Upon returning from visiting Stephanie, we prepared to leave Norfolk for a long-anticipated cruise of the Chesapeake Bay. We have been looking forward to this part of our journey and have less than a month to enjoy this extensive cruising area as we need to be in New York City by the first week in June. We will work our way up the west coast of the bay so that we can build in a trip up the Potomac River to Alexandria, VA and Washington D.C. where we lived for several years and have friends we want to visit.
As we left Norfolk’s huge harbor, we encountered this cruise ship that did a complete 360 degree turn on its axis. What a sight that was!
The Chesapeake Bay is a huge body of water and truly a cruiser’s paradise. There are over 3000 miles of shoreline to explore. Forty-eight rivers empty into the Chesapeake and more than a hundred tributaries branch off from them making for limitless opportunities for exploration. There is everything from tiny villages to historic towns to large cities along this majestic bay. We intend to visit as many as we can on this and the return portion of our journey. The challenge is to decide which ones to visit and which to pass up for another time.
Our first stop on the western shore was Yorktown on the York River. There we spent a few hours exploring this historic town, where the British surrendered to the Colonists ending the Revolutionary War. Yorktown has scenic battlefields and a museum with a small re-enactment area.
The most interesting part of our visit was the Waterman’s Museum. There, we were fortunate to meet the gentleman who had been involved in restoring the museum which is located in an old house with amazing wood paneling. He walked us from room to room as he updated the docents and us on the contents of each room and the history of the Chesapeake waterman.
We were docked at the town dock which had a sweet little beach adjacent to it. It was a very hot day (in the 90’s) and it was a surprise to see so many people sunning and swimming in the middle of the week! We chose to cool off with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Always a treat!
Jonny took the opportunity to use the empty town dock to assemble our portable dinghy which always attracts people to witness this odd vessel. For those who haven’t seen it, our Porte-a-Bote is a 10 foot long flexible dinghy that rows well (which is why Jonny wanted it), holds a decent sized engine, and can get up on a plane and travel about 13 knots (15 mph). The most amazing thing about it is that it folds up to the size of a surfboard and can be easily stowed on deck or transported. We will be towing it for this portion of our trip as we expect to find many quiet anchorages (gunkholes) where we can row and motor.
We planned to anchor this evening in Sarah’s Creek so we took off for about an hour’s trip to this quiet anchorage on the York River. It’s such a treat to anchor out after being in a marina for several days. The peace and beauty that surrounds us at these places is very restorative and one of the great pleasures of our journey.