Gladlee of Guernsey
AMERICA 2008 - Page 1
(For a brief history of the Intracoastal and Chesapeake Bay waterways please visit
1st January to 22nd January 2008 - Oman
23rd January to 7th February - UK
7th February to 15th April - Caribbean 15th April 2008. Flight from Puerto Rico
to Washington. An early morning departure from "Vision" and to
the airport in San Juan. United Airlines very nicely allowed us onto the early
flight to Washington so by lunchtime we have our rental car and are on our way
to Manassas near Washington where we stay overnight. 16th April - 2nd July.
Deltaville. Having done a bit of shopping in Manassas we
drive down to Deltaville and back to "Gladlee" for the next part of our life
adventure. For the first few days we book into an English run B & B in
Deltaville which allows us to get "Gladlee" into at least some shape to live on.
After two and a half years she is a bit worse for wear but the work we have had
done makes things easier. Over the next couple of weeks we work very hard
getting her ready to launch on the 1st May. Lots of polishing, sanding, painting
etc and lots of sorting and re-arranging below. Lots of old clothes and other
stuff is discarded to make way for new stuff. It's a tough life this. The
weather is generally kind with some really nice days. A few rainy days in
between but these allow us to concentrate on "below decks" jobs.
1st January to 22nd January 2008 - Oman
23rd January to 7th February - UK
7th February to 15th April - Caribbean
15th April 2008. Flight from Puerto Rico to Washington.
An early morning departure from "Vision" and to the airport in San Juan. United Airlines very nicely allowed us onto the early flight to Washington so by lunchtime we have our rental car and are on our way to Manassas near Washington where we stay overnight.
16th April - 2nd July. Deltaville.
Having done a bit of shopping in Manassas we drive down to Deltaville and back to "Gladlee" for the next part of our life adventure. For the first few days we book into an English run B & B in Deltaville which allows us to get "Gladlee" into at least some shape to live on. After two and a half years she is a bit worse for wear but the work we have had done makes things easier. Over the next couple of weeks we work very hard getting her ready to launch on the 1st May. Lots of polishing, sanding, painting etc and lots of sorting and re-arranging below. Lots of old clothes and other stuff is discarded to make way for new stuff. It's a tough life this. The weather is generally kind with some really nice days. A few rainy days in between but these allow us to concentrate on "below decks" jobs.
Deltaville - Continued...
Our launch date is postponed. Disappointment but we really want to get all the jobs finished. Unfortunately the jobs are increasing rather than decreasing. Time has taken its toll on lots of boat systems which now need replacing - Roller Furling, Windlass, anchor chain all of which were unexpected. We also have a problem with our US Cruising license and had problems renewing it. Officially "Gladlee" should leave the country for 15 days - a little difficult. The good news though is that we have found a very nice lady in Customs and Border Patrol who works in Baltimore. We go to see her and she gives us a new license. Big sighs of relief. On the way back to Deltaville from Baltimore we find Wakefield - the birth place of George Washington and Ron Hayton (one in the USA and one in the UK).
We also have to contend with US holidays - really tough. Memorial Day weekend sees us doing the tourist bit and we go down to see Yorktown, Jamestown (the original Virginia settlement) and do a bit of hiking and bird watching (for Julie). During our time in the marina we have friends arrive on their boat. Jan and Adrian from "Squander" who we spent some time with in Turkey. Quite a few afternoon and evening drink and eating sessions later and we are getting used to hangovers again. They have decided to do what we actually plan to do - buy an RV. They manage to do this fairly easily and we now have "first dibs" on it when they finish with it next year.
15th May - 19th June. Deltaville.
At long last we are launched. This is however only another stage in the re-commissioning process. We now need to have the engine seen to. Again time and a lack of use has taken its toll and we have to have the sea water pump replaced, the fresh water pump replaced and the injectors replaced. We also have to have a new heat exchanger which proves even more difficult. The boatyard cannot get one for weeks. The result is that we can get one from the UK so Ron heads back home to pick up the spare part and also manages to get to his nephew Josh's 18th birthday party. Other family business gets seen to and a "long weekend" in the UK comes to a speedy end. Meanwhile Julie stays with the boat and helps Adrian and Jan (s/y "Squander") look for an RV to buy with the thought that we would buy it from them in a year's time.
The new engine parts all get fitted and we are ready to cut the umbilical ties to the marina. On the 17th June - two months after our arrival - we pull out of our slip, refuel and go and anchor in the Creek. The 20th June is our big day and we head off for the Great Wicomico River area - only about 20 miles up the coast.
For the first few days we anchor in Mill Creek just south of Reedville and it is great to get back to boat life. The creek is nice and quiet, Julie gets to go Kayaking, we see deer on the shore etc etc. After a few days we head up the river to Barrett Creek for a change of scenery. Unfortunately wherever we go there are Nettles everywhere. These are a common jellyfish in the Chesapeake, and it stops us swimming completely. They sting!! It is also hot so lots of "dousing" on the back of the boat with cool water.
On Wednesday 25th we move down to Reedville proper and anchor exactly where we were three years ago on our first visit. We are expecting "Glenlyon" to turn up today and by late afternoon they have arrived and we are having drinks. Dinner on board "Glenlyon" with desert being by special request of Rod - Ron's Bread and Butter Pudding. On Thursday we renew our acquaintance with "Spud". On our first visit he rowed out to the boat and offered his dock, shower, phone, internet, electricity and water free of charge. He was still there and still as nice as ever. He gives us a ride to the local grocery store and goes to do a few chores. While we are waiting for him to return to pick us up a lady arrives in her "Red Truck" and has a chat to us. She doesn't know us at all but offers to take us back and then pick us up later to take us to her home to use her swimming pool. This is how friendly people are in this "neck of the woods". Dinner on board "Gladlee" with Rod and Sue with Susies Peach Cobbler. God its tough out here boating. Susie tries to cajole us into travelling to Maine with them for the summer but unfortunately we have other plans. We will see them later in the year though as we will be heading south at the same time to Florida.
We have by now however noticed a minor problem with the new injectors. The engine isn't starting as well as it should and there is a small amount of fuel on top of two of the injectors. We decide that as we are still only 20 miles from Deltaville we will go back and let them sort them out. So on Friday 27th we anchor back in the Creek by Deltaville boatyard and are expecting the mechanic on Monday. Watch this space.
Julie is still taking photographs by the thousand - see above.
We have moved Gladlee onto one of the Boatyard slips ready for some work on Monday (hopefully) and also so that we can watch the European Final between Germany and Spain in the lounge area. Pleased with the Spain win (anyone but Germany). Adrian and Jan from "Squander" come by for a drink as do some Kiwi friends of theirs.
The mechanic, John has been along and advises us that the injectors are not leaking as we had thought. However the head cover gasket is done for and needs replacing - it is oil that is seeping through onto the injectors. Luckily we have a spare on board and John does his thing and voila - we are fixed and ready for the off - again!!!
After re-stocking with food, water and fuel we move off the slip and re-anchor off the marina ready to head off tomorrow morning. It has been a pleasant stay as always in Deltaville but we are chomping at the bit.
We are off again and back up to Mill Creek near Reedville where we plan to stay for a couple of night before moving into Reedville itself ready for the 4th July celebrations. Again a very peaceful stay.
4th - 5th July. Reedville.
We are anchored in our usual spot which is about the best place to be for the programmed activities. Not much happens on the 4th but Saturday 5th is "Heritage Day" and there is a major procession through town - all one street of it (up and down so that you can see it twice). It is actually quite good. In the the evening there is a fantastic firework display bearing in mind the size of the community.
6th - 10th July. Solomon's Island, Maryland.
Renewing our acquaintance with Solomons and of course nothing has changed. A real nice easy place to anchor, take the dinghy to the Holiday Inn dinghy dock which is near the shops, kayaking for Julie etc etc.
11th - 12th July. St. Leonards Creek, Patuxent River.
For the first time we have gone beyond Solomons on the river and gone up to St. Leonards Creek which turns out to be really very nice. We see deer, nutrias (previously incorrectly thought to be muskrats) and of course all the usual birds, Second day we have moved further up the creek and anchor nearby a "famous" bar called Vera's. She was a bit of a Hollywood starlet some years ago and retired to this spot and set up a small bar/restaurant. She has since passed on but the bar and now a small marina remains. The bar can be recommended - 6 pints of beer for less that US$ 7.50. We also fuel up here and the fuel is significantly cheaper than in Solomons and also get the water tank filled. In the afternoon we head back to Solomons ready for a fairly early start. As an extra nice ending to this bit we met up with friends Ed and Julie on "Cinnabar". We had been in the Med with them especially when we were in Croatia. They helped us out with a car ride to the big supermarket and liquor shop and then had a few drinks with them at the marina they have a berth at.
We head up for Oxford, catch our first real fish of the cruise - it may be small(ish) but it fed the two of us and was pretty good - a striped bass.
14th - 18th July. Oxford and the Tred Avon River.
This is an area we already know and love. Oxford is a real nice small town, one small grocery store and a great bar and restaurant. We go up river to Shipshead Creek for a couple of days peace and quiet. As always however things don't go quite so smoothly. We are less than half a mile to our anchorage and the engine overheat alarm sounds. Luckily we are only in about 10 feet of water so we drop the anchor exactly where we are and investigate. The engine compartment is flooded and initially we have no idea where the water is coming from. Eventually we discover that one of the feed lines to the Heat Exchanger we replaced had not been connected properly by the mechanic in Deltaville and had come out altogether. A simple problem to resolve and an hour later we move to our anchorage.
20th -21st July. St. Michael's.
We have moved to San Domingo Creek, the "back door" to St. Michael's where we have been before. Drinks and a meal out at the Carpenter Street Bar to renew our acquaintances again - real "locals" bar but good food.
22nd - 30th July. Wye River.
We leave San Domingo Creek and head for the infamous Knapps Narrows. This is a shortcut from the Choptank River area to the main part of the Bay. The problem is that the channels both sides keep shoaling and are different year to year. We have however had "local" knowledge and are confident. No problems and never less that 8 feet of water (we need four and a half feet not to go aground). We head to the Wye river which is supposed to be beautiful. On arrival we anchor in Shaw Bay which is fairly large but very well protected. We love it. Walking on the beach, kayaking, birds, animals etc. After a couple of days we move up the river about as far as we can go to Skipton Creek. Right next to the anchorage is the Wye Heights Plantation - English style gardens, black sheep roaming around etc. Very good protection and virtually no passing boats. We do however manage a good deed and tow a broken down boat back to the public landing with our dinghy - slowly as it was quite a heavy Skiff. We see Bald Eagles, Osprey and of course all the usual stuff. The Bald Eagles are special though and there are also some young around that have just fledged.
After the weekend we move down river a little to Dividing Creek where we meet up with a boat that we have been seeing around quite a bit. A "trawler" called "Idle Time" from North Carolina. Nice couple and we have drinks with them both nights. We move back down to Shaw Bay for the last night in the river ready to kick off early in the morning for Annapolis.
31st July - 3rd August. Annapolis
For those who do not know of it, Annapolis is famous for a couple of things. It is the yachting capital of the USA and it also has the US Naval Academy here where all the US Navy officers are trained. The Academy is basically a university but all the students are navy cadets and are here for four years education and naval training. The Academy is open to the public, at least certain areas are and it is an interesting tour to take. It has been there for hundreds of years and has quite a history to it. John Paul Jones who is a revered sea captain from the independence wars is enshrined there. He was actually a Scot who fought for the USA against the British. He must have been an incredible guy, a captain for the French navy, the US Navy and also the Russian navy - fought battles all over the place and apparently never lost. All of this in a relatively short life span as he died in his forties.
Anyway, Annapolis has lots to offer and has gone out of its way to ensure that visiting yachts are very well looked after. We take a mooring ball for US$ 25 per night which includes access to showers, laundry, book swap etc. A "good" (ish) bus service to take you out to the various Malls, huge choice of restaurants and bars and entertainment all the time with boats. There is an area called City Dock where there are slips available on Market Slip. This area is locally known as "Ego Alley" - the reason becoming very obvious as owners with very big ego's take their huge, big, small, powerful, historic, normal, dinghies, powerboats, gin palaces, yachts, jet skis etc etc up the narrow channel, turn at the end and come back out. All under the watchful eyes of the patrons of various bars along the waterside.
We enjoy Annapolis lots which we don't say about many city's but after a few days we are eager to get back to the "wilderness". Unfortunately "Gladlee" has sprung another leak in the engine. This time we have water coming out from the anti-siphon line which proves difficult to repair. At the end of the day some marine epoxy putty does the trick and we head for our most northerly point in the Chesapeake for this year - the Sassafras River.
4th - 12th August. Sassafras River.
Onto the fuel dock in Annapolis first thing for diesel and water and then a fairly long passage to the Sassafras River. During our time here we anchor in a few different places including taking a mooring ball at the Georgetown Yacht Basin for one night. During the weekdays there was no problem being downriver of the Georgetown Marina but the weekend was a different thing altogether. We had heard that thousands of boats come down river for the weekend and like most others guessed that this was a slight exaggeration. It wasn't. Luckily we had headed up river, gone through the bridge and gone as far upstream as depth would allow us. We still had lots of water skiers, jet skis etc but much quieter than downriver. For the last night we took a mooring so that we could go shopping easily from the marina. Not to be - they wouldn't let "foreigners" drive their courtesy vehicle so the option was cycle two miles each way or - get the marina manager to take us in his car. Guess which option we took. Anyway, the really nice thing about the Sassafras is that it is fresh water. It is so for north in the Chesapeake that the salt water doesn't get this far. Neither do the nettles (jellyfish) as they cannot live in fresh water. We can actually swim here for the first time this year (except for the swimming pool in Deltaville).
13th - 18th August. Chester River/Corsica River.
Our journey this year has now taken us to our most northerly point and it is time to start heading south again (slowly). The Chester River is a long river on the peninsula side of the bay and we have decided to head for the Corsica River which is a tributary of the Chester. It is again a nice quiet place especially after Georgetown and we have a peaceful few days. We do a couple of different anchorages and despite the fact we are back in salty water (a little anyway) there are very few nettles so we can still risk a swim. (Despite what you see in the photographs below). For our last night on the Chester we look for a change and go to the north side and anchor in Langford Creek. Unfortunately we have the wrong wind direction and manage to get about a five mile fetch (open area to the wind with no protection) which makes for a slightly uncomfortable night. Guess that's just the price you have to pay. One bad night for months of good nights.
19th - 20th August. Annapolis.
We have come back to Annapolis on our way south as we know we can do all our grocery shopping here. Also top up with fuel and water again. We feel like locals in Pussers Bar where we manage to "sink a few" before getting a takeaway on the way back to "Gladlee". We actually think this is a first for us - a takeaway!!! Julie has Japanese Maki Rolls and Ron has fish and chips. Sort of his and hers meals really.
21st - 26th August. Wye River
We have headed back to the Wye river as we know that it will be quiet and peaceful. Even over the weekend we only manage to have about six boats in what is a fairly large bay. We hadn't planned this many days but towards the time we had planned to leave the weather deteriorated so we decided to hang on a couple more days. The twister in the picture never actually made it to land/water but indicates the sort of weather we tried to avoid.
27th - 28th August. Oxford.
We were originally going to the marina at Knapps Narrows (see previous entry) but the rates were too high for what was a fairly basic marina. We therefore went back to Oxford for a couple of days for groceries and a good bar. What else is there?
29th August - 1st September. Solomons.
Again another repeat for us heading south - Solomons. It is such an easy place and we had agreed to touch base again with "Cinnabar" (Ed and Julie). We headed a little further up Mill Creek and anchored near to where they were "House Sitting" for friends.
2nd - 7th September. St. Mary's River.
St. Mary's River is just inside the Potomac River which heads up to Washington DC. Its main "city" is St. Mary's which is the old capital of Maryland (now Annapolis). St. Mary's has now been turned into a very interesting historical city for tourism. Not much of the original remains, the State House, the church and a few other bits but the re-construction of other building has been very well done. Despite the heat we enjoyed our walk around.
One of our concerns while we are in St. Mary's is that a Tropical Storm (possibly turning into a Hurricane is one its way and is due to travel the length of the Chesapeake Bay - we have no easy escape from this potentially deadly experience and have to decide where we should "run for cover" to. We have seen one or two narrow creeks so head back to Milburn Creek. This has high trees each side which should divert most of the strong winds. We wake up on the morning it is due to blue sky's and a gorgeous day. But we know it is coming. We have noticed a nice solid jetty in the creek and decide to up anchor and go to the jetty to tie up prior to the storms arrival. There a a couple of guys there who confirm there is no problem with what we are doing. By the afternoon Hanna has arrived but as expected (hoped at least), we have good protection and the wind direction initially blows us off the jetty - a good thing. Unfortunately after the eye has passed us by the wind direction changes and we are being blown onto the jetty. Also the water surge has raised the normal level some 3 - 4 feet above normal and we are in danger of finishing up on top of the jetty. We decide to cast off and re-anchor in the creek. After what seems like a long time but in reality was about 10 hours the storm has passed after dumping about 4 inches or rain in that time. Milburn Creek has done us proud. As you can see by the photo of the creek the day after it is difficult to believe it all happened.
8 - 11th September - Passage to Washington DC.
The next few days sees us heading about 100 miles up the Potomac River to Washington. On the way we anchor at Cobb Island and Mattawoman Creek and have a fairly uneventful passage. The river trip to Washington is quite unusual. We are in forests and rural countryside right up until what seems like the last minute. Suddenly we are in sight of the Capitol Building and the Washington Memorial.
12th September - 11th October, Washington DC and the UK.
Our stay in Washington is at the Gangplank Marina - a little run down but awaiting re-development. It suits us just fine. The main thing is that it is a 15 minute walk from the "National Mall" which runs from the Capitol Building down to the Lincoln Memorial and includes all the Smithsonian museums, the white house, the various war memorials etc. We walk more here than we have for ages and our legs duly ache in the evenings. We find so many things to interest us - the Capital Micro Brewery and Pub, the fish market, a supermarket - and of course the museums etc. All in all our stay here is nothing short of brilliant. We do however have to go back to the UK for two and a half weeks during this time - one reason we came here for the ease of getting to the airport.
We depart Washington on the 11th October to make our way to Deltaville before heading back into the ICW for Florida and the winter warmth.
Our summer has been fantastic and in reality turned into the "Rivers of the Chesapeake Cruise". The following is a list of the rivers we have either transited or visited during the summer:-
The Pianquatank, Rapahannock, Great Wicomico, Patuxent, Choptank, Tred Avon, Severn, Miles, Wye, Chester, Corsica, Sassafras, Potomac, St. Mary's and the Coan.