May 23-31, 2012... Chesapeake Gunkholing & Potomac River

First stop, Fishing Bay, Deltaville, VA. We have a soft spot in our hearts for this place because this is where we found Anhinga. We sailed downwind from the Poquoson trying out wing-on-wing, and it worked! A really pleasant, civilized way to travel. Pulling into the broad expanse of Fishing Bay is easy and kayaking options abound. We didn't waste any time and set out exploring Moore Creek (amazingly beautiful) and other spots on the Piankatank River. Our wildlife encounters were typical of the Bay, but we did kayak across a snake (!) and a muskrat. (OK - not on the scale of the alligator encounter, admittedly...)

Next we went to Gwynn's Island across from Fishing Bay. Many vacation homes here, but the local watermen are still out crabbing and oystering. Lots of history in this little place, and we walked to the cemetery to learn about the families that embraced it. This being Memorial Day weekend, a fair number of people were around boating and we joined in, kayaking to the beach. And to celebrate going on land for the first time in a week, we ate out in the one restaurant on the island. Love those crab cakes and hush puppies.

Now the big trip up to Washington DC, traveling the length of the Potomac River - almost 100 miles from the Chesapeake. The southern Potomac is HUGE, and there were times that we couldn't really tell that we were in a river and not out on the Bay. Our first anchorage was up Smith Creek and we just loved that place - a gorgeous cove with no houses and very protected water. The second day out we rocked and rolled up the river. What started out as a sporty sail ended up a bit scary (for weak sister Patti) as the weather started to deteriorate and the waves built and crashed. About a third of the way up the Potomac we cut the day short and ducked into the Wicomico River and anchored off Wicomico Beach in front of mansions. Yet another beautiful place. Day three couldn't be more different that the day before. Zero wind, flat mirror-like water on the Potomac. Motoring, we drove till heading into our last anchorage, the Port Tobacco River, where after skirting a zillion crab pots we anchored in yet another terrific spot and listened to not a sound other than the church bells from up the hill.

And finally, day four, we had some wind, but not enough for sailing, so we motorsailed. Having had careers centered in Washington DC and its environs, we spent many years in places we now saw from the water. How fabulous - we got a little choked up as we went under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and saw Alexandria to the left, the Washington and Jefferson Monuments straight ahead, and the Capitol off to the right. We even saw the Cathedral up on the hill in NW DC. Turning off to go around Hains Point, we went past the beautiful grounds of the National Defense University and anchored off the Capital Yacht Club, smack dab in the middle of town. The contrast to the quiet anchorages of the lower Potomac was incredible. The cacophony of traffic on the SW-SE freeway, planes taking off from National Airport, and the Presidential helicopters flying low over us on their way to and from the White House reminded us that we weren't in Kansas anymore. But we are thrilled to be back!

Fishing Bay, VA: +37° 32' 21.30", -76° 20' 4.38"
Gwynn's Island, VA: +37° 29' 33.48", -76° 17' 42.90"
Smith Creek, MD: +38° 7' 25.56", -76° 24' 53.88"
Wicomico River, MD: +38° 18' 24.78", -76° 50' 53.94"
Port Tobacco River, MD: +38° 26' 52.20", -77° 2' 14.04"
Washington DC: +38° 52' 40.26", -77° 1' 36.72"

No comments:

Post a Comment