First attempt to leave Solomons Island at sunrise
[Kyle]As we backed out the dock in Solomons I was having trouble getting Begonia to fully react to the controls, despite it being flat calm. Even with the helm hard to starboard, she kept turning to port. Once in forward, she was slow to respond, turning left initially before grudgingly starting to the right. I put both engines into neutral and then tried each separately. The port engine was not shifting out of neutral. We returned to the dock with reduced control using the starboard engine.
After pulling up the bunk boards/engine cover, we discovered that the shifter cable had broken off where it attached to the fitting on the transmission arm. We didn’t really have the time or the desire to go through the kerfuffle of running a new one (we didn’t even know how long any new cable needed to be!), so after a little head scratching, we worked out a sturdy solution using what we had on board. We also received a generous portion of help from Dave at the local Washburn’s Boatyard!). Two hours after we left the first time, we left again, this time under full control.
We headed into the bay and once again the spinnaker helped us eat up miles faster than planned. We would end up needing it. Even though our planned anchorage was only seven miles from the dock at Solomons, we had to sail all the way down to Point Lookout, enter the Potomac, and sail most of the way back. Once we entered the Potomac, we had to spend all but the last hour of daylight tacking up into the St. Mary’s River.
The St. Mary’s is one of our favorite places on Chesapeake Bay. There’s no particular reason for this, it’s just one of those places we have been where we have always enjoyed ourselves. The river is wide enough to let the wind in for sailing, but narrow enough to keep the water flat and be able to enjoy the scenery on both sides. Our favorite anchorage, way up the river by Tippity Wichity Island, is past a couple of sharp turns, making that part of the river look like a medium-sized lake. Every time we have been here, we were the only boat in the basin. While there are a few houses, the banks are mostly wilderness. At night, it gets really dark; dark enough to see the Milky Way, and the noise is overwhelmingly that of birds, crickets and frogs. Yes it is a thoroughly enjoyable place, indeed.
Sun sets behind Tippity Wichity Island
Tippity Wichity is said to be a derivation of an earlier name for the island's house of illicit drinking, gambling and other disreputes: “Tippling-house and Witchery-house”. Today we were the only place around serving drinks.