Monday, June 16, 2014
Chesapeake Bay (6/14/2014)
A friend of mine invited me to go sailing on his boat, destination Cape Charles on the eastern shore (and back), something I have wanted to do for a long time. It is the first (overnight) cruise I want to take with my boat, and now I know it is doable and really not that difficult. You basically sail out of the York River, make sure you avoid the shallows on York Spit and set a course for 90 degrees or due east. It probably helped we were sailing near high tide in the area with the biggest current, but we left at 9 and we were at the entrance to the Cape Charles channel by 2 pm. Leaving the marina we were accompanied by a pod of dolphins. It was great to see them, knowing we had such a large die off this past winter. On the eastern shore we were chased by a couple of rays. It was neat to see them almost come out of the water and chase the boat. Other days that we sail we often see a lot of floating trash in the water, but this time it was relatively clean. Not much trash at all.
There was a large freighter anchored near the entrance to the channel into Cape Charles harbor, and we sailed passed it, before turning around and sailing back home. Now it was mid tide and the water was flowing out of the entire Chesapeake Bay, and although we set the course on 270 degrees, or due west, we were slowly pushed more to the south, which was no real problem, but just fascinating to see how the currents work. It kind of threw my friend off when we passed York Spit light on the other side compared to when we left the river; but then you always hear stories about people being turned around. Unless you know your shore, a lot of the shore looks alike and you could get easily lost or miss an inlet.
On the way over we had good wind and 2 to 3 foot waves. It was interesting to see that when you are on top of the wave you could see further over the horizon, then when you were at the bottom. It was also fun to see the freighter that was anchored near Cape Charles come up from below the horizon. On the other hand it was so clear that even in Cape Charles we could see the smoke stacks of the power station in Yorktown, and we could see what we call the NASA drop area on Langley Air Force Base.
I was using a great navigation app on my tablet (a Nexus 7). I paid $6 or $7 for it and it worked great. It’s called MXMariner and it is outstanding. My friend had a few I-Book apps and mine beat them hands down. I have a few minor beefs with the program, and have contacted the developer about it. We’ll see how they respond.
The photo below shows the freighter that we saw near Cape Charles. It was anchored, probably waiting for an assignment or a spot in Baltimore harbor. They were blaring music from our local classic rock station. Also interesting was the escape capsule that was mounted on the back of the ship. Neat to see it. By all a great day!