday but it didn’t even really rain that much.
Saturday, Sept. 15, we left our slip at Georgetown Yacht Basin, got a pump out, and left the marina about 10 am. We headed to the Chesapeake Bay west on the Sassafras River and turned left to head south. We only traveled about 20 nautical miles and pulled in to a great anchorage area just off Warton’s Creek on the east side of the Chesapeake Bay. Ungava had been there for two nights already and Bella Cay (the two boats we had been traveling with) arrived a bit ahead of us. Dinner that evening was aboard Ungava where we were served pulled moose and pork roast – both done on his onboard grill. Amazing! Luc, the captain of Ungava, had shot the moose last fall and it was delicious! The company was great and the evening was spectacular. Check out the sunset in the pictures below we enjoyed from the cockpit of Ungava.
Sunday morning, Sept. 16, we pulled up anchor and headed to the west side of the Chesapeake Bay and anchored in an amazing little cove called Tar Cove in Rock Creek. It was just at the beginning of the Patapsco River which goes to Baltimore and was only about a 21 mile jaunt. The wind was directly behind us so we decided not to throw out our headsail and just motored. It was a good thing as the channel we took ended up being full of crab pots which took a lot of zig zagging to go around. Thankfully these crab pots had little flags on them, probably because they were in a channel marked with navigational buoys. There was also a lot of debris (sticks, logs, branches and grass) in the water so we were on watch the whole trip! We felt a bump once, so we probably went over something in the water we couldn’t see.
Tar Cove ended up being one of our most favorite places to stay. We were tucked in behind a marina and so well protected from wind in any direction. The first night there was a spectacular evening with cooler temperatures, a light breeze, and low humidity. We sat out on the deck of the boat and marveled as to what we have seen, where we have gone, and what lay ahead. God is good!
We had some rain the day after arriving which resulted in a lot of debris that floated back and forth in the cove, but it really didn’t bother us. We also eventually got the code to the marina bathroom next to where we were anchored which was so nice! We even took advantage of their showers! A luxury!
Ungava joined us on Monday morning as they were headed to Baltimore. They needed to be at a marina in Baltimore by Thursday as they were going to rent a car and drive back to Quebec for their son’s graduation so this was a logical place for them to stay for a night.
We ended up staying in Tar Cove for three nights and then decided to head to Baltimore to see if we could get an anchorage. It sounded like there were not too many places to anchor, but we did end up finding a great place in Fell’s Point area which was only about a mile and a half from the Inner Harbor. The trip into Baltimore was very interesting as we followed a huge tanker into the harbor. Just before the harbor we went under the Frances Scott Key Bridge, and looked for the navigational marker that showed the spot where he wrote the Star Spangled Banner while watching the city under siege during the war of 1812. Amazing!
It took us three times to get our anchor to hold in Fell’s Point in Baltimore and the first two times we pulled the anchor up to reset it the anchor was totally covered in plastic bags – and smelly mud!! Come to find out, the whole bottom in the entire area is about a foot deep of trash and plastic – no wonder it didn’t hold well! We did finally get it to hold and were set. Later we heard Baltimore is known to be a very dirty city in what goes into its waterways.
Baltimore harbor apparently is very, very un-dinghy friendly. I talked with the manager of the marina next to where we anchored, in trying to tie our dinghy there to let poor Max off, and he said there was virtually nowhere we would be able to tie up our dinghy to walk around town. He said it certainly does not make it very cruiser friendly, but that’s the policy around the harbor. How dumb! We did find a small dock by a park where we could tie the dingy up for short periods of time, but were reluctant to leave it there long.
Ungava had reserved a slip at the marina next to where we anchored and had arrived a day before us, so we were fortunate enough to be able to stash our dinghy in front of their boat, with them letting us in and out of the marina with their key card (don’t tell the manage I had talked to earlier!) while we walked to downtown Baltimore this afternoon.
Downtown Baltimore was very interesting to see. We walked through many different types of neighborhoods, ranging from new and trendy to old and run-down, on our way downtown and were rewarded with an area with a history that is legendary. The USS Constellation naval warship from the early 1800’s is docked in the Inner Harbor and was spectacular to see. One of the last Coast Guard warships, the USCG Taney, is also docked there as is the submarine USS Torsk. It was incredible to read the history of these ships and to be able to walk alongside them.
We will stay here tonight yet, Thursday night, and tomorrow we will probably head to the east side of the Chesapeake River again to a quaint little town called St. Michael’s. It looks like it has a harbor that offers protection from all wind directions as we are anticipating some wind direction changes in the next few days. Our goal is to reach Annapolis, Maryland, by next week Tuesday or Wednesday. It is a full week before the Annapolis Boat Show, which starts on Oct. 4, but Sharon has a couple of medical appointments to make there and we want to be there early enough as we hear a lot of boats come for the Boat Show.
That’s it for this update, except for those of you who are interested in reading about nerdy, non-interesting electrical stuff that often will keep me awake at night! (Sharon said I worry a lot about stuff that may not even need to be worried about! Tell me something I don’t know! J)
I have been learning a lot more about our electrical system on our boat from Luc of Ungava, one of the boats we have been sort of traveling with. As a result, I have a much better understanding of what our voltage readings mean for us, as well as I learned our Victron Battery Monitor is hooked up a bit incorrectly. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it looks like I have it only hooked up to one battery and it only reads amps and watts being used, and replaced during recharging, from one battery and not both batteries. I have been wondering (worrying!) if our alternator was working correctly as it has only read 30 – 33 amps of charge while the motor is running, but come to find out it is only half of what is being put back into the batteries because it’s only from one battery. The other battery is doing the same, meaning I am getting 60 – 66 amps of charge under power. With the power being provided to the refrigerator, instruments, radio, engine blower, AIS, etc., it looks like it may be putting out closer to 80 amps, which is what it is supposed to do – we have a 100 amp alternator, and it sounds like you never get the full amp output from alternators. This is a huge relief to me as I had been wondering all along what it was doing. Luc was so helpful in looking at the wiring and explaining what was happening. The end result is I could eventually pay someone to wire it correctly, or as Luc said, just double the numbers and save yourself $500 – $600 (my estimation) and apply that toward solar power. He even helped me better understand how to hook solar panels up, which was huge.
Lastly, it sounds like a huge strain on our batteries has been my need to turn our inverter on twice a day and make coffee in our electric coffee maker. Luc said it is much better to not make coffee that way, so we have now changed to make coffee on the stove (uses propane) using our Aeropress. It is similar in concept to a French press, but we think it makes even better coffee and clean-up is so much easier. Google it and you will see what it is about. So far, making coffee this way has made a huge difference in our battery levels so it has been a very good thing.