Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Headed to Joisey

We are under way southbound on Delaware Bay, bound for Cape May, New Jersey. As I begin typing we have about a knot of current behind us, but we also have 16 knots of wind on the nose, pushing the seas up into a frothy mess and making for a splashy ride.

Sunday's sunset over the Chesapeake City Bridge, from the anchorage basin.

Wednesday we had the anchor down in a new-to-us spot in the West River (map), near Galesville Maryland, by 3pm. It was definitely a quiet and protected spot, much more so than our usual digs in Annapolis. We splashed the tender and headed to the town dock at dinner time, walking next door to the Pirates Cove Restaurant and Dock Bar for dinner. They have their own dock as well, but we wanted to check out the town wharf for future reference.

We were expecting the typical waterfront fried-seafood tiki bar experience, but the place turned out to be more upscale than that, and we enjoyed our meal on the deck of the main dining room. The "dock bar" with the same menu is on the other side of the building and has more of the tiki bar vibe. After dinner we had a nice walk through town, but there's not much here. One other waterfront restaurant is a short distance away, but the liquor/general store seems to be permanently closed.

Just outside the Galesville Town Wharf we found this propeller garden.

We had to work our way around the Wednesday night sailboat races on our way home, but after that it was quiet. All in all, it was a comfortable alternative to Annapolis for weather or timing and we've made note of that for the future. Thursday morning we weighed anchor with the tide for the short run to Annapolis, with the forecast deteriorating into the afternoon.

Sunset on the West River.

Winds were forecast to be out of the south, and we figured we'd be OK in our usual spot in the south anchorage. But seas following us in and an an absence of other boats there were not good signs. We dropped the hook (map) just to test the waters, so to speak, but it was untenable, and we weighed before even setting the snubber. We knew that in high season, the limited anchorages up Spa Creek and Back Creek would be full to the brim, and the weather out on the bay was already too snotty to want to go back out.

With few options, we turned instead up the Severn, along the eastern edge of the United States Naval Academy, and steamed upriver to Weems Creek, a new anchorage for us. I held little hope there would be any room; a good part of the creek is full of hurricane moorings belonging to the Academy, and a handful of private moorings. Much to our surprise, we found only two other boats already anchored, and we worked our way into the creek to just shy of the USNA moorings before dropping the hook (map).

Honda has substituted this flange bolt for the pan head one I removed; that's what's left of the anode stuck to it. I had to call the dealer to make sure I had the right part.

Conditions out on the bay and in the harbor notwithstanding, Weems creek is very protected, and it was calm enough to get some work done. I spun the tender around on deck to install the parts I had picked up in Solomons. That included new spark plugs, the internal engine anode, and new gaskets for the water jacket cover and thermostat.

New anode installed and cooling passages cleaned up a bit.

The installation went smoothly, although I was mystified that the little spring-loaded flush valve under the cover was nowhere to be found. I had cleaned it up on the last pass and thought I was careful to ensure it stayed in place as I reassembled everything, so I spent the better part of an hour looking for it in the innards of the cowling and poking things into the cooling passages to make sure it had not somehow worked its way in there. My hope is that it popped out during the last service and then blew overboard, and I will just buy a new one.

Cleaned up jacket cover and fresh O-ring. Is it really an O-ring if it's this shape?

After getting it all back together and a quick stationary test tied up to Vector, we headed up the creek to see if we could get ashore. We headed to the public boat ramp at the end of Tucker Street, hoping to find a dock, but no such luck. Fortunately, the bank is quite steep there, making it easy to make a beach landing and then tie off to a post.

Our beach landing. A sign here says the city is planning to put in a float.

We walked about a half mile back over the creek, mostly on the shoulder with no sidewalk available, to Heroes Pub, a local joint if every there was one. Despite the stark exterior, it was very homey inside, reminding us of our favorite watering hole in Mamaroneck. Both the pub and our server have been there for a quarter century, and they offer 48 different beers on tap, from a massive row of draft handles. We're glad we made the trek.

Heroes Pub. Our kind of place; we'll be back.

The dinghy got us to and from the boat ramp OK, but it's still not running right. It's rough when cold and sporadically overheating when warm, so I definitely have more work ahead of me. The next things to test are the automatic choke and the temperature sensor.

Vector anchored in Weems Creek, as seen from the drawbridge. We're a ways back.

Friday morning we returned ashore and walked to the nearby shopping plaza. We stopped in to Naval Bagels for breakfast sandwiches and a couple of bagels to go, which were pretty good for outside of NYC. Then we stopped next door in the very nice Graul's Market, which we remembered from a previous visit, to stock up on a few groceries. In the evening we came right back for pizza and bottled beer at Bella Italia, which was decent but not spectacular. We brought raincoats, but made it home before the rain started.

Naval Bagels. Everything in this town revolves around the Academy.

Saturday the weather finally would have permitted us to make some progress north. But we'd made arrangements to connect with friends Stacey and Dave, from Stinkpot, as we passed through Chesapeake City, and the timing meant we had a spare day on the Chesapeake side. We were comfortable where we were, and so decided to just spend another night. I took the day off and walked all the way to town.

Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, with apologies to our Army families.

Rather than battle my way through the throngs of tourists downtown, I opted instead to stroll the grounds of the Naval Academy. It's a beautiful campus, and I spent a couple of hours just walking around, after clearing security and a quick swing through the visitor center and gift shop. After exiting I made a quick pass by Ego Alley before heading home, partly by way of the free Circulator bus, which did not really shorten my walk, but let me see some more of town.

Bancroft Hall, the enormous dorm at USNA. I lived here for a week in my otherwise misspent youth.

In the evening we returned ashore one final time for the short walk to Chessie's Wharf. This is basically a burger and sandwich joint, but it's also the tap room for nearby RAR Brewery. The drafts were quite good, and I picked up a four-pack of pints at the end of dinner.

The chapel. That's a tour group in front; I passed dozens of people walking in wedding finery and I assume from the midshipmen with swords crossed on the steps that a wedding was imminent.

Sunday we weighed anchor with the tide to make the run up to the Elk River and the top of Chesapeake Bay. I had my sights set on a familiar anchorage in the Bohemia River, for an early morning fair tide the rest of the way to Chesapeake City for our Monday evening meet-up. We made such good time that we ended up just going the whole way to Chesapeake City and dropping the hook in our usual spot (map).

Spotted on campus, by Dahlgren Hall. My first live Cybertruck sighting; they are just as cheesy-looking and impractical as you've heard.

They've dredged the basin since our last visit, and for the first time ever we could have gone to the free dock, but it was full when we arrived. This is our first visit in the height of the season, and oh, my, was it ever busy. We were glad to find a spot to anchor, and we watched the myriad boats coming and going for the day at the Chesapeake Inn. Fortunately, the day visitors, many in swim attire, were mostly going to the outdoor tiki bar, and we had no trouble getting a table in the main restaurant at dinner time, notwithstanding the Fathers' Day buffet still going on in the ballroom.

A giant pear outside of Evelyn's Cafe, a breakfast place we did not sample.

We had our mail forwarded to Dave and Stacey at their marina in North East, a place near the top of the Chesapeake where Vector can not go. It arrived yesterday morning, and when they let us know, we switched gears from a dinner visit to a lunch visit. We tendered across the canal and met them at Schaefer's Canal House for lunch. It was really great to catch up with them, and we hope our paths cross again later in the summer.

Stacey, Dave, Louise, and Sean at Schaefer's. Photo: Dave Rowe

The early visit let us get under way with a fair tide through the rest of the canal, and we dropped the hook in Anchorage Number 4, north of the canal jetty (map), where we had a bit of protection from the relentless southerlies. It was a comfortable night, other than the wakes of the occasional ships passing by a mile away, which would roll us for a few seconds. We know enough now to dog everything down when anchored in the Delaware.

"Ego Alley," Annapolis. Always a zoo on weekends.

It was pretty calm this morning until we rounded the corner at the Hope Creek nuclear station. Things have been getting progressively worse since then, and we are now bashing through 2-3 footers on a short three-second period, made worse by driving into them.  As I wrap up typing, we still have another hour and half of this before we make the protection of the Cape May Canal.

They're wanting to raise the seawalls at Ego Alley. We've been there with the dinghy landing well under water.

With the unreliability of these marine forecasts, we have no idea how long we will be pinned down here. We were hoping for a window to Atlantic City tomorrow, which is a better place to be pinned down for a while, but that's looking unlikely now.

The first time I've noticed dedicated, and apparently free, scooter parking downtown.

Whenever we get a North Atlantic window to get past New Jersey, we will continue directly on up the Hudson and into the New York Canals to head up to Lake Ontario. That will push off any repair work in Mamaroneck on the paint job until the end of the summer, so that we can be in New York City for some other items we've put on the calendar. That should give us about a month in the lake, if we don't get waylaid before then.

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