June 19 to 25th

June 19, 2011 South River to West River (Galesville) anchorage

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there! It must have rained briefly overnight because the boat was wet, but it didn’t rain hard enough for us to notice or close the hatches. We had a leisurely breakfast and took our time about getting ready to move. We only had a short distance to go today. Auggie got comfortable and I found out he can sleep anywhere….believe it or not. I had my foot on the sofa and he rested his head on my foot (as seen in the picture) and closed his eyes. He woke up just in time to get his picture taken. I guess my foot served as a good headrest.

While we were sitting around this morning, we had an error message on the AC panel, so Bob had to take a look at that. He wasn’t able to solve the problem after troubleshooting a couple of different things, but he did determine that the generator might have electrical issues in the control box. Someone else might need to take a look at it. Good thing we’ll be in the Solomons tomorrow where they have all the services we need. As someone once said, “Everything on your boat is broken. You just don’t know it yet.” Isn’t that the truth? As we took Auggie to shore after breakfast, it started to sprinkle. It stopped shortly after we got back to the boat, but stayed cloudy and remained that way all day. The report said there would be a chance of scattered showers throughout the day. We traveled only 8.3 miles today to get to our anchorage in the West River near Galesville. I think the cloudy skies and threat of rain put a damper on the Father’s Day boating activities. It seemed there weren’t a lot of people on the water today. We dropped anchor at noon across from Thursday’s Crab and Steak House and the public pier/dinghy dock.

The sun came out for awhile as we had lunch, but then it remained cloudy the rest of the day. We were 1 of 5 boats in the anchorage this afternoon, but there may be more later on tonight. Later in the afternoon, we took Auggie for a dinghy ride and walk on shore.

This sculpture at the park was an interesting use of props. Someone got very creative.

It was a quiet, lazy afternoon. This anchorage, near the town of Galesville, has access to 2 nice restaurants. One is called Pirate’s Cove, which had a full parking lot for Father’s Day and the other was a cute, Tiki-type place called Thursday’s, which was also very busy with patrons.

I got caught up on writing my blog (poor connection at the last anchorage) and Bob did some reading. We had steak on the grill for Father’s Day and took Auggie for one more visit to shore before sundown.

Auggie got comfortable as the sun was setting. It turned out to be a nice evening.

The clouds parted enough let the sun shine through as it was setting.

Tomorrow we’ll be back in the Solomons, on our way to DC for the 4th of July.

June 20, 2011 West River anchorage to Tenthouse Creek, Hartge Boat Yard

It rained overnight…..lightly at first and then more steadily. We woke early with the rain, got up, and checked the weather. Where did this storm come from? Our plans today were put on hold until we could figure out what the weather was doing. It rained until 10:30, so we decided to take Auggie to shore during a break in the rain. It looked like we might get pinned down here today due to the storms. Bob did some checking on the Internet and made a few phone calls to arrange to have the generator worked on and the transducer replaced at 2 different boatyards around the corner from where we were anchored. We figured since we were going to be pinned down anyway, we might as well make use of the time and get the work done. We couldn’t make our appointment in the Solomons tomorrow at 10:30 to replace the transducer and have the generator looked at anyway. Tomorrow Hartge Yacht Yard will be replacing the 2 capacitors on the generator after they ordered the parts today, and Galesville HarborYacht Yard will be doing the short haul on the boat at 9:00 AM to replace the transducer. We should be good to go on Wednesday, if all goes well. We spent the night at the Hartge Yacht Yard dock for free and would move over to Galesville Harbor Yacht Yard for the haulout at 9:00 on Tuesday.

Bob put the old AC unit on Craig’s list this morning and immediately had 2 calls. Some guy bought it for $100 cash. Bob had left the AC unit with Donny in Baltimore, so the guy came to look at it there and bought it. That was fast! This afternoon, Auggie got a bath and a full grooming including ears, nails, and teeth. He got the full spa treatment. Doesn’t he look good?

We had an easy day considering all that happened, but we were beat. We relaxed in the back of the boat before dinner and enjoyed the view. It was quiet and peaceful except for the cries of the ospreys as they glided above us. All day we kept checking the weather. The winds on the Bay were blowing 10-15 knots with gusts to 25 knots, creating 3-7 foot waves and not anything we wanted to deal with. Amazingly, it was peaceful and calm in Tenthouse Creek of the West River where we were. How deceiving! The clouds parted at some time this afternoon and the sun came out. It turned out to be a decent day after all.

June 21, 2011 Hartge Yacht Yard to Galesville Harbor Yacht Yard

After having breakfast, we walked Auggie and got the boat ready to move over to the Galesville Yacht Yard to be hauled out of the water. Our appointment was for 9:00. It had rained a little overnight, but it was partly sunny…at least for now. We left the dock and headed around the corner to the yard for service. They weren’t quite ready for us when we arrived, but soon they brought over the Travelift to haul us out of the water. They had to power wash the bottom first. It was covered in slime and some barnacles.

The boat hung in the slings for 6 hours while Ed removed the old transducer from the bottom of the hull and replaced it with the new one.

It had to be caulked in, so we had to stay out of the water overnight, so it could cure.

Tomorrow they will put some bottom paint on it to prevent future growth and then put us into the water to test it. Spike, the generator mechanic, from Hartge Yacht Yard will install the new capacitors on the generator in the morning and test it, either here at this yard or at his yard. Then we should be good to go. (Didn’t I say that already?) While all this was going on, Auggie and I hung out in the shade, taking walks, and doing some reading. He didn’t get much naptime in with all the activity going on in the yard. On one of our walks, we met up with some turkey vultures who were intent on staying where they were. Auggie didn’t notice them at first, but when he did, he barked up a storm and then ran away. He did that a couple of times, but the vultures stayed put. Those are some ugly looking birds!

The day turned out to be mostly sunny with no immediate threat of rain. I know Bob will rest easier when the depth sounder is working properly again. After a few small delays, the job was finally completed and Ed went home for the day. We hooked up to electricity and stayed on the “hard” for the night.

We had a great view from up in the slings and relaxed after going out for dinner at a nearby restaurant, Pirate’s Cove. Bob had the Bucket Seafood Sampler and I had the traditional Maryland Crabcake. Haven’t had my fill of crab yet. I think Bob’s eyes were bigger than his stomach. He took home a “doggie bag”.

It was a long day for everyone….Auggie and I just hanging out……and Bob keeping an eye on things and helping Ed where he could. Hopefully, everything will be over and working correctly tomorrow. Stay tuned…..

June 22, 2011 Galesville Harbor Yacht Yard to Solomons, Calvert Marina

We set the alarm for 7AM to get up and clean the hull before Ed, the yard mechanic, came in at 8:00 to put bottom paint on the transducer. However, we both woke up at 6:30 in anticipation of getting the boat fixed and everything in good working order. We wanted to get on the water again. It had rained overnight, so I mopped off the boat and walked Auggie, while Bob worked on cleaning the hull. The weather looked good for moving south this morning, so we were in a hurry to get going. Ed arrived at 8:00 (1/2 hour before his starting time) and gave the transducer a coat of bottom paint and then lowered us into the water. The transducer worked fine. One problem solved. We had to wait awhile for Spike to arrive from the other marina. He took his good-natured time about it. While he installed the capacitors, I sat, read, and prayed. Once installed, he tested them. Spike was sure the new capacitors had not made any difference. He made a few phone calls, retested them, and everything worked well. Problem 2 solved. Who knows how long our generator was working under capacity? (“Everything on a boat is broken, you just don’t know it yet.”) Well, NOW we were good to go. We paid our bill (ouch!), threw off the lines, and were on our way at 9:50. The skies were partly cloudy with a light wind from the south. We ran at cruise speed in waves that were less than a foot. It was good to have the depth sounder working again. We passed Sharp’s Island Light, which stands tilted due to a collision with an ice flow years ago, and quite a few charter fishing boats. It was a nice day so there were a lot of cruising boats on the move as well. As we neared our destination of the Solomons, it became cloudy and looked like there was a chance of rain. The beautiful Calvert Cliffs were obscurred by haze and we couldn’t see that glowing orange color like we had on our trip north. The light was visible on the Cove Point Lighthouse. It was hard to tell if it was haze, fog, or weather moving in, but it was definitely humid. We entered the Patuxent River to reach the Solomons at 12:30 and were docked at Calvert’s Marina by 1:00 after 50.3 miles.

We took a spot on the dock between 2 larger boats. We had to parallel park to get in there. A little grease might have helped, but Bob did a great job docking.

We registered at the office and borrowed the courtesy car for an hour to go to Food Lion, West Marine, and the liquor store. Once we got back, we unloaded and put all the groceries away. Then I did a couple loads of laundry and some trip planning. We got final confirmation today from Jeremy, the dockmaster at Gangplank Marina, that we are guaranteed a slip in Washington, DC from June 29-July 9. Woo-hoo!!!! It got hot and humid once the sun came out later in the afternoon. We relaxed with cocktails before dinner and had a later dinner. It finally cooled off when the sun went down. The dock was full for the night.

June 23, 2011 Solomons, Calvert Marina (day 2)

Should we stay or should we go? That always seems to be the question. We checked the weather radar and there were storms moving our way, plus the winds were stronger around the storms. We’ll stay another day and check the weather again for tomorrow. The issue now seems to be when to head up the Potomac. The problem with the Potomac River is that if you try to enter when the current is going against the wind, you find yourself in huge waves and turbulent waters. We have heard horror stories from people about it, so we are trying to pick our weather to make the smoothest entrance into the river as possible. Once you get past the entrance to the river, it’s not an issue, but the river’s mouth is so wide that is moves a lot of water. People have told us that even going past the mouth of the river can create rough conditions for boaters who are moving north or south. We don’t want to be part of one of those horror stories. Knowing that we were going to be here another day, we decided we needed to work on some little projects we had been putting off. There was a sewing repair, lubricating the shower door, vacuum off the outside of the screens from bugs, clean up a corroding battery terminal, tie up and reroute the wires to the new transducer and of course, the usual clean and vacuum. After lunch, Bob and I borrowed the courtesy car again to go back to West Marine so he could get some oil for the generator. He would do an oil change on the generator here if we have to spend another day. We also made a return to CVS Pharmacy and a stop at the liquor store at a new location in town. The lady in the office was nice enough to print something for me that I needed for our stay in DC. Later in the afternoon, the winds picked up and it looked like it was going to rain, but nothing came. I had one more project to do that was bugging me. That was to clean the area at the base of the windshield that was full of bugs. It was a little tight getting into the area, but even harder getting out.

The boat needed a good washing, but we held off in case it rained. There must have been a Mayfly hatch too, because the boat is all spotted with black dots left from their carcasses. We finished our little projects in time to have a cocktail before dinner and then relax. We had dinner and finished watching the movie we started watching yesterday. We’ll be ready to leave tomorrow if the weather permits.

June 24, 2011 Solomons, Calvert Marina (day 3)

Still windy…..so we’ll wait another day. So far tomorrow’s weather and the tide conditions look good. I wanted to wash the boat this morning, but the guy in front of us had just started painting his trip, so I had to wait an hour or so until it dried. In the meantime, I threw the carpet cover from inside the boat in the wash and then proceeded to clean the dinghy and teh swim platform. While I was finishing up, the guy in front of us, who was painting, gave me the “green light” to go ahead and wash the boat. Those dead Mayflies had left blue spots ALL OVER the boat. Nothing would take them off–not washing with soap, not scrubbing with Softscrub. Finally, Bob suggested I try Spray 9 – the “miracle product”. It worked! Thank goodness! There’s nothing worse that cleaning really hard and not seeing any results. I used it all over the boat and Bob used it in the cockpit too. It really did the trick with not a lot of scrubbing. I like that! While I was working on those projects, Bob had been working on changing the oil on the generator and replacing the “fart filter” (aka the filter for the toilet system). After lunch, I took Auggie for a walk while Bob finished cleaning the cockpit. When we were all done, the boat never looked better! There was a lot of activity at the transient dock today…..people working on varnishing teak, canvas sewing, painting, cleaning boats, replacing upholstery, and a diver cleaning the bottom of a boat. Anyone who says that owning a boat means floating on the water with a cocktail in hand enjoying the sunshine, hasn’t owned a boat. It’s a lot more work than that. The fun comes after the work is done. Some dark clouds passed to the east of us, but didn’t drop any rain. Bob filled up the water tank and that ended our chores for today. We had finished up all our projects by 3:00 and were ready for a relaxing dinghy ride up the other branch of the Patuxent River. We dinghied up Mill Creek and the St. John Creek until we reached the end. They were beautiful creeks lined with mature trees and houses set back from the shore. The woodsy shoreline looked cool and inviting.

We got back to the boat and had a cocktail before dinner. It was starting to cool down for the evening with the sunset. It was another beautiful one.

We made plans for our trip into the Potomac River tomorrow so that our timing would be right with the current and the wind direction. Everything looks right!

June 25, 2011 Solomons (Calvert Marina) to Potomac River, Herring Creek anchorage

We were up early and checked the weather. Everything looked great! Our dockmates helped us off the dock, since we were sandwiched in between their boats and they had a vested interest in seeing us get off the dock without any problems. We were on our way at 8:00. The skies were partly sunny, there was a very light breeze, and the temp was 73 degrees. You couldn’t ask for a better day. The charter boat captains were all out by now and the cruising boats were beginning to move. Joan called last night and we discovered that their boat, Joyful Wing, was anchored just around the corner from us in the Solomons. If we had been staying another day, we might have been able to get together. So close and yet so far. We’ll have to compare our trip adventures when we’re both back in FL in Sept. As we were leaving the mouth of the Patuxent River, we spotted a boat full of guys with bows and arrows hunting for some kind of fish around the crabtraps. We haven’t seen that on our trip before.

Once we left the Patuxent River and entered the Bay, the 1-2′ waves were on our stern and we had a fairly comfortable ride….for awhile. The skies started to clear and I could see the glowing Calvert Cliffs back in the distance.

We motored at 18 mph south around Cedar Point and Point No Point towards the Potomac River. The wind out of the north brought whitecaps and 2-3′ waves to the water the further south we got. We passed the Point Lookout Light, which marks the northern entrance to the Potomac.

The waves got bigger, 3-4′, as we got closer to Point Lookout. The conditions weren’t anything like the forecast. What a surprise! They seem to be wrong on their forecast a lot. I was getting a little nervous about what the conditions would be like at the mouth of the Potomac, so I gritted my teeth and waited. We rounded Point Lookout into the Potomac River at 10:00. The mouth of the river is 5 miles wide so we picked a spot to enter near the eastern shore. Once we got inside the river, the water calmed down and we motored north in a 1′ chop. After hearing all those horror stories, we picked the right time to enter the Potomac. The Bay had much worse conditions than the river. It was a relief to finally be here. (I guess I worked myself up over nothing. Better to be prepared for the worst, and then be relieved that it didn’t happen.) The Potomac River calmed off as we slowed down to 10 mph and motored north 17 miles into the river to Herring Creek. It was a beautiful ride up the river.

We passed Piney Point Lighthouse Museum and Park. It was hard to see because it was obscurred by the gas pipeline that stood there.

Coming up behind us as we motored up the river, we saw this “stealth boat” approaching. It had no name, no numbers, or any other markings, but it was flying an American flag. The most unusual thing about this boat was that it left no wake and made no sound as it passed.

Just past Piney Point was a blue and white buoy marking the spot where a WWII submarine lay in 82 feet of water. We circled the area to see if we could see it laying below us on the sonar. No such luck! The wreck is designated as Maryland’s first historic shipwreck preserve.

As we were looking for the jetty entrance to Herring Creek, a Piper Cub was seen flying very low on the shoreline and over boats on the water. We’ve never seen a plane fly that low.

We entered Herring Creek at 11:30, which is 15 miles from the mouth of the Potomac, for fuel and to anchor for the night. Herring Creek got its name from the great herring runs during spawning season, which still occurs here. After entering Tall Timbers Cove, we tried 3 times, in vain, to anchor and finally got the anchor to hold. There was a nice breeze and very little boat traffic to bother us.

We had traveled 47.1 miles today and were anxious to relax and enjoy the day. I did some reading in the shade with the cool breeze blowing. We had “happy hour” before our celebratory dinner after reaching the Potomac River. After dinner we took Auggie to shore at the town dock. We walked down a tree-lined road that smelled of pine forest. It reminded us of the northwoods in Wisconsin.

There were many locals coming to eat at the marina restaurant, The Reluctant Navigator. Bob looked at the menu and it was pricey for being out in the boondocks, but the locals seemed to like it.

After our shore visit, we took a dinghy ride into the other branches of the creek. It was a beautiful night with perfect temperatures. Auggie seemed to like the ride.

The sunset was amazing and I sat outside until it touched the water and disappeared from sight.

Auggie and I played a little catch after returning to the boat before darkness fell. He’s getting very good at catching it on the first bounce.

We went to bed when we ran out of light and slept with the hatches and door open. The temperature was perfect and we had a nice breeze blowing through the boat. Everyone will sleep well tonight.

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