May 25, 2012: Memorial Day(s) Weekend

Planning for the “big weekend” was actually pretty-minimal; no big plans to go anywhere, no big plans to meet anyone, no big plans to stock-up on filet or lobster… just a carefree trip wherever the currents wanted to take the Christina Rose. Weather was predicted to be stellar for this part of the Chesapeake, mid-80’s all weekend.

Captain and crew made it to the docks late Friday night, intentionally planning to miss the high-traffic period on the Bay Bridge; entire road-trip took no longer than normal. Christina welcomed the crew to no fanfare, gear and supplies secured well-before 11pm, TVs and A/C verified operational before lights-out.

Saturday morning started peacefully aboard the Rose, as the Captain planned to take care of some minor maintenance while the crew used the available downtime to relax and enjoy the pool at the marina. A set of roof-rack carriers got installed on the swim-platform, to carry the kayak safely underway. Drilled-thru holes were sealed with marine silicone instead of 4200, as the mounts sandwiched the platform’s carpeting… something that would have to be removed for winter.

Kayak mounts installed

Installed some kayak-mounts through the swim-platform, sealed-up with marine silicone for yearly-removal...

The generator was finally tested, after having installed a clear fuel-filter a couple weeks prior. Genny fired up immediately on the first attempt, and continued to run fine for a 10-minute test… problem solved (uh, wait… more on that later).

The Admiral and First Mate made their way back from the pool and the Christina Rose quietly left her slip, fueled-up (only 50-gallons this time), and left port headed for the upper Chester River around 5pm. Leaving port, Christina never had her throttles pushed fore, traveling approximately 7knots for her entire journey, maintaining 1.2nm/gal, since there was no time-constraints or schedule.

Radar in Action

A look at the Garmin Radar, highlights to two channel-markers are highlighted. Boats and land can be seen off in the distance.

Boat and crew reached their destination, a favorite sandy beach-spot approximately 3-hours later… typically a 40-minute cruise. At arrival, Christina Rose was one of six boats within eyesight; two blow-boats and three small day-cruisers that looked to be staying for the night.

On-hook, the genny fired right-away, affording us A/C, stove, and microwave… combined with the grill to result in a fabulous dinner of grilled mahi-mahi, zucchini, baked-potato, and fresh corn on-the-cob with steamed-shrimp appetizer.

Boat Cuisine

Mahi-mahi, baked-potatoes, corn, zucchini, dogs, and plenty of cerveza!

At anchor, the weather turned sour overnight with wind and waves that basically prevented sleep for all except the 8-year-old First Mate who cheerfully woke up by 7am, preventing the weary crew from any further shut-eye. While the genny worked perfectly for a couple-hours Saturday evening, after Sunday morning coffee she sputtered and died; the clear fuel-filter showing no signs of fuel once again. Having only used about 7-gallons (of 120 in the port-tank) since fill-up, something’s got to be up with the port-side fuel pickup in the tank, or possibly the genny’s fuel-pump. Regardless of the cause, the genny remained quiet for the rest of the long weekend.

A little fun on the hook

Flying high above the Rose, hook-time is fun-time

By 11am Sunday morning the 27th, there had to be over 60 boats invading our peaceful anchorage, building throughout the day. A series of weekend-renegaders; music blasting, several raft-ups, people with no clue how to anchor into the wind (especially for a busy location), culminating with one tool who broadsided three rafted boat’s anchor-lines almost clearing crew off the boats as they swayed from their newfound catch. That was enough for us, Christina pulled anchor around 4pm and headed for another favorite anchorage deeper in the Chester.

Cruising as slowly as she had the previous day, building head-long seas Sunday afternoon resulted in a white-out windshield, as spray from white-caps laid a thin coating of salt on everything forward. Being passed by fishing boats and day-cruisers alike came something of a joke, as Christina is usually the one passing other vessels. But, in hind-sight, low and slow is a good way to roll in the Christina Rose when there is no time-constraints on the travel.

Christina arrived at her favorite anchorage-spot by 7pm, with only a spattering of other vessels within binocular range. Safely tucked leeward to some land west of Rock Hall in the Chester, the Rose dropped hook, then dropped the kayak in the water for some exploring. Several kayak trips out past a point found a huge school of rays, 50-100 or more, with their grey fins sticking up above the surface looking like a school of shark. In fact, it took several trips (mostly the following morning in different light) to determine that they were in-fact rays, as local fishermen claimed them to be blue-fish. Seeing the wings of the rays slap the kayak as they sailed under, with their unmistakable faces looking at us as inquisitively as we were looking at them was simply breathtaking. The Admiral spent hours floating in the middle of the spectacle, with so many that each stroke of the paddle hit the back of a soft ray, in awe…

Admiral commands another vessel

Kayaking away from the Rose, the Admiral goes in search of Cownose Ray...

After exploring, the crew fired up the Magma, then grilled chicken and asparagus with a shrimp-cocktail appetizer before settling down to watch a movie while in a bubble of calm surrounded by building-winds and seas ahead of a massive 40knot storm approaching us (according to the repeated warnings blaring over the VHF from the Coasties). Blow it did, and Christina rode out the storm without incident during the movie. By the end of the movie, the Rose once again had isinglass rolled-open as a beautiful nighttime breeze wafted through her screened hatches.

The captain awoke at 6:05am to the sound of the anchor-drag alarm, while the rest of the crew slept peacefully. Apparently, a 75ft anchor-alarm is a little too-tight for 40’ of anchor-rode paid-out, when the low-tide current completely spun the Christina Rose around on her hook. With no generator, coffee was started by heating water on the Magma… possibly the best Swiss Army Knife equipment aboard the Rose. Coffee makes lack of sleep tolerable.

Morning on the hook

6:30am on the hook Memorial Day, only a couple other boats off in the distance, a perfect time for coffee!

A sad comment on the weekend… while all should have been relaxed and giving thanks to those few who gave so much to allow so many to enjoy the freedoms we all share while boating, the VHF was boisterous the entire weekend with unfortunate circumstances. One “21 year old black man in a black bathing suit” on a go-fast was lost about 12-miles north of us at Howell Point; Coasties, MD State Police, and MD DNR spent much of the weekend searching, eventually finding his body Tuesday morning. A boat-crash at Kent Narrows, about 12-miles south of us killed one man and put two others in Shock-Trauma, screwing around at 11pm Sunday night. Countless other broadcasts spoke to water-rage arguments over who had the right-of-way or how big someone’s wake was. Even the Navy got into the act, with multiple warnings for boats to stay 150-yards away from their warship or face possible arrest, fines, or use of deadly force. Christina had four separate rules-of-the-road run-ins over this weekend; all were cases of captains thinking they had the right of way (but didn’t) or simple inattention at the helm. Treating each vessel as under operation of a drunk, Christina was forced to flee to safety (the last rule-of-the-road).

On the hook Memorial Day

Christina pausing to give thanks on Memorial Day 2012...

A few more trips by kayak to the cownose-ray grounds Memorial Day, a few hotdogs on the Magma for lunch, then captain and crew lifted anchor around 1:30pm… partially to head back to port, partially to get air flowing through the cabin on yet another gorgeous 85-degree day. Again at no-wake speed by choice, the slow 2.5-hour trip back home those 12.2nm was probably one of the most-beautiful, most-serene trips ever undertaken by Miss Christina Rose.

The entire weekend was only 30.7nm, having an average underway speed of 6knots with a maximum of only 7knots! Definitely a first for the Rose and her captain… a trip that was more a trawl than a cruise:

Memorial Weekend, 2012

A glimpse into Christina's tracks, low and slow!

…but, you know what? It was probably one of the most enjoyable cruises undertaken to date.

Happy Wakes! Feel free to drop me a note anytime,

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