The alarm sounds at 6 AM. We emerge from the warmth and comfort of our sleeping bags to a chilly, 50 degree morning. At 6:30 AM, first light filters through a layer of early morning clouds. The gravitational pull of life ashore is weakening. The diesel springs to life. Docklines are stowed. At precisely 7 AM, our ties to land are severed as Cutter Loose inches out of her slip. As if to applaud our newfound freedom, we are treated to a magnificent sunrise as we leave Swan Creek behind and round can 5 into the familiar waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Day one of our winter cruise is officially underway.
As predicted, the wind today is from the northwest at 12 knots. Cutter Loose is southbound on a comfortable beam reach. At 9 AM, we pass under the Bay Bridge. A Navy submarine appears on our starboard beam as we sail by the entrance to Annapolis harbor.
South of Annapolis, there is little traffic on the Bay. By 5 PM, Cutter Loose is anchored in Back Creek at Solomons Island, MD. Today’s journey covers 55 nautical miles. Clear skies tonight promise a calm and quiet, albeit chilly anchorage.