We journeyed from Cape May, New Jersey, up the Delaware River, so to take a shortcut over to the Chesapeake Bay. Technically part of the official Intracoastal Waterway for snow birds boating south (while remaining inland) to warmer weather, we are using the waterway to visit the Northern Chesapeake area, and make a few planned stops while mostly (and safely) waiting out hurricane season.
We could not follow the true Intracoastal West from Cape May because Fayaway’s mast is 55ft. So bucking tidal current and wind we headed SE back out to the bouncy Atlantic before heading NW up the Delaware River. As time passed a few hours into to late morning, our fair wind subsided and we fired up the iron jenny. Up, up, up we went. (NW is up in our world). Soon in the distance we could see an immense cooling tower billowing steam. (Salem Nuclear Power Plant). Seems ironic to have that as our direction indicator, considering we travel mostly using wind and solar power! Delighting us further, the wind picked up in our favor, bringing us to maximum speed (7+ knots) for several more miles.
A little further north we found the C & D Canal’s eastern entrance, where we dropped sails almost simultaneously with several other cruising boats, and began the day’s final push into the setting sun. We had 15 miles to go in about two hours. Will we make it against the adverse current? It was supposed to switch direction soon. Fortunately, the current did help after a while of high motor rpm, and we arrived safely at Chesapeake City’s public anchorage. It was a bit packed with other boats but we found a nice spot, and settled for a rewarding cold malty beverage. Cheers!
The fact that there are only two canals in the United States at sea level surprised me. We have grown up near the Cape Cod Canal but never gave it thought about how unique it is. That is until now, picking up this trivial fact during a walk around Chesapeake City. The C & D Canal is the other such canal, and we traversed both within a week.
Originally opened back in 1849 with steam-powered locks, to save almost 300 miles of travel between the mouths of the Delaware River and the Chesapeake Bay, the canal is now used by more than 15,000 vessels per year.
We’re at anchor as I write this post, and thinking about where to go next. Maybe Georgetown, up the Sassafras River, as we slowly migrate toward warmer climes. Please subscribe and check our tracking page from the main menu. Take Care!