Old Friends and New – the Perks of Cruising

We FINALLY left Zimmerman Marine on August 13th, for a short ride to New Point Comfort, at the entrance to Mobjack Bay from the Chesapeake. It was only a few miles, but we turned it into a longer cruise, as a weather front was passing and would go over exactly where we wanted to anchor. So we wandered around the river for about an hour watching nature play across the skies and waters to our east.

Staying clear of an afternoon thunderstorm on Mobjack Bay

After the storm had passed, we anchored for the evening at New Point Comfort, Mobjack Bay. There was a picturesque abandoned lighthouse, a natural beach, and a semi-protected cove that we anchored in. And there were dolphins. A whole pod of dolphins – like twelve – adults and babies – all swimming around our boat, fishing and playing. They were mesmerizing.

Dolphins hanging out with us while at anchor in Mobjack Bay

The stars were out in the evening putting on their usual show for free. It was wonderful to have an easy cruise and anchorage to continue our voyage north.

The next morning, we raised anchor to cruise north up the Chesapeake. Although the morning started calmly, the weather on the Bay caused much rougher seas to develop, with 3-4 ft waves with very short periods. Kathleen drove for the first two hours, and immediately upon leaving the captain’s chair started feeling sick. It did not go well. Neil had to drive for the next four hours, as Kathleen tried to get on top of the upheavals going on inside her. Luckily, with some meds and some rest, she was ok when we reached the anchorage in Corrotoman River, and was an able hand for anchoring.

Granuaile in rough seas on the Chesapeake. Photo taken by Steve Zimmerman as he cruised past us at the mouth to the Rappahannock River
Cruising under the Robert Dixon Bridge on the Rappahannock River

Corrotoman is beautiful, a lot like the East River. It also has TONS of jellyfish, so absolutely no swimming. We stayed at two anchorages on the bay (with a pump out in between 😉 ). We launched the dinghy and explored the area, marvelling, again, at the beauty of this part of the country. We saw bald eagles, ospreys, herons, terns, ducks – you name it. Lots of well-needed peace and beauty.
Funny story: At one of the anchorages we were a couple hundred yards off a mansion that had a for sale sign on the dock. Shortly after we dropped anchor a man came walking out on the dock and yelled at us, initially we ignored him thinking that he probably was unhappy we were squatting on his riverfront. He was rather persistent, twice coming down to the dock to yell in our direction. So Neil responded and took down his phone number so we could stop yelling at each other. He was a very pleasant fellow who liked that our boat’s home port was Lafayette, CO as one of his sons lives next door in the town of Louisville. We had a pleasant conversation about Colorado, family and the East River; he asked that we call him if we needed anything during our stay.

Anchored on the Corrotoman River
The morning coffee ritual
Heading to Yankee Point Marina on the Corrotoman River to pump out our holding tank
Kathleen whipping up a shrimp dinner
Out for a cruise on the Corrotoman River
Returning to Granuaile after a morning cruise. The “For sale” mansion in the background.
Sunset on the Corrotoman River
A swarm of jellyfish!!!

We left Corrotoman early on the 19th to cruise north to the Patuxent River.

Neil starting up electronics so we are ready to pull up anchor at sunrise
Departing anchorage to a beautiful sunrise
Kathleen taking us out of the Corrotoman River
Entering the Rappahannock River, Robert Norris Bridge in the distance
The Chesapeake was much calmer during our cruise north from the Rappahannock River to the Patuxent River

We anchored off of the Naval Air Station there. It has been over 30 years since we’ve been there (lots of fun memories with our friend Dan who lived there!), and it’s more beautiful than we remembered. Kathleen did MUCH better on the Bay this time (and also remembered to apply her patch the night before leaving to ensure a calm passage!). We watched sailboats chase each other around in the late evening.

The next morning, we weighed anchor to cruise up to Shady Side, MD. It was a relatively short run, but there was a lot more traffic, so the trip kept us on our toes.

Staying clear of the main channel busy with freighter traffic heading to Baltimore

Coming in to the Chesapeake Yacht Club was tricky, as the West River channel leading in was very windy, with lots of crab pots to dodge. Apparently the watermen here do not abide by the rule requiring crab traps to be placed outside the marked channel. The slip was a bit narrow, but we tied up successfully and set to work cleaning our boat – she was very salty and dirty from her travels!

Granuaile docked a the Chesapeake Yacht Club, Shady Side MD

On Friday (the next day) Aug 21st, we got to welcome Kerry Blockley, Neil’s cousin, and the person who introduced us to each other over 30 years ago in DC. It is always wonderful to have people visit, but family is special. Kerry is an amazing person that we feel grateful to have shared time with. His friends, Al and Lisa Feldt live in Shady Side, and came by to visit. Al and Lisa very kindly offered us the use of one of their cars while we were here, which was amazing.

With Kerry as our tour guide, we explored the area, stopping for food and beverages and purchasing some fresh seafood.

Neil and Kerry enjoying a beverage and oysters at Dockside Restaurant in Deale MD

We got to visit Al and Lisa at their beautiful home that backs up to the West River, just a mile paddle from our slip at the Chesapeake Yacht Club. On Sunday we took a long kayak ride around the river environs, experiencing the sites from the water. We stopped for brunch at a dockside restaurant and then paddled back to their place. All too soon, we bid Kerry farewell, with promises to see each other again in a few weeks when we visit St. Michael’s on the east side of the Bay.

Brunch break during our kayak paddle around the West River. In background (red arrow) Granuaile at slip

We did have some repair work done while at this marina; a charger for the main engine/bow thruster battery bank needed to be replaced and the work was completed ably by a local service yard on Tuesday morning. We did a serious re-provisioning for food, replenished water, returned Al and Lisa’s car, got pumped out Wednesday morning, and then departed for a short run up to Annapolis.

Although it was less than two hours to cruise to Annapolis, it was a little tricky both getting out of Shady Side (crab pots and boats) and entering Annapolis (same reasons!). We had never picked up a mooring ball before, but after reviewing a Youtube video or two and talking it through, we were willing to give it a try.

The Annapolis Spa Creek mooring field is large and was mostly empty when we arrived in the early afternoon, which gave us plenty of mooring balls to choose from. We found it was fairly easy to pick up the mooring ball pennant as we went in slowly and had good communication. The location is perfect – just off of the main street area, and directly across from the Naval Academy.

Granuaile’s first mooring ball stay. Naval Academy in the background.
Sunrise at mooring in Spa Creek Annapolis.

We both love the colonial towns for their history and wonderful architecture, and Annapolis did not disappoint. First things first, however – we launched the dinghy and went to Pusser’s Caribbean Grille, which is a waterfront eatery and bar famous for its drink, the “painkiller”. Luckily Kathleen only had one and we had lots of areas to explore to walk it off!

First stop in Annapolis was Pusser’s Caribbean Grille

The last bastions of summer heat coincided with this trip, which made walking around the area with masks on very tiring – 90-100 degree heat, 80% humidity – UGH. After one walking tour and lunch at an amazing diner, we cruised around in the dinghy, checking out Spa Creek, with more mooring fields and anchorages, as well as beautiful homes with docks all along the waterfront. Annapolis has a great amenity – any street that ends at the water has a dinghy dock – which is wonderful for boaters, but made us wonder what happens to a car driver who might not be aware that the road ends in the water!

Maryland State House
Looking down from the top of Main St, Annapolis. Can see Granuaile in mooring field (red arrow)

Evenings are spent being entertained on the deck by passing boats. Sailboaters seem to thrill in weaving between the mooring lanes VERY close to tied boats. It is interesting how very closely people cruise to each other here – something we are not used to, but seems to be the norm. No collisions witnessed – yet! This is the most touristy area we have yet stayed, and it is a lot of fun.

Sailboats speeding and weaving through the mooring field
Up on the boat deck taking in the evening boating activities on Spa Creek
Annapolis harbor front at sunset

6 thoughts on “Old Friends and New – the Perks of Cruising

  1. We recently enjoyed watching the YouTube video of your cruise with Jeff Merrill from Florida to North Carolina! Leslie and I retired almost two years ago, but we’ve been considering a Nordhavn or Kadey-Krogen for the past four years. Like you, we have no prior powerboat experience, although I used to sail extensively on Long Island Sound. Our residence is in New York City, but we have a place in the Bozman/Neavitt area of Maryland, near the popular tourist town of St. Michaels. Most of our friends, here, sail but we much prefer the spaciousness and comfort of a heavy displacement trawler. What prompted me to write to you was the success we’ve had using an electronic device to mitigate nausea we sometimes experience on the water. The device is called ReliefBand and I recommend the Premier unit over the older Classic unit. It looks like a large Fitbit and it applies pressure and electric stimulation to the P6 acupuncture point and it has been effective in reducing and even eliminating nausea and its consequences. I no longer have to endure the grogginess I’ve felt with the alternative chemical products available OTC.
    I hope our suggestion helps and we look forward to future blogs as we vicariously enjoy your exploits and challenges!
    Warmest regards, Bill and Leslie


      1. I hope you experience the same success we did! How long are you planning to remain in the Chesapeake area? Do you have any plans to visit St. Michaels? They have a great marina at the Inn at Perry Cabin and the town of St. Michaels is charming with lovely restaurants and a friendly ambiance. Nice hearing from you! Safe travels! Bill and Leslie


  2. Bill and Leslie: We plan to cruise the Chesapeake until mid/late-Oct. We are visiting St Michaels this weekend, at a slip in Higgins Yacht Yard. We are enjoying the culinary scene! Will probably return again in a couple weeks but anchor in San Domingo Creek.


  3. Great marina! We enjoyed the 2019 Log Canoe Races hosted by Higgins last year. The weather was perfect and the celebrations afterward, in St. Michaels, reflected the town’s reputation for hospitality and friendship. It’s unfortunate their planned events for 2020 were canceled, but next year marks the 100th Anniversary of the Miles River Yacht Club and, hopefully, we’ll enjoy the camaraderie of our friends once again!
    We were not surprised to read about the weather challenges you experienced. Our home is on Harris Creek facing west. The sunsets are spectacular but we “pay” for these views with the ominous weather systems we’ve experienced that have threatened the integrity of our dock! That’s the price for experiencing the solitude we enjoy immersed in mother nature. Thankfully you have a trawler that can withstand almost any weather one can reasonably imagine. We haven’t been down to Maryland since March to see if the house is still there! That’s where having great friends helps. We all look out for each other, especially when you have a pool and a liquor cabinet they have access to! LOL!

    Safe travels! Bill and Leslie


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: