A tour de force was delivered by the navigation staff. We were a little…lets just say optimistic about what Escape Velocity could do fighting a knot and a third contrary current up the Delaware Bay. It was our fourth trip up the buggy bay so you figure you’ve got it sussed out but, well you know, we were impatient and thought we’d P.O.R. (Press on regardless.) So we left a few hours early and the plan was to let the changing tide catch up to us. It never did. I will say that it was my first trip up the bay without a south breeze, which can make you forget all about that damn current.
We saw very few ships until dusk, and then it was like elephants in a circus parade, trunk to tail. After the last bay run we swore off the Delaware Bay at night, but that was when we used paper charts and you just can’t get more confused than running Delaware Bay at night using charts.
We had that sinking feeling when it became obvious that we weren’t getting anywhere near our goal of halfway through the canal. Marce found a great anchorage behind Reedy Island, just before the canal entrance. The only catch was that the narrow channel was barely marked, and at night it would be tough. Once all the clues lined up we threaded our way into the back channel of Reedy Island and we were suprised to find six other sailboats already there.
We crawled into bed ready for an undisturbed nights rest due to the fact that the current in the canal didn’t become fair until 10am.
Marce woke me up asking me,” what was that”? I said that I didn’t hear anything, which is what I always say. Then I heard it. It was a heavy thump. I was out of bed like a shot. I knew the other boats were spaced far apart so I couldn’t imagine what was going on. Halfway to the foredeck I realized that I wasn’t dressed and it was cold and misty. There in the beam of my flashlight was a ten foot long log about a foot and a half in diameter caught sideways on the bridle, chain, and spinning like a waterwheel in the very strong current that finally caught up to us! It was all I could do to push it enough with a boat hook to send it on its way. Marce was sound asleep when I shivered my way back under the covers.
Saturday morning had a relaxed pace to it, even though we really needed to get going, we weren’t about to make the same mistake twice and the current wouldn’t be with us until about 10am. About 9:30 I went out on deck to lift the anchor and noticed all the other boats had started to up anchor too. Funny how that works.
It was a strange trip through the canal. First we noticed how built up it’s become. Like your dad always said, while driving through some neighborhood that all this used to be farm land…well it did. Some crazy guy pushing an equipment barge at a self confessed 25 knots threw up the worst wake I’ve ever seen with huge rollers for miles behind him, causing much grief for all the boats around us. Then, in a scene straight out of The Wild One, we were harassed by dozens of guys on Skidoos! I kid you not!
This canal is a heartbreaker in that it has several false bays as you near the end so that as you clear one bay only to realize that you’ve got another to go, and it goes on and on like that. Finally we broke out into the Chesapeake Bay with a spot of motorsailing.
Anchor down at 7pm as the sun sets over beautiful Magothy River.
As we were sitting around watching an old Newsroom episode, thanks to who ever had that fast WIFI signal, Marce looked up at me and said, “What was that?” Of course I said I didn’t hear anything, but then we both heard boom boom boom, and as we stepped out of the cockpit we were treated to a great enthusiastic fireworks display. Not municipal, but so much fun. I like fireworks. When it was over all the boats anchored behind Dobbin Island tooted their horns in appreciation.