Happy Halloween from somewhere in Virginia

in Intracoastal Waterway / Life at Sea / Sailing the World
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I know it’s Halloween and all, but truth be told, the only scary thing here in Mill Creek is the temperature and the language coming out of my mouth. Ryan’s been listening to me grumble a stream of expletives through my scarves all day to the tune of: “I haven’t been this flipping cold for this long since I was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Russian-flipping-Far-East!” or “When we set off for the frigging Bahamas, I thought I’d be wearing a bikini by now!” Or the imaginable equivalent.

The problem is that we’ve been holed up inside our boat, freezing and wet, for five days and then I woke up this morning in 3 layers of clothing, a ski hat, knee socks, to realize we’ve been in the Solomon Islands for five days now and we haven’t seen anything other than the inside of our boat, thanks to Hurricane Sandy. And now we are leaving because we can’t bear to stay a minute longer.

So, I am a bit grumbly, to say the least, even though I know I should be elated and grateful that we didn’t suffer the effects of Hurricane Sandy the way many others did and still are. But I do have a tendency to be selfish when I am cold. I blame Russia.

Either way, there was no time for wallowing – we had work to do putting our sails back up and getting Hideaway back to her pre-hurricane condition. And as exhausting and cold as it all was, once we get out on the Chesapeake Bay, it just felt good to be moving again. With 18-knot winds, we were able to shut down the engine, sail at a smooth 6.5 knots and hear nothing but the sound of water rushing along the hull.

Ryan putting up sails after Hurricane Sandy - Solomons Island, MD

Ryan putting up sails after Hurricane Sandy – Solomons Island, MD.

Hideaway sailing in the Chesapeake Bay

Hideaway sailing in the Chesapeake Bay.

But then we lost our wind, the sun went behind the clouds, and we were motoring like mad through the Chesapeake in a dash to get to Norfolk, Virginia before Thursday night – after all, we have a flight to catch to Vermont on Friday morning for our friends’ wedding.

Every sailor knows that land schedules do not jive with sail plans. But we made this plan and we are sticking to it, even if it means additional stress. I guess you could say we haven’t quite gotten Manhattan out of our system yet.

The plan was to get to Fleet’s Bay, Virginia, by the end of today, still giving us a fairly long haul to Norfolk on Thursday. But as it happened, we didn’t quite make it to Fleet’s Bay before sunset, so we have pulled off into the Great Wicomico River to anchor in Mill Creek for the night, which means an even earlier start on Thursday morning.

Hideaway at sunset in Mill Creek, Va.

Hideaway at sunset in Mill Creek, VA.

I was still swearing like a well-trained sailor when we pulled into Mill Creek, since it had gotten progressively colder throughout the day. But just as we dropped anchor in the middle of nowhere in Virginia, the setting sun splayed a grenadine shadow on the water and trees around us, and the air became supremely still.

There was nothing else around us except a few private homes and docks, some birds and one other anchored sailboat. As frozen as my face was, I couldn’t help but look around and smile…just before I ducked down below to turn our portable gas stove into a personal hand warmer.

No doubt, in the morning, I’ll be swearing my head off again through my scarves and ski muffs on the way to Norfolk, Virginia, and I’ll forget momentarily…that it’s the small moments like this that make it all worthwhile.

One thing I can for sure is it’s still way better than a day at the office.

Sunset on Mill Creek, the Great Wicomico River, Virginia.

Sunset on Mill Creek, the Great Wicomico River, Virginia.

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