We made our first trip to the dock at Joy’s Marina to check on Orion on Monday the 4th. It was the first of a seemingly endless string of blustery days. But luckily for us, it was a warm one. We scrubbed the deck and checked out the boat inside and out. She looked good, having fared well over the mild winter. But we needed to get her ready for the trip north and to look her best on the brokerage lot. With the weather forecast, we would have time to get her ready. We weren’t going to be able to go anywhere.
But to head up the bay, we would need to live on the boat for a few days. That required more systems be made operational. The fresh water tanks were flushed of antifreeze, wiped down on the inside and sanitized with bleach. Once topped off, the water was drinkable again. Dave plumbed the hot water heater back into line. The fridge was turned on. We tested the stove top and oven. For comfort underway, Cathy hung the bimini, waterproofed it and hung the forward panels of the enclosure. In the process, one of the windows developed a crack in it. So Cathy pulled out the sewing machine to replace the Strataglass. Love that Sailrite. Dave checked the instruments and discovered a loose connection that, once secured, restored the depth and boat speed.
In final preparation, we provisioned with food and supplies, added diesel, and made sure we had enough tools to make any (hopefully unnecessary) repairs. In our spare time, we studied the weather for the trip. The winds just weren’t letting up. Days of NE 15 to 20. When would we be able to leave? While we waited, Cathy continued with the Cetol and waxing the upper deck. Unexpectedly, we woke up Thursday, April 14th and there was a slight break. Yes, it was still NE 15 to 20 in the southern bay, but if we plowed through that, we would be rewarded with light winds for the rest of the trip. If we waited, the weather further north was likely to deteriorate.
We decided this was our window.
In record time, we packed up, closed up the RV (which included defrosting the freezer), picked up some last minute groceries and headed to the boat. From the time we first woke up to the time we pulled out of the slip was only 3 hours. We were finally underway.
The forecast was, for once, very accurate. As we rounded Old Point Comfort and turned north, the wind and waves were were working together to take a toll on our speed. Our only company was the cargo ships and tugs working their way north and south. Luckily, the part of the forecast that had the winds diminishing was accurate as well. By mid-afternoon, we had picked up speed and Orion was no longer taking waves over the bow.
We were hoping to make it to Annapolis in 2 days instead of the normal 3. How far could we get this first day? Deltaville? Mill Creek on Great Wicomico? Reedville? What about Indian Creek? We could see Rusty and Joy. A quick exchange with them gave us access to a dock at their yacht club, but unfortunately no facetime. They were busy this evening and we had to leave before dawn. We were tying up to the dock as the sun slipped below the horizon. It quickly started to get cold. Having eaten while underway, we just took showers and crashed.
However, by the time we were at the Navy targets, the engine had stalled and we were adrift. A quick call to our mechanic confirmed what Dave had suspected. Since the Racor filter bowls were clear and changing filters had not had any effect, we assumed the problem was the on-engine filter, which hadn’t been changed before the trip. We took advantage of our BoatUS towing insurance to be towed into Zahniser’s in Solomon’s. Although it was just before closing, their engine mechanic was soon on board changing the filter and confirming that the problem was simply the older fuel that had been in the filter. We were good to go.
Our unexpected arrival in Solomons happened to coincide with the Tiki Bar season opening – a BIG event for the community. The roads were closed and the sidewalks clogged with patrons. The docks just off the bar were also filled with partiers. It was something to see. Not normally our thing, but we did manage to find some amazingly good ribs when we investigated.
Only this time, we were traveling by car.
We managed to have a couple of visits with Cathy’s sister Grace and her husband John who moved to Raleigh last year. We stopped while passing through on our way north and, taking a break from all the boat work, made a quick trip to celebrate our great-nephews’ birthdays. Grace’s youngest daughter, Ann, was visiting from South Korea with her little ones. Her visit was timed perfectly to celebrate the first birthday for the 2 youngest grandsons born with a couple of weeks of each other. And much of Cathy’s family from NC came for the celebration. It was good to see everyone, especially since we would have little time together this summer.
We squeezed in a brief visit with our daughter’s family and with our son’s family as well. It’s hard to get a summer’s worth of togetherness into a few days.