Reflections on the Chesapeake Bay

Many people have asked us ‘What is the best part of your Chesapeake trip?’ To which we reply, ‘the journey’. Each town, river or creek we have entered has had its own special charm. And the people we have met in passing have enriched our travels greatly.

We love anchoring out in quiet coves and creeks. Unfortunately, due to the excessive heat, we have only been able to do this about four times. The boat is too hot to be able to sleep without air conditioning and to run aircon without being alongside we must run the generator. This is noisy. So, that was a disappointment.

Most days, with the extreme and atypical hot temperatures, weather alerts were sent to us forecasting thunderstorms. This again, made us reevaluate where we needed to be each afternoon – tucked up and safe. The shallow waters can be very nasty with high winds. For this reason we missed out on seeing some of the coves we had originally planned to visit.

I have observed the way of life on the eastern shores and Tangier Island is more laid back than on the western shore. Life revolves around the water. It is the lifeblood. May the waterman style of life never disappear. It has a richness and time-honored cadence.

Our trip to Washington with the Turners was a highlight. We saw more of the “hidden delights” of the Capital than in previous trips. A trip of discovery made all the more enjoyable with good friends.

Before we hit the waters of Chesapeake Bay we were warned by quite a few people that we would be sailing in a high density boating area – doubly so being the summer break. We have been amazed at the lack of sailing vessels. Most days we would be lucky to encounter 10 or so watercraft (watermen excepted). Off Annapolis we saw 7 bulk carriers at anchor waiting to dock in Baltimore. The only day we encountered boats in any density was on arrival at St Michaels. Guess when we were warned we were thinking of boat density similar to Saturday afternoon races on Sydney Harbour. Now that is boat density!

But never have we had a send-off like this one from Baltimore! We were the only boat sailing on the harbour. And we lapped it up!

Lighthouses galore and the bay is richer for having them. They come in all shapes and sizes and colours. Not all are working or in good order, but when you glimpse one it evokes a bygone era.

The insects of Chesapeake are truly horrible bugs. They all have fangs which delight in finding uncovered skin. Kill one and three take its place. They are stealth buggers – you don’t know they are on you until the pain explodes.

Crepe Myrtle in all its white, red, lilac and pink blossom glory is everywhere. I thought Magnolias were an image of the south, but Crepe Myrtle is quite literally everywhere, and at the time of our visit, in colourful bloom.

Many places on the Chesapeake are famous for something:

  • George Washington born / died / resigned / elected / visited here
  • Deltaville is the Gateway of the Chesapeake and Boating Capital of the Chesapeake Bay
  • Tangier Island is the Soft-Crab Capital of the World
  • Crisfield is the Seafood Capital of the World
  • St Michaels and Oxford are famous for James Michener writing Chesapeake
  • St Marys and Annapolis both claim to be the first capital of Maryland, with Annapolis also the first capital of USA (for nine months)

Perhaps the most note-worthy has been the towns themselves. All have been quaint and picture-perfect. The manicured lawns and well preserved homes with tree-lined streets, present life in a bygone era. The architecture is unique and sublime. Here, there is a stateliness and charm not found in modern cities. Most have been colonial towns, created in the 17th Century. All have known the effects of Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Battlefields are near or bombardments from ships were endured. History is alive.

Oh, the places we’ve gone, the sights we’ve seen, the people we’ve met…

In brief, some statistics of our trip from Isle of Hope, Georgia to Pleasure Cove, Maryland (Chesapeake):

  • Distance travelled this voyage from Savannah, Georgia to Pleasure Cove Marina, Bodkin Creek – 1032.1 miles
  • Loop distance overall – 2616.2 miles (almost halfway of the usual loop route)

On a personal note:

  • Crab is a staple on the bay and very tasty. But I am almost ‘crabbed’ out. Too much of a good thing… And we hate crab pots!
  • I have surprised myself with a new set of skills – varnishing woodwork and painting the deck. Mind you – where was that in the fine print when I signed up for this adventure?

Now Bushranger is winterised and awaits recommissioning next April when the adventure will continue. We are homeward bound.

Such is Life!

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