This is the general Route or suggested routes. Our plan is: Norfolk, Deltaville, Solomon’s, Cambridge, St. Micheals, Annapolis, Baltimore, Chesapeake City, and Cape May! We expect this to be weeks of travel, maybe even a month or so depending on the weather. I will be writing it in sections as we go. This Chesapeake is a big portion of the Great Loop.
Norfolk at Tidewater Marina
Its official!! We have finished the ICW. We are now in the Chesapeake. This will be a whole new game. Hello Norfolk!! This is where it all started for me. We attended a meeting for the AGLCA (Americas Great Loopers Cruisers Association) last May. It was the deciding factor for me, If I was “On Board” or not. Obviously, you know the outcome!
After our incredible adventure in The Dismal Swamp, we arrived at our dock in Norfolk. When we pulled in we noticed a bunch of looper flags flying, at least 20 boats. The AGLCA Rendezvous (we attended last year) had just ended and people were still lingering around. The marina had a tent set up and Loopers gathered at 5’ O’clock with red cups in hand. We met a ton of people and exchanged boat cards. I felt so happy to be with this group of fellow travelers/wanderers/adventure seekers/explorers. It was fun to hear their personal stories, where they were from, how far they had traveled, where they were headed. A bunch of boats had already gone a long way and some were like us, just getting our feet wet. Although we did the math and realized we have traveled 1000 miles at this point. That’s seems unreal because we feel like we are just getting into a groove. I don’t think we actually qualify as “new” anymore.
We were in Norfolk a few hours when the sky darkened. A storm had been predicted but we knew we had plenty of time to get to the Marina. Light rain started as we talked to the loopers who had gathered. Eventually everyone dispersed to their boats or to dinner. We walked upstairs for dinner in the Restaurant. The second story was all glass windows with a view to the bay and was so pretty. We got drinks and ordered some food when all of a sudden it started to dump rain, then howl wind. The water rippled and the building whistled and it was a bit freaky. THEN, anyone who had an iPhone got an alert about a tornado warning. Everyone paused as alarms blasted through the restaurant. We watched from the window wondering if our bimini’s where going to tear and if the lines would hold. There was nothing we could do at this point but watch and wait. Lightening flashing and thunder crashing like it was going to blow the windows out. We ate, prayed the boat was ok, and when it let up we ventured to the boat. It was where we left it Thank God! Right across the bay a EF 1 tornado was confirmed. These East Coast storms are no joke!! This was the second storm we had been in and this one shook us good. The boat had a small leak but other then that, it did fine. We are starting to trust AQUAMAN!
Andy and I are getting into a groove. The travel days have their own rhythm. The marina days have their own rhythm. We are working together well and have our jobs and checklists now and it flows really well. Most dockhands complement us on our smooth docking. This life is feeling really comfortable. We seem to have a bunch of travel days, then we sit still for a bunch of days. I really am enjoying the pace.
If you read my last post you should remember me talking about a boat we have been traveling with called Miss Norma. I mentioning that they had written a book called Driving Mrs Norma. If you don’t, go back and read the last few blogs. I went to bed with the book after the storm. I was all comfy in my cabin, book in hand. I started reading and the chapter I just happened to be on was about their experience taking Miss Norma on the Gerald Ford Aircraft Carrier for a tour. They described in detail the Commander of the ship meeting them and giving Miss Norma a long tour around the ship. I was reading it and I began to weep. The commander happened to be my adopted brother Rick McCormic!! My brother had these best friends in high school, identical twins Rick and Russ McCormick. They spent time living at our home and my parents nurtured them and become surrogate parents to these boys during their high school years. They both ended up going to the Naval Academy and both became fighter pilots. They are career Navy pilots. Rick became Commander of the Gerald Ford. This is the Navy’s brand new completely redesigned Aircraft Carrier. What were the chances. To make it even more strange, what were the chances I read THAT chapter in THAT exact spot. The next morning I went to tell Ramie and Tim on Miss Norma. They screamed and couldn’t believe it. I decided, since we had a few days left hanging in Norfolk waiting out weather, that I would try to reach Rick and try to get us all together. It happened. Man oh man, I was so thrilled to see him. Tim and Ramie brought him a signed copy of the book and read from the chapter mentioning his kindness. Tears in his eyes and I felt so grateful for facilitating this chance meeting. Life is so good!!!
We spent a few days in Norfolk wait out weather before heading on the next leg of this trip: The Chesapeake. We have completed the ICW now and the Chesapeake has its own set of issues. We will be dodging crab pots, dealing with wind and waves and fog. People have warned us not to take the weather in The Chesapeake lightly.
First stop was an overnight in Deltaville MD.
This was a lovely stop. We took the dingy down and took a cruise up the fingers of the river. We loved seeing all the riverfront homes with boat docks. The bird life is crazy amazing. Every Channel Marker post has a nest and they are hatching springtime babies. Mommy’s are on guard as the daddy birds bring food back. Their little heads peak over the nest as we go by curious about the noise. So awesome. Ospreys and Bald eagles are everywhere. Andy took a bike ride and had a great time visiting the other marinas. He went through the grounds of the Maritime Museum and the sculpture gardens. He also saw 3 deer.
Solomon’s Island, MD
We arrived here safely and tired. It was a long run today. When we left this morning the sun was in our eyes. We got out into the Petuxant River only to find a million crab pots exactly in our chosen path. They were everywhere. I was on the binoculars and on the front of the boat pointing and directing Andy. Just when I thought we were clear another group of them appeared as the sun glared in our eyes. Our conversations went like this:
“There!! Pointing to the pot!”
“There!! Pointing again to the pot!”
“I don’t know where you are pointing,” now screaming!!!
“My fingers are pointing right to them!!!!”
“Just like whale watching. Bouy at 1 o’clock.”
“I don’t know which way the clocks goes, remember I’m dyslexic AND left handed!”
It was FUN!!!!!!😂😂
We survived and didn’t hit one. Although one did go under the boat and I held my breath as I watched behind the boat waiting for it to pop back up. Andy threw the boat into neutral. It popped up! Thank God and I breathed a deep sigh. Those pots are totally annoying and they are placed in no order making it really hard to navigate a large boat through. I love crab but I’m thinking this might not be my favorite method of fishing. We were warned about the pots and everyone was right!
We crossed another state line into Maryland. The terrain has changed again. Its like the forest meets the ocean. The trees are tall and dense. It’s very green and forested. I have enjoyed watching the terrain change thru the states. This has been my favorite yet. The only downside to the greenery is the bugs and spiders. We wake to webs every morning. The spiders are everywhere. When I’m untying the lines now, I have gotten used to smacking and shaking them before I handle them. The spiders are all small and I am getting really brave. No bites to date! There are mosquitos and other annoying bugs but I have been running my essential oil diffuser almost everyday. We seem to have no issue with them. I’m using Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Lavender, sometimes peppermint. The boat smells yummy and the bugs seem to stay away or at least not come inside. So far so good.
Solomon’s was a great stop. The marina was wonderful and we rode bikes all over. The homes are again historic and I found my perfect home along the river.
We planned on leaving after 3 days in Solomon Island but the winds have picked up. The Chesapeake can get a really big swell. We absolutely love it here. So we decided to move up to another marina where our friends are in and just chill out. There is a lap pool and the property is beautiful. We literally moved the boat .2 mile but the change of scenery is nice. I love just chillin in marinas. People are fun to watch, boats coming and going and meeting other transient boaters. It is a lifestyle that seems to fit me and Andy. Just as we get comfortable it’s time to go. Even if it means a short hop to another marina. Boaters are typically very friendly people and sharing stories makes for great nighttime conversation.
Spring Cove Marina
We really had a chance to enjoy this place because we stayed put for almost a week. There are Maritime museums in almost every place we go, but this one had an original screwpile lighthouse. It was decorated in the furniture of the day. The museum had a great representation of old wood boats and the largest display of antique outboard motors we have ever seen. They had a few river otters that they were treating and I got to see them getting hand fed. So cute!
The rivers are full of duck and geese. They are noisy and friendly. They are literally in every yard and swim thru the bays. The large sprawling lawns are full of geese. It’s spring time and there are babies everywhere. When I started seeing them I would grab my phone and snap photos. Ok enough! They are all cute. They are everywhere. They all look healthy and happy. It’s a novelty for me but now I am getting used to seeing them everywhere. Here are a few families.
Moving on from this place will be hard but when you see the list of places we still have to go, I had to realize this trip is perpetual motion. I get comfortable, clean the boat, do the laundry, spend some time touring and shopping and settle in. Then we pull the lines and we head off to a new city to start all over again. Some are quick overnighters and other places we will linger. This process of picking up and going can cause me great stress. Stress of the unknown. Stress of the ocean or river conditions. Will we have a good day on the water? Always in my thoughts. There is another component to this and that is friendship. Making friends is hard. Finding a compatible couple is even harder. When you click with someone, you know there will quickly be a day when your schedules don’t align and you separate. 😢
That day came. I miss my new friends Ramie and Tim. They are cool!! 👫