33. It’s Always Foggy on the Chesapeake

Oh hello. It’s been a while. I hope you’re well.

After a long 35 day work week, I was finally parolled. It took a couple of days travel by rented land yacht, but I eventually made my way back to Sylphide at Hampton, VA.

I’m always a little nervous to leave her for long stretches, but thankfully some very kind liveaboard neighbors were good enough to keep an eye on things while I was away. It went a long way toward helping me sleep at night. Thank you to the crew of Mile High for that.

I found all well aboard. The bilge was dry, there were no new life forms in the refrigerator, and despite a glancing encounter with a swirling wad of rain and wind called Arthur, everything was where I’d left it.

I took a few days to just relax a bit, and let my hair down. I can say that literally now, since I’m about three months overdue for a haircut at this point. I’m considering french braids. Maybe cornrows.

While I was away at work, I treated myself to some interweb shopping, and there was a glorious heap of packages waiting for me in the marina office. Most of what I’d ordered were bits and pieces I needed to tackle various projects around the boat. A fresh water line from my water heater had burst, and my battlefield repair had been a shoddy one. I remedied that with some shiny new hose and hose clamps. I replaced nearly all of the boiling lava hot halogen light bulbs aboard with plug and play LED units. The draw on the batteries is significantly less, and I no longer worry about accidentally vulcanizing my fingerprints off. I also picked up a sweet new bug screen for my companionway. Now I can leave it open for ventilation without paying for it with blood.

Are you ready to RIDE THE LIGHTNIN?!!?

Once repairs and maintenance were as complete as they were going to get, and with some stores laid in, it was high time to get moving again. The morning of May 26th was a clammy and foggy one, and it was something like 1030 before visibility was good enough that I was happy to leave. There were still a few patches of haze about, but the less than stellar visibility was the only thing that wasn’t ideal about the day. The wind was light, the seas were calm enough, and the temperature was pleasant. I spent a fair portion of the trip sitting on the forward cabin top, watching the water splash by.

Fifty miles, and seven hours later, the anchor splashed into the Great Wicomico River, just behind Sandy Point. I had the anchorage to myself, save for a few passing fishermen. I enjoyed a fairly marvelous sunset, and spent the rest of the evening eating mac n’ cheese, and catching up with friends on Zoom. I also spent some time looking for a smell on the boat. It was sort of fishy and trashy, and generally unpleasant, though not terribly strong. I later realized that I was down wind of some sort of seafood processing plant. So that’s nice.


The ever present morning fog was there to greet me the next morning, and I figured having a leisurely breakfast would be a nice way to wait for the fog to lift. Just like the day before, it wasn’t until about 1030 that visibility cleared, and Sylphide and I got underway.

Almost as soon as I cleared the bay, and pointed my bow to northward, the fog rolled back in. I had joined a convoy of other cruising boats who were also heading out of the Reedville area, and it was a small bit of comfort to have them close by when the visibility dropped to less than a quarter of a mile. We were in relatively shallow water, nowhere near any shipping channels, and there were no big AIS targets nearby, so it wasn’t as stressful as it could have been.

Look at this fog! Just kidding, this is actually a picture of my ceiling. But look at this fog:
I really need a Radar.

To keep me from becoming too comfortable with the situation, the universe arranged for some sort of fish farm thingy to loom out of the gloom a little closer than I’d have cared for it to be. The damn thing looked like the Black Pearl emerging from the depths, and appeared so suddenly, and so close by, that it was quite startling.

Thankfully the fog lifted a short time later, and gave way to another excellent day for cruising. Stephen Fry read me some more Sherlock Holmes stories, and for a while I resumed my new favorite perch on the bow. I’d been hoping to see some dolphins, but no such luck lately. I’m starting to wonder if there’s something they don’t like about Sylphide. I keep hoping they’ll come play, but they always seem to have other engagements.

Solomons, MD was my destination, and I lasso’d me a dock at Calvert Marina right around 5 that night. The next few days looked like they might be less than pleasant, with wind and rain in the forecast, so I opted to stick around at Calvert for a couple of nights. There were a handful of folks coming and going at the marina, and I enjoyed some pleasant chat with some fellow boaters. The restaurant on site, Hidden Harbor, had some pretty tasty grub, and I partook a couple of times. Takeout of course.

Solomons seems like a nice place, and is one that I would like to take some time to get to know. Last time I was in town I anchored out, and really didn’t see much. This time, I opted to lay low for reasons of pandemic. I hope that things are closer to normal when I return in the fall. I miss touristing.

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