Hey world, it’s been a minute. We’ve left Stout at our very generous friend Mike’s house in Virginia, and got a ride back to Philly to visit friends and family this week before finally heading south. Since our last post, we’ve navigated through fog, withstood days of sustained 25 knots with 40 knot gusts, nearly lost our dinghy, traveled with some awesome Canadian friends, learned how to catch blue crabs and oysters. Maybe that hooks you into the ridiculously long post that’s about to happen.
After we left St. Michaels, when last I wrote, we sailed all the way up to Chestertown, at the end of the Chester River, to meet my family and a couple of friends for the tall ship festival there. It was an awesome weekend, so much fun. We were sad to see everyone leave.
We had our new folding bikes shipped to my family’s house and they brought them down when they came to visit. As people who traveled exclusively by bike in Philly, we are excited to be able to ride around and run errands. But even in their folded state, they don’t really fit well anywhere. After they sat on the settees for a few days, I dismantled one of them in a fit of rage and discovered that if we take off the wheels, kickstand, and rack, we can make them disappear pretty well. So far we’ve decided that the positives of having bikes outweigh the negatives.
After leaving Chestertown, we went back down the Chester river and made a series of big leaps down the Bay. We had two weeks to meander and end up where we are now, off the Corrotoman River. Our route was to go down through Kent Narrows into the Eastern Bay, then south to the towns of Oxford and Cambridge, then to cross over the Western side of the bay to Solomons Island, and then up the Rappahannock River to our friend Mike’s house.
The day after Kent Narrows, we woke up to fog and drizzle. The fog wasn’t too bad so we got underway, but the only other people on the water were duck hunters. We went through Knapps Narrows Bridge, another tiny drawbridge that allows boats to cut through the shoaly Tilghman Island, and then sailed all the way to Oxford, MD, land of beautiful parks.
After a day in Oxford, we headed to Cambridge, where our lives would forever change! We tied up to the free seawall there, and met two other small boats heading south. Hannah and David of Cicindele (a Hurley 24) started from Ontario, and Louie of his 28-foot Pearson which has a French name I cannot spell, started from Quebec. We were so happy to meet other small boat people traveling on the cheap, and these guys take it to a new extreme. Hannah and David have spent $5 on food since they left Ontario. They do this by possessing immense self control, being expert foragers, and finding entire untouched cases of food in dumpsters behind super markets. Their blog is called The Free Life. Louie says he was running out of money until he met them, and now he’s the richest man in the world!
We had so much fun traveling with these guys for a week. We still hope to catch up with them at some point on the coast. Sailing with other people made us push ourselves much farther, and we went out in conditions we wouldn’t have gone out in by ourselves.
There were a couple of days sailing with these guys when the wind got up to 40 knots, and the waves were short and choppy and about 7 feet. This was more than we had ever had to handle before, but after some panicking mostly on my part, we realized that Stout can take a lot more weather than we can.
And then our dinghy Hell’n was almost lost. One rough day, we made the mistake of trailing her behind us. With each wave it would either yank hard on the towing line, or it would ride down and slam into the back of the big boat. To make matters worse, at one point we realized that it was slowly taking on water. So we tried to hove-to, brought the dinghy alongside the boat, and Kasy hung over the edge of the boat and bailed out the dinghy while I got in the fetal position in the cockpit, shoving the tiller over and clinging to Kasy’s foot. (He was clipped to the boat, but still.)
And then, the dinghy line escaped Kasy’s hand and we watched the little boat float away from us. Ten panicked minutes and a few sail changes later, we managed to chase the rogue dinghy through 7-foot waves until I could grab its towing line with the boat hook.
So we traveled in a regatta with our new friends across the bay to Solomons Island, then across the mighty Potomac River, eventually landing in the little town of Deltaville on the southern side of the Rappahannock. Every night, we would row over to one of our boats, make awesome food and hang out.
After Deltavile, sadly, we departed from our friends. They kept heading south down the ICW, while we went up the Rappahannock River to our friend Mike’s place, where we were greeted by two friends from Pier 3 in Philly who are also staying there before they head south. After three days of Mike’s generous hospitality, Matt and Roza’s international cooking, and wandering around the woods with Scooter the Australian shepherd, we drove with Mike to Philly.
And what’s the first thing we do here? Obviously, go sailing. We went out on the Delaware River with our friend Andy, who we met in Chesapeake City. What an awesome day of sailing, plus after chugging along at 5 knots for a couple of months, sailing in Schrappie (Pierson Ariel) felt like flying. We went out all day and came back down the Delaware to this sunset over Philly.
If you find it difficult to keep track of our meanderings, it’s no wonder. It’s hard to even write about it clearly because we’ve moved almost every day for the past month. But that’s the awesome part about sailing, you can always go somewhere different.
We will write again when we’re back on the water, if our fingers aren’t frozen off!