Sunday, September 22, 2013

Saturday, September 21st

I have some bad feelings about today!  We decided to head over to the dock at Skipjack Marina to pump out and fuel up.  When Chuck raised the anchor and chain, it was caked with tons of mud.  Since we don’t have a wash down hose (good thing to have), he would raise a few feet of chain and throw a bucket of water on it, raise more chain, throw another bucket of water on that, etc.  It must have taken him 15-20 minutes to clean the chain and anchor….YUK…before we were free to motor over to the dock.  Once there, we were able to pump out, $5, but the gas attendant said they only had high speed diesel??  What??  Well here, the nozzle is bigger to allow the diesel to pump twice as fast for the yachts that take a lot of fuel!  Makes sense I guess, but what about us?  We then were directed to Georgetown Boat Basin.  Once there, one of the employee’s that had just finished towing a boat to the fuel dock, motored over to us and then told us they just ran out of diesel yesterday!!   I knew this wasn’t going to be a good day.  :(  Neither of us wanted to take off without more fuel, so we pulled up to an empty dock and Chuck poured diesel into the tank from one of our 5 gallon cans which had been latched to our boat.  This is the first time that we had to use those cans.  They came in handy!!

Our friends took off ahead of us not knowing the trouble we were having finding fuel….who would have thought?   Craig was leading the way and would give our two sailboats a call every now and then about what he was experiencing.   Our plans were to go to Rock Hall Harbor, MD which is south of where we are now, on the eastern shore.  Now remember, we had to go 11.5 miles up the river and so now we have to go 11.5 miles back down the river to get to the bay and than another 21.5 miles to the mouth of Rock Hall.   On a good day, that’s about 5 hours. 

Motoring out of the river, the winds were out of the SSE.  We popped our jib and it gave us the burst of speed we needed to make up for lost time.  The only problem was that the navigable part of the river snakes around and the wind would be in the right direction, and then our jib would flog.  We finally had to furl the jib.   Once we got near the mouth of the river, we had crab traps to dodge.  It was like a mine field!  We were running close to the shoreline and soon came upon white floats that were designated as a “crab lane”.  Apparently the crabbers have to keep their traps north of these floats.  That eased our exit from the river a bit.
Crabber out in the rough waters too!

As the day progressed past noon and we advanced further south, the winds and waves increased considerably!    They now were calling for small craft warnings in the afternoon.  For once,  weather NOAA was right!!  Of course the waves and wind were on our nose but we still were attempting to make it to Rock Hall.  We’ve been in worse conditions on Lake Erie so all was cool….and then our engine stopped…..just like on the Delaware Bay.  Okay, now I’m ready to get sick…but Happy Hours II started right back up.  Whew!!  Chuck decided to not run her so hard again…..he backed her down to 2400 RPM’s.  The only problem now is that we are being overpowered by the winds and especially the waves.  I think we were only going 4 mph and probably less!

At this rate, we’d be going into an unfamiliar harbor at dusk and we didn’t want to do that.  Plus Chuck wanted to change the fuel filter while he still had some light.  We had just past Fairlee Creek and Worton Creek before that.  So we both decided to turn around.  Worton Creek is very wide and would be easy to get into, but the protection from the wind looked much better at Fairlee Creek.  However, all the reviews on Active Captain warned about staying between the markers and then close to the south shore…almost as though you were going to beach your boat!  Since it was so rough, we weren’t sure we were doing the wise thing.  As we got closer to the their channel,  we watched two boats go in and then they seemed to disappear.  Where did they go?  From our angle, we couldn't see.  All of a sudden, there was a cut through the sand which looked to be only 30’ wide.  I shouted over to an outgoing powerboat and he said to stay in the middle of the cut, that there was 11’ or more of water.  Once through, the body of water opens into what looks like a small lake with the Mears Great Oak Landing and the Great Oak Yacht Club.    Definitely a good place to anchor when the bay gets rough! We anchored early, at 2:30.

At 3:45, we got a call from Brian on ‘Mar A Lago’ because they could not hail us on the VHF.  We had turned our radio off once we anchored.   They were just approaching the Rock Hall Harbor.  Wow…and they weren’t inside yet.  He said that they were seeing 6 footers and it was a bumpy ride.  They were glad to hear that we were okay and we were glad that they made it safely to their destination.   We ‘re hoping to see them again at the boat show in  Annapolis.  Chuck and I both agree that one of the best parts of our trip is getting to know so many nice people and from so many different places.  Most of them are 'newbies' like us!
Once the engine cooled down, Chuck went to work.  He had lots of time on the water to think about what could be happening with the Yanmar engine.  His conclusion of course was that it had to be one of the fuel filters.  He explained to me that when he replaced everything on the engine in August, the one filter was already a spare that came with the boat….so he installed it.   He wanted more spares for our trip, so when he called Brants in Port Clinton…they are a Yanmar distributor…..he placed his order which was the same filter he replaced and they told him it was wrong.

In the evening as soon as Chuck was finished grilling, the rains came.  Once again I want to thank CJ for making our enclosure for us.  It is so nice to be able to eat or sit out in the cockpit when it is raining or cold.  If we didn't have it, we would be sitting down in the cabin with the hatches, ports, and companionway closed up tight.....warm and with no air.  It rained all night and  some strong winds woke me up in the middle of the night.  Hopefully tomorrow is a better day.  

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