Once We Got To Deltaville
We had Gem&I all tied up to the end of B-dock at Norview Marina by 0900. But we knew the overhang of the covered dock would not provide the needed shade all day, and we were aware that our air conditioner on board was in serious need of Barnacle Buster. Damian—battered from a second night at sea, with only 4 hours of sleep in 48 hours—somehow managed to get a second wind. He was a man on a mission: obtain Barnacle Buster, clean out the air conditioner’s hoses from the critter build-up, and get that AC running so we could finally, finally sleep in peace and come to the rescue of our over-heated cat. He put together his fold-up bike and rode off towards the nearest West Marine, about a mile away from Norview Marina on the main road going right through the middle of this sleepy, seaside town. Schnitzel, our dehydrated, lethargic feline, and I awaited his return in the shade as best we could, hoping this store location would have the product we were desperate for.
Air conditioning at last!
Talk about my hero! He returned with a gallon of Barnacle Buster and completed the mission successfully. You can’t imagine how amazing it felt to hear the familiar sounds of the air conditioner churning and blowing out cool air throughout the cabin! Within an hour, the cat was acting like himself again, drinking water, and chowing on some food. We had “breakfast” on board while watching an episode of our favorite TV show streamed in through Damian’s trusty iPhone, displayed on our mounted TV in the salon. We drew the curtains over the portholes to prevent the incoming sunlight from bringing any more heat in and to keep cool. Before noon, we crawled into our V-berth and settled in for a much-needed, much-deserved sleep.
When we awoke in the evening, we calculated how far we still were from my grandparents’ house. Still a day or two more of sailing southward past the York River. We drew up “mock scenarios” of possible anchorages and potential marinas, in which we could make the trip less painful. But we also had to consult the forecasted weather conditions over the next few days too. Another slew of five straight days with temperatures reaching above three digits on the thermostat! This did not look promising for us. We were not going to put ourselves through more days of sailing in the unbearable heat with very little to no wind. Period. And besides, my grandparents were leaving for TX in less than three days, so we’d miss them completely if we sailed on our own time table.
Lesson learned: Only sail on your own time
This is where I must reflect and voice the important lesson we learned from this experience: NEVER TELL A LAND DWELLER A SPECIFIC DAY YOU WILL ARRIVE IF YOU ARE SAILING THERE. Sailing passage decisions must always be made with only four conditions in mind: weather forecast (including wind speed/direction), tide levels, the needs of the boat, and needs of the crew. If there is outside pressure to get where you need to go sooner, life will be miserable for both the captain and crew. End of story.
So even though I had fantasized for months about dropping the hook right off the shoreline from my grandparents’ beach house that I had grown up playing in the water at, it wasn’t the wisest idea this time. And I needed to realistically give it up for now.
We compromised and chose to leave our boat tied up in Deltaville and rent a car to visit them instead before they left. This would also enable us the freedom to visit my great aunt and her family, and my great grandma Seaton, the Aussie lass who circumnavigated the globe with her retired husband on a 43 cutter-rigged sailboat in the 1970s before GPS and radar! Talk about adventure! What we do is nothing compared with their risky feat.
My sailing family
Having grown up hearing the real-life stories of my great grandparents’ sailing adventure, I have reason to believe my own passion for sailing comes from the legacy they left behind. Both my grandmother and great-aunt, Meg, sailed. I guess you could say, it’s in my blood. But for me, sailing is a newly-discovered hobby. So I’ve rarely had the privilege to talk “sailing” with them from the new perspective of being an actual sailor myself now. It was so fun! I am very grateful we had the opportunity to visit with them. We also used our visit to scope out where we will sail and stay when we venture down to see them again—perhaps next summer!
My second cousin, who is my age, is definitely a knowledgeable boater. He showed us the newly-acquired sailboat they had gotten for day-sails on the bay. They had just brought her “home” and were eager about the prospects of fixing her up and taking her out as soon as she was ready. We understood completely! He took us out on his Boston Whaler, through the marshy canals that maze around to the harbor and an inlet that leads directly out toward the bay.
The three of us spent the evening talking and enjoying being out on the water together. We explored a beach that had once been the site of a prosperous factory at the turn of the century. And since a Boston Whaler is a powerboat, we zoomed around, creating our very own breeze as we flew through the water. So the night air was pleasant for the first time since we had set out!
He oriented us to the nearest marina and possible places to drop anchor that were within dinghy-ing distances for us to come ashore near his home and my great grandmother’s on our return trip. He also took us out into the bay, where we could see the lights of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel stretching its way across the horizon, the Virginia’s only connection by car to the eastern shore.
Things don’t always go as planned
Our long two-week stay in Deltaville was not something either of us had planned. But as events in our lives unfolded, Damian had to fly to FL for an emergency, a loved one was on her deathbed. I drove a rental car home to Ashburn with the cat and jumped on a plane the next day bound for TX and joined my grandparents for the wedding. The plan was to meet back a few days later at home and retrieve our docked vessel as soon as we could manage in the last remaining days we had before teachers were required to return to school.