After a few days of Deltaville day sailing, we were finally getting our sailing chops back. Well, maybe not completely back – but enough to venture further than 10 miles. It was time to take a cruise. Even if it was only a mini-cruise….we had this need to be cruisers again.
Time is limited. Life and work is happening all around us…but wouldn’t it be great to rekindle cruising life – if just for a day or 2? We found a mini-weather window, and got back into studying the weather, the gribs and how quickly the winds were clocking in the southern Chesapeake Bay.
With winds from the north gusting to nearly 30 knots on Sunday am, we waited til noon – and ventured out. The seas were frisky, and the winds were down to 20 knots – so we decided to cruise south to Norfolk. With following seas and fresh winds we were on course to make it to Hampton Roads by 5:30pm. And then the winds dropped to 10 knots, and our sailing speeds suffered. We made it to Hampton Roads by 7PM, as the sun was setting, and motored another 2 hours against an ebb tide to make it to our destination in downtown Norfolk at the Waterside Marina. All was good, but we were rusty with this “cruising thing”, and forgot to factor ebb tides into our timetables. Details for next time!
Fortunately, the winds were from the north on our 2nd day of this “cruising”….so we “had” to stay put. With my bod in desperate need of WD-40, from hoisting, pulling and trimming sails…a day of rest at the Waterside Marina is a beautiful thing. We wandered around downtown Norfolk….being tourists, and getting some much needed coffee at the nearest ‘bucks. Caffeined-up, we checked out the size of the WWII battleship Wisconsin…and thought about ways to turn old battleships into something more useful. Such as dorm rooms for students….or fixed rent housing….I mean come’on…these ships are enormous, and seem to be built really well. Why not make them a bit more useful?
Back at Cat Maudy, we studied the weather and decided to take the weather window to return back to Deltaville – the next day. South winds 10-15 knots would be ideal. Having learned our lesson during our cruise to Norfolk, we even checked the tide tables.
We departed Norfolk at the crack of dawn (6:30AM)…for a 1.5 hour motor through the downtown shipping channel. During this time, we nearly ran into a barge. It’s not that we didn’t see it coming…we did…but for some reason we were mesmerized by the barge crane thing…and didn’t notice it was heading straight for us until the tug boat captain hailed us on channel 16. Whoopsi!
At the mouth of the bay, the winds were in the low 10-15 range, and we made our first tack toward Cape Charles. A few dolphins appeared as our guide, and it is always exciting to see these creatures befriend you. Another tack, and we were near the mouth of Mobjack Bay. With winds directly behind us, we sailed wing-n-wing for the next several hours. And by the time we reached the Fishing Bay entrance to Deltaville — the winds had freshened up to 15 knots southeast, for a perfect sail finale!
Despite the short cruise (3 days)…it was a tasty cruise….and reminded us how much we enjoyed – and missed our cruising lifestyle. But for now, we’ll take each and every mini-cruise we can get!