Saturday, October 4, 2008

Chesapeake City - Back in the Twilight Zone Again

Moving from Cape May NJ to Annapolis MD requires a transit of the Delaware Bay. What an unfortunate thing to have to do. It is best done fast and when all crew are pretty much in a daze.

This described Meredith when we set off. Properly timing our departure for 2 hours after low tide at Cape May. This ensures you have a following tidal current for your entire passage. You want the Delaware over as fast as possible.

The timing of the departure was problematic as it was pitch black at 5:30 a.m. Off we set anyway trusting to lighted markers in the channel. This was when we met the crew of Whippoorwill, which vessel was anchored in the middle of the channel with minimal lighting. The crew waved and said "Hi, are you anchoring too". When we responded with "No but if we were we probably would not anchor in the middle of the channel" there was no response. Next morning I understand the boat was still mid channel.

One really important thing to note about Cape May is that the red buoys which are on your right hand side coming in from the Atlantic change sides in front of the Coast Guard station. You see, you leave Cape May via the Cape May Canal and the markers are necessarily the other way around. If you neglect this little detail you will run aground.

I tell you this from experience.

Mind you it was pitch black, no one saw us and the tide was rising (remember 2 hours after low tide) so it did not count as a grounding. The guy who warned me about this, yes he warned me before I set off, also went on the wrong side, didn't he Benoit?

At the North end of the Delaware you turn into the C & D Canal which joins the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays. This canal is the second busiest waterway in the USA.

We did not think this ship would make it under the Chesapeake Bridge. Neither did the Captain as the transit of the bridge took 35 minutes.

The only stop along the canal is at Chesapeake City, almost to the Chesapeake end of things. There is a nice little town dock and a small anchorage. Both are plagued with low water and twitchy currents and wake. With Meredith's 5 foot draft we could not leave the harbour within 2 hours either side of low tide. We got stuck every time we tried.

I cannot upload pictures from this site (Worton Creek) so I will interrupt the blog here and pick things up when we get to Annapolis. We are only 26 miles from the boat show.

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