The obvious question we’re asking ourselves is why the hell have we always gone up and down the western shore of Chesapeake Bay? Never again, unless a boat problem puts the proverbial gun to our head. First up on the eastern shore, Cape Charles. Shout out to @EmilyAsAnArtist.
We arrived with enough time to scope out the town, with the plan to explore more on Saturday. First impression? Awesome.
Big plans for Saturday. Explore town and visit the famous beach. And wash the boat, because the water pressure at the dock is spectacular. So we’ll explore town, visit the beach, wash the boat, and go to the concert in the park, because we almost always miss the concert in the park by one day. Except we woke up to rain, went to bed shortly after the rain stopped, and mostly it rained all day in between. So mostly we sat all day on the boat. No concert.
However, for a couple of years now we’ve been carting around login credentials for an online marine weather seminar. It seemed fitting to learn what makes rain on a day Zeus decided to park storm clouds over the good townsfolk of Cape Charles, so we watched until it made us both sleepy. About the only other thing we did was make our way in the rain to a restaurant that required an email inquiry and then the owner called Dana to make sure we were acceptable as customers. That was a first.**
Sunday gave us a chance to clean the flybridge and walk around town in beautiful weather, including a stop at the cute bookstore. Open literally every day of the week all summer except one. Closed on August 8. Sunday was August 8. Of course.
Even more of a bummer than missing the bookstore was missing the docking competition, which occurred last week. Essentially guys in powerful fishing boats—with equal parts testosterone and foolishness coursing through their carburetors—lined up at a distant starting point, then sped to a narrow set of pilings, spun around, slammed into reverse, and backed into the slot. The fastest guy to get four lines on the posts was the winner. We would’ve paid to watch the carnage described by the Shanty bartender, but had to settle for a photo of the pilings. The bartender didn’t mention what the winner won, but presumably it was a replacement boat.
Later Sunday, back across the Bay to Deltaville and the Zimmerman service dock. The only interesting thing was the tug pulling the barge with the tow rope in the water.
That dude could learn a thing or two about catenary from Rick and Mary, who recently used Exhale—and judging by their photos also used perfect form—to tow a stranded sailboat several hours to safety.
Monday ZMI fixed the crane, we still had no WiFi or cell service, blah blah blah, let’s just jump ahead to the eastern shore again. During the blahs, however, we did get the dinghy back in time for a quick spin around Broad Creek. Oscar wasn’t excited about missing nap time but we made up for it by not stuffing him into his personal floatation device.
Also, the trip across the Bay today should’ve taken four hours but instead took five hours, because we travelled an extra eight miles trying to avoid beam waves by zig-zagging like Otis Campbell on his way to sober up at the Mayberry jail. But the payoff was that after the troubled waters we had about five miles of smooth up picturesque Onancock Creek.
And then we popped out at picturesque Onancock.
We’re gonna stay here another day, although Dana will check out Onancock while Doug spends most of it on Tangier Island, which we’d visit by boat but for that pesky five-foot draft.
One more thing. While crossing the Chesapeake today we kept hearing “NASA Surveillance” hail boaters who were heading towards an area that was restricted a few hours later because of a rocket launch. Sure enough, at 6:01 an Antares rocket carrying a Cygnus cargo spacecraft passed by us on its way to the ISS. This was much better than that time we waited for hours at Vero Beach and then the actual launch from Cape Canaveral was in the dark and the GoPro video was worthless.
*“All you need is love, love, love is all you need,” at least according to Lennon and McCartney. So here’s the iconic Cape Charles beach sign.
**After interrogating Dana the lady said we could come to dinner, which provided a great opportunity to paraphrase the Groucho Marx line about not wanting to join any club that would allow someone like him to be a member, but we were pretty sure that by dinner time we’d be hungry so we didn’t use it on her, which was a good thing because she turned out to be really nice.