Monday, May 13, 2019

Cape Charles to Crisfield (um, Tangier Island)

Never made it to Crisfield. Not that we didn't try. We absolutely shouldn't have tried. 

All the weather info gave us a cautionary, but doable, flag. First, waves at 2 feet, but as you go north dwindling to 1 foot. Second, winds around 15 mph, right on the no-go line. Third, rainy. Fourth, colder, highs in the low 60s, which is about a 15 degree drop from the day before. If we stayed the day, however, we were probably going to stay for two, since Tuesday's forecast looked even worse. So we thought "go." All of that did make us pilot from the inside helm. Good decision, that.

This made the Albemarle crossing look like a cake walk. 

Things started out similar to how we came to Cape Charles, which was a fine, somewhat bouncy ride. Then the waves grew to closer to three feet. Moreover, to our port we saw very dark skies. We decided to give up then and head for an anchorage, about an hour away. So wished we stuck to that plan.

But the skies cleared, giving us just a little rain. We pressed on.

You can see the dark spot on the right
where the Raymarine is supposed to be.
Within the hour, waves grew. Cat-n-Dogs crashed through 4 foot waves, with some topping at 6 feet. Our bow would crest then slam into the wave behind it. Repeatedly. Gushes of water washed over the bow. The impact jarred the boat, our bodies, and our teeth. We went through that for fa couple of hours. And (of course) dodging the occasional crab pot.

The problem is once you're in it, how do you get out? If you turned around, are things better or worse? Are you closer to just press on or should you find somewhere to anchor? 

We decided to cut the trip shorter by veering to Tangier Island. It had been on our original destination days ago but we were talked out of it -- better to go to Crisfield, then take a ferry to Tangiers and save yourself the trip. Given that it shortened the day by an hour we jumped on it.

About 45 minutes from Tangiers the waves smoothed out a bit, to the 2 feet as predicted. From that point in the trip was trivial. We entered the island just at slack tide, making docking the easiest part of the day.

Bustling downtown Tangiers
Once safely tied to the pier we walked the boat to assess our condition. We did not make it unscathed.

Russ noticed some plastic bits on the deck, which he identified as part of our "all around" light. We knew the housing was cracked, but the LED light within worked just find, so we never replaced it. He opened the roof hatch above the fly-deck helm, then cried out, "Oh, no!" The radar array was missing. Once he tucked back down he saw it was still attached, just hanging by its cables from the top. 

Another small casualty was our bed, which is in the bow of the boat. The slamming flexed the platform screws so badly it slid off its base.

Many things on the fly deck got tossed about. The dock boxes slid (thankfully, they were on mats, which prevented them from going far), bikes twisted out of their bungees, the water softener escaped and rolled around the floor, and Russ's kayak, which had been tied to the roof with SeaSuckers, fell to the floor. 

The bent screws from the bed platform
A couple of lines, while secured to the railings, fell into the water and dragged behind us. It's just dumb luck they didn't end up in our props.

In fact, the only thing that went right today was our timing into Tangiers Island. We arrived at slack tide, just as the winds completely calmed. Docking was a joy.

So, here we are, at Parks Marina. We'll be here for two nights while we do our repairs and lick our wounds.

The pugs are not amused.

I need to say this: When we contacted the marina around 11 am this morning, the owner, Mr. Parks, wasn't expecting any boats because of the weather. Six boat showed up today, including us. We were just the first. Which meant we got the primo parking spot! So we weren't the only ship of fools on the seas today.

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