Wye River to the Little Choptank

  Saturday, October 13, 2012 / Brian / Navigation  

This morning we arose not-so-bright but early. We were up before the sun and were pulling the anchor just a little while before sunrise. Before dawn is a time that Rode Trip is not too familiar with and boy was it cold! We left Wye Island so early because we had quite a distance to go to make it to the next anchorage.

We motored through the narrow winding channels of the Wye river and as we made it closer to the mouth of the river the wind really started picking up. As predicted the wind was out of the Northwest and we decided that we would motor around Tilghman point so we wouldn't have to tack our way up to it. We were motoring from point "1" to point "2" on this chart.

The wind was going in exactly the opposite direction and it was blowing HARD. Since we haven't paid up the big bucks for any type of wind measuring apparatus we usually just guess, and we think it was blowing just about 25kts. (I was very curious while writing this so I looked up the wind for a station near where we were sailing this morning) Turns out this time our guess was pretty good. That spike at 8am was right when we were trying to motor upwind.

I said try because it was tough going. It was only 3 nautical miles, and under engine power this should have been a quick 30 minutes. The waves were exactly the wrong size for Rode Trip and as soon as we would start to get some speed the bow would go way way up in the air and then come way way down while the stern went way way up and the prop would come out of the water and the engine would rev up. The boat would lose all of its headway speed and we would have to start accelerating again. We didn't want to cause any problems for the engine so we tried to throttle back if we thought the prop was going to come out of the water, which slowed us down even more. All in all it took us about one and half hours to motor those 3 miles, and it was wet and uncomfortable the entire time. When we reached point "2" we raised the sails, a double reefed main and staysail and turned down the bay and thankfully downwind! Rode Trip handled this part much better. With the sails up the ride smoothed out right away, and since we were going downwind we stopped getting splashed every 15 seconds. Stephanie later pointed out that getting saltwater in your eyes "isn't fun" I agree. Over the next several hours the wind continued to get lighter and lighter. We gradually put up more sail area and continued to move until around 2pm when the wind just quit altogether. We looked around for a nearby anchorage, but found that our planned anchorage was the closest and we still had quite a ways to go. We turned on the motor and were on our way.

Along the way we found several schools of bluefish that were splashing and swimming along on the surface. I even managed to get one to bite on a lure, but he was too small and I returned him to the bay. We arrived at the Little Choptank River with a couple of hours of daylight left. We took advantage of this to explore a nearby marsh by kayak. It was a nice paddle and we even discovered some treasures hiding in the grasses, Oysters! Stephanie paddled around while I got busy and found some large oysters and piled them into my kayak. Upon returning to Rode Trip we scrubbed the oysters clean and steamed them for dinner along with a mashed butternut squash and leftover brussels sprouts, yum.