Tag Archives: Mobjack Bay

Moving Around Mobjack Bay!

Carters Creek to Mobjack Bay Anchorage

Mobjack Bay – Wednesday, 5/19

One of the places we wanted to revisit from prior years cruising on the Chesapeake was Mobjack Bay.  We were here in 2019 and saw how large this area was, with numerous coves and anchorages and wanted to return.  As we are waiting to connect with Denise’s family, we decided now was the time to go explore more parts of it.

Shortly after 9:00 am we left the anchorage at Carter’s Cove and headed towards the “Rapp”.  Out on the Rapp, we were once again greeted with a spectacular day on the water; oh please can these continue for a few more weeks!  We went under the Norris Bridge and in no time at all we were back on the Chesapeake Bay. We turned south (yes, south) to go to Mobjack Bay, near the York River. 

We passed a few sailboats heading north and a few fishing boats, but it truly was an uneventful passage.  Our only excitement was the school of small dolphins that played off the starboard side of the boat as we passed by.

Dolphins playing

By 11:00 we were turning into Mobjack Bay and navigating to one of the anchorages (Bryant Bay off the Severn River) we had picked out; the one with a reported very strong cell signal.  Once we arrived to the destination, we noticed a large number of crab pots in the cove, but they were spaced out sufficiently to allow room for anchoring.  There were no other boats here to contend with so we could choose a spot, and had the anchor down by 11:30.  We then made lunch and with a good cell signal we thought it would be a good place for the night.

Immediately we were infested with those darn midges again, and we hoped the wind would pick up a bit to keep them away.  Mark was getting frustrated, so we broke out our makeshift screen and put it up hoping to keep from having to turn on the generator and run the AC. After all, one of the reasons for anchoring is for the pristine landscapes and the absolute peace and quiet.  Surprisingly, the screen worked and most of the bugs were kept away.

Screen door

Mark spent the entire afternoon on conference calls and in a web training session; thus the need for a strong cell signal today. During this time Denise worked on this blog, and on checking on other work-related items.  She also noticed the wind had picked up and that the chop in the anchorage was getting worse.  Between Mark’s calls we debated if we should move the boat to another anchorage where we would be better protected from the wind, or should we wait for morning. This particular bay was wide open and the low lying areas offered little protection. We definitely need to move it for Thursday night, based on the forecasted wind direction out of the east.

By the time Mark got off his last call, the slap of the water on the hull in the bow was all that was needed to convince us to move.  It would have been too loud for a good night’s rest. So, we pulled up the anchor and headed to a spot that looked to offer more protection on the southwest branch of the Severn River.  However, once we found the spot and attempted to lay anchor amongst the crab pots, we did not like how exposed we still were to the coming winds.  So, we made the call to move again, only this time on the other side of Mobjack Bay.  While pulling up the anchor, we snagged a coiled line which we thought was a crab pot. Expertly, Mark was able to get it untangled, as it appears it was from an old pot and nothing was attached at each end of it.  Luckily, we averted disaster and were able to get out of the cove without hitting a crab pot.

We cruised all the way across Mobjack Bay and up the East River to a spot where it curves to the west and offered protection from the winds out of the south and southwest.  It is also just past “Put in Creek” where we spent time in 2019.  We became adventurous and found a cove across the river from the charted anchorage areas suggested in the Waterway Guide & Active Captain, and chose it for the night. We were far enough from any of the numerous crab pots, and stayed in water no less than 6’ deep.  Plus, there were houses and trees around us blocking any wind that would come our way.  It was a great spot and we were very glad we moved.

Island Office at East River anchorage

Feeling a sense of accomplishment, and liking our new surroundings we celebrated with happy hour, then proceeded to make a “grilled” pizza with ready-made dough we had in the freezer.  We have never attempted this before and must say we were delighted with our success, although we have some notes for how to make it better “next time”.

Grilled pizza

In evening, we looked again at the weather forecast, which seems to be holding for now.  We had originally planned to stay at anchor one more night. However, with coming winds and a desire for some time on terra firma, we decided to consider going to our week-long planned marina a day early, if they can take us.  Since it was past operating hours, we would have to call them in the morning before we could finalize this change in our plans. Until then we got to enjoy the beauty of this spot, including a half moonlit sky, and a great sunset through the trees.

When sitting at anchor in such great places, one of our preoccupations is to watch the wildlife, specifically the osprey. These large birds are considered fish-hawks, and can be found in nearly any body of water: saltmarshes, rivers, ponds, reservoirs, estuaries, and even coral reefs. They are known for building nests on poles, including channel marks in the ICW. So many places have man-made perches for these amazing birds to build their stick nests, and it is fun to watch their behavior while in the nest.  Today we were enthralled with this particular one near the anchorage as it had 2 adults and a juvenile calling it home.  You can learn more about these magnificent birds at the Audubon Society here.

Osprey and nest at East River Anchorage

Mayhem in Mobjack Bay!

Mobjack Bay, VA (Monday 5/13):
At some point in our crazy lives we all want a day where we do nothing but sit around and read, watch tv or movies, and don’t do much of anything.  No phone calls, work, errands, carting people places, no going anywhere or talking to anyone else (mostly). Today was THAT day for us.  The anchorage area (“Put In Creek” – up the East River off Mobjack Bay) has a few sparsely dispersed houses lining both sides of it.  We only saw lights and activity in one of the houses last night, and given the rain and overcast skies we saw no stars.  But there was lots of birds (blue herons and osprey) and some jumping fish to keep us amused.

Drizzly morning at Put In Creek

Drizzly morning at Put In Creek

In the early morning one boat of watermen (term used for fisherman of all types on the Chesapeake) came to check on their crab pots.  Later in the day, another would come by and set out a new pot right near our boat.  Pulling up the anchor and not hitting it is going to be fun!

As soon as we got up we put on the generator to power the coffee pot, computers, phones, tablets and the heat. Yes, it was in the low 60’s and it was cold on the boat.  We kept it on for a few hours; enough time to warm up the place and prepare a hot breakfast.

After 8:00, Mark called Zimmerman Marine to advise that we were in the Mobjack Bay area, and to see the status of availability for the Cummins mechanic.  Although we had a firm appointment for Wednesday, they had previously told us to call and they would let us know if they could take us earlier. We were told that there was a slight chance they would have an opening on their docks during the day, and that the mechanic may be able to take us.  Based on this, and the fact that it rained off and on all morning, we did not venture out on the dinghy.  We wanted to explore up the creek a few miles to the nearby town of Matthews, but we were not up for getting caught in a downpour.  We also figured that with the weather, no one on the dock would be leaving anytime soon. Most likely we were stuck at the anchorage for another night, but it was not a bad place to be stuck at all.

And so that is how we got the “do nothing” day. We hung out doing a little reading, emails, a few minor boat chores, brief conversations with family, and napping.

Soon it was time to start preparing dinner and that meant turning on the generator to power the stove and oven.  And by this time we again needed to charge computers, cell phones, camera, tablets, etc. again.  Denise made enchiladas and Mark made drinks, and we had a peaceful dinner.  The rain had stopped, the sun actually came out, and the anchorage was as calm as can be.  We got to witness a beautiful sunset over the tops of the trees and then went back to reading until bedtime.

Here are some pictures of the surrounding houses:

Mobjack Bay, VA (Tuesday, 5/14):
Every day the sun is setting later and rising earlier and with it comes the chirping birds.  Denise’s natural body clock is set to get up with the chirping birds and so she was up with the first hint of daylight.  It had rained during the night and it got colder, but with long pants and a fleece jacket Denise was comfortable and didn’t want to disturb Mark’s sleeping by running the generator. Instead she went outside and took some pictures.

When she came back inside Mark was awake and insisted on putting on the generator to heat up the place; it was 64° inside and 54° outside.

Shortly after breakfast, Zimmerman Marine called and said they had space on their dock and the mechanic was available. So we pulled up the anchor and motored less than 2 miles back down the creek to their place.  We were met by a couple of dockhands who were professional and helped to tie up our boat; they knew what they were doing.  We checked in at the office where Gail gave us all the information we needed and said she would contact the mechanic, “Bob” who would be down to our boat in a little while.

Zimmerman Marine is strictly a repair and storage yard. It is not a marina per se, but they do have docks for boats coming in for repair, or for temporary stay during a haul out or splash after storage. Therefore, accommodations are limited and not geared to “cruisers”.

It didn’t take long for Bob to show up.  He has been with Zimmerman Marine for 17 years and has attended Cummins Engine training in Indiana, so we felt very comfortable with him doing the work.  Mark explained all the issues we had been having with the intermittent temperature on the engine, and what troubleshooting we had done so far.  Then they went into the engine room and did all kinds of computerized diagnostics while Denise stayed at the helm to turn on/off the engine as required.

Mechanic "Bob"

Mechanic “Bob”

Roughly an hour later, Bob and Mark deduced they should replace the impeller, and in the process discovered our issue; the inner part of the impeller had come apart from the outer ring. So when Mark looked at it in Poquoson but didn’t remove it, it appeared ok, but it wasn’t.  Bob said he had only seen this 2 other times and so he took it back to the shop to take pictures and to check inventory for a replacement.  We have a spare impeller on board, but Bob suggested we not use it as it was from 2013 and if we wanted reliability we should use a new one. At $50 a part, it would not be prudent to put one in that is 6 years old. Bob also checked on the engine coolant temperature sensor which appeared to be in good working order, but again wanting reliability, we opted to replace that too.

When he returned we learned both parts were not available on site, but he should be able to have them here tomorrow. We would have to stay the night which was ok by us as we had shore power (no more generator to heat the boat), internet access and a few chores to do. Since we are in a very rural part of Virginia and there is nothing around us except houses and this repair facility, we stayed on the boat.  Plus, it had started to rain again so we weren’t anxious to go anywhere. Denise put shelf liners in the refrigerator drawers and Mark took care of a few business related items.

Other boats in for repair

Other boats in for repair

In the late afternoon the rain stopped and the skies were clear. Denise went for a walk and met Rose, one of the women on a boat three slips away (”Catherine”). She and her wife are from Seattle, but she is originally from Eustis. After taking their sailboat from Seattle down the west coast, through the Panama Canal and western Caribbean, they decided to sell it and buy their current boat; a trawler.  Coincidentally, they took delivery of it at Harbortown Marina in Merritt Island (our home port marina). It really is a small world!  They chatted for a while but it was time to get dinner going, so Denise headed back to the boat.

After preparing and eating dinner, we settled in for an evening of reading, completing this blog, and watching a little TV before going to bed. And once the sun went down we had to put the heaters on – the low tonight will be 50°.

If all goes well tomorrow we will be able to have the repair completed and we can move on to an anchorage on the Rappahannock River. If not, we will spend another night here.

Here are some pictures of the Zimmerman Marine facilities:

Office at Zimmerman Marine

Office at Zimmerman Marine

Repair yard and dry storage

Repair yard and dry storage

Trailer for haul out

Trailer for haul out


PIcnic area at Zimmerman Marine

PIcnic area at Zimmerman Marine


Stay tuned for more of our adventures on Island Office.