16 – 24 October 2013: Havre de Grace to Pooles Island, Maryland – 39 17N 76 15W
Haul Out Time
After we entered Chesapeake Bay from the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal we turned right and headed north to the mouth of the Susquehanna River and the small town of Havre de Grace. We had the small marina and yard there recommended to us as an affordable and professional place to haul, and Balvenies bottom was ready for a tickle up.
Now Tidewater Marina doesn’t have much water and we knew that depth might be an issue so we timed the high tides just after full moon to give ourselves the best chance of going in and getting out without burrowing through the muddy bottom. With just over an 8 foot draft Balvenie would be the deepest draft boat they had ever hauled and no one was actually sure if they would have enough scope to lift us high enough out of the water to clear the land!!
With 6 extremely professional staff on hand waiting to guide us into the very snug haul out pen, we immediately felt we were in good hands and that if it was possible to get us out, they would make it happen. It was quite entertaining for us to watch their faces as the lifting began, our keel just kept on coming, up out of the water: you could see they thought it would never end!
Life On The Hard Again
All went well and we spent the next three days cleaning and painting Balvenies bottom, getting her sparkly clean and slick for our upcoming season in the Caribbean. We also had use of the marina courtesy car so took the opportunity to fill gas bottles, provision with heavy grocery items and replace our house battery bank, all so much easier to do while on shore, with car and without a dinghy ride.
We splashed again on high tide but with less water and floated back out to the mooring field – almost without incident. We detoured to the fuel dock to fill up with fuel and water but glided to a halt on a muddy shallow – new antifoul only one day old and our first grounding!! oh well, welcome to the shallow Chesapeake.
Off to Explore Inland
We took the time to drive to neighbouring Pennsylvania. We went through the nearby Susquehanna State Park, the autumn colours were ablaze, never before have we seen trees in so many colours. We have always heard of the famous colours of fall in New England and we had seen the beginning of the colours changing further north but now we were seeing the colours at there absolute prime, they were outstanding.
Passing Through the Amish Community
Moving down Chesapeake Bay
With winds forecast out of the west/northwest for a few days it wasn’t an ideal window for us to start heading southwest but the weather really was cooling down. We were staying snug inside the boat with our little portable gas heater but the lure of warmer weather and the departure of the upcoming Salty Dawgs Rally from Virginia looming we dropped our mooring line and headed down the bay.
We were hard on the wind, our new headsail performing well with a double reefed main, but when the wind just refused to move from a westerly, started gusting over 30knots and the odd wave came over and into the cockpit we decided to call it a day and took shelter at nearby Pooles Island for the night.