Early morning at our home port of Osprey Point Marina dawns clear and sunny… a precursor to a gorgeous autumn day on the Chesapeake Bay. Cutter Loose is underway from her slip at 7:30 AM, steaming south into light southerly winds. By 9:30 AM, the Bay Bridge passes astern as we thread a course through the anchored ships off of Annapolis Harbor.
Today is day one of our winter cruise…a day for reflection on voyages completed and for anticipating that which is in store for 2013. After five months of living ashore, our focus today is on adapting to the routine of moving the boat. We stand alternating one hour watches at the helm to allow time for correspondence and relaxation during the off watch.
As our southerly progress takes us past Eastern Bay, the Choptank River and the Little Choptank River, we are reminded of a time when these tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay were destinations unto themselves for a summer cruise. One could spend an entire season gunkholing these waters without putting a dent in all that the Chesapeake has to offer. Sadly for us, they have become memories recalled while transiting the Bay en route to warm winter destinations. Someday, we must take the time to re-explore these treasures.
The temperature climbs to 70 degrees in mid-afternoon as we leave the Bay and steer west into the Patuxent River en route to our overnight anchorage in Solomons, MD. With 59 miles under her keel for the day, Cutter Loose is anchored in Back Creek. The sounds and vibrations of military aircraft practicing takeoffs and landings at nearby Patuxent River Naval Air Station reverberate throughout the anchorage. At dusk, we are treated to a crimson sunset. It is good to be back on the water.
We are closely monitoring the movement of Tropical Storm Sandy, currently located near Jamaica and expected to move north towards Cuba and the Bahamas in the next 24 hours. Looking ahead, this storm could bring high winds to the east coast of the U.S. for the weekend. Even though the start date for the Caribbean 1500 is still 12 days away, the possibility of a late season storm is the most frightening aspect of an offshore voyage in the North Atlantic. We will be keeping a close watch on the weather map during the days leading up to our departure.