FL to CT Day 24
Portsmouth, VA to Crisfiled, MD
We spent the last three days sitting in Portsmouth, VA waiting on weather… specifically, the winds to die down… The lower Chesapeake Bay was forecast with 4-6 seas and a looking a weather buoy data is was all of 4-6 seas and what made it even worse was the 3 second period between wave peaks… square waves… not a very comfortable ride…so we sat and waited. Today’s forecast was for 15-20 knot ENE winds diminishing to 10-15 knots and switching to E winds. This was a doable forecast especially if we went to the eastern shore of the bay where we would get some break from the wind being in the lee of the land.
While waiting for the winds at Portsmouth, both “Sanctuary” and “Serendipity” caught up with us… “Sanctuary” was able to dock with us at the ferry docks and pulled in right behind us. “Serendipity” opted to continue on to the Lafayette River just north of us and anchor. The docking was tight and with the high winds they felt this was the best option for them.
We did get to spend some great quality time with everyone while in Portsmouth… great fun! We did a lot of eating dinner out… Baron’s Pub, Bier Garden, and the Cancun Fiesta… all three places were awesome! And it was appropriate we ate at the Cancun Fiesta Mexican Restaurant on “Cinco de Mayo”.
The plan for today was to leave at 0600 and head out to see how bad it was… if the western shore was not real bad we would stay on the west side of the Chesapeake Bay… otherwise we would cut across to the eastern shore. “Sanctuary” was away first as he was behind us and we joined him and departed at 0600 as planned. “Serendipity” had moved from the Lafayette River to the Tidewater Marina and would join us as we passed by them. I hailed them on the VHF but got no response…so I called on the cell phone… they were not sure if they were leaving and would get let us know.
I was following “Sanctuary” out the Elizabeth River as they had plotted our course to the eastern shore if needed and I had not…. So it was easy to follow them. It was a little foggy… something I had not seen in any of the forecasts… but not bad… about a mile visibility.
As we approached the end of the Navy Yards in Norfolk it started to get a little lumpy but nothing bad… the fog was beginning to thicken and visibility was down to about 1/2 mile. We passed over the Bay Tunnel by Hampton Roads and turned more to the north and the waves were a solid 2-3 feet with 4 footer every now and then... still not bad… the fog at this point had rolled in thick and I could no longer see “Sanctuary” in front of us and they were maybe a half mile ahead. We continued on across Horseshoe Shoal and every now and then I would get a glimpse of “Sanctuary”.
I received a VHF hail from “Serendipity” asking for a status report… sea state… they were underway and wanting to know what to expect… told them a solid 2-3 seas with larger waves every now and then… they were actually not that far behind us.
The waves were slowing us down… and the current going out so we had both things against us… waves/wind and current… I was only making 5.5 to 6 knots. I lost total sight of “Sanctuary” and continued on our northerly course. I received a VHF call from “Sanctuary” asking where we were and telling us where he was… I had planned to just follow him and did not a course plotted and the fog did not allow us to do that… anyway, they informed me that he had turned toward the eastern shore and was crossing the ship channel and on a 47 degree heading… I was heading toward the same ship channel but on a 10 degree heading… FOG had no idea they had turned… I made a course correction and came to 45 degrees… this changed the angle from quartering the seas to head on… and these were very square waves… really pounds you and makes for a horrible ride.
The closer we got the eastern shore the smaller the waves… soon we were riding in 1-2 seas… wind was still howling at 20 knots plus but no waves to speak of… nothing like it had been.
We planned to go to Tangier Island for the night… however, Susan is not a big fan of the island and about 3 hours away “Sanctuary” hailed on the VHF and said as an option we could continue on a little further past Tangier Island and go to Crisfield. We had never been to Crisfield so this sounded like a good idea and the destination for the night was changed to Somerset Cove Marina in Crisfield, MD. “Sanctuary” called and made the arrangements and we were all set.
Shortly after our decision to go to Crisfield we were hailed by “Serendipity” on the VHF… they wanted to let us know that they had stayed on the western shore and were now anchored for the night in Fishing Bay. We have never been there either and have heard people talk about it… was glad to hear they were safe and secure for the night.
As we approached Tangier Island we slowly moved away from the eastern shore and where Tangier Sound and Pocomoke Sound meet we lost our wind protection. The waves picked up and they were now on our beam… big difference was the period between peaks… more like 7 or 8 seconds… even being a beam sea the ride was not bad at all. This was a good thing because we had this exposure almost all the way to Crisfield and the winds were increasing rather than diminishing as forecast. They were now gusting to 30 knots and 20-25 steady.
Today we had the ebb current against us the entire day… normally I hate this but I can’t imagine what effect the current against the wind would have had on the wave heights… typically, it’s not good. So, we ran slower than we like but I think the ride was better than it would have been with a flood current.
We pulled into the Crisfield harbor at a bout 1815 and pulled to the T-head of G dock as instructed by “Mitch”… Mitch is the night security and answers the VHF and assists boaters after the marina is closed. He was a very nice and courteous young man. We were secure at the dock at 1830. Our location for the night is N37°58.635’, W075°51.396’. We traveled for 12.5 hours covering 77.2 nm averaging 6.2 knots.
We did go out for a quick dinner Peg and Jim Healy from “Sanctuary”… not sure what the name of the place was but it was located right in front of the marina…a real short walk after a long day.