Fairlee Creek to Annapolis, MD – September 25-27, 2012

After beating against the wind all day on Tuesday, we decided to not beat ourselves up by traveling farther down the bay and headed into Fairlee Creek for the evening. We motored cautiously through the narrow entrance to the creek, just past Jellyfish Joel’s Tiki Bar (unfortunately closed for the season), and tucked around the hook just into Fairlee Creek. We had a beautiful view and solid holding with good protection from the southerly winds.

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On Wednesday, we awoke bright and early (thanks, nagging alarm clock!) and headed back into the bay. Another southerly wind day with 15-20 knot winds and 3-5 foot seas. We started off the day with one reef in the main and the stay sail (after being knocked down having too much sail with the genoa). Back and forth we tacked. As the day progressed, the wind quieted but continued to come from the wrong direction. We criss-crossed the main shipping channel for hours and hours before arriving at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

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The Chesapeake Bay Bridge was quite a sight, sprawling across the bay. No worries about clearance here! We passed underneath, only two tacks to get through, and spotted Annapolis straight ahead.

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We entered Annapolis via the Severn River. We had a nice view of the Naval Academy to our port.

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And to our starboard, as we’ve noted on occasion at other waterfronts, modest homes.

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We settled into Weems Creek for the night on a Navy mooring ball. Finally all those taxes paying off! We were thrilled to know our neighbors, Serendipity. Matt & Jess came aboard for fishing lessons. Brian was jealous of Matt’s new crab trap, but Matt was eager to learn the survival skill of crabbing (we’re all a bit low on provisions at present time). While we chatted in the cockpit, the boys took to leaning over the side to coax the crabs into the trap…unfortunately, we didn’t get any dinner to go with our beers and trail mix. But we’ll keep trying!

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We eagerly anticipated the arrival of Bruce & Kathy, who would make this their first overnight visit to Rode Trip. We parked right in our friend, Brian’s “BMac,” backyard (or creek if you will). We were able to dinghy to the dock at BMac’s apartment complex. It was a calm, beautiful night and we particularly enjoyed the phosphorescence given by the jellyfish we bumped along the way. BMac welcomed us into his home and we caught up on life while we Bruce & Kathy made their way along the roadways. Thanks to BMac for his hospitality and parking space! We’ll be setting sail with BMac next week…fun times to come!

Bruce & Kathy enjoyed their sleep in the calm creek. We awoke, and this time didn’t have a leisurely breakfast. Instead we cleaned up, ate quickly, and made way to set sail! We sailed out into the Chesapeake Bay with light to nearly non-existent northerly winds. This was Kathy’s favorite type of sailing! We enjoyed the sunset and the views.

We’re now en-route to Berryville, VA to celebrate Jake & Katie’s BIG day! Rode Trip is in an undisclosed location and being carefully guarded!

Sassafras River, MD – September 23-24, 2012

On Sunday morning we didn’t think the day could possibly get any better after we had successfully hauled anchor under sail. It’s these little “big” accomplishments that keep us sailors motivated! Brian steered the boat with the main sail while I hauled up the anchor. And now that we know I can haul up the anchor (and quite effortlessly, I might add) I expect Brian will want to share this task!

As it turns out, hauling the anchor really was the highlight of our day. It was a beautiful day and we sailed into and up the Sassafras River on a downwind sail. The wind was a bit shifty, there were no waves, and we enjoyed the “lake-like” winds and waters.
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We tucked Rode Trip into Back Creek, carefully navigating with Brian’s handmade depth sounder (3 pound fishing weight on the end of a line marked in 1-15 foot increments) in addition to our depth sounder and chart. We’ve discovered very quickly that the depths on the chart are not to be trusted in the Chesapeake. No, we didn’t bottom out…yet. Actually the opposite where we’ve found greater depths at areas marked lower. In Back Creek we had a very narrow channel of depth appropriate water, and I’m quite certain we anchored in the 4-foot spot on the chart. We did move forward a bit when Brian was convinced that the front end of the boat was swinging but the back end was not. Oh, and after our swim in the river we discovered we could easily touch bottom.
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We anchored just near the Mount Harmon Plantation, a tobacco plantation from 1651. I’d love to tell you more details about Mount Harmon…but we arrived at 2:15pm and were abruptly told that the last tour started at 2:00pm. We were handed a map of the grounds and shuffled out the door without the opportunity to peruse the visitor’s center. This was the most rude volunteer tour guide we have yet encountered in all of our historical sight stops! In New England, most volunteers were thrilled that visitors took any interest in the site and were happy to welcome us and share info. It seems in Maryland that there are so many people interested in history they must have to practically beat them off the grounds! We took a self tour of the grounds and read what we could of the posted signs.
The Manor House
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The Colonial Kitchen
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The Formal Garden
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The Prize House – located on the waterfront, we learned that this is where the tobacco was pressed into barrels and loaded onto ships. The dock was actually deemed a port back in the day. We learned also that there still is a tobacco press in the Prize House, so thanks to self-guided tours, I took a closer look.
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We walked a nice path around the perimeter of the plantation fields. Later that evening we discovered that these grounds are frequented by walkers and cruisers with dogs.
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Then we blazed a trail on the beach back to our kayaks. Oh look in the sand, who’s been here? A mink? A deer?

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Back at Rode Trip, Brian caught a catfish for dinner…bit of a surprise that reminded us we are in a river. Lucky we paired the catfish with steak because it tasted like fishy mud. We did call dad for some filet tips and minded the stingers, but will have to work on our preparation for catfishes.

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We enjoyed the solitude of this anchorage as the sun set over the Chesapeake. And there were no bugs!! Because it is TOO COLD! (We are still bothered by hundreds of pesky black flies in the cabin. Brian goes on fly killing sprees every few hours just to make sure they don’t get out of control.

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On Monday someone had the brilliant idea to kayak up Sassafras River to Georgetown, MD. After reading the guide book, activities along many of these rivers seem grim. But someone thought that a nice river paddle and a walk through a quaint town would make for a good day. We had a beautiful kayak up the river. We spotted three bald eagles, two great blue herons, and several terns and gulls.

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Georgetown, however, was a bit of a bummer because there really wasn’t any good place to go ashore and we didn’t know which direction “town” would be if we started walking. We beached the kayaks at the marina to take a look at our map which wasn’t promising much. We did have some nice visitors while on the beach.

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Heading back upwind on the river was not quite as enjoyable, but the sun was keeping us warm while the water splashed into our kayaks and we paddled with all our might. Overall a good 6-mile day on the water. We were happy to return to our cozy anchorage for another good night’s sleep!

1st Quarter by the Numbers

So it is official we have spent 3 month onboard Rode Trip already. Boy how the time flies by. I thought that some of our readers may be interested in some of the numbers associated with our trip.

How we got here
Total miles travelled – 1405 nm
Total hours spent motoring -109 hrs
Total days so far – 92 days
Total days underway – 39 days
Average Distance travelled per day – 15 nm
Average Distance travelled per underway day- 36 nm
Average hours of engine time per day – 1.2 hours
Approximate miles of motoring – 545 nm
Approximate miles of Sailing – 860 nm
Longest passage – 56 hours / 280 nm
Shortest Passage – 58 minutes/ 4.1 nm
Nights at a dock – 1
Nights on a mooring – 19
Nights at anchor – 72
Anchor dragged – 1

What it cost
Total amount spent – $7,071
Total amount budgeted – $6,000
$ per Day – $76
$ spent on Groceries – $1,777
$ spent on boat upgrades/maintenance – $2,126
$ on “utilities” propane, cellphone, etc – $443
$ on Diesel – $440
$ for entertainment (not restaurants)- $384
$ spent eating out – $870
$ spent on moorings/dockage – $25

Fishing
Number of fish caught
5 – Mackerel
3 – Pollock
2- Bluefish
3 – Catfish
2 – Squid
1 – Crab
1- Big one that got away
Total money spent on fishing equip ( from entertainment category) – $40
Estimate of money saved on fish meals – $35
So far I would be better off buying fish then lures…but I should be fully stocked now, no more purchases for a while.

Miscellaneous happenings
1 – Summons to Jury Duty
5 – Whales sighted
2 – Pods of dolphins
2- Sharks swimming on the surface
2 – Major canals transited ( Cape Cod and C&D)
13 – Number of total visitors to the boat
6 – States visited ( ME, NH, MA, RI, NJ, MD)

We hope you enjoyed this random selection of Rode Trip facts and figures.