May Cruise on the Chesapeake – Day 3

Little Wicomico to Tangier Island to Deltaville

This was the longest distance traveled of the trip, though it would have been significantly shorter had we not gone to Tangier for lunch.  But the weather was calm and warm (we motored, of course) and we were able to make the long distance without strain: 43 NM on this day.

Our morning wake-up was the engine – a fairly large diesel by the sound of it – chugging past our boat at close quarters.  We both sat up, but Ruth noticed the boat was attached to cables and crossing the river (not very wide here).  Hmmm… now we understood why there were no crab pots in the area where we anchored.  We had anchored within 20 yards of the ferry cable crossing.  Whew.  In my own defense, I have to say that the cable wasn’t marked, and the landings on either shore weren’t obvious.  A quarter of a mile downstream there was a sign that said “Cable Crossing” but no with reference as to what it referred.  Close inspection of the chart indeed indicated a ferry or cable crossing, but it was easy to miss.  Local knowledge here was essential.

That’s the ferry (zoomed in). If you’re not looking for it, it looks like any other work boat from a distance.

Here’s the landing on the other side.

Well, we survived that, if somewhat embarrassed that we’d parked that close to a ferry crossing.  We got underway and threaded our way through the channel and crab pots again, exiting the Little Wicomico against a flood tide that took 1.5 kts off our speed.  Must have been a good time to fish the channel entrance off the bay because we had to dodge several drifting sport fisherman.

If you click on the photo you can see the fishing boats drifting in the channel as we looked back on the entrance to the Little Wicomico.

We settled in for a 12.5 NM trip to Tangier and watched the menhaden fishing fleeting for a long time. Then I noticed a tall structure coming up the bay that appeared to be a tall ship.  You know, white sails on top, dark topsides?  It wasn’t moving very fast though.  It seemed that our combine speeds on opposite courses would have brought us together quicker.  Turned out to be a very unusual tall ship in appearance, and it was making very poor progress indeed.

Apparently that sail plan isn’t very efficient.

This is the look I got for telling Ruth to “check out the tall ship over there.”

The menhaden fleet

We drew near Tangier Island by 1100 and started taking pictures as it grew larger in the lens.  Amazing how these folks stay above water in storms.

Wasn’t a day for much contrast. I did a fair amount of post-processing to get this much detail to show up.

We docked by 1130 at the only marina we could identify as such on the island for pleasure boaters, and walked to have lunch not far away.  I’ll write about Tangier in more detail in another post.  We departed about 1335 and pointed the bow towards Deltaville.

I got lazy for the next 20-plus nautical miles and tied off the helm so that I could move about the boat a little bit.

It’s not perfect, but it lets you leave the helm (once adjusted) for minutes at a time. Perfect for fetching drinks, walking up to the bow for a look, and making head calls.  Some day I’ll replace the autopilot that packed up on me last year.

We eventually hove in sight of the Rappahannock and Piankatank rivers, though we were still more than an hour away from our destination at Fishing Bay Harbor.  We pulled into the marina about 1900.

What follows are two chart images and arrows indicating (crudely) the three segments of our trip south.

Days 1 and 2

Day 3

If you look at the charts of this area carefully, you will see several places that are restricted, or off-limits.  We stayed well away from those areas, even though the arrows on these charts indicate that we went right through them.

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