Chesapeake Float 2016

Our persistent rain finally broke last Thursday and Friday. That was good, as the Float was scheduled. In all we had maybe 10 boats departing from Freeport Landing on the Piankatank River. We arrived with Una mid morning to find 5-6 boats already out sailing in a gentle breeze out of the NE. Once launched, five of us tacked downstream to lunch on the hook behind Berkley Island just short of the Rt 3 bridge.

windward making


Mike and his crackers


Post lunch, the wind picked up for some good work to windward. Some headed back to the ramp. Others sailed on beyond the bridge. Una quickened her pace and made it to Fishing Bay and anchored.

Fishing Bay

After cocktails, dinner and laying out the bed roll, Harris texts me that most of the group had rafted up in Healey Creek about 2.5 miles back upstream. The evening looked great for a reach back, so we did, passing immature osprey dancing on an old duck blind platform.

reaching into the sunset

It was nearly dark when we met up with the gang. Pete, Kevin and Steve provided some tunes on mandolin, penny flute and harmonica respectively, a perfect fit to the evening atmosphere. Short of midnight, we cast off to anchor in the mouth of a small cove 40 yards away. The night was a dead calm, moon bright, the dew heavy and no bugs. The tent went together quickly until I discovered I had buttoned the 1st snaps too far forward. A redo set all right. Sleep was heavy, but awoke at 0300 to owls hooting in the nearby woods. The mist and moon cast an erie glow. Dew had sopped everything outside the tent. Inside it was dry.


Mabu and Whisper astern

0730 awoke to a cool still morning. I found I had left the coffee press in the truck. Missed that ritual. Thus, PBJ was the extent of breakfast. Taking a row upstream, we studied the boats docked along the shore. Numbering a dozen or so, they obviously had deep water in this snug creek.

Pulling upstream (credit: Doug O.)
morning flotilla (cred: Doug O.)

Leaving the creek, we find the river was glass. Brief puffs helped us along as we head back to Fishing Bay.

Kevin and Slip Jig

As the wind filled in from the outer Bay, I pealed off and take Una over to Gwynn Island to find a fresh grilled crab cake sandwich at the SeaBreeze at the foot of the drawbridge.

The Islander Motel remains

The Islander has been in decline since the late 80’s. After Isabell, it closed for good. It’s a shame. The property has a wonderful view north toward Fishing Bay. May be impossible to get flood insurance though.

handsome deadrise skiff

Once back in the river, only a catboat was seen way upstream. We give chase. Much later we roll under the Rt 3 bridge as Mabu and Whisper sail from behind Berkley Island.

the bridge

No sooner had we closed the  gap to 50 yards when Mabu deploys its beach umbrella to keep us at bay. Is that legal?

the sneaky Mabu and umbrella.

Back at the ramp we sheet the mizzen, dropped the main and took a cool swim. The forecast for “tomorrow” was to be a wash. We all hauled boats and enjoyed crabs and oysters with John and Vera. They had a group showing up for their annual Mess-a-bout. Was a fine time indeed.

The End


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