Rock Hall, MD – Tuesday, 6/1
Today was a good day for making progress up the Chesapeake Bay. We left Wormley Creek Marina at 7:00 am saying goodbye to the nice folks in the marina, the USCG Training Center Yorktown, and the Coleman (Yorktown) bridge which had become our “front room” view for the last 11 days. We had a plan to get to Herrington Harbour in Maryland; just south of Annapolis. This would be about 100 miles and a good day on the water. The main reason for stopping here was fuel prices, but also because ever since we stopped here in 2019, we have wanted to stay and enjoy this resort.
We exited the marina channel and headed out onto the York River. There was a little wind, but it was a nice morning and we cruised along fine. Within 30 minutes we were out on the Chesapeake Bay, heading north under pretty good conditions. The wind was from behind and that made the slight wave action tolerable; if it had been blowing more it would have been quite uncomfortable because we had the current against us. This slowed us down by about a knot or two, but we were still going fast by most cruiser’s standards.
We ran along the western shore where we could see many houses and beach areas, passing the Rappahannock River. To the east, all we could initially see was water, but eventually the small islands marking this part of the Bay came into view. There were many sailboats out on the water and a few cruisers making their way north. We also passed a large southbound motor yacht that was cruising very fast, and when he passed he threw a big wake. Not quite like the container ship on the Cape Fear River last month, but it still rocked the boat a bit.
Eventually we came to the Potomac River marked by the Smith Point Lighthouse. Here its 8-mile wide mouth feeds into the Chesapeake and stirs the water, creating waves that flow with the current. Things were a little bit bumpy for a while, but still tolerable. After we crossed it and passed by Point Lookout, the boat settled down and the ride got more comfortable. It wasn’t long thereafter that we passed by a restricted zone; part of the bombing targets used by the military from NAS PAX. This is the Naval Air Station located at the entrance point of the Patuxent River; the river that would have taken us to Solomons, MD, where we intended to stay last weekend.
Just north of the Pax River and Solomons were the high cliffs of Drum Point, followed by the Cove Point Lighthouse, and the Cove Point LNG Facility; all of these have become landmarks for us over the last 6 years.
We continued north until we came to Herring Bay, and turned into the channel for the Herrington Harbour Marina and resort. We had reservations for the evening here, and they had already charged us for the night. However, it was only 12:30 and we really wanted to get further today if at all possible. So, once we took on fuel and added water to our tanks, Mark successfully negotiated with the dockmaster and they gave us a full refund. Had this been a weekend, they would not have done this and we were then free to continue on our travels.
By 1:00 pm we left Herrington Harbour and set our sights on two possible stops: Rock Hall (just north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on the Eastern shore) about 1.5 hours away; or Chesapeake City on the C&D Canal, about another 3 hours away. A complicating factor was Mark had to be on a 4:00 conference call with a client and we would ideally like to be stationary for it. Certainly there were several anchorages that were available, but we needed to have a good cell or Wi-Fi signal for Mark to make his call. We discussed our options and decided that based on time and how long it would take us to get into a location and settle the boat, the safest and known Wi-Fi option was Rock Hall. Denise called to make sure they could take us for the night, and we made our way there.
Continuing on we passed by the most famous lighthouse on the Chesapeake, the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse. This is just south of Annapolis and is a good landmark.
East and north of Annapolis, we came into a very busy area where all large traffic (barges, freighters, container ships, etc.) have to pass underneath the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. This is always congested because it is the gateway into Baltimore and two major shipping channels converge. It was even more congested as there were several ships at anchor that we had to negotiate around, all the while dodging the numerous sailboats from Annapolis. Captain Mark comes closer to some of these vessels than Denise would like, but he does try to take the most efficient route around them all.
Once we got through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge we continued on towards the town of Rock Hall, located on the eastern shore, north of Kent Island. There is a huge shoal that extends out from the natural curve of the coastline, but is well marked and has a jetty that keeps things calm once inside the breakwater.
We entered the harbor at Rock Hall and made our way along the channel until we came to Rock Hall Landing Marina, where they put us on an end-tie for the night. It was 2:45 and that gave us time to settle the boat, check in at the marina office, and give Mark prep time for his call. We had traveled 133 miles in good, but not perfect conditions.
Mark finished his call and we had a chance to work on a few other items, including a check on the weather forecast and an itinerary for tomorrow. We are hoping to be able to make it to Atlantic City, and possibly Manasquan by the end of the day. This would make for a long day, but with sunset not until almost 9:00 pm, we felt confident it could be done.
We had a couple of drinks and were too tired to cook on board, so we walked to the only open restaurant near the marina, Waterman’s Crab House. The other restaurant in the harbor (Harbor Shack) is only open Thursday through Sunday, which is probably why we have never eaten there. After dinner we readied the boat for an early departure in the morning so we could be off the docks as fast as possible. Then we turned in for the night.
We like Rock Hall and have spent time here in the past. It has great roads for Denise to get a run in, a nice supermarket and other things to offer. But this visit did not allow for any of this and would only be a quick overnight stay in order to take maximum advantage of the favorable weather tomorrow. Due to its location, we may very well end up staying here on our return trip in the fall. Here are a couple other pictures of the marina: