Looks Like We Will Finally Be Going !
We sent off the contracts today to have our boat shipped to Havre de Grace the week of the Boat show - we will meet it down there when our businesses close. Our plan is to get it the water, do some work on it, take it for a few shakedown trips out of the marina, go to the Boat show for a day then do some short days down the beginning of the Chesapeake staying in Marinas and near boat supplies incase anything goes wrong - the boat hasn't been in the water for 3 years...then a few longer days heading down to the ICW...we hope to be in the ICW by Nov 1 or so (no real schedule). Then spend the next two or so months making our way down the ICW to the end of Georgia maybe to St. Simons Island area - haul the boat out there till next year when we can sail it further South during our time off in the winter.
We want to spend some time in Charleston and Savannah. (We drove the route last winter so that we could see what the places looked like and get a feel for it).
After two false starts I can't believe we are finally going to make it onto the boat! I am glad we waited though and didn't go in MAy as planned to sail it down the East Coast and spent the time Chartering then instead it gave us a feel for living on a boat which we had never done. It was good to do it in nice warm beautiful BVIs for the first time instead of cold Maine!
Any suggestions about places on the Chesapeake to stop - we have two dogs and don't want to go too far off the Channel and add to our days sailing...we are thinking of doing a mix of Marinas and Anchoring. We plan to stop at Solomon Islands, it looks nice. We are also looking for a place to stay outside of Norfolk to rest up before doing all the bridges and navy traffic, there are so many choices in the area it seemed hard to tell what was best.
Also any word on the DIsmal swamp? We really want to go that way but have heard it is pretty shallow with lots of deadheads...we draw 5'2 on our 28.5 Hunter is it doable for us? Any tips for the ICW run? Places to see, stay, anchor - good dog friendly places...
Any thoughts and suggestions are appreciated...
There are a ton of great anchorages in the Cheasapeake. Some of our favorites include Swan Creek near Rock Hall, Eagle Cove in the Magothy, Tilghman Creek off of Eastern Bay, Oxford, Leeds Creek off of the Miles River, Dun Cove in the Choptank, Tangier Island, St. Mary's River, Jackson Creek in the Piankatank, Horn Harbor.
As far as the Norfolk area, stay away from Willoughby Bay. Holding is not good and is too open.
For the ICW, one highly recommended guide is "Managing the Waterway" by Mark and Diana Doyle.
You have picked a fantastic time to do this trip! There are countless places to go and see and stay on the bay. This is a really good book that provides a lot of great ideas and certainly gives a good idea of what to expect:
Amazon.com: Cruising the Chesapeake: A Gunkholer's Guide (9780071363716): William
There are too many anchorages and marinas to name. Most are excellent. Some...not so much. The challenge (and fun?) is figuring out which is which.
ActiveCaptain is a tool that can help. It's free and documents tens of thousands of anchorages, marinas, bridges, boat ramps, etc. Each marina (red marker) and anchorage (green marker) has reviews from people who have stayed at that location overnight. They provide first hand impressions and opinions and are invaluable. Inside each marker is also a set of details that provides everything from current slip pricing, to shower availability, to all services provided - a hundred items for marinas. Those factual details work in tandem with the review/opinion data to give a unique picture of the environment as well as giving direct local knowledge.
One of my favorite examples is a marina that charges $2 for 10 minutes of shower time use. That's a factual, detail type of thing. But reading the reviews from people who actually stayed at the marina gives the inside story - "let the hot water run for 5 minutes in the sink so you have 10 full minutes of a hot shower". I love that type of thing...true local knowledge.
The way ActiveCaptain works is that if you find you're using the data, contribute as you see things missing or you have an experience worth mentioning for others in the community. Everything can be edited, reviewed, and updated to share with others. For example, Hazard (yellow/orange) markers display problem areas all along the waterways especially common on the ICW. This includes Notice to Mariners findings as well as problems that the Coast Guard doesn't know about. Since the data comes from users, new hazards popping up might be a current as yesterday. The often detail shoaling and information about which side of the channel is deeper. For a 5' draft boat, you're going to seek those things out.
There are a lot of other interesting capabilities and other ways to use the data (iPhone/iPad, PC navigation products, etc). As you contribute to the data, you get points and reaching different point levels earns awards that get mailed to you (product samples and ultimately an ActiveCaptain hat). Check it out and explore - it'll hook you!
The active captain site requires flash which my iPad and other apple devices does not support so I am unable to use it unless there is an app I didn't see. Apple is getting so that none of it's devices will support flash so to make a site useful for us apple users it might be good if the website had an alternative.
You're right - our own web site doesn't work on my iPad either.
But there's a wonderful alternative - it's actually better than the web site while underway. Navimatics Charts & Tides is the first iPhone/iPad app that supports ActiveCaptain (there are others coming too). It's a really nice app. It actually downloads ALL of the data to the device so it is all available instantly and offline - details and all reviews. When you have an internet connection, you can press its Update button and all new data since the last update will be synchronized to the iPad. We currently average more than 1,000 updates every day so updating once a week or before heading out is a pretty good idea. The data stays compressed on the iPad and only takes about 100 MB of space.
Charts & Tides costs $19.99 for the East Coast (Maine through the West Coast of Florida). We make no revenue from the product whatsoever - I'm only biased toward it because they did a nice implementation with our data. I have to admit that I use it all the time.
It's a universal app so buying it allows you to use it on an iPhone and iPad at the same time. It fully takes advantage of the higher resolution of the iPad. It's quite a nice app. It integrates offline tide/current display too and gives access to all NOAA NDBC weather buoys to get the latest weather conditions. Accessing the NDBC data requires a live internet connection for obvious reasons.
More info is here:
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