To see as much of the world as we can,
Using the smallest carbon footprint we can,
Spending the least amount of money we can,
Making as many friends we can.

Team Red Cruising

Week 34: Annapolis-Bound

Waiting for weather is a skill we're trying to learn.

In Pungo Creek, last fall, waiting for the end of hurricane Sandy was unpleasant: no place to go; nothing much to do.

In Norfolk, however, we have to be a little careful about waiting too long. There's lots to do. Lots of people to see, places to go.

Chores are piling up: oil change is due. The anchor snubber, which dropped off the anchor line last week, needs to be replaced.

We first visited Annapolis—if I recall correctly—in October 2000, to attend the Sailboat Show. We looked at boats, and hung around the town and started to build a dream. We've been back a few times since then specifically to attend the Sailboat Show and build up that dream.

Now we're heading back: no longer merely dreaming.

Those trips to Annapolis also built some travel skills. There's a world of difference between schlepping the kids to grandma's for a week of vacation and just the two of us exploring a new city. Starting some time in the late 90's, CA and I took long weekends and visited various destination cities: New Orleans, Annapolis, Las Vegas, Norfolk, Baltimore. We booked a hotel, flew and hung out.

Those trips were a big part of creating an appetite for the less-structured travel on Red Ranger.

Perhaps this is where it started.

6th. Monday

Anchored at 36°50.606′N 076°17.922′W, Hospital Point, Norfolk, ICW Mile 0.


Today we've got a forecast for wind from the E at 15 with 3-4' seas. The winds and seas are manageable. The forecast includes Rainy. This is unpleasant. It also includes Foggy. This elevates the forecast from unpleasant to dangerous.

We did a lot more hanging out in Norfolk today. The sun did, eventually, break through. It became a delightful day.

Tomorrow looks better simply because there's less chance of fog. It will still be rainy and sporty.


The current forecasts for the two weather zones we will sail through on Tuesday look like this:

Tue: SE winds 10 to 15 kt. Waves 3 ft. Showers. A slight chance of tstms in the afternoon.

Tue: E winds 15 kt. Waves 2 ft. Showers. A slight chance of tstms in the afternoon.

10-15 is delightful! 3 ft seas are sporty. Showers are icky; hopefully the 70% estimate will decline. On the whole, tomorrow looks like a good day to get moving.

Our track record on reading the weather is spotty, at best.

Dinner was simple burritos.


Attribute Value
Arrive Anchored at 36°50.606′N 076°17.922′W

7th. Tuesday

Started at 36°50.606′N 076°17.922′W, Hospital Point, Norfolk, ICW Mile 0.

Started relatively early (07:00). Motored down the Elizabeth river, out into the Chesapeake, and motor-sailed up to Deltaville. During the early part of the day, with pretty good winds from the quarter and a favorable current, we were barreling along at 7.5 kt. Woot woot.

Later, as the current switched and the wind died, we were edging along at 5.5 kt. Not quite so thrilling.

It was a gray day, low clouds, threats of rain. Hazy horizon. Not a pretty day to travel.

Anchor is down at 37°32.940′N 076°19.878′W, Jackson Creek, Deltaville, VA.

We're ⅓ of the way from Norfolk to Annapolis and that's the important accomplishment. We did about 47 miles in 8½ hours. We have about the same distance to the Solomon's. and about 40 or so miles to Annapolis.

Today is "through-hull inspection day". CA is locating each through-hull, checking hose clamps, and making sure they actually turn. Well. I'm making sure they actually turn; some of them are very difficult to operate.

We're hearing thunder from passing thunder showers. We're glad to be anchored.


Our anchor rode snubber line had dropped off the bobstay chainplate last week. It came up out of the mud this morning. The big hook (at the bottom of the picture) hooks onto the anchor chain.

The shackle (which has no pin) in the middle of the picture is "permanently" pinned to the chainplate. The pin is clearly gone. The rest of the shackle remained with the rope, however, showing us that it unscrewed.

If the pin had broken, the left-over broken would still be screwed into the shackle. Since there are no left-over bits, the pin must have slowly unscrewed itself over the last three years. In spite of stainless steel seizing wire.

I guess this needs to be inspected more often.

Dinner was another round of no-frills burritos.

We've got a bunch of chores to do tomorrow including washing walkies, water, Wi-Fi and fuel.

Then, we'll confirm the weather for Thursday and Friday. It looks good for two days to Annapolis.

But for now, we're happy to have the anchor holding.


Attribute Value
Depart Started at 36°50.606′N 076°17.922′W
Arrive 37°32.940′N 076°19.878′W
Time 8h 30m
Distance 46.9

8th. Wednesday

Anchored at 37°32.940′N 076°19.878′W, Jackson Creek, Deltaville, VA.

Walkies for breakfast at Cafe by the Bay. Wi-Fi, also.

Wash-up. Hollywood showers at the marina. Laundry.

Errands: dropped off some stuff at Nauti-Nell's consignment store; replaced the anchor snubber shackle; picked up an oil filter preparatory to the oil change.

Today's big deal?

We finally replaced our old 10# horizontal propane cylinder with a cheap grocery-store special 20# vertical cylinder. The fit in the locker is less than perfect. The locker has some little brackets molded onto the bottom to support the horizontal cylinder. The next part of the job is to carefully remove enough of those brackets to hold the vertical cylinder and allow the lid to close all the way.

Also. We topped off the fuel (54.6 gal). And the water. The weather for the next two days looks to be relatively calm with flat seas and light winds. I guess that means we'll be motoring N. Which is better than bashing.

Dinner was quinoa with pesto


Attribute Value
Arrive Anchored at 37°32.940′N 076°19.878′W

9th. Thursday

Started at 37°32.940′N 076°19.878′W, Jackson Creek, Deltaville, VA.

A beautiful day for a motor and motor-sail up the bay. Delightful. Pretty. Warm.

We reminisced about our first tentative trips to Reedville.


And the first time we passed Smith Point on our DelMarVa Circumnavigation. Passing Smith Point was a very big deal for us; it was the furthest we'd been with Red Ranger.

Today it was comfortable to see the landmarks: Tangier Island, Smith Point, The Alien Thing, The Wreck, Point No Point (yes, that really is a place), The Lighthouses.

The Alien Thing is under the water. It has this gigantic black and white mark, plus a dayboard and a special purpose buoy and a big, vague circle on the charts. I'm sure it's something import, since it's near PAX Naval Air Station. But maybe the PAX NAS is really there to monitor the Alien Thing on the bottom of the bay.


Hard to say.

Today we did 51 miles in a little over 9 hours. The wind varied from zero to perhaps 10 or so. When the wind perked up to over 5, we could pull out the Yankee and get a ½ kt. boost.

With fair currents, we had a few places where we made over 7 kt.

Anchored at 38°19.813′N 076°27.519′W, Back Creek, Solomon's Island, MD. Our transom hangs out into the fairway, but we're leaving tomorrow, so we don't care if we get waked tonight.

We're now ⅔ of the way up the Bay to Annapolis. There we can start our dodger replacement. We'll do an oil change, and any other small jobs we can fit in. We're saving the really ambitious jobs for Deltaville.

Dinner was salmon and broccoli over penne pasta.

Tomorrow's weather looks to be similar to today's. We're hoping for a pleasant final leg to Annapolis.**


Attribute Value
Depart Started at 37°32.940′N 076°19.878′W
Arrive Anchored at 38°19.813′N 076°27.519′W
Time 9h 30m
Distance 51.7nm

10th. Friday

Started at 38°19.813′N 076°27.519′W, Back Creek, Solomon's Island, MD.

Another day of nearly flat calm. It was a pretty, and otherwise uneventful motor up the bay.

We spent about 8¼ hours motoring 45 miles.

We got yelled at by a fisherman. It's not clear exactly what he wanted us to do. It was mostly just pointless yelling.

It began with him lined up to pass in front of us. After he swerved and passed behind us, he bitched a storm, complaining that fishing operations are the stand-on vessel. But if he had passed in front of us, we're sure he'd have complained because we were crossing all his trolling gear in the water. After listening to him rant, we were pretty sure either course of action we chose—passing in front or behind—would be wrong.

Several other boats clarified his incorrect belief. Commercial fishing operations are the stand-on vessel. Recreational fishing is just a another boat under power.

And the best part?

While he's barking in the radio, one of his crew has a fish on. If he cared, he'd be fishing, not yelling in the radio.


We tried to anchor in front of the Naval College. No Go. Apparently, you need permission from the Commodore of the Naval College.

We cruised through Back Creek. There's room in there for maybe six smallish boats. Or three largish ones. The spots were taken.

So, we're anchored in the "south anchorage". It's mostly 30 feet deep! There are a few spots that are only 15-20 feet. We need every inch of our chain and rope rode. It's also totally exposed to the South East.

It's near the starting line for the Friday Night races.

Anchored at 38°58.586′N 076°28.415′W, Severn River, Annapolis, MD.

Dinner was bean and potato stew.

Next Step: Get in contact with Mr. Wave-Stopper Dodger and figure out how to get the work started. Nothing may happen before Monday.


Attribute Value
Depart Started at 38°19.813′N 076°27.519′W
Arrive Anchored at 38°58.586′N 076°28.415′W
Time 8h 30m
Distance 44.7nm

11th. Saturday

Anchored at 38°58.586′N 076°28.415′W, Severn River, Annapolis, MD.

Today was just Walkies and Wifi.

We dinghied into Annapolis for lunch and a little walkabout to get CA some art supplies.

Apparently, the Annapolis Dockmaster likes to have the boats anchored for more than a day or two to register. So we filled out a form with some details for them. It may help resolve problems when a boat drags anchor.


They strongly encouraged us to move to Back Creek or Spa Creek. Spa Creek has a bridge (it bridge opens on the half-hour); that makes it potentially awkward to get to a dock for our dodger work. We hate to motor over there only to find that the space is tight.

While the South Anchorage is exposed, it's also empty. Plenty of room to swing. Yes. We rock and roll something fierce when the wind is up.

After we registered with the dock master, we had a delightful lunch at McGarvey's and a nice long walk over to the quilt store to get some fabric quarters and matching thread.

You can see her blog at Floating Leaf Tiny Quilts.

She's got a head full of ideas and a new, blank sketch book from the art supply store.

The question is this: "What do you see when you look at the sea all day?" It's the sea. It's always different. But. It's also always the same. It becomes an issue of seeing nuance and detail. It becomes an issue of seeing that isn't there. What would contrast with that fast, flat sea-scape? What's missing from those waves?

Dinner was bean and potato stew and toasted cheese on sourdough bread.


Attribute Value
Arrive Anchored at 38°58.586′N 076°28.415′W

12th. Sunday

Anchored at 38°58.586′N 076°28.415′W, Severn River, Annapolis, MD.

Walkies (for CA, this means runnies.)

Went to the close-to-the-waterfront coffee shop. Just a coffee shop in Annapolis. We're new in town.

What are the odds of knowing someone here?

We've only been here at the US Sailboat Show. How could we possibly know anyone?

Actually, the odds of knowing someone in a waterfront bar or coffee shop are improving steadily.

I'm shuffling into line, when a woman runs up and hugs me. It's Erin from Mandy. See Living Aboard: Week Zero, Week 1 and Week 2 where we worked side-by-side with Erin and Bob at Deltaville Boatyard. Erin had let me try to play bass while she and Bob laid it down on guitar and drums. This morning, she introduced us to some other cruisers who live on their boat in Spa Creek (Julie Ann and Rob.)

Bonus: Erin and Rob work at Fawcett's Boat Supplies. Score! Potential for employee discounts!

Farmer's Market is Sunday mornings, starting at 08:30. W00t W00t! Fresh veggies!


We took the dinghy back to Red Ranger and played quietly for the rest of the afternoon. CA's got some fairly complicated Floating Leaf Tiny Quilt squares that she's working on. Having the right thread and fabric was essential to moving out from the sketch book.

The wind blew from 15-20—sometimes gusting even higher—all afternoon. We'd rather be on board in blustery conditions just in case our ground tackle should fail to hold. Also, it's really nasty trying to dinghy around in the kind of chop that's kicked up by big winds like this.

Dinner was veggie burger, with broccoli and cabbage stir fry, over brown rice.


Attribute Value
Arrive Anchored at 38°58.586′N 076°28.415′W

This Week

Engine Hours: 25. Diesel Gallons: 55. Miles Run: 142.

Books: Stalking the Blue-Eyed Scallop, Salt: A World History. Art projects have displaced reading.

Read Aloud: The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicles.


Attribute Value
Engine 25. h
Diesel 55. gal
Distance 142. nm