That tale we didn’t want to have to tell~ well here it is !!!:) . We woke up this morning and our boat was hard aground in the slip at the dock. As I mentioned yesterday, days of hard west winds have actually driven zillions of gallons of water out of the Chesapeake Bay and it’s little creeks. Healey creek is very small – maybe 60 feet wide with the water channel being only 20 feet wide. It S’s and as you navigate the s’s you need to swing way wide of the points of land as they shoal far out into the creek. With normal tides it has 5 – 8 feet of water at high tide - We need 5 to 5 ½ feet of water to float. Low tide was at 6:30 AM– by 8:15 Don was able to push the boat off the mud and slowly out into the pool in front of the docks. We made our way very slowly keeping good water at 7 feet. In the middle of the last S, where the travel channel is at it’s narrowest – we were a little too far to port and went aground. (the bottom is sand here not rock like Maine ! ) We tried backing off immediately no luck. So we just had to wait it out for higher tide. After an hour or so we decided to launch the dingy so Don could get a good handle on the water depths and perhaps kedge the boat off using an anchor off the dingy. Just as we got the dingy flipped over on the deck I felt our bow move. I ran back to the tiller and sure enough ~ shouted to Don our bow was swinging. He was able to back us off and into the deeper pool behind us where we dropped our anchor to wait for even higher tide.
So the day was shot because the trip to Hampton is too long to start mid morning. There are not any anchorages below the Piankitank River – so from here you have to go all the way to Hampton/Norfolk. Jackson Creek is one option but that is very tricky and shallow and S’s within a few feet of the shore. We bumped ground there once and have seen many boats ground while we have been at anchor. Not in the mood for a challenge this afternoon.
With the unusual low water we decided to pull into Fishing bay – A small cove with 18 feet of water ( about the size of the cove at the cape ) . It’s known for poor holding in stormy weather but with these COLD north winds we are protected by shore – we are anchored with 7 Canadian boats most of whom came down the bay this morning for 4 or 5 hours - a short day – to set them up for the long day to Hampton tomorrow. This is a beautiful spot and the sun is warm and we have our heater on though it refuses to work properly and we can not leave it on while we sleep.
It was in the 30’s this morning – we have an open cockpit so we are not protected from the weather. Tonight will be a hard frost but milder winds – we have been colder so we are ok.
It is good to have the time we took last night and are taking today to study our charts, we’ve got the boat really pulled together. Tiller didn’t skip a beat – he knew exactly where he was though he dragged his claws a little on the dock going to the boat ! So this afternoon we’ll just sit around, watch the other boats come in and pick cat hair off our layers of fleece clothing.
For anyone interested – google the "Dismal Swamp "– that is where we are headed after our night in Norfolk – Hampton ~ Everyone says it’s beautiful – I believe them but I have to tell you I am terrified of what lives there – in the water – in the trees – We have lost a few days and hope to catch up with our friend Greg so I hope that means we high tail it through the swamp though I believe ( I have tried really hard not to pay attention ) we spend one night in it. Now don’t you just wish you had free time in the winter ??…… Margaret if you click on the photos they get bigger-Fishing Bay