Washington, DC to Solomons, MD

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Jeff, Danielle and Heather left about 9 am on Saturday.  Our plans were to stay on one or two additional days partially because of weather and to kick back a bit and do a few last visits to places still on our list.  As their car disappeared we looked at each other and saw our own sadness reflected back in the other’s face.  The party was over; the fun gone; it was time to leave.

By 10:30 am we’d checked out, said our goodbyes to Jim and Diane on Down Time and were heading down the Potomac.  Now it was a scramble to get back into cruising mode.  We hadn’t paid close attention to the weather other than to know small craft warnings were up for the next two days and that Sunday sounded lousy.

Our blog, Noticed Along the Path, has six entries about our experiences in DC.  The link will take you to the first of the entries.

Flat water at the Point No Point Light as we start up the Bay

In spite of the small craft warnings and much to our liking we had an easy passage to Cobb Island.  Over night we were at a dock when the wind blew and an inch of rain fell.  At dawn, the wind was calm at least for starting, and we decided to head for Solomons instead of staying at Cobb Island to wait out weather.  We were again pleased to find the Chesapeake flat as we exited the Potomac and started up Bay.

A brief quarter second siren blip aft triggered of our neck muscles and by reflex we both looked aft.  A Coast Guard patrol boat with blue light flashing and machine gun (covered) mounted on the bow rode directly aft and was closing.  Instantly we both new we’d be boarded.

Ruth slowed and I headed aft and starting opening the aft gate as the officer explained they would be boarding to do a safety inspection.  Knowing they didn’t need assistance, I headed for our emergency container containing flares and other signaling equipment and our documentation papers.  By the time I was got back two officers were aboard.

I noticed immediately that neither officer had a clipboard with the safety inspection form and checklist.  One officer reached into his pocket and pulled out an iPhone looking device and after entering my driver’s license and Odyssey’s documentation number he did a few finger touches and started down the safety inspection list.

Things slowed a bit when he asked if we had a copy of navigation rules aboard.  I went below and brought up our copy of Chapman Piloting, Seamanship and Small Boat Handling—all 618 pages of it.  He looked a bit bewildered as I explained it had the Navigation Rules.  He looked at it and said he’d take my word for it, but judging by the apparent age of the book he was pretty sure it might not be current.  I checked:  Our Chapman’s had a 1974 copyright date; it was older than the officer.

Printing Safety Inspection Report Receipt

We passed the safety inspection and the officer had me sign the screen.  I asked how “The Good as Gold” copy of the old paper safety inspection report would be provided.  I hadn’t noticed the second officer pulling out a battery -powered printer.  The officer pointed his handheld at the printer and out came a passed safety inspection receipt.  As it printed he explained that we were now in the Coast Guard database and that it was unlikely we’d be stopped because the database is normally checked for inspection status before stopping a boat, but if for some reason they hadn’t, our paper receipt would serve the same as the old version.

The officers left just as we approached the Solomons harbor entrance.  We picked up one of the Zahniser’s moorings and settled in enjoying the feel of light winds and tide rocking Odyssey gently.  In the morning we’d sort out our AC system installation.  We’d arrived three days early and were not sure of how long we might have to wait.

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