Bad seas on Chesapeake Bay

Melvyn Brown
Mon 8 Nov 2010 18:18

37: 41.9N 76:21.0W


We left Indian Creek dressed in four layers (including thermal vests), gloves, bobble hat and scarf at first light (by the way, the clocks went back here, so we are back to being five hours behind you).  The waters were still and gave no indication as to what was to come when we got out into the Bay.  Melvyn would describe the sea as “lumpy” but it was awful with waves two or three feet high coming from one direction and smaller waves coming at us from another.  I wasn’t persuaded by Melv’s usual “it will be better when we get around the headland” or “when the tide turns it will be OK” or “when we change direction in a while it won’t be so bad” and barely hanging on to my breakfast I insisted we look for shelter.  Fortunately we had only just passed the point where we would have to turn towards a harbour with marinas and recommended safe anchorage, and so we took a right angle and were then subjected to a really awful wave action until we neared the shore.  And that’s how we came to be here in Deltaville, Virginia on the Rappahannock River.


There were already some yachts anchored when we arrived about noon and over the course of the next few hours others arrived (so it wasn’t just me!).  As it was our intention to set off again this morning we opted to anchor rather than go into the marina.  The boat remained still but I listened to the wind in the rigging most of the night and was unconvinced the weather had improved.  We set the alarm for 5.30 (we have lost the hour’s daylight at the other end of the day) but before I donned all the usual layers I insisted we tuned into the local radio and got a weather forecast.  ’15 to 20 knots gusting to 25, two to three foot waves’.   At 9 o’clock we phoned the marina and booked a berth.  Apparently the weather is not set to improve until Thursday (gusting 30 tomorrow), but there are worse places to be stuck awaiting a change in the weather (Atlantic City for one).  The marina has all the facilities you could possible want including swimming pool, BBQs, lounge (with TV, Videos, board games etc) and a lawned area with volley ball net.  It is easy to imagine it would be a very lively community during the summer months.  No question as to the BBQ food of choice….this is a photograph of the dumpster and the pile of oyster shells next to it:



We met some other ‘transients’.  Both couples were heading for the Bahamas.  I commented upon how cold it was on the boat and one of the women told us of the little butane heater they have on the boat and what a Godsend it was and they could be found in the local hardware store.  This marina also has bicycles and while I did the laundry (I’m going to write a book to complement the Intracoastal Waterway Charts called “Laundrettes of the East Coast””) Melv cycled into town and got one.