Saturday 30 May, passage Cayman to Chesapeake day 16:
At midnight we are a few miles into the Chesapeake Bay. After a few more iterations of sail-motor-sail, we finally give up, furl the genoa away and motor north up the Chesapeake until 5am. It was a very quiet night. Significantly less commercial traffic than previous times here.
As dawn breaks the breeze is back. This time from the west at 12kts. Engine goes off and we are then gliding almost silently along on a very gentle beam reach. I say gentle. The water and wind is gentle but Cloudy is pushing long at 7kts. So nice to be on flat water for a change. This new wind lasts for just 3 hours, then it gradually veers. And soon, even hard on the wind, we can no longer hold our course towards Herrington. So the rest of the journey is back to Volvo assisted. We leave the sails out though, to make sure they get completely dry before we have to get them down.
As we approach Herring Bay things start to get busy on the water. Sailing boats are pouring out of the 2 Herrington marinas on this warm sunny Saturday. Quite a contrast to the flag waving, waking making, blaring music, power boats that invaded the Cape Lookout Inlet this time last Saturday. It feels like boating types here are far more civilized. Or should we say, more our type of boater.
We anchor in our usual spot in Herring bay in 2.6m. Just 10cm gap to tickle the keel bottom at low tide. The water around us is a light chocolate brown colour. Not appealing at all! We almost feel like leaning over the side and saying “Water, please, don’t touch our hull”.
And that is it! Our last sail of the season. We did 5000nm this season. Quite low compared to previous. Well, 1/3 of the season on lock-down in Cayman didn’t help. And although looking forward to a break from boat life, I feel sad to have to stop. Especially with this lovely fresh spring weather.
But Oana is happy. Elated in fact. The passage is over. No more night shifts, no more feeling sick, no more small chest fridges and provisioning. She is now just looking forward to being back in her apartment and getting reunited with her bathtub and family. If my love for Cloudy makes Oana jealous, it’s Oana’s love for her bathtub that makes me jealous!
I spend the rest of the day cleaning up and drying things out ready for the pack-up. The spinnaker, in its sock, which had filled the fore cabin, gets lifted up the mast to get aired in the sun before it gets squeezed back into its stowage bag. And while in the bow cabins we also dry out where we had seawater invasion as we left Cape Lookout.
While doing this we annoyingly find yet more mildew. We contracted this damned plague inside the boat when in Maine 2 years ago (that damps foggy weather was perfect for mildew to get a grip). And we have been fighting it ever since. We deep cleaned the boat of it just 5 months ago but it’s back again. It drives Oana crazy when she sees it all over cloths and the woodwork. We’ve tried every remedy possible but none seem to eradicate it. Once you have it, it seems there is no getting rid of it. It just keeps reappearing. So we also spend some time, yet again, cleaning it out of the cupboards in the bow area and off our sailing gear in the wardrobe.
On deck all the spinnaker lines are cleared away making the deck look uncluttered again. Thankfully, all that rain we had yesterday seems to have thoroughly cleaned off every last bit of salt. So at least that’s one job less to do.
Meanwhile, Oana is below checking out flight options to get home. Not a good story. There are some flights into Europe, but flights into Bucharest a few and far between. Officially, Romania’s borders are closed till 16-June, and that may get extended further. But it seems the occasional flight does arrive from Sweden and Portugal. After several hours searching she is quite upset. I tell her we look fresh tomorrow after a good night sleep.
In the evening we chill in the cockpit with a well deserved gin and tonic. Our first alcohol for weeks. Outside it’s absolutely calm. The water is like a mirror, reflecting the beautiful evening sky. Then to bed. To sleep. Blissful sleep with no concerns of wind shifts, squalls or navigation challenges. I will miss all those things, but not tonight!