Finally headed to the Chesapeake!

On Tuesday the 19th, we finally pointed the bow south, after rounding Sandy Hook.

The wind was beautiful, just aft of the beam, keeping us moving well and with a comfortable motion. We expected to reach the entrance to Delaware Bay the following morning, spending all night working our way down the coast of New Jersey. The afternoon was entirely uneventful, which was fine by us. Sunset and moonrise were quite pretty.

Cecelia really wanted to see the stars, so she went up for a few minutes to check them out before heading to bed.

I went to sleep too, and Patrick got me up around 1 for my watch. We were just passing Atlantic City.

It was a pretty dark night, and clear, too. I spent some time playing with my Night Sky app to identify some constellations. Only managed to get a clear photo of one of them, though!

A little while later, I noticed what seemed to be a strange reddish light following us off our port aft quarter. It looked too low and steady to be a plane, but too oddly colored (and too high) to be a light on a boat mast…I puzzled about it for a while and then looked at Night Sky again, only to realize it was Venus! Didn’t get a photo but it was pretty cool!

I woke Patrick up around 5:15 for his watch, and we traded spots. He woke me up at 8:30 to help him drop the main; as predicted, the wind had died, and we weren’t planning to sail in the Delaware Bay anyway. The bay is very big and wide but has fairly narrow channels of deep water surrounded by lots of shallows. It’s a motoring kind of place.

We passed the Miah Maull Shoal light, named in honor of an 18th century sailor who drowned in a shipwreck. 

On the other side we spotted the Ship John Shoal light, named after a ship that ran aground there on Christmas Eve 1797. (Remember what I said about the bay being large but with lots of shallows?!)

Soon we were approaching the entrance to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, which makes it possible to enter into Chesapeake Bay from the north, and not have to sail all the way down the coast to Norfolk and the southern entrance.

Navigating the Canal was pretty simple – you need to catch the tide going the right direction, which we did, and just watch out for oncoming traffic. After a couple of hours we were out the other side and into the Chesapeake!

We had decided we would just anchor in the Sassafras River for a night or two before heading into Baltimore. We located a good spot to drop the anchor and then found ourselves surrounded by quiet beauty, and only one other boat.

The next day Patrick was back up the rig to inspect our anchor light, which somehow had stopped working. (It’s always something…) We spent most of the day relaxing and catching up on school from the day before.

We got another great sunset that night, and prepared to head to Baltimore the next day.

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