CRUISING THE CHESAPEAKE

By Lou and Jean Wayne, aboard PIKA (September - October, 2004)

Ok.  It has been a couple of months since we have written of our travels. That's because after 9 months of cruising, we needed a bit of a change.  Our good friends and next door neighbors, Dahni & Susan came to spend a few days sailing on the Bay with us at the end of June.  We made plans to ride home to Rochester with them at the beginning of July, leaving PIKA in Kinsale Va. with our Alberg 37 friends, TJ & Kaye, to keep SHEARWATER, their Alberg 37 yawl company.  After a visit with family & friends, some work on the house, and some appointments of various sorts, we were ready to head back to the boat to get ready for the ‘party’ (Alberg 37 fall rendezvous).  Pack up Old Blue (our Olds Wagon) and get on the road 0800, 9/21/04 .  We had a haulout date of 9/23 at Krentz Marine, Kinsale Va.   Must get PIKA spiffed up before the Alberg 37 rendezvous this weekend.  Sail into the haulout slip at high tide with owners Doug & Marion waiting for us with the travel lift.  Marion pressure washes the bottom of PIKA as we get the first good look at it since the clear water of the Bahamas .  Not too bad, considering.  Replace the zincs, wet sand and paint the bottom, paint the waterline stripe, scrub and wax the hull.  Within 49 hours, PIKA is back in the water and the crew is ready for a rest and a rum punch.  Spent the next few days cleaning and waxing before people began arriving for the party.  There were 4 Alberg 37's at TJ & Kaye's dock and many owners who had driven in.  After 2 days of wonderful food, great friends, pretty boats, and many a boat story, the party was concluded.  Monday was cleanup day and Tuesday was the day for SHEARWATER & PIKA to go cruising. However, the day dawned quite cool and a strong north east wind so we decided to postpone until Wednesday.  At 0800 we cast off our dock lines, shook the mud daubers out of the mainsail, and sailed out of the Yeocomico River and down the Potomac heading for Solomons MD.  All was well until we reached Pt. Lookout at the mouth of the Potomac , the wind was brisk from the north.  After a consultation with SHEARWATER crew, it was agreed that A) this won't be fun and B)we are gentlemen and everyone knows gentlemen do not sail to weather, so we slacked the sheets, bore off the wind and made for Reedville , VA.   Reedville is a very quiet little fishing town with a very nice, protected anchorage, as long as the wind is not from the south.  Reedville is the home of the menhaden fishing boats and processing plant.   Now for those of you who are not familiar with them, menhaden are small fish like herring which are harvested by the ton and processed for their oil. The processing as you might guess is not a pleasant olfactory experience if you happen to be down wind from the plant.  Fortunately for us the wind was northwest and we had a delightful stay.  Next morning SHEARWATER developed a transmission problem and PIKA's anchor chain jammed hard in the windlass. We freed the chain and got the anchor aboard while TJ finally got SHEARWATER into gear.  As we motor sailed north, SHEARWATER bore off to port up the Potomac and back to Kinsale where he would further investigate his transmission problem. We pressed on to Solomons. Light winds today.  We motor sailed most of the way to Solomons MD (approximately a 40 mile trip from Reedville VA ).  This is a major sailing town for cruisers and recreational boaters.  Protected anchorages and fine marinas abound.  It is a good place to provision and fuel up the boat before heading south.  We anchored in Back Creek off of Zahniser's Marina for the evening. Worked on repairing the windlass in the morning before a walk into town.  Upon our return to the anchorage, we noticed that our friends from Shearwater had sailed into the harbor to join us.  Their transmission seemed to operate better in the warmer weather we were experiencing.  Enjoyed happy hour together and a very pleasant evening before sailing across the bay to La Trappe Creek off the Choptank River the next morning.  Another beautiful protected little bay with a small beach but not much else around.  We dinghied upstream to explore the old Dickerson Boat Factory and took a long walk on the country roads.  Jean and Kaye did a little beach combing and a dinghy drift to read our books.  Then after our power naps, it was happy hour again.  A fellow in a Catalina who was single-handing anchored next to us and when we saw him having happy hour by himself, we decided that we should invite him to join us. TJ dinghied over and they both appeared 5 minutes later.  A very pleasant fellow.  He was alone because his mother-in-law had hip replacement surgery that day and his wife was staying with her.  After dinner, TJ treated us to a slideshow on his computer of pictures of PIKA as we sailed next to Shearwater.  We also have pictures of their boat but are not yet up to state of the art technology with our cameras.  We are still in the age of silver halide.   Next morning, more transmission trouble for Shearwater so they decide to head home to pull the transmission while it is still under warranty and drop it off to be repaired.  PIKA makes plans for a short sail to Oxford MD , 10 miles or so away.  After listening to the weather for the next couple of days, we change plans and sail the 40 miles to St. Michaels.

St. Michaels, MD, another beautiful bayside town with a maritime museum, many swanky marinas, a family of swans, and a couple of small anchorages, each of which can hold approx. 6 boats (that be where we live).  St Michael's also is known for its beautiful church bells which chime in the evening.  We came up Eastern Bay to St. Michaels on Wednesday and stayed for several days.  .  Friday night, the trawler CASITA DEL MAR who followed us to Reedville then Solomons invited us over for happy hour and a game of Mexican dominos.  Ken t & Gloria from San Diego are very nice folks.  We had a pleasant visit and after 4 games of dominos and several drinks we were ready to head home.  We have had a couple of terrific storms just before sundown the past two nights with very high winds.  Last night the sky was the most unusual color of gold, it was scary.  Luckily, we are tucked inside the harbor in   deep water (10') with not too many other boats and had no problem with our Bruce anchor holding.  The windless is working very well after Lou's extensive epoxy repairs back in La Trappe.  Have had a little problem with the oven - the pilot light lights but the burner does not ignite.  Ran out of propane last night and after changing tanks, it seemed to work better. We are very fortunate to have acquired a force 10 kerosene heater from our friends Richard & Carole, which Lou has installed.  We have been putting it to good use every day as there has been a chill in the air.  (Sunday) We had hoped to get fuel & water this morning, then head out but the wind is still howling so maybe tomorrow.  Monday, a calm day to motor off to the Wye River and Dividing Creek.  We are not the 1st sailboat to be anchored in this beautiful, woodsy little creek with the geese but there is plenty of room.  This is a very quiet anchorage, popular with cruisers, except most have already left to sail south other than a few hearty souls.  In spite of the cold and drizzle  the next morning we motor further up the Wye River and anchor off of the beautiful rolling green lawn at Wye Heights with it's colonial white-pillared mansion and flock of dozens of coal black sheep, busily mowing the grass.  The next morning we need to move again because we are in danger of turning into mushrooms from hibernating below in the damp and cold.  Also there has not been a spot of sun in a week for our solar panel to charge the batteries.  So, we motor to the other leg of the Wye River called the Back Wye.  Anchored just before Drum Pt. with hundreds of geese and watched the oystermen pull in their catch. 

On Friday, we sailed most of the way to Oxford with just the jib and on Saturday, the sun came out for the 1st time in over a week, and Lou's Brother & his wife joined us for the day.  It was a beautiful, sunny day as we enjoyed lunch at Schooner's Landing, then a cocktail watching the sunset from the Pier St. Marina . Sunday, the clouds have moved back in and it is raining again so a good day for projects.  Lou decides to put the new injectors in as Mr. Perkins has taken to smoking again.  After several hours of skinned knuckles and bad words, the job is done however the engine seems to have not noticed as it is as smoky and hard starting as ever! Must be time get out the Perkins manual and head back to Kinsale where PIKA will spend the winter.  We made another stop to see a cruising friend in Solomons on the way back then sailed on to Kinsale on Wednesday. Spent the next few days hauling stuff from the boat and fussing with the engine.  The latter was to no avail so we will  have to return with more time to work on the problem.  Right now the biggest problem we all face is the mess in Washington and we simply must get home to cast our votes  on  November 2 for change. Lou & Jean.