Mosey On and crew have begun our 2016 northbound cruise, leaving our home port at River Dunes, NC on June 1st in tandem with good friends aboard their trawler, the Mari Me. We would ‘buddy-boat’ the well-traveled route up the Neuse River to Pamlico Sound, the Pamlico River to the Pungo River, to join with the Alligator River north to Albemarle Sound. We crossed just ahead of the weather system offshore named Tropical Storm Bonnie. The shallow waters and stiff, wind-blown chop of the Sound littered with crab pots (traps) in our path all lived up to their reputation for a challenging crossing. Once across, we were back within the protected waters of the North River, Coinjock Bay, Currituck Sound, the North Landing River, and finally the man-made Chesapeake and Albemarle Canal into Norfolk. For those who have not seen the American Inter-Coastal Waterway (ICW), aka “The Ditch”, our four day passage from near Oriental, NC to Norfolk (approx. 175 statute miles) was typical of the waterway all the way down to its southern end in Biscayne Bay, FL. Always shallow, sometimes a ditch, more often a river or a series of markers to follow across tidal flats and marshes, navigating the ICW is a fact of life for cruisers along the mid-Atlantic coast. From our home port, we would otherwise have had to travel a day south to Beaufort, NC (toward the northbound Tropical Storm Bonnie) to reach a passage to the ocean. Only then could we have turned the boats northward and around Cape Hatteras to safe harbor in Norfolk.
Aboard Mosey On this summer, “The Plan” [very broadly constructed] is to cruise Chesapeake Bay, its rivers and backwaters with an emphasis on the Bay’s Eastern Shore. We want to check out the old waterman towns like Cape Charles, Onancock, Crisfield, Oxford, Cambridge, and St. Michaels. We’ll explore the Choptank River (site of Michener’s book “Chesapeake”), the Wye River (a favorite of ours), and the Chester River, meandering up (not surprisingly) to Chestertown, MD. To do all this, Mosey On and crew will be dealing with lots of shallow water. Last summer’s cruise to Maine was almost entirely in deep waters with wide tidal swings. In the rock strewn harbors and passages there, we were extra cautious to keep sufficient water beneath Mosey’s keel to avoid any granite surprises. But to explore the Chesapeake, we will have to use the high tides to get over the shallow spots en route to a deeper anchorage or marina. Once there, we may find Mosey On comfortably planted in the soft mud on the bottom. To leave, we will just have to await the next high. It’s a mental adjustment for me, but that’s how it’s been done for hundreds of years! Mosey On is tied-up in just such a shallow cove up the North River off Mobjack Bay. It’s a very hot weekend and we’re in no rush. A blue heron is stalking the shore for lunch and we’ve seen crabs swimming past the stern. In a few days we’ll slip over the shallows on a high tide and head north to Solomons Island and a visit with family. I think it’s a GOOD PLAN so far….
Too Hot to Mosey On….