Sunday, September 9, 2012

Swan Creek, Rock Hall

Nothing is ever written in stone when planning a sailing itinerary. We left Chesapeake City with plans of heading directly to Annapolis. After sailing for a couple of hours the wind shifted from NW to SW and was directly "on the nose." Simple Life was pointed south and it was clearly evident that we would need to motor through heavy chop with an unfavorable current for several more hours.
Whenever the engine is fired up I quickly lose interest. I decided to check emails and to my delight received an email from friends Bill and Sandy whom we'd met in the Bahamas eight years ago! They were going to be arriving at the Sailing Emporium, where they keep their boat Whistwind in Rock Hall. We were sailing along the eastern shore and were actually only an hour away. As I said, itineraries can change quickly. After checking Navionics (a great navigation app) on the iPad we decided that it made sense to head in toward Rock Hall and the bonus was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with old friends.
One of the preferred cruising guides that we use is Skipper Bob's "Anchorages Along the Intracoastal Waterway." The guide had one suggestion as an anchorage in Rock Hall known as Swan Creek.
Swan Creek happened to be a five minute ride by car from Bill and Sandy's boat and offered protection from all wind directions in the event of thunderstorms which were in the forecast for the following afternoon. Bill also confirmed that Swan Creek offered very good holding and that we should be fine in the event of a storm. We made plans to meet the following day and were invited to attend a party at their yacht club!

Bill and Sandy picked us up on Saturday morning and gave us the tour of Rock Hall. The party was scheduled around 3:00 that afternoon which gave us time to catch up, do laundry at their facility and meet several of their friends on Pennsylvania Dock at the Sailing Emporium. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming.
A beautiful gazebo surrounded by crepe myrtles on the Sailing Emporium grounds was chosen for the party venue. Cocktails and appetizers were served before the main course of spectacular crab cakes, corn and salad. The main course was just finished when ominous dark clouds enveloped the area. The locals took notice and began packing the food and other items away. Strong gusts of wind came up swirling leaves and whatever else happened not to be tied down.

It was time to leave. Bill offered to drive Joe back to Swan Creek to check Simple Life, but Joe explained that there was no apparent need since we'd taken a mooring that morning in preparation for the storm.
We all took shelter on the second floor of the building that houses the marina library. It offered a bird's eye view of the storm and the boats in the marina. Electricity went out due to the winds which were clocked at 45mph.

Everything calmed down as the cold front passed and the winds shifted to the north. It was time to head back to Simple Life for the evening. Bill and Sandy had plans of heading south aboard Whistwind for a couple of weeks. We planned to head over to Annapolis for a week or so. It was still raining after the storm so we quickly bid goodby dodging raindrops with promises to stop by again during our migration north in the spring.

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