Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Solomons Island – In the Rain

Dock at Zahniser's Yatching Center
We woke to a beautiful sunrise with blue skies and the promise of a great day. The winds had finally died down to less than 10 kts and that was out of the north, a good direction for us going south. Once again the anchor was set to the extent that I think a 1:1 scope would have been enough to hold us! The mud was thick and it took awhile to wash away the clay-like grime, luckily I have a washdown pump for just that purpose.
Heading out into the bay, it was a different sight that presented itself, gentle one ft rollers that were behind us as we motored south. We had 42 miles to cover to reach Solomons Island, a popular resort area on the west coast of Chesapeake Bay. Soon the sunshine gave way to clouds and rain from the approaching tropical disturbance from south of Cuba that was coming up the coast. There was no wind yet but there was plenty of rain. We are predicted to get up to 40 kt gusts on Thursday out of the south with even more rain. With that we’ll remain at a dock in Solomons Island for the duration. Hopefully we can leave on Friday but we’ll see then. The docks were fixed, not floating which makes for a new experience for us. I finally wound up putting the fenders on the pier posts so if the boat move some, the boat is still cushioned against the floats on the post. We'll see how this startegy works out in 40 kt gusts on Thursday.

The AIS came in very handy in the reduced visibility conditions of the heavy rain. I could see approaching ships 6 miles away and plan my passing strategy in the narrow, busy traffic lanes of the Chesapeake. The AIS display will show the heading of the ship and where it will be in 10 minutes according to its current speed. I can then compare that plot to the plot of my position and corresponding position in 10 minutes and see if we’ll intersect, all displayed on my chartplotter at the helm. On two occasions we were on a collision path and, of course, I altered my heading two miles in advance to pass safely. Great thing, AIS.