16 Solomon, MD to Portsmouth, VA

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A few months ago I sent a series of items to the magazine Living Aboard. They’ve informed me that they are publishing my write up about how I get e-mail out while traveling, and how we’ve handled phone calling cards and cell phones. They are also considering publishing one of the journal entries for Lake Superior. No money, for the articles, so don’t think we’ll be rich from our new publishing income.

Living on a boat is interesting. Last night the sun set over the starboard side and rose this morning over the same side due to a wind shift. Tonight the sun set over the bow because we are in a different port, Deltaville to be exact. As the sun set we realized that we were part of the landscape that people on shore were paying big money (I’d estimate that that the homes on shore go for $400,00 plus) to see. Since we are swinging on the anchor, we get the same, or even better view for free. Nice way to live. We really enjoy the changing scene. Our preference is to anchor where there are no houses, however sometimes we have no choice. In most cases we’re far enough away from the houses that they don’t intrude on us, or we on them.

We’re getting smarter about how we travel. Now if we get into a port late we’ll anchor out. Then if we decide to spend some time and see the town, or just go into a dock to do chores, we’ll go in early the next morning so we have the advantage of a full day at shore, or even 1.5 days ashore for one nights dockage. That’s what we did in Solomon. Anchored, went ashore to do chores and then anchored out off the third day after having spent the morning at the Calvert Marine Museum.

The museum was enjoyable and fun. Maryland Public Television was filming and we are now going to be on public TV. No speaking parts, just viewing the exhibits. They had an otter exhibit. In talking with the curator he explained that the otters would ignore us older folks, but really perform for kids or cameras. Sure enough, when the lady from public TV showed up with the camera, they put on a show.

One oops to keep things interesting. As we headed for the marina in Solomon, there was that sliding into sand sound as Tranquility came to a stop aground. This time there was boat momentum and it wasn’t clear we could get off unassisted. We lucked out. A little bouncing on the stern, and some creative forward, reverse work with the shift lever and throttle and we backed off the sanbar after about 10 minutes work. Then we went on the correct side of the mark.

Had a hard day of chores in Solomon. The dink motor had quit. The mechanic got it going and informed me there was water in the gas. Fixed the gas tank so water can’t get in. Also sent e-mail got groceries and got rid of 4 days trash accumulation. Managed to fit in walking the town to see all the sights. Most of the town, however, has shut down for the winter.

We were intrigued with a small second story restaurant on the marina grounds called the Dry Dock Restaurant. Looked like it had 8 tables maximum. It had a commanding view over marina and bay. We couldn’t resist. Made early dinner reservations so we could see the light fade form the day and had an enjoyable evening and what turned out to be an outstanding dinner. It made for a fun evening.

The next evening was a complete contrast. We dinked back around the bay to visit people we’d met at the museum who were anchored out. It was a real challenge finding our way back to Tranquility in total darkness in the dinghy late at night. It was even more of a shock when we woke to 38 degrees and had to leave early to cover the 45 miles to Deltaville.

Getting into Deltaville was a challenge. The channel was hard to see and had some twists that made for slow going. Once the hook was down, all was quiet. Dinner was cooked on the grill, and the sunset was enjoyable over a glass of wine.

A south wind and short choppy seas greeted us as we headed back out into the bay. It was going to be a long bumpy ride to Norfolk. We decided to bail out and explore one more Chesapeake anchorage. Tucking into the East River off Mobjack Bay, we found a quiet spot to anchor. Loons showed up. Checking the bird books, Ruth discovered loons winter in the area. Rowing sculls came by shadowed by their trainer. We thought it was a nice touch when he warned the close boats not to run into the sailboat.

The anchorage was comfortable, however the heavy wind caused an unusual amount of boat swing. That coupled with the rain and noise of the wind made for a night of little sleep.

At first light we were underway again. The itch to clear the Chesapeake and start into the formal portion of the ICW had gotten to us and we were eager to see Norfolk and Portsmouth. The wind was more favorable and we motor sailed into Norfolk. The Navy was in town big time. We went past two or three aircraft carriers and all kinds of support ships. The fleet was impressive.

We tied up at a dock on the Portsmouth side of the river, walked the historic district, did an oil change and kicked back and watched the sunset. Warmth had returned, it had been 75 during the day and we enjoyed the last warmth of the sun as we sat in the cockpit watching boats and the skyline. It turned out to be a small world. A sailor we had met in Munising showed up. We hadn’t seen him since Lake Superior. Swapped notes, but we were tired and called it a night early.

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