If you look at a map of Virginia, find where the Potomac River enters the Chesapeake Bay. Then move your finger south to just past where the Rappahannock River enters the Chesapeake Bay and you will see a spit of land that jets out known as Smith Point. That is where Deltaville is, and NO we do not get Delta Skymiles points for staying here! (Darn). We arrived here on Sunday after a beautiful day on the Chesapeake Bay, motoring up from Yorktown. We are in a marina (Dozier’s Regatta Point) and it is one of the best we have stayed in yet. Great Wi-Fi, showers, laundry and a Captains lounge open 24-hours a day. Deltaville has a population of about 500 residents, but houses over 5000+ boats amongst all the marinas in the area. It is home to many “Waterman” – a term used in the Chesapeake to reflect anyone who makes their living off of the bay (e.g. crabbers and fisherman).
Here is a rundown of our activities over the last few days:
Wednesday & Thursday (5/6 & 5/7): We continued attending the lectures for the AGLCA Rendezvous and enjoyed meeting and getting to know more cruisers. Already we are forming friendships and learning so much from those who have done this trip, or parts of it. Wednesday evening we had cocktails with fellow loopers Chuck & Vicky Stapleton aboard their boat (“Patriot”). They have both served in the FBI (now retired) and Vicky grew up in Alabama – very familiar with Heflin and the surrounding areas. Like us, they are quite vocal about not being able to take their guns into Canada (no surprise there) or NY and other states. They were very interesting and shared many stories of their work in service of our nation.
Thursday night was the final dinner as a group and several awards and door prizes were given out. We came away with a free t-shirt from one of the sponsor’s; now 2 new ones for Denise and 1 for Mark.
Friday (5/8): We left Norfolk early in the morning hoping to avoid heavy winds and seas on the Chesapeake Bay. Locals will tell you that the wind builds during the day, and it can get ugly very fast if the wind and current are in opposition. We sailed north to Yorktown, VA on a pretty nice day to be on the water.
The seas were pretty flat (yes, being in the southern part of the Chesapeake is like being on the ocean because it is 30 miles wide at this point) and the wind was not too bad. The most intimidating factor was the US Navy Destroyer coming into Norfolk harbor as we were leaving. It was escorted by a large Coast Guard ship that buzzed by our boat and sent it rocking with its large wake. This is the second time we have seen the USCG have no respect for pleasure boaters – we think they think it is a game for them.
We made our way up the western shore of the Chesapeake until we came to the York River. It is quite wide, and about 10 miles up the river is Yorktown.
This location was made famous by the victorious battle which resulted in the defeat of the Brits during the American Revolution. Because we arrived early enough in the day, we had time to walk up to the visitor’s center, obtain a National Park Annual Pass, see a short movie about the battle, visit the monument and some of the battlegrounds before walking back through the old town to the marina. It is quite a beautiful place and to be able to see this historical site was fun. You can see the monument from afar and it is a great navigational aid when trying to get up the river.
Our boat sat on the inside of the East pier of the city marina near two large tourist sailing ships that take people out for daily cruises on the York River. As the day wore on the wind, and therefore the chop in the river started to build. By the time we got back to the boat, we were rocking quite a bit.We went to dinner hoping things would settle down but they did not. Before sunset were able to work with Sue the dock master to move our boat to the western pier behind a sailboat. We were so glad we did as it was much calmer there and were able to sleep well.
Saturday (5/9): In the morning we woke up to the harbor so foggy we could not see across the dock. This is the stuff they talk about when they say “Pea Soup thick” fog! It took until almost lunch time before it had burned off enough for most boats to go out on the water. In the meantime, we had talked with nieces Christen and Shannon and agreed to a time to connect. After working through a last-minute family issue, we were able to visit the farmers market Yorktown was holding in the square.
Then via the Shannon-shuttle we went to the grocery store and back to the boat before going over to Christen’s for the rest of the day. There we played with the grand-nieces and nephews, got our laundry done (thanks Christen & Chris), ate at a Mexican restaurant and topped it all off with a Fro-Yo. It was a treat to tell bed-time stories to the boys, and spend time with all the kids teaching them how to fly a kite.
It was late before we got back to the boat and we are so grateful to Christen and Shannon (and their families) for an entertaining & hospitable day. We loved seeing you all and hope it won’t be long before we get together again.
Sunday (5/10): Obviously we had been watching the weather and woke up to find that Ana had become a tropical storm with expectations of landing in Myrtle Beach, SC. We knew things were going to get bad for us weather-wise and since Denise has a webinar to give on Wednesday, we knew a good internet connection was important. So we decided to go to Deltaville and made reservations accordingly. The marina there was offering a special for all AGLCA loopers who attended the rendezvous and it would provide a safe harbor for the inevitable storm coming our way.
The problem was that when we woke up, again the fog was thick as can be. Denise was sitting there enjoying her morning coffee and all of a sudden heard a strange noise. It sounded like a big boat, but when she checked, none could be seen. After a second time hearing the noise she got up from the table in time to see a huge cruise ship pulling into the outside pier, directly across the dock. It was like something out of a movie – the ship emerged from the fog at the very last minute.
The ship was the “Independence” and is part of the American Cruise Line fleet. Their itinerary was a 6-night trip that included Yorktown and had come down from Baltimore during the night in all that fog!
We waited until just before 10:00 am when the fog seemed to be lifting a bit and decided to leave Yorktown. We have radar aboard so we were not too terribly worried, but it was nice that by the time Denise pulled the boat out of the slip, and we got under way that the visibility was at least a mile and we could safely navigate without much trouble.
It ended up being a really spectacular day on the water. The sun came out and the seas were pretty calm. We did have a period of time when we had to run where the waves were rolling us and crashing on the bow, but we had a pretty smooth ride with it.
The highlight of the trip was passing very close to Wolf Trap Lighthouse and getting some great pictures. Sister Susan, I thought of your love of lighthouses when we went by. If anyone is interested in owning a lighthouse, this one is for sale!
It was a short 3 hour run to Deltaville and we entered the harbor just as the winds started to kick up a bit. As we pulled in we were greeted by fellow loopers Kenny & Kathy Walker (“No Zip Code”) who were two slips away from us in Norfolk.
They helped us with dock lines and getting tied up, along with Madison (one of the dockhands).
Once we got settled into the dock, we cleaned the outside of the boat from stem to stern. It was so dirty from days of exposure to salt and air, and the whole thing needed a complete scrub down. By the way, this is a lot of work and had Denise (who fears heights) climbing up on the top of the boat to make sure the cabin top got cleaned. It is a bit of a workout to say the least.
During the afternoon a boat came into the dock next to ours and we met Pam & Mark (“Sea Bear”) who are from Sonoma, CA. Yes, we had a lot to talk about, especially when Mark saw his “Newport to Ensenada” sailing t-shirt; a race he has done several times. After spending years in Southern California they had moved up to Sonoma. They have a Nordic Tug 32 and have cruised the Northwest Passage as well as the San Francisco Bay area. They had their boat shipped to Mobile, AL and are now doing the Great American Loop.
Once the boat and we were all cleaned up, we joined other loopers from the marina for dinner at a local restaurant called CocoMo’s. We already knew one couple Jack & Jane Conway (“Spirit”) and were introduced to another couple, Jim & Paula Stephens (“Palmetto Paradise”) who were from North Myrtle Beach, SC. Together with Kenny & Kathy, the restaurant (which is located 3 miles away) came to the marina to pick us all up. This was a great service, but it took two trips to get us all there, and another two trips to get us all back when we were done. It’s a colorful place with a plastic palm tree, and food that was average but reasonably priced. As it was Mother’s Day, the place was busy, but not crowded and we had a plenty of time getting to know each other and share boating stories. We learned that Jim & Paula are huge USC fans and we had much discussion about Southern College Football.
Monday (5/11): As was predicted, the bad weather came, but not before Denise was able to go out and get in a 3+ mile run. A welcome adventure since it had been since Norfolk since she had been able to run at all. By 8:00 am it was raining and the wind was blowing. Denise & Mark both had lots of work to do, so it was a good excuse to hunker down and get it all done, including finally connecting with yet another prospective client for Denise. Work is definitely interfering with our social life!
By about 4:30 the rain started to clear up and everyone started to congregate on the docks. By 6:00 we had a full blown marina happy hour going in the Captains Lounge with all the loopers. We had invited Pam and Mark to join us, and there was another looper there we had not met, John Pylant (“Endeavour“) who has already completed the loop once single-handed, and is taking his boat up to the Annapolis area and putting it up for sale. You meet all types! It was well past 7:00 before we got back to the boat and had a quick dinner of left-overs and spinach salad (thanks to the Yorktown farmer’s market).
Tuesday (5/12): It was a bit cloudy and windy this morning, but it actually turned into a sunny day. The marina is very quiet at 6:00am; Denise is one of the few up with the birds. By the time Mark woke she had made coffee, showered, emailed and was raring to go. Once Mark was ready, we used the marina courtesy car to drive to the local Wal-Mart for a few items. In this part of Virginia it is mostly farm country and rural, except for a few marinas and a few small towns. The Wal-Mart is the biggest retail outfit going besides West Marine, but it is not next door. It took us 40 minutes to get there and another 40 minutes to get back to the boat. By then the morning was shot. So much for getting this blog post out by noon.
However, during our trip we were able to take the bridge across the Rappahannock River and see what it is like. This was great as it is very likely we will not get to cruise here this trip and miss such a great River.
Mark spent the afternoon working on interior boat chores, and making future arrangements at marinas, first in Baltimore at the Maryland Yacht Club. There is a (AGLCA) “Harbor Host” in Maryland that is a member and he is getting us a greatly reduced rate to keep the boat there for the week when we go home. He will keep an eye on the boat and give us a ride to BWI airport as he works there. Now that is a Harbor Host! It is not far from the Baltimore Inner Harbor and gives us piece of mind knowing that the boat will not be right in the middle of downtown Baltimore; especially in light of the recent events there. He also made arrangements at Tangier’s Island where we are going to go on Thursday if the weather continues to cooperate.
Tonight we had a very impromptu pizza party on the porch at Dozier’s. Several of us began congregating around 5:00- we have found this is a usual custom with the loopers – and were discussing our original plans to watch a dvd on the Trent Severn waterway. That was quickly shelved and replaced with a Happy Hour of wine and Popcorn Kathy had already made. Shortly thereafter it evolved into a decision to order pizzas and eat them on the porch. That is precisely where we found ourselves enjoying a great sunset over the marina, until the no-se-ums came out. We all quickly scattered back to our boats for safe coverage.
Tomorrow, after Denise’s webinar (1:00 – 2:00) we intend to leave here and anchor out north of the Rappahannock River (Painter Pointe). Then from there we will head towards Tangier’s Island for Thursday.
Looking forward, our plans are to be in and out of Annapolis before Memorial Weekend, then on to Baltimore area for 5/27 and fly home on 5/28. Mark will return to the boat on 5/31 and Denise will follow after her client engagement in Atlanta.
Longer range plans are to be in New York in mid-June, but our dates are really in a state of flux. Denise has some work commitments for the entire week of 6/8 and for 6/17 & 6/18 which is messing up our plans. Our hope is that something in our works schedule changes and we can be enjoying time with nephew Jacob on the Hudson River.
We hope you all are doing well and that all the Mother’s had a great Mother’s day. We will post again in a few more days.
Sites from our trip over the last few days: