After two very rolly, uncomfortable nights in the Hudson River, in the wind and waves, we set off for New York City. We had sunny skies and dying waves as we entered the city. We just so happened to see a boat from our Marina in Muskegon leaving to head south as we were about to pass the Statue of Liberty. This worked out perfectly as we could each take pictures of each other’s boats as we passed the statue!
After our quick photo shoot and a chat on the radio they headed south and we went to anchor behind the Statue of Liberty for the night. It was amazing to see the statue lit up at night and watch the sunset with views of the Manhatten skyline. We celebrated our arrival to the ocean with some Jefferson’s Ocean bourbon that we had bought a while ago before we left Michigan.
The weather for the next few days was nice and calm for us to head south so the following morning we woke up early to take the current as it was flowing out of New York Harbour. We had a nearly full moon and a well-lit city to help guide us out in the dark.
We had barely any wind so we had to motor to Atlantic City, it was a long, 91-mile day. We made it in just as the sun was setting. We saw dolphins in the channel as we entered. It was exciting to have completed our first passage in the ocean.
From Atlantic City, we continued south and stopped just around Cape May. We were able to sail for part of the passage before the wind died off again. We were thankful for the calm weather window to get us down the New Jersey coast and into the Chesapeake Bay. There are not many places to stop along this stretch of coast. We anchored just inside of the Delaware Bay for the night. We got a great sunset and then tucked ourselves in for the night.
The next day we went all the way up the Delaware Bay and through the C & D Canal. Part way up the bay we became surrounded by dense fog. There was a long line of boats headed in the same direction as we were. We heard a lot of marine traffic on the radio as we all hailed each other to make sure we were staying safe and clear. We were really glad we had AIS and radar! After about 2-3 hours in the fog, it did burn off and we were left with sunshine and calm seas. We planned to stop in Chesapeake City for the night but the anchorage was pretty full when we arrived. We continued on through the C & D canal and entered the Chesapeake Bay! We ended up making it all the way to the Sassafras River where we anchored for two nights. We were all very happy to finally be in the Chesapeake and start slowing down!
The next day, we met Ryan’s aunt Judy and uncle Don in Fredericktown for lunch so they could bring us the several items we had delivered to their house. It was nice to see them and catch up! After our visit, we did a few boat projects and figured we might as well toss a line in the water and try to get some crab. In less than 20 minutes we had two catfish! We fried them up and they were delicious!
From the Sassafras River, we moved across the bay to Middle River to wait out some rainy, windy weather. Here we tried our luck at crabbing but we were unsuccessful. We got several projects done and gave the inside of the boat and the cockpit a good cleaning while it rained.
Once the rain stopped we made our way to Baltimore. The anchorage here was set up super well! We were walking distance from almost everything we wanted to see plus there was a dingy dock, grocery store, Ace Hardware, and West Marine nearby.
We didn’t know a lot about Baltimore before we arrived but we ended up really enjoying our time in this city! We walked the harbor and explored the neighborhoods of Fell’s Point, Little Italy, and the Inner Harbor. We had some delicious food and explored historic Fort Mchenry.
After Baltimore, we headed to Annapolis where we planned to attend the boat show.
While in Annapolis we caught up with Sandpiper who we briefly saw in NYC. They left our marina in Muskegon a few weeks after we did. It was nice to chat and exchange stories of our journeys so far. Before attending the boat show we headed to Bacon Sails and Marine which we had heard great things about. They have everything you could ever possibly need aboard your boat. They have consignment items and new items. We were there for hours searching every shelf and chatting with the super friendly staff!
We met up with Erika’s mom and other family, and friends for the boat show. It ended up pouring rain the day we all attended but it was still a lot of fun! We saw a lot of fancy new boats but we both felt we still would rather have Resande at the end of the day!
In Annapolis, we also caught up with another couple who had left from Michigan this summer. We had been talking with Lucas and Emily from SV Alaya for years but never met in person until now.
Once the boat show was over we moved on to a more secluded anchorage. We had a perfect sail to Wye Island! We hoped to do some hiking on the island but the trail was not as easily accessible as we hoped. It was still a beautiful anchorage and we saw a ton of little jellyfish in the water! SV Alaya also met us here for a night so we could share another evening and a beer with them before moving on.
From Wye Island, we moved to the nearby town of St. Michaels. We had heard this was a very cute town and it did live up to the hype! There is a dingy dock in town and the town is very quaint. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, cafes, and ice cream places in town. We enjoyed a hot chocolate and sat outside to enjoy our afternoon after wandering through town. There is also a large marine museum with plenty of ships you can see from the water.
The next day, it was time to move south through the bay. We woke up early and left for Solomon’s Island. It was about 48 miles away but we added a few miles, tacking back and forth upwind. We started with a great sail across the bay but then we had to beat directly upwind into the waves to get south. We knew it would be an upwind passage but the wind was much stronger than forecast. The waves were slowing us down to a knot or two. After several hours of this, we put the staysail out and motor sailed, tacking back and forth to get a better angle. This made the ride a bit more comfortable and helped up make 4-5 knots of speed through the waves. It was a rough passage but we landed in a very peaceful anchorage. We stayed in Solomons for a few days, waiting out some stronger winds before moving on.
We enjoyed walking around Solomons Island and we found possibly the best pizza we have ever had at Cryptic Pizza while we were there. After the wind died down we headed south. It was starting to get quite cold. A few nights, we had lows in the 40s!
Our sail from Solomons started with worse conditions than we hoped. The wind was still up, gusting to 35 knots at one point with larger waves than we expected. With a reefed main and the staysail we were doing well in the conditions. As the afternoon went on the wind slowly died. We got a short period of time with sunny skies and perfect sailing conditions and then the wind completely died. We had to motor the last two hours of the passage but we made it to Deltaville.
We took a day off from moving and did a few projects in Deltaville before heading to the end of the Chesapeake Bay. We landed in Hampton where we stocked up on groceries before starting down the Atlantic ICW. For more details on cruising the Chesapeake check out our post- Cruising the Chesapeake Bay.
From Hampton, we left in the dark, very early the next morning to get going. We went through Norfolk and passed all the Naval boats and aircraft carriers. We chose to take the Virginia Cut route of the ICW to avoid having to go around Cape Hatteras in the open ocean. This cut takes you under several lift bridges that need to open and a lock. The ICW is busy this time of year! We locked through the Great Bridge Lock with 15 other boats. The lock raises or lowers 2-3 feet with the tide, we are not sure it moved us at all! After the large locks in the Erie Canal, this one seemed like nothing.
We had several very long days of motoring through the ICW in Virginia and North Carolina. In the beginning stretches there are not a lot of places to anchor. This made for a few 60-ish mile days.
Our first stop in an actual town was Belhaven North Carolina. This very small town is extremely welcoming to cruisers! A very nice woman gave us a ride back from the grocery store. Then at the dinghy dock while filling our water jerry can we were welcomed by another woman and given a welcome packet with information and coupons. The town is tiny but we really enjoyed walking around. The final canal that connects the ICW from Virginia to Florida was completed here so it is said to be the birthplace of the ICW.
After spending a day in town and completing a project to fix our autopilot we headed off. Another long day took us all the way to Beaufort NC. We saw plenty of dolphins as we approached the city. The ICW finally gets close to the coast again here and it felt nice to see them again and smell the ocean air. It really feels like we are south now. There are palm trees and pelicans constantly flying overhead. The weather has been warm in the 70s-80s and sunny!
When we arrived in Beaufort we noticed a problem with the water pump on our engine. We had a spare so we thought it would be a quick swap. The spare was also leaking, even worse than the original. We quickly called around but couldn’t find the part we needed at any nearby marine store. Thankfully EBay had it and we ordered it to be delivered to a marina here this week.
After realizing we couldn’t fix our issue yet, we decided to enjoy our time in Beaufort while waiting for our part delivery. From the anchorage, we can see wild horses on the island across from town. We took the dinghy over to hike and get a closer look. We also really enjoyed walking through town, looking at all the impressive old houses and taking in the history of the area. We walked the old burying ground which is a historic cemetery established in 1724. There are stones mostly from the Civil War era. The grounds are beautiful to walk through.
Our month will end here in Beaufort. Today and tomorrow high winds are forecast so we will wait that out and get our part delivered tomorrow. Hopefully, a quick install will fix our issue and we can move on Thursday. We are planning to be in Carolina Beach at the same time as some friends from Michigan so fingers crossed it all works out!