Monday, August 30, 2010

Moving up the Bay to Baltimore

Tuesday August 24- Monday August 30

Tuesday we wake to another cloudy day with a chance of rain but we are not going to hang around Reedville, we will take our chances with the weather. It is much cooler only 74ยบ so we dress warmly and are under way by 8 AM. Once out of the creek and in Ingram Bay we are beating into 2-3 foot waves with the wind on our nose but we put the main up to try to ease some of the rocking horse motion. We do not have as far to go today, so once we clear the bay and turn north out in the Chesapeake we are still beating into the waves with an occasional 4 footer included making for a rough ride. We decide to tack our way up the Bay and motor sail to the wind. The day remains cool and cloudy but no rain for us. We arrive at the entrance to the Patuxent River, and head for Solomons Island, going in by Back Creek to Zahniser's Marina. It is hard to tell where one marina stops & another starts along these creeks, but with the help of the dock master waving us down we are docked by 3:30. This is a good size marina with a lot of boat work being done but they keep it very neat & clean. Has a swimming pool, restaurant and free courtesy bikes. As we travel north , I am finding the marinas all have their laundry rooms in the air conditioned buildings with the restrooms and showers, how sweet that is. Wish the marinas down south where it is HOT would do the same. I do some laundry and Steve washes the salt off the boat. Wednesday we get a couple of bikes and it always takes some time trying to adjust the seats, I am not real sure about mine but we head off to tour the Island, head south to “main” street, the only street with shops & restaurants. The back streets are residential but we ride along enjoying the cool weather with low humidity with the river on one side & the creek on the other. I decide my bike is too uncomfortable so as we head back, I take Steve's bike and he goes to change mine out for another one for him before we ride to the north side of the Island. Stop at the West Marine, my sail gloves are falling apart but they only have XXL so will have to wait on those, but look around at some other things while we are there and price the oil so we will stop back by later to get oil here at a lower price then the marina. Find the two grocery stores and check them out as we will have to come back later to do some provisioning. Stop and have some lunch and we have covered most of the Island. Head back to the boat and defrost the freezer, make a list of the things we need. One of the grocery stores works with the marinas and they give you a ride back to the marina, it is the smaller of the two but a closer walk to get there. Stopping at the liquor store on the way there & filling up the backpack. Do our grocery shopping and get a ride home from one of the ladies who works there. Dinner that night at the marina restaurant to celebrate 5 months of cruising, as we watch the full moon come up over the marina, life is good. Thursday we leave at 10:30 it is a beautiful warm day with calm seas as we enter the mouth of the Patuxent River to go around Cove Point turning north into the Chesapeake. The wind is just off the nose so we are motor sailing with the main up. Steve is fine in shorts & T-shirt but with the wind and the shade from the bimini I am actually cold so have a blanket around me & it feels wonderful. We have a nice ride up the bay and turn off into West River then Rhode River where we are anchored in a great spot by 5:30. Friday, after it warms up from the low of 68 overnight, we get the motor on the dinghy, and start off to explore the area. We head over to the populated side of the river and notice the motor sounds a little off, so after checking out the many little creeks going back into neighborhoods we go back to the boat for lunch and for Steve to check the motor. As we are having lunch we notice several more boats coming into the anchorage. Once the motor is running better we head out to check on the unpopulated side of the river. A few homes but mostly woods, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center owns 3000 acres along these shores to study the effects of the coastal zone, studying the effects of development on the wild life & the landscape. It is a beautiful undisturbed area and knowing how close it is to our nations capitol makes it that much more unique & special. Which is why as we are riding around more boats come into anchor, by the end of the day we have more than 20 additional boats in the anchorage. Still NOT crowded, just some of the locals getting away from the busier ports nearby for a quite weekend on the water. Saturday morning a pump out boat even shows up winding its way to the boats to see if anybody needs his service. Saturday we decide instead of pulling up anchor and taking the boat over to West River, to go to the “town” of Galesville we will take the dinghy over. It takes us 30 minutes maybe a little faster than if we took the boat since we were able to take short cuts through shallower water. It is a beautiful day starting to warm up again but still nice, we have the time, we like our anchorage, and it will be a good test for the dinghy motor. It was a nice little excursion seeing all the boats out in the bay, and the other river and side creeks. This river is a little more developed and actually has a couple of restaurants, one of which we stop for lunch at. Walk around a little after lunch to stretch and put off our 30 minute dinghy ride back to the boat. We learned that 30 minutes is probably as long of a ride we want to take in our dinghy. When we got back we noticed more boats coming into the anchorage, earlier some had left, with all the fabulous places to anchor it is easy to just go from one spot to the next. We relax in the cockpit watching the boats come into anchor. Sunday we did not have to hurry to leave since we were not going too far, just a little closer to Baltimore. We started to leave at noon and as Steve was doing his check of the engine oil he noticed a little diesel below the fuel pump for the generator, then when investigating the source of that leak found the power wires had pulled out of their crimped terminals. He removed the fuel pump for further investigation, and after a thorough inspection and cleaning found no problems, but when he went to reinstall the pump, found the temporary plugs he'd put in the fuel lines had leaked, and now there was a big pool of diesel in the engine compartment. He reinstalled the pump, tightening up the fuel hose clamps that were a little loose and the cause of the original leak, then cleaned up the diesel pool. The cause of the power wires pulling out turned out to be the wrong size terminals from whoever had installed the pump originally. They were for a smaller wire, so the wires never were properly crimped, and were probably just barely touching and making the electrical contact. He put the correct size terminals on, and powered up the pump, only to find it didn't make the clicking noise it used to make when running. He thought the motor must have died, but a check with the multimeter showed it was working, so he fired up the generator, and everything worked fine, in fact even better than before, no need to bleed the fuel line, even though air had obviously gotten into it from the leaks. He figures the clicking sound from the fuel pump we'd always heard was actually the pump starting and stopping as the power wires connected and disconnected from the pump with the bad terminals. So after an hour of pulling tools and parts out of places that require moving large parts of the boat inventory from place to place, cleanup and replacement, we are ready to go. Just another day in the life of cruising. We are underway by 1, starting at the mouth of the river we are dodging crab pots until we get into the deeper waters of the Chesapeake. Turn north and are able to motor sail with main & genoa. Sunday afternoon on the Chesapeake there are a lot of boats out, sail boats, motor boats, jet skis, along with the big ships and barges & tows it is a busy place. Pass under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge 182 foot clearance NO scraping problems here. Turn off at the Patapsco River then into Rock Creek and are anchored for the night by 5:30. Get great internet & TV reception not bad for being on the water. Monday we are under way by 9:30 heading for Baltimore. Not far to go just out the creek up the river, under the Francis Scott Key Bridge (185 ft. clearance) and have the city of Baltimore on the horizon in front of us. It is such a neat feeling coming into a city by water, passing by ships and seeing the city from the water side is unique experience. Steve found a GREAT deal at Center Dock Marina right in the middle of the inner harbor area of the city and we are docked by 11:30. Apparently they have 4 side tie docks that are part of a non-profit organization called Living Classrooms, so for $250 a WEEK we have a dock, electric included that we have booked for two weeks during which time I will make a trip back to Texas to visit Family & Friends while Steve stays with the boat here in Baltimore.

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