We ended up staying in Solomon’s Island an extra night to hang out with friends that were coming in town for the weekend. The winds had died down and it was a really peaceful day on the boat. We kind just hung out and tried our best to downshift into a slower way of life. It feels weird not doing something all of the time, which I realize is not necessarily a good thing, and something that I hope to become comfortable with during this trip. I got some reading in, which was nice.
Last night we went out to dinner and had a nice night hanging out with our friends, Arjen and Kaitlin and Matty O and his wife and daughter one more time before leaving the state. Arjen & Kaitlin have headed south every winter for the past few years, so it was great to pick their brains about cruising / Bahamas / boat stuff, etc. Thanks for the fun night! We’ll miss you guys!
This morning we pulled anchor around 8:00 and hit the local marina to fill up our water tanks, drop off some trash and to get a bag of ice before we headed out. Matt grabbed a few bucks to pay for the ice and tip the dockhand and was back on board about 30 seconds later to grab the .17 cents he was short. This was after he had tipped the dock hand five bucks for doing nothing other than placing our bag of ice onto our deck. No line handling or operating the diesel pump, or pumping out the waste from our holding tank. Just straight up placing a bag of ice the three feet onto our boat. Probably the easiest five bucks she made all day. And she couldn’t cover us on the .17 cents. Matt really needs to recalibrate his tipping.
As we rounded the island and entered the bay we were trying to figure up what combination of sails to put up since there was pretty much no wind and we had a lot of water to cover today. We tried just the main sail first, then did a combination of main/front sail, doing maybe 4.5 knots at best. We noticed the light breeze was coming right from behind so we made the call to drop the other two sails and just put our spinnaker out. None of the other boats had their spinnaker out so we weren’t sure if we were making the right call. Sure enough as soon as we put it up we heard some chatter on the VHF of other boats calling each other to say that they were also going to put their spinnaker up. Looks like we made the right call. Maybe we’re not such rookies after all.
The winds eventually died down to the point where we were going just 2.5 knots, which is pretty much the speed of a power walk. We decided this was unacceptable and turned the engines on to motor sail a bit. Throughout the day we kept on working on our sail configurations, trying everything we could to just stay above five knots. I probably pulled out/in the genoa about eight times plus cranked the main and spinnaker up once each. Matt was really putting me thru the paces today. I’ll admit it, doing so helped me make sense of how all of the lines worked, but I’m definitely going to need some Advil with my coffee tomorrow morning. I have a feeling I’m going to go from Olive Oil to Popeye on this trip.
It feels great to escape the craziness of Annapolis and be essentially alone out on the Bay, except for a few sailboats way out in the distance and the occasional freighter. We just set our autopilot and forget it, checking every few minutes to make sure we’re still on course and that we’re not going to run into everything. Back in Annapolis, this would have been impossible with all of the boats crowded into such a small space. The only thing we really need to keep an eye out for is the crab traps that will pop up seemingly out of nowhere, even miles off the shore. We’ll put the autopilot on standby and hand steer thru them, which was about our excitement of the day. Other than that it’s reading, tinkering, throwing a fishing line out, munching, repeat. For hours and hours on end. Hey, we said we wanted a simpler life, right?
We keep seeing these fish traps in the bay too. At first I couldn’t figure out what the hell they were, as they just look like a bunch of sticks poking up out of the water. Centuries later and this is the most advanced thing the fishermen out here can come up with?
So, we’re anchored up for the night in Reedville, VA, just a few miles short of our original destination of Deltaville. We pulled into this huge bay, maybe a mile wide and deep with plenty of good anchorage, making sure to spread out from the half dozen or so boats that were already here. We dropped anchor, had a beer while we waited to make sure it set properly, and watched as another boat pulled up not fifty feet off our right side and dropped his anchor. Seriously? This whole bay is wide open and this guy gets so close to us we can practically have a conversation with him.
We’re planning to wake up at the crack of dawn tomorrow and get an early start down the bay again. We have a reservation at a marina in Norfolk tomorrow & Monday and are looking forward to spending some time on land before we start down the long and tedious track of the ICW. Plus Walking Dead is on tomorrow night and we really want to watch it. If we could plan it so we’re at a marina every Sunday from here until we leave for the Bahamas, we would totally do it.