Lagoon 52 delivery

So we’re back in Maryland, sailing someone else’s catamaran down the Bay in below freezing temperatures and gale force winds. I guess we were getting a little too soft in Key West and needed the kind of ass kicking only the Chesapeake in the wintertime can give you.

Wait. What?

Let me rewind to just two short days ago: it was a beautiful sunny afternoon and Matt and I were frolicking down Duval Street, celebrating one of our last days in Key West. We’d been analyzing the weather and decided that the end of the week would be the perfect window for us to leave for the Bahamas. Somewhere between the Whistle Bar and Sloppy Joe’s, he got a call from his old company asking if we would want to help deliver their brand new 52′ Lagoon catamaran from Annapolis to Ft. Lauderdale.  It took us all of 3.2 seconds to agree to do it. Sailing a million dollar yacht with two of our good friends from back home? Sounded like a pretty good time to us!  We managed to book ourselves on the first flight out the next morning and less than 24 hours later, we’re baaaack!!

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Woah. Talk about what a shock to the system it was getting off that plane. I can’t believe how cold it is here. Going from 80 to 8 degrees in a matter of hours, sucks.  We’ve asked each other ‘What the hell are we doing?’ about two dozen times already. The bitter wind hit us and took our breath away and froze our hands so much they burned, and again we thought, ‘Are we crazy?’ The irony that we were back in Annapolis on a boat – a place I swore I’d never be after last winter – was not lost on us.

But what a beauty she is. Even covered in ice and snow.

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Even though we were only home for about 24 hours, it was great to see some familiar faces, especially my family who met us in Annapolis for dinner. But as quickly as we arrived, it was time to leave again. By high noon the following day, Matt, Mischelle, Chris and I were off the dock and headed south down the bay in a luxury sailing yacht that we would be calling home for the next week. Awesome.

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The sunset pretty much summed up the first leg of our trip: serene, peaceful, comforting…one if those ‘this is so awesome right now’ moments.  We never in our wildest dreams thought this is where we’d be earlier in the week, that’s for sure.

Unfortunately, the moment didn’t last.  Over the course of the night the wind picked up to a howling 25-30mph that transformed the Bay into an icy version of Dante’s Inferno. 6′ waves and strong gusts made even this huge 52′ boat feel like a bath toy. We were getting slammed from all over. All.Night.Long.

At one point the MD State Police had a spotlight on our boat from the air because they thought we were a boat they received a distress signal from. It took us nearly 20 minutes of reassuring them that all persons onboard were accounted for and that we were not in distress. They must have thought we were crazy as all hell for being our there (voluntarily) in the first place and wanted to triple check that we’re were all sane.

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It was such a long, crazy, sleepless night, we all huddled in the galley the next morning feeling like a bunch of PTSD survivors. Check out what the boat looked like…

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It took us nearly 20 hours to get to Deltaville, VA which is still about 5 hours north of Norfolk. Were hanging out here thru the night to let the water calm down before we head offshore tomorrow. Here’s hoping the rest of the trip goes a little smoother than our first night!

We’re really missing Key West right now! Ha!

Reedville, VA

We ended up staying in Solomon’s Island an extra night to hang out with friends that were coming in town for the weekend.  It was a gorgeous day and we had no place else to be, so we thought, what the hell, why not?, and spent our day lounging in the sun and reading books.  It was pretty much perfect.  Last night we went out to dinner and had a nice night hanging out with our friends, Arjen and Kaitlin and Matty O and his wife and daughter one more time before leaving the state.  Thanks for the fun night!  We’ll miss you guys!

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This morning we pulled anchor around 8:00 and hit the local marina to fill up our water tanks, drop off some trash and to get a bag of ice before we headed out.  Matt grabbed a few bucks to pay for the ice and tip the dockhand and was back on board about 30 seconds later to grab the .17 cents he was short.  This was after he had tipped the dock hand five bucks for doing nothing other than placing our bag of ice onto our deck.  No line handling or operating the diesel pump, or pumping out the waste from our holding tank.  Just straight up placing a bag of ice the three feet onto our boat. Probably the easiest five bucks she made all day.  And she couldn’t cover us on the .17 cents.  Matt really needs to recalibrate his tipping.

As we rounded the island and entered the bay we were trying to figure up what combination of sails to put up since there was pretty much no wind and we had a lot of water to cover today.  We tried just the main sail first, then did a combination of main/front sail, doing maybe 4.5 knots at best.  We noticed the light breeze was coming right from behind so we made the call to drop the other two sails and just put our spinnaker out.  None of the other boats had their spinnaker out so we weren’t sure if we were making the right call.  Sure enough as soon as we put it up we heard some chatter on the VHF of other boats calling each other to say that they were also going to put their spinnaker up.  Looks like we made the right call.  Maybe we’re not such rookies after all.

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The winds eventually died down to the point where we were going just 2.5 knots, which is pretty much the speed of a power walk.  We decided this was unacceptable and turned the engines on to motor sail a bit.  Throughout the day we kept on working on our sail configurations, trying everything we could to just stay above five knots.  I probably pulled out/in the genoa about eight times plus cranked the main and spinnaker up once each.  Matt was really putting me thru the paces today.  I’ll admit it, doing so helped me make sense of how all of the lines worked, but I’m definitely going to need some Advil with my coffee tomorrow morning. I have a feeling I’m going to go from Olive Oil to Popeye on this trip.

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It feels great to escape the craziness of Annapolis and be essentially alone out on the bay, except for a few sailboats way out in the distance and the occasional freighter.  We just set our autopilot and forget it, checking every few minutes to make sure we’re still on course and that we’re not going to run into everything.  Back in Annapolis, this would have been impossible with all of the boats crowded into such a small space.  The only thing we really need to keep an eye out for is the crab traps that will pop up seemingly out of nowhere, even miles off the shore.  We’ll put the autopilot on standby and hand steer thru them, which was about our excitement of the day.  Other than that it’s reading, tinkering, throwing a fishing line out, munching, repeat. For hours and hours on end.

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We keep seeing these fish traps in the bay too.  At first I couldn’t figure out what the hell they were, as they just look like a bunch of sticks poking up out of the water.  Centuries later and this is the most advanced thing the fishermen out here can come up with?

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So, we’re anchored up for the night in Reedville, VA, just a few miles short of our original destination of Deltaville.  We pulled into this huge bay, maybe a mile wide and deep with plenty of good anchorage, making sure to spread out from the half dozen or so boats that were already here.  We dropped anchor, had a beer while we waited to make sure it set properly, and watched as another boat pulled up not fifty feet off our right side and dropped his anchor.  Seriously?  This whole bay is wide open and this guy gets so close to us we can practically have a conversation with him.

We’re planning to wake up at the crack of dawn tomorrow and get an early start down the bay again.  We have a reservation at a marina in Norfolk tomorrow & Monday and are looking forward to spending some time on land before we start down the long and tedious track of the ICW.  Plus Walking Dead is on tomorrow night and we really want to watch it.  If we could plan it so we’re at a marina every Sunday from here until we leave for the Bahamas, we would totally do it.

Solomon’s Island, MD

Hey, anyone notice that it’s getting COLD?!?  We sure have.  Finally broke down last night and ran the generator so we could turn on our heat.  We went from 55 degrees to a balmy 78 degrees in about 15 minutes.  Not sure why we chose to wait so long and freeze our asses off the past two nights.  While the heat was cranked up, I took a shower (which taking a shower on a boat is a whole other experience in itself).  When I went to turn on the shower pump to pump out the water, I noticed that it wasn’t draining.  So, here I am with a hair full of shampoo and water lapping at my ankles with no place to go.  Uhhhh….  Turns out that when we disconnected the pump back when we did our big boat haul out, we forgot to reprime it, and it had no suction to pump the water out.  We Matt got it working again, but I’m certain that won’t be the last surprise in store for us this trip.  Oh boy, it’s an adventure already.

This morning we woke up and pulled anchor around 9:00am, ready to make the next leg of our trip south.  Being in the South River for a few days made us pretty antsy and we were really ready to be on our way.  As soon as we got out into the bay, we were greeted with 25 knot winds and 4-5′ waves.  Woah.  We attempted to put our main up, but decided not to push fate on our first big trip out.  Smart move too, because with just our genoa up, we were cruising at a steady 7 knots, with our max speed at 11.5 – a personal best for the boat.

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Matt tried to throw a line out to catch some rockfish, but I think we were going to fast for anything to bite.  The speed was great, but let me tell you – it was f’ing COLD.  Both of us were bundled up in our coldgear with our offshore jackets bundled as tight as we could get them.  I was trying to answers some emails and my fingers were too numb to type.  Glad we’re hauling ass because I can not tell you how excited I am for warmer weather.

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Despite the rough seas, our iPad managed to stay put right where we left it last night.  Bonus point for having a catamaran…. I bet that thing would be bouncing off the walls in a monohull.

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So we finally get into Solomon’s Island at 4:00pm.  As soon as we rounded the point we had the wind blowing directly into our face, dropping our speed form 7.5 knots to 3.5 knots.  It seriously felt like we were going backwards.  #needforspeed

We did a sweep of the island and decided to anchor just up Mill Creek, which according to our Waterway Cruising Guide, provided a great protection from the wind. Not at all.  Unfortunately, it’s still “blowing like snot” as Matt likes to say.  So we attempted to anchor in some cove near other boat who looked like they were in nice and firm.  We tried to anchor twice.  Matt swore we were hooked, but I had my doubts and was not being very reassuring.  We really need to get better at this thing.   Finally, we decided that the boat was good enough and took the dinghy ashore in search of a burger and a glass of wine.

As soon as we docked the dinghy, we stumbled upon this little island oasis… I’m sure it’s a pretty happening place when it’s warm out, but it looked like a deserted shanty town today.  There was a little tiki bar next to it where I assumed you could get some good bar eats.  When we inquired about the menu, the bartender replied “Oh, we don’t serve food, hon.  Just liquor”.  Well, alrighty then… on to the next.

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So…. we wandered about 100 yards down the road to another place that did serve food, and sat down to order.  From our window seat we had a great view of our boat.  Which looked like it had majorly drifted.

SHIT!

We rushed our order thru, ran back to the dinghy, and hauled ass back to the boat.  Only to find that it hadn’t drifted at all, the wind had shifted and it just looked like it had moved.  Ugh… I really need to get used to this whole anchoring thing. Clearly we’ve been on the dock for so long I’ve grown soft and become accustomed to being tied to something that doesn’t move. That cement pier behind us will be the object of my nightmares tonight.   Getting closer and closer, like it’s chasing me.  I think I might be sleeping with one eye open just in case…

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