October 11, 2012
The sun wasn’t even above the horizon yet when we picked up the anchor and hailed the Spa Creek drawbridge on the VHF. The bridge tender would open the bridge at the top of the hour for us. We arrived a few minutes early, steadying the boat in the slight breeze and current, and waited for the opening. Bells rang, as the street gates lowered and cars came to a halt. It was time to pass through the narrow bridge one more time, and say good-bye to Annapolis. Memories here will last a lifetime.
The wind was blowing out of the northeast at about 15-20 knots, and most definitely in our favor. As we pulled away from Annapolis, we raised the full main, unfurled the genaker, and turned off the engines. The boat picked up speed. Before we knew it, our speed over the ground was 8-10 knots. Another exhilarating sail!
According to the weather, the winds would be stronger in the morning, before dying out in the afternoon. We needed to make as much distance as possible before the wind couldn’t push us anymore. Over the past few months, we have been quick to use the engines whenever winds weren’t in our favor. The cost of fuel is adding up, so better passage planning is now needed with respect to the wind. After all, we have a sailboat!
Since, we were underway, I let school be optional for the kids. Justine chose to keep up with her studies. Colin took the day off.
By mid afternoon, the wind puttered out enough for us to turn on the engines and motor sail the rest of the way to Cockrell Creek, just south of the Potomac River in Reedville, VA. Since, the Chesapeake Bay is so wide with plenty of water depth, we don’t normally stay within the marked channels. We usually keep as straight of a rumb line as possible to our destination, and usually that’s not a problem. However, the approach to Cockrell Creek was crowded with groups of fish trap stakes that we had to navigate between. It wasn’t difficult, but we had to stay on our toes with the binoculars glued to our eyes.
As we entered Cockrell Creek, we were in awe of the quaint little southern fishing town. In fact, Reedville is home to the fishing industry for Atantic menhaden, and by some accounts, second only to Dutch Harbor, Alaska. (Reminds me of the television series Deadliest Catch!) According to a local resident, Reedville remains to be the only working mehaden plant on the entire eastern coast of the US.
An added note: If you visit this area when the plant is processing, you will want to anchor upwind from the factory!