Day 37, Year 1: On the Road Again
Date: Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Weather: Blue, Sunny Skies but Cold, Rough Seas
Morning Outside Air Temperature: 28 degrees F
Evening Outside Air Temperature: 35 degrees F
Water Temperature: 56.4 degrees F
Location: Solomons, Western Shore of Maryland, Calvert Marina
We woke this morning to blue, sunny skies, but it soon became obvious that the weather had turned even colder. We took a short walk through Oxford to say goodbye to our home for the past couple of weeks and found that puddles were crusted with ice. Once back at the boat, we saw that our dock lines were also covered with ice. But cold or no cold, we felt like it was time to pull in the dock lines and head out of Dodge . . . well, I mean Oxford. After a long month of waiting and working to install the new engine, we really wanted to be on the road again. Tonight, in celebration, we listened to a Willie Nelson CD while eating dinner. Willie and Leon Russells’s rendition of “On the Road Again” is one of our favorites. And tonight, anyone in the Calvert Marina (and possibly in Solomons) shared this with us as we blared the song on our CD player. We thought it was just playing on the speakers inside the boat, but when we later went outside, we realized we had forgotten to set the balance and that we were sharing with all in hearing distance.
Today’s run to the Patuxent River across the Chesapeake was going to be our new engine shake down cruise. And that it became. As we exited the Tred Avon River going into the Choptank River, the seas were very rough and we were headed directly into a 25 knot wind. All I could think is, “Here we go again!” Windbird’s bow dug into the waves and the new Yanmar engine got a workout. I felt like we were back to the night of Day 4 and early morning of Day 5 entering the Delaware Bay. Anything and everything not tied down instantly went flying. We had fully planned to get everything secured before heading offshore, but we just haven’t had the time. Last night we put the engine room walls back in place. This once again gave us access to the v-berth, but I just had to throw everything we had bought while in Oxford on the v-berth and hoped that it would stay there until I could get things put away. Wrong. It was now all back on the cabin floor.
Putting the new engine under such strain made us a bit nervous, so we called our engine doctor to make sure we were doing the right thing. David assured us that things all sounded normal, so we proceeded. As we turned to enter the Chesapeake, the winds and waves became manageable as now the winds were behind us. We arrived in Solomons at about 2:30 and took the opportunity to fill fuel tanks before heading to our home for tonight on the T-dock off Shed E at Calvert Marina. As it turns out, this will be our home for Thanksgiving Day as well. Weather reports are forecasting strong winds from the south up to 40 knots tomorrow with waves 3-5 feet. That would be tough going, so we have decided to wait out the weather here and head further south in the Chesapeake on Friday morning. We should reach the Hampton-Norfolk area on Saturday, and it is currently looking like we could actually head offshore on Sunday. We will continue to watch our friend, the weather, and keep you updated on our plans. Hope with us that the new engine will continue to perform like a champion and that we will actually get our weather window to go south as early as Sunday. That would be a wonderful gift.
Right now it is precipitating icy rain/snow here and we are just glad to be at a dock with shore power that allows us to have heat. Actually, it is amazing how quickly you acclimate to living outside with the cold weather. LL Bean wool sweaters, Patagonia silk long underwear, Smart Wool socks, and good old blue jeans, along with a fall windbreaker is really all that is needed right now to keep us warm during the day as long as we stay inside the cockpit enclosure. We are holding off on wearing the foul weather gear until it is really cold. Hope we don’t have to use it!! At this point it looks like it could be possible that a week from now we could be across the Gulf Stream and into warmer waters. Here’s hoping . . .