Zimmerman Marine (ZM) – Mobjack Bay, VA (Wednesday, 5/15):
It is amazing how bright the sky is at 5:45 am here, and with it how loud all the birds are. Denise was trying to sleep in a little bit longer, but gave up and put on her running shoes for the first time in a week. Despite fighting a cold and not knowing the area, she ventured past the entrance to Zimmerman Marine and onto the 2 lane road. It is very rural in these parts and houses are usually far apart, some are even horse farms. Heading towards the water, it didn’t take long to run out of road and there was nowhere else to go. Turning around and heading in the opposite direction, she ran out to the two-lane highway and was forced to turn around and head back to the marina. It is too dangerous to run on the highway with speeds of 55 or more and no shoulder, sidewalk, etc. Finally, at nearly 3 miles she ended the run and went back to the boat. But some run is better than no run. Here are some pictures from this running adventure:
In the morning and early afternoon it was work, cataloging pictures, and reading. We anxiously awaiting word of the arrival of the package containing the sensor, but soon learned that it did not shop as planned. We would have to wait another day for its arrival and installation.
Seeking refuge from 3 days on the boat, we signed up for use of the loaner car to drive into the nearby town of Mathews for dinner. It is 9 miles to drive there from ZM, but if we would have used the dinghy from our anchorage at Put in Creek earlier in the week, it was less than 2 miles. Of course we would have had to go at near high tide and returned before low tide as the creek dries up. So now we had to drive away from the water, to the big highway (still 2 lane) and then back towards the water to get to Mathews.
First stop in Mathews was dinner. There were only two restaurants open on Wednesdays and we chose to eat at “Southwinds Cafe” – a place known for their fresh ingredients in pizza and their seafood. It is a country diner in an old renovated house with tables on the front porch and tables inside. There is also a bar area and they have several local microbrewery beers on tap. It is eclectically decorated with all things “waterman” and antique-like. We each got individual pizzas and a Mediterranean salad to split, and had leftovers to bring back to the boat.
After dinner we walked around looking at the historical markers, the old buildings and all that make up the character of this quaint little town. Here are some pictures from this outing:
When we returned back to the boat, we parked the car in the lot and left the keys right where we found them: in the cup holder. Life in these little towns reminds us of what it used to be like when everyone was trusting and when you always felt safe.
Zimmerman Marine (ZM) – Mobjack Bay, VA (Thursday, 5/16):
We woke up with anticipation of receiving the part, getting it installed and being able to leave for an evening somewhere else. The weather was beautiful and sitting at a dock for two days when we could be enjoying beautiful cruising weather was frustrating. But if the boat isn’t right, we can’t move it as we need dependability.
So we waited, but we didn’t sit still. Mark gave the boat a good washing while Denise cleaned the inside windows. When he was done, we cleaned and applied “Rain-ex” to the outside windows and hatch covers. This helps the water to bead up and allows for much better visibility when trying to drive the boat in the rain or when sea spray hits the windshield.
We were not alone in our chores; we watched Albert on the sailboat (“Magus”) next to us work feverishly over the last few days to get his engine repaired, and his boat ready to take back up to Maine where he is from. We also watched the crew in the yard splash 2 other boats and put them in slips, as well as haul out another boat that was going into the yard for short-term storage.
Here they use a tractor and some wheeled supports to haul boats in and out of the water, instead of a travel lift like we are used to. It is really a sight to see, and the guys who do this are extremely thorough and talented.
In the morning we had received notice that the package was in transit, but not certain as to what time UPS would deliver. As the day wore on we resigned ourselves to the fact that we would most likely have to stay another night. Once the package was received, it still had to be installed and it was probably going to be too late to leave and get up the Rappahannock as originally planned. So we once again went into “re-plan” mode and decided that if we could leave in the morning, we would go all the way to the Potomac River and Olverson’s marina. We were going there to pick up some large fenders that would be of use to us in the locks on the St. Lawrence. Our MTOA (Marine Trawlers Owners Association) friends Jonathan and Lynn (“Zendo”) were giving them to us as they did not need them. We already have a set, but it will be helpful to have a second set. John and Lynn are not at Olverson’s, but their boat is and they made arrangements for us to get them off their boat.
Another reason to going to Olverson’s is that it is the headquarters for MTOA and we get a free night’s dockage if we stay there. Although we could make it from ZM to the Potomac, and then back out and further up the Chesapeake so Solomons, it would make for a very long day. With long days comes the risk of getting caught in rough seas if the wind unexpectedly picks up, which the Chesapeake is known for. So we try to plan for shorter trips if possible.
Finally, in mid-afternoon Bob told us that our part had arrived and he would be down to install the sensor as soon as possible. Shortly thereafter he came to the boat, did the installation and check out, and all appeared to be fine. Mark went up and settled the bill with the office before they closed so we could leave at any time in the morning that was convenient for us.
Meanwhile, Rose (from the boat “Catherine”) came by to invite us over for watermelon with her and her wife Janni. Even though Mark does not eat the stuff, we still went over to be sociable. As we arrived, so did Albert (“Magus”) and we all had a chance to get to know each other a little bit. What was remarkable was learning the Rose had attended Carson Newman College in Tennessee, and graduated with a degree in Physical Education in 1970; a year before Denise’s sister (Jeanne). Even though it was a small program in those days, Rose did not remember Jeanne. However, it is possible they knew each other but the years have clouded such a recollection. When Denise told Jeanne about this, she said she was going to go to her yearbooks and look her up. It is such a small world after all!
The conversations could have gone on for a long time, but it was getting late. We thanked our hosts for their hospitality and returned to our boat for dinner and to prepare for tomorrow’s journey to Olverson’s.
Olverson’s Lodge Creek Marina near Callao, VA (Friday, 5/17):
Not knowing when she would get a chance over the next few days, Denise went for a run in the morning. This time she headed toward the main highway, and in doing so discovered another road to run on. On the way back from the main road she took this other road for the ½ mile of pavement and came upon a small farm with a horse in the paddock. After taking a few pictures, she returned to the run and finished up as she entered into the marina parking lot. Not a long run, but a rejuvenating one.
We left ZM shortly before 9:00 a.m., bidding farewell to our few marina neighbors and the wonderful crew we had come to know in a few short days.
We made our way past the Williams Wharf Landing and down the East River into Mobjack Bay. We wanted to run the engine hard and fast to discover and issues, but everything ran great and in no time we were back on the Chesapeake heading north. The water had been a bit bumpy when we were on Mobjack Bay, but tolerable.
As we turned out onto the Chesapeake it got more comfortable as the wind was behind us and it made for a smoother ride.
Eventually we turned west and entered the Potomac River, dodging crab pots the whole way. Here we technically entered the state of Maryland, as the state border here with Virginia is on the southern shore of the river. The land helped to block the southern wind so it was not a bad ride at all, even though it had started to pick up a bit.It took us about an hour to cruise up the Potomac until we came to the Yeocomico River. We turned left and continued up the river bypassing a crab processor as well as some beautiful homes on the banks.
We made contact with the dockmaster and were assigned our slip. When we pulled in we were helped by a couple we met at the MTO Rendezvous in Fort Pierce in April 2018; Liz and Steve Kemper (“Shingebiss”). They were incredibly helpful and we were surprised they remembered us. Plus, we were grateful for the extra set of arms as was Fred Olverson the owner, who was on the dock to meet us but didn’t have to get up from his chair the whole time. Instead he handed us our packet containing wifi passcodes, and the usual marina information and trinkets.
We went for a walk to get to know the area, including the Lodge Creek Yacht Club and marina clubhouse as well as the area where the fishing boat captains hang out (called “Liars Corner”). We also inquired about the loaner car (there are 3) and were not surprised to learn the key were in the vehicle and we could take it whenever and wherever we liked. There are no rules here.
On the way back to the boat we stopped by “Zendo” and retrieved the large fender balls; the purpose of our Olverson’s visit. They were across the dock from our friends on “Shingebiss”.
We went back to the boat and looked at the weather forecast and our future plans. Saturday was going to be a great day to be on the water, but Sunday things were going to get windy and Monday looked awful. Since we didn’t have any compelling reason to go to Solomons, we decided to bypass it altogether this time. Instead, we decided to go to Annapolis, more specifically to Back Creek and the area known as Eastport. We knew it was Commissioning week and we knew what that meant; crazy crowds everywhere, but a lot of fun nonetheless. Mark made marina reservations for a place we had learned about at the Watergate Marina, which is really the marina associated with the Watergate apartments. It is on the Eastport side of Back Creek, and everything we would want to do should be in walking distance.
Meanwhile, Denise cleaned the fenders and when Mark was done with the reservations, he washed the salt water off the boat. We then took our showers and joined some of the local boaters who had congregated for docktails right near our slip. They were very friendly and made us feel very welcome. We socialized for a little while and asked for recommendations for diner, but didn’t stay too long. We knew it would mean getting in the car and driving to the nearest town and back and it was already getting late.
So off we went down the rural roads to the town of Callao (pronounced Cal-ee-o), and then continued on about 5 miles to “Backdraft”, a bar & restaurant that everyone on the docks recommended. The owner is a former firefighter and the place has a fireman’s theme to it. However, the building and furnishings are old and need some updating. But the food was good and the place was pretty quiet for a Friday night so we had great service.
About Olverson’s Lodge Creek Marina: The marina is a large and is in the middle of nowhere except for rural houses and some farmland. But it is in a great location to jump off into the Potomac and eventually the Chesapeake Bay. It is directly across the Potomac from St. Mary’s, where we anchored and visited St. Mary’s college in 2017. In addition to the marina/yacht club clubhouse and picnic area, it has a heated swimming pool and is also an RV park. It has some covered and uncovered slips, but all of the walkways are covered so you can stay out of inclement weather or keep the sun off of you. The facilities are old and showing their wear, but they are clean and the hospitality of everyone is very welcoming. The only thing we didn’t like was the bugs (wood bees and spiders) but we have learned over our travels that it is normal for covered slips to have such creatures. We prefer open slips for that reason.
It is also a great hurricane hole and many people from Virginia and Maryland (primarily) keep their boats here, then come and spend weekends on them. People all know each other and have for over 20 years, and now their kids are having families and joining them on weekends as well. We even got invited to a few parties for Saturday night should we decide to stay here longer. Truly, the people make this place what it is and we really appreciated their warm hospitality and friendliness. We didn’t have the heart to tell them we had already made up our mind to leave the next day for Annapolis.
You can learn more about Olverson’s here.
Here are some more pictures of the place:
Stay tuned for more adventures on Island Office.