Friday, May 16, 2014

Va to MD 22 hours

Blasting up the Chesapeake Bay in 22 hours....
We decided to make an overnight run from Portsmouth, Virginia, to Annapolis, Maryland, due to an approaching front and torrential rains. We also decided to make this run because a full moon was rising 3 minutes after sunset and the winds were to be 10-15 knots for a lovely broad reach. So, we departed the South Ferry Basin at 0800 hours, only to find ourselves in pea soup thick fog. There was so much fog that we almost could not find our way out of the Elizabeth River and into the Chesapeake Bay. By the time we reached Hampton and Point Comfort, we were considering diverting and dropping a hook to wait for the fog to lift. But after studying the weather we saw this fog would lift and be clear by mid morning. WRONG....WRONG...WRONG! This fog was with us for the next 22 hours. At times, we could not see more than 1/4 mile. We have sailed in Maine for three summers, so we have run in fog before, but we have never run in fog like this on the Chesapeake Bay!

This is your nighttime view from the helm
We said good-bye to IP38 Moondance, who headed to Deltaville, and we pressed on with IP40 Tintean. At night we had nearly zero visibility with zero horizon and no full moon could be found. We thought the full moon might light up the fog, but even when 1/4 mile off Cove Point Light house, we could NOT see the beaming light, so we knew the fog was still thick and dense. We pressed on at full speed, 6-7 knots and navigated our way north. Our radar and our AIS (Automated Identification System) alerted us to ships and their paths. We stayed out of the shipping lanes and in the 30-40 foot deep water where ships cannot run. All we could was watch the radar at a 3 to 6 mile screen and look for anything solid on our course.

Radeen with little sleep and very tired
We looked for bell buoys, day marks, fishing boats and 1,000' long container ships doing 20 knots. We convinced ourselves that we were safe and that we would not hit anything and we kept moving. It was very stressful, especially for 22 hours with little sleep. At the end of this leg, we navigated ourselves into the Annapolis harbor with almost zero visibility. We could not see the Navy Fields or stone walls. We could barely see the first row of mooring balls, so we simply stayed along the port side and hugged the docks as we crawled toward the Spa Creek Bridge.

The Spa Creek Bridge at 6 am in fog


We passed under the bridge at 0600 hours and secured our favorite mooring ball #50 and crashed for a few hours! Later that day, we met good friends Ken and Sara of IP-40 Tintean, with whom we had traveled overnight from Virginia. They invited us to the Eastport Yacht Club for cocktails and snacks with friends. Then we moved on to Backyard Boats where we enjoyed happy hour snacks, more drinks and some dancing. It is great to be back in these waters and Annapolis. Thank you, Sara and Ken, for a great evening of celebrating our safe arrival!

One more leg and we will call this trip a wrap. Saturday morning we will sail the final leg to Rock Hall, MD where we will see friends and dock at our home marina, Spring Cove Marina. It is great to travel, but it is also wonderful to be in our home waters once again!

How to lift a Navy Ship and paint the bottom!

Imagine being stationed on a LIGHT SHIP. These were lighthouses anchored at sea
with 8-15 crew members, anchored year round off the coast!

With IP38 Moondance, the South Ferry basin where we love to dock 

IP40 TINTEAN with Sara and Ken and crew Trish the day before running the fog together

Portsmouth South Ferry Basin with our sun shades up.
It was 93 degrees and sunny! Notice the high tide goes over the dock

Morning fog as we depart Norfolk, VA

  Navy ships looking ghostly in the fog

This was our best visibility of the day

This was our radar view from 2000 to 0600, all night long

The Eastport Yacht Club new deck and view out to the Bay

Radeen and Sara enjoying the Eastport Yacht Club. Thank you, Ken and Sara!
One last leg home to Rock Hall, MD and this Bahamas Year #3 will be completed. What a great year it has been. Thank you for sailing along.

2 comments:

Paul Bigelman said...

Wow!! Great trip. Welcome home to Island Spirit and her great crew. Thank you for sharing your adventures. Paul and Kathleen, Blue Skies, IP 380-41, Rock Hall.

Greg Kerlin said...

Ah.... just like Kate.

The horses got a sniff of the barn and started running for it.

Glad nothing went bump in the night and that you are almost home. Let the summer begin!