Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Dividing Creek to Rock Hall

Today's voyage was broken into two parts. Part one was getting to Kent Narrows and part two, Rock Hall. We wanted to stop at Kent Narrows for a couple of reasons; pump out the boat, drop a return package off at the UPS Store (and there aren't many on this side of the Chesapeake), fill our propane tank, and do some grocery shopping -- hey, three days on the hook made us plow through our provisions!

We left Dividing Creek around 8 am, after the routine of dinghy-ing dogs, making coffee, and eating breakfast. The trip to Kent Narrows was pretty quick, with an arrival time of around 9:30. We planned on docking on a marina wall and pumping out there, hopefully staying for a couple of hours to do our errands.

The only obstacle between us and the marina was a bridge, 18 feet high. It only opens on the hour and half-hour. We figured we could slip right beneath it, but our arrival time synced with an opening. We hailed them and waited. In listening to the radio, we knew at least one other boat on the other side was also waiting. There are rules to these things -- any boat moving with the current has the right of way. That's because they have less control manipulating their vessel and those moving against the current. We were moving against it. I boated aside a bit, giving the boats space to pass before we went through.

Two boats came through. As soon as I had the opportunity, I headed up. This was one of the freakiest bridges (and we've been under a bunch now) I'd had to navigate. First, it was incredibly narrow. Second, it was all cement, which means you couldn't see through it to know what other boats or obstacles may be on the other side. Given the current I felt like a salmon swimming up some falls. But the biggest issue was, immediately after the bridge, smack in the middle of the channel, was a shoal. So as soon as we cleared the massive cement structure, I hung a hard left, avoiding the shoal and lining myself up with dock. All done without incident, just a bit intense.

John Babinski teaching Russ how to crack crabs
It set us up perfectly for the dock. Russ got a line out, and the water moved us up against the pilings, nice and snug. As we pumped out Russ asked about staying for a couple of hours while we ran our errands. They couldn't let us stay where we were, but we could move around the corner. As I backed away from the wall the current pushed us into the little channel. I swung the back end in and, in reverse, parked the boat against the wall. It all worked perfectly.

We got an Uber. I was dropped off at a Safeway while Russ took care of his package and the propane. I took another Uber back to the boat -- Russ got there before me. He'd walked the dogs while waiting. Starting up the engines again, we headed back out into... Kent Narrows.

How the Crab House keeps a
pitchermof beer cold...
The add a bag of ice. Brilliant!
I'm assuming it's called that because it's narrow. Crazy narrow. I had to time our entry into the main channel with the other traffic. Also, I had to avoid the shoal in the middle of the thing. I got Cat-n-Dogs into the channel, then started to turn. The current had gotten stronger while we did errands. I pushed the engines hard just to bring the nose about so we could head up stream. I'm chalking all of this up for practice, since I suspect the rivers will be just like that!

I followed two smaller boats through the zigs and zags, one of which really struggled to keep their boat between the markers. By this point it wasn't just narrow, but shallow as well. Moving slow and steady, we made it to deeper waters, and turned northward to Rock Hall, just another hour away.

We anchored there (bringing our anchor stat up to 10 nights!), and met friends at the dinghy dock to get some crab cakes, Waterman's Crab House. Possibly the best so far.

In short, not an eventful day, just a FULL day.

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