Monday September 24, 2012
For the past two days we’ve been hanging out in this little place called Frog Mortar Creek in the Middle River on the Chesapeake. Lots of words to pinpoint one location, but that’s how things seem to be in this area. Look at the Chesapeake, find an area you want to spend the night, then locate a river in that area (it’t not hard, they’re everywhere), and inside the river find a creek deep enough for you to anchor in. It was my job this time to find a place to stay for the night. Normally we look to go 40 miles per day, but we need to be in Annapolis for the sail boat show the weekend of October 5th and Annapolis only happens to be 40 miles down the Chesapeake. We hear this area can get quite crazy near the boat show and it’s good to show up early to snag a mooring or anchorage, but two weeks was just a little earlier than we wanted to get there. So browsing through our Waterway Guide I checked out the rivers along the way and what they had o offer. Middle River happened to be, well in the Middle of the entrance to the Chesapeake and Annapolis so I thought we could stop there for a night and maybe head to Baltimore the next day. Reading further into the creeks there was one that boasted deep anchorages for large boats and was within walking distance of Walmart. Supplies did happen to be running a little low, but where you can find a Walmart you can usually find a McDonalds. And McDonalds has wifi. You can see where I’m going with this. I’m already staring to get emails from family members asking if we’ve abandoned the site since I’m so far behind on my blogging and I will take any chance I can get to update. The course was set and I was going to get my wifi.
Making the short 15 mile jump from our anchorage to Middle River we started looking at the charts for the best spot to anchor that night. Apparently their deep anchorage for large boats was six feet deep. We have a five foot draft so would still be ok, but with tides we didn’t want to ground ourselves. Usually eleven feet is what we look for. But checking all the other creeks in that river and even the ones in neighboring rivers all had depths of only four feet. Looks like this one would have to work for the night. As we pulled into the creek I kept an eye on the charts and the depth and was fine to drop in the middle of the creek where the depth was six feet. Matt kept insisting that our depth reader is a couple feet off and we could get closer to shore. As I mentioned that I was not going to be the one to run us aground I handed the wheel to him as he kept inching in closer and closer. The depth went from reading 6.7 to 5.5 and then 5.1 when the boat ground to a halt. “Did you just run around?” I gawped? “Yes I did” he answered with a smile on his face, throwing it in reverse and moving us back to deeper water.
Once we were back in 7 ft of water the anchor was dropped and we were in the dinghy scanning for places to go to shore. We looked to be surrounded by private homes and marinas. Since it was Sunday we probably could have pulled up at one of the marinas and no one would have even been there to notice but as we passed one home it looked as if there was a boat launch next to it. We couldn’t tell if it was public or private since the home next to it was fenced in with No Trespassing signs on it. Did that mean the launch was public and the home’s property was private? We decided that it did, or at least we’d play dumb and say that should someone ask, and locked the dinghy to some rotting dock post to the side. As we grabbed our backpacks and walked up the dirt path it appeared as if the launch blended in to the yard with grass and trees and the driveway. At this point we were 90% sure we probably shouldn’t be there but kept going anyway. Even when the dog was let out in the yard and started barking at us and the yard and driveway were littered with sign stating Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted we kept moving forward with our eyes down. Getting to the main road and finding a McDonald’s I was being glared at the whole time by Matt as he knew that every second we were away from the dinghy was counting against us. I don’t think I even got in 20 minutes of internet time before I was shut down.
Rushing over to Walmart we stocked up on as much as we could from our grocery list. Never being Walmart shoppers before we left home (I miss you Meijer!!!) we did not know that one had to be a Super Center for it to have a full grocery section. Left without eggs and sliced cheese and a few other things we thought would be essentials we stuffed our backpacks and began walking back, wondering what was waiting for us at the other end. I was pretty sure the owner had a gun and would not be afraid to use it on us should we try to run. Our mind kept racing with things like, ‘What if the owner is outside when we get back…what do we say or do?’. I quickly tried to think of ways I’d be able to distract them while Matt sneaked around back to untie the dinghy and get it ready, with still no idea of how I would get back to it as well. As the moment of truth came we walked up to the house and no one was standing outside. Keeping our eyes at our feet just as before we moved along the trees at the edge, trying to blend in. I unlocked the dinghy and as we were loading it up I thought I saw the back door open, but no one came out. Oh well, we were too far now. Pushing it back into the water we started the engine and were back off to the boat with no shot gun wounds or prosecutions. We celebrated our good luck at dinner with Matt finally drinking his Canadian Coke given to him from Between The Sheets (it contains real sugar) and I cracked open one of my last and cherished Leinenkugel Berry Weiss’.
Deciding to stay in the same spot for one more day, today was spent on boat projects. I was ready to tackle that lee cloth to get it finished once and for all, and Matt needed to go up the mast to untangle our spinnaker halyard. I thought I’d be lucky like I was earlier this year when he went up by himself using ascenders, but since there wasn’t a spare line he was going to need me to haul him up. My muscles were not as strong as I hoped they would be and it was a slow but steady struggle to get him up. With a couple of twists our halyard was free and we’d be able to use our headsail again. It was a little embarrassing on our way down yesterday getting passed by every boat in the bay under full sail. We’ll show all of you tomorrow on our way to Annapolis!
Taking a break from the lee cloth to do some writing.
We finally have our ‘view from atop the mast’ photo!
Panoramic view of our anchorage.