Monday, October 21, 2013

Solomon Island/Thursday-Saturday Oct 17th-19th

The alarm went off at 7:00 am and neither of us wanted to get up.  However, we knew that if we wanted to make the Solomon's by afternoon that we needed to get moving!  The anchor was up and we were moving out of Fogg Cove by 7:30 am just as the sun was rising.  Soon there were 2 catamarans and 2 sailboats following us down the Miles River.  They were anchored outside our cove, near the entrance to St Michael's Harbor.

It's a cloudy morning but the temps are pleasant with little to no winds on the river....65 degrees at the moment.  It took us about 2 hours to get down the Miles River and out the Eastern Bay into the Chesapeake. Once we started south on the Bay, the wind was noticeably colder and the water surface had a 1 foot the 2 catamarans just flew by us...Stray Cat and Lance L'eau...I just love the clever names of boats!!

Finally, SW toward the Solomans! By 10 am it starts to drizzle but the sun is trying to come out and add some warmth to the day.  Of course to add excitement to our cruise today, we once again have shallow water to skirt around and crab traps to dodge.  By afternoon, the sun is out in full force and it feels as though it's going to be a very nice trip.  However, getting close to the Solomons, the wind shifted out of the south and created 2-3 foot waves....and..... we have a barge being pushed by a tug boat on our starboard side to watch,
a freighter heading up the bay toward us on our port side, and yikes, another freighter barreling down on us from behind! It too passed us on our port.   Eventually our speed of 7 kts dropped anywhere from 3 to 5 kts due to the waves, wind, and incoming tide. 

Soon we reached the mouth of the Paxutent River and followed the Red and Green cans into and up Back Creek.  We intended to follow the creek up almost to the end so we could anchor in the small protected cove across from the Holiday Inn.  Why here?  It only costs $2 to tie up our dinghy(others charge $3-$5) and the West Marine, Post Office, Library, and restaurants are in front of the hotel.  Plus, a Food Lion, CVS, and other restaurants are about 3/4 mile out of town.

This is the first time that our anchor didn't grab the first time.  It actually took 3 times for it to set and be secure.  We had spoken to Jane and Bryan from Mar-a-Lago on the radio and knew they were at this anchorage also.  So, we anchored next to them.  Once we felt settled, we explored some of the water around us.  An osprey flew overhead and it had a fish in its talons.  It was cool to see.

We both got a good nights sleep even though the winds were predicted to gust up to 28+ kts during the night.  We never felt them if they did because we were tucked back in our little safe haven!  Since our anchor light wasn't suppose to be delivered to West Marine until 1:00, we had time to do some more exploring.
I grabbed our handheld depth sounder to check  the water's depth while motoring further back up the coves. The depth in the center was 7 feet practically everywhere we went. 

There are so many boats here just like in Annapolis.  As we dinghied  down toward the mouth of Back Creek, we explored in and out of all of the marinas....Solomon Marina, Zahnisher's Marina, Spring Cove Marina, and the cove in front of the Calvert Marine Museum...just to name a few. We were looking for the public dock and restrooms.   We found the free public pumpout and just in front of that dock is a tiny dock to tie dinghies to.  It's easier to dinghy to the main section of Solomon's than to walk from the Holiday Inn!

By noon, it was time to walk to the West Marine to pick up our anchor light.  When we got there, our package was waiting but it wasn't an anchor light.....this is how our luck runs with West Marine.  We were so lucky that the Solomon store was well equipped and they had what we needed.  Yeah!!!  Back to the boat so I can hoist  Chuck up our mast.  Even though he was prepared with tools, parts etc, Chuck was at the top of our 60 foot mast for what seemed like 2 hours with his legs dangling or wrapped around the booms topping lift.  By the time I lowered him, he was a bit cranky and his legs were numb and sore.  But the good news is that the light works and will shine bright tonight!!

We got finished with our project just in time to make it to shore to catch the 3:27pm  bus to Walmart.  Chuck's battery charger/jumper cables broke and all the big stores are across the Paxutent Bridge in St Mary's.  This shopping district is too far to walk, plus you aren't allowed to walk or bicycle over this bridge.  Since it was so late in the afternoon, our shopping was limited because there would be only one returning bus back to our stop in front of the Holiday Inn....and the bus driver told us not to be late!  He wanted us at the stop on the other side of the road at 5:10.  Well, we didn't want to have to catch a taxi so we got there early.....and waited, and waited, thinking we had missed the bus...but we made it back.  :))

Clear skies, full moon, and a bright anchor light.  What more could we want?

We wanted to stay another day in the Solomon's.  Since yesterday was a work day, we didn't get to walk around the main street of town.  Plus, the weather prediction for Sunday is going to be much better for sailing south on the bay...sunny, high 50's, and moderate winds from the NW. 

Mar-a-Lago left at 8am for Deltaville, Va.  I have to believe that they had waves and winds on their nose for the entire trip.  In fact, sv Haven confirmed my thinking.  They left in the morning and came back to the anchorage.  They said they didn't feel like pounding into the waves for 8 hours!  So, we made a smart decision to stay and play. 

We tied the dinghy up at the public dock and walk the town.  They have a nice long walkway along their Paxutent River shoreline.
While walking around the eastern most tip of the island, we found the University of Maryland's Environmental building open.... and it was free!  It is housed in the 'Solomon House' which we were informed is the oldest house on the Solomon's. The Solomon family had the largest oyster business on the bay.  Videos and posted information tell of the work this university has and is currently doing to help replenish the oyster beds in the bay.  It was very interesting.

After taking our tour, we circled back around to the main road.  Of course it was time to put on our foul weather jackets because it started to rain.  We came to the Tiki Bar and neighboring BBQ stand, so we ordered sandwiches and sat at the bar.  These sandwiches were so huge that they must have had 2 pounds of roast beef on each!  One would have been enough for us to split. By the time we finished eating, the rain quit and we past little shops and restaurants on the way back to our dinghy. 

Our decision for tomorrow is whether we want tocruise 50+ miles to Deltaville  or 34+ miles to Reedville.  Only time will tell....

Tide Box
This is the cut where the tide waters flow in and out and make Solomon and island.

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