A little geography lesson - there are four large rivers in Virginia that feed into the Chesapeake - the James, York, Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers - we have spent a lot of time on the James and went all the way to DC on the Potomac on our travels south but have yet to spend much time on the York or Rappahannock. We plan to correct this oversight soon! But for now we headed into a very quiet and beautiful anchorage in Mobjack Bay. Doug and I have looked at anchoring there at least 3 or 4 times before, but somehow our plans always changed and we had never made it there until the other day. There's not a lot happening out in this neck of the woods so we spent a quiet afternoon on the boats thinking we'd head out the next day possibly for Tangier Island. Bright and early the next morning we got a radio call from September Song thinking they might want to hang for a day to explore - we're always easy - good by us!!
We dropped the dinks and after a rare planning session (we decided to look at a chart and figure out where we wanted to go over the next 10 days or so before we have to be back at Haven Harbor Marina in Rock Hall, MD where we bought the boat so they can fix the watermaker they installed for us that NEVER worked!!!!), we set out with the September Song crew (boat dogs included of course) and explored both branches of the Severn River - it was really very cool with lots of wildlife, duck blinds (obviously big sport down here), a few stately homes with sweeping lawns down to the river but no great beach for the dogs to play on!!
We finally found one back out at the mouth of the river and while trying to pull our tenders onto the beach, Doug almost got swallowed by that "wonderful" Chesapeake mud!!! I say wonderful because we love it when we anchor since it usually provides great holding but we also hate it when we anchor because when we pull the anchor up the chain is covered in the goop and it's also not too much fun on the "beaches" - remember we're used to the Bahamas white sand (OK I know we're not receiving much sympathy here).....but the dogs got to romp and play so they didn't care too much!! It was another scorcher of a day so we all headed back to the boats so the human crew could go swimming - the water here at least is much clearer and while it's pretty warm, it sure was refreshing.
The next morning we set out for Urbanna, VA which is up the Rappahannock River - we were treading on completely virgin territory as neither SS nor Gypsies has ventured up the Rap before. Like Mobjack Bay, last Fall Doug and I had planned on anchoring up the Rap and even had a course plotted in our GPS but as usual our plans changed and we never made it. Coming out of Mobjack Bay (which is absolutely huge by the way - several rivers branch off it which you could spend weeks exploring but we had other places in mind...) into the Chesapeake we hit some pretty nasty waves, the beginning effects of Hurricane Bill which is off the coast. Our bellweather for bad seas, Bootsie, was telling us in no uncertain terms that she was not appreciating the pitching and rolling of the boat - September Song has Cassie for this purpose. After being in the ICW for months where the water is always pretty calm, Bootsie had lost her sea legs and had to get used to a rocking boat all over again and she was decidedly not happy about it!!! She also never suffers alone or in silence!!! Luckily as we headed north out of Mobjack Bay, the waves were behind us causing the ride to smooth out a little so she finally was able with some cuddling to settle down and fall asleep for the rest of the trip. Puss on the other hand sleeps through anything!!
The trip up the Rappahannock was great - the river is wide and although we had lots of wind, the waves were smoother than out on the Bay. The River itself is very pretty - lots of rolling hills and stately homes line the river and you feel like you're out in the middle of nowhere (because you really are!!!) Richmond, Newport News and Williamsburg are on the James River, Yorktown is on the York and DC is on the Potomac - not to belittle small towns since we really like them, but there's just not much of anything in terms of towns of any size on the Rap!!!
After watching September Song venture into the anchoring field and drop their anchor, we opted to anchor out on the edge of the channel away from most of the pots. We got our anchor down but then saw SS still maneuvering - we just thought they didn't like their spot and were trying again which happens...that is until we saw Bob trying to pull up the anchor by hand - even we knew that wasn't good!!! The next thing we saw as Bob got the anchor part way up was them catch a crab pot - at least it was on their anchor though and not a prop. They finally got the crab pot disengaged and swung by to say their windlass (which raises and lowers the anchor chain) was jammed - UGH!! Luckily there was an open dock across the channel and they were able to pull in and tie up there. We lowered our dink and Doug headed over to help Bob and Stephanie (Bob has helped Doug often in our engine room so he was glad to be able to help!) - all I could hear across the channel was the clanking of a hammer on the chain from Bob who was curled up down in his chain locker and grunts from Doug trying to pull on the chain to get the kink out. After lots of work, the boys succeeded in getting the jammed chain out and all is right with September Song once again!! What an afternoon!!! Not surprisingly SS decided to stay at the dock for the night and we made plans to hit the local bar!!
We took the local trolley into "town" and I use that term loosely - after waiting for over half an hour for the trolley, 2 minutes later we were in town - think we'll walk next time. We asked the trolley driver to drop us at the best bar in town which she deemed to be Mojos - a little too foofy for us, so we wandered over to Olivia' s which turned out to be a real joint!! We sat on fake leather stools at the bar where we chatted with our bartender/waitress/local harassed entertainment Anita and had burgers and cold beers - the place was hopping with only two waitresses so patience was definitely the key! Guess they weren't ready for the Friday night "rush"! Wish we had pictures for you because this place was priceless but the one time I forgot my camera and Big Boat Bob was on camera duty, he failed you!! We were back on the trolley before he remembered he had his camera - that's it, he's fired - guess that's what turning 60 will do to you! Just kidding Bob!!! Guess I should have cut him a break as he had a tough day...oh well. Maybe today we'll head back into "town" and I'll be sure to bring my camera this time!!! although it's been raining ever since the boat rooster got me up this morning so we'll see if we can squeeze in a couple hours of exploring in between showers!! Tomorrow we think we might head across the Rap to another anchorage since the waves in the Bay are still supposed to be big from Bill and then on Monday we likely will head across the Bay to Tangier Island!!!
Click here to see our anchorage in Urbanna Creek