Sailing To New York City

Sailing To The Head Of Chesapeake Bay (continued)

Click on the picture to display a chart for where we anchored in the Elk River. (104 kb) Use your browser's "back" command to return here.  

Jerome had picked out a spot on the Elk River where he wanted to anchor, and once we got a couple of miles up the river, he angled over towards the wooded shore of Elk Neck and began slowly motoring, sounding out the anchorage. We anchored without difficulty, although the depths were greater than expected so he let out lots of chain and snubber. We wanted to be extra secure tonight because strong thunderstorms are in the forecast due to a front coming through.

We were all settled in by 2:15 pm, and once the boat was still and we no longer had the cooling breeze from motoring, it felt beastly hot and humid. Our surroundings were otherwise very pleasant, with a densely wooded shoreline on either side of us (next to us was a state park). There were several snug-looking coves along this part of the Elk River, but unfortunately they were too shallow for sailboats. So instead of tucking into a cove, we had to anchor out in the river. Just south of us, we could see numerous boats on moorings in the river (I think it was a private club).

The Elk River has a strong tidal current, so the boat swung to the current and reversed direction every time the tide changed. After we arrived, the tide was nearly slack and Jerome had wanted to go swimming. But by the time he suited up and we deployed the boarding ladder, the tide had progressed and the current was quite strong. He considered tying a rope around himself so he couldn't drift away from the boat, but it looked a little too risky. Anyway, he got far enough down the ladder to get his legs wet, but that's as far as he went. (Another problem is that the boarding ladder is really for climbing out of dinghies, and not for climbing out of the water, which would be quite difficult.)

To make the cockpit more habitable, we deployed the awning. Afterwards, we had chips and salsa in the cockpit; Jerome turned on the cockpit stereo so we could enjoy some classical music (a favorite of all three of us). For dinner, Jerome divvied up the rotisserie chicken and served up a substantial salad, items we got from Whole Foods. We had a very pleasant dinner in the cockpit (using the cockpit table), with good conversation and a background of classical music.

In the evening we got a little rain but the worst storms passed to the north. We could see faraway lightning including some that was bright and impressive, but only the distant rumbling reached us. While I was sitting in the cockpit watching the nighttime lightning show, I happened to see green blinking lights streaking over the water near the boat. These were fireflies being blown across the river by the stiff breeze. Once they got out over the river, their blinking green lights looked like quick flash navigation lights on channel buoys.

The wind picked up a little and was occasionally breezy, but it affected the boat in a strange way. Normally, you anchor somewhere with minimal current, so if there is wind, the boat will slue around and point into the wind. Therefore, on an anchored boat, it's very common to feel the wind coming from the direction of the bow. But on the Elk River, the current is strong enough that it causes the boat to point into the current. Even a stiff breeze is not enough to overpower the current and point the boat into the wind. Sitting in the cockpit, we could feel the stiff breeze come in over the stern.

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