Heading South Into Hurricane Michael

On Sunday morning the rendezvous concluded and we untied 8 lines from our boat and our next door neighbors’ boats and headed south from Solomons, MD.

It’s a pleasure washing dishes with this view.

It was a gorgeous day on the Chesapeake Bay followed by a gorgeous sunset in the Piankatank River where we anchored. I loved this anchorage because fish were constantly doing belly-flops in the water and I love that sound. Also, I love the name of the river: Piankatank. There are so many places and rivers with Native American names such as Choptank, Rappahannock, Nanticoke, Susquehanna and on and on. Scott was thrilled to try out his new bow eye and is super pleased. It is quite in the forward stateroom and he is using much less chain while at anchor.


The next day we started planning our routes in order to be in a marina and be hunkered down for Hurricane Michael. Friends recommended that we attempt to make it to River Dunes in Oriental, NC rather than Belhaven, NC, as we had planned. River Dunes Marina was not damaged in Florence, and is in a well protected harbor. We were awed, as usual, by the huge container ships and naval vessels in Norfolk.

We had planned to hang out there for a couple of days but decided to go further to Chesapeake, VA. We found a spot there to tie up to the free city “walls” and went into town for a yummy pad thai dinner with our friend, Marty. We met Marty and his wife, Amy, in Stuart, FL last winter. I love listening to Marty tell fascinating stories of his 89 years of interesting experiences.

We woke at 5:15 a.m. the following day in order to take off at 5:45. We needed to pass through the Centerville Bridge prior to its closing for rush hour at 6:30 a.m. We left in the dark and had to be careful to avoid the rowing teams. They shouted at us to let us know where they were. Thankfully, we rarely have to get up that early but we did enjoy watching the sunrise as we were eastern bound at the beginning of the day. We planned to have a long day and anchor at Bear Point, about 70 nm in total. Our boat angel, Steve, encouraged us to go another 31 nm. further to Pungo River Anchorage. We decided to make hay while the sun was shining prior to the storm so we kept on. Now that’s one heck of a long day and were often going over 9 k. which on our boat is super fast! We finally dropped the anchor at 6:30 p.m. giving us a 12 3/4 hour day.


We were rewarded with another beautiful sunset, followed by an amazing sunrise which meant we were up with the birds, again. We watched the gorgeous sunrise in our reverse image screen on the back wall of the pilot house as we were heading west at that time. It was a relatively short day going to River Dunes in Oriental.

Upon docking we immediately set up double lines and hung all the larger fenders. Thursday, along with Tropical Storm Michael, came and went with little fanfare. Not much rain and wind gusts around 50 k.

When we docked we were told that the wi-fi was very good, even on the docks, which was an unusual surprise. Well, we learned that it wasn’t really the case. No wi-fi. Our phones didn’t work. Our texts only sometimes worked. We couldn’t even check the weather or contact family to let them know we were ok.

Friday was another great weather day so we cleaned and then we paid $20 to rent the marina’s van to go to the Piggly Wiggly grocery store. The store had no electricity but had a generator so we stocked up preparing for company that night…Scott’s niece (Stephanie), her husband (Brooks) and 5 year old daughter (Eva).

It was sooo much fun having a little one on the boat again! They took us to dinner at Toucan Grill in Oriental which was on the water looking out at the very large and well-maintained shrimp boats. The chocolate cake for dessert was outstanding as was the fiery sunset. The next morning we took them for a chilly dinghy ride and Scott let Eva drive…I haven’t even been allowed to drive the dinghy yet!!! She had so much fun zig-zagging across the water and making it go faster and faster! Eva also taught me some new sidewalk chalk techniques. It was so nice of them to drive 1.5 hrs. to come spend the night and we had a great visit.


5 thoughts on “Heading South Into Hurricane Michael

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  1. Asking for a friend (because, obviously, an old salt like me knows the answer), but could you say more about the “bow eye” photo? I assume the bow eye is shown attached to the bottom of the boat and has what appears to be a white cable leading from it into the water, right? But there is also a large white chain with ribbons on it that leads into the water also. Is it an anchor chain? If so, what is the function of the cable attached to the bow eye? Is it a secondary anchor? Anyway, I am enjoying your stories about your nautical adventures!


    1. The objective of a Bow Eye is to reduce the length of rode needed to safely anchor. Rode is the line that connects from the boat to the anchor, in this case it is the chain you see in the picture. Scope is the result of a calculation made by dividing rode length by the height of the rode attachment point on the boat to the ocean floor. Desirable scope is (usually) 5, 6 or 7. With the bow eye mounted closer to the water line, 9′ (on our boat) of height is removed from the calculation. In a tight anchorage this allows us to reduce rode paid out by 63 ft and keep a desirable scope.
      The rode is not attached directly to the bow eye but is connected with a snubber line, this is the white line you see in the picture.
      A snubber line, usually about 15 ft long, is used to prevent shock loads to the bow eye or the windlass gypsy (if deployed over the pulpet roller)
      as it will stretch 10 to 15%. Tom, hope all is well with you. Scott


  2. Scott and Melissa,
    Good to hear you are safe and happy. You have been in our prayers several times the last few weeks. Headed to Charlevoix after the MI/MSU game on Saturday. Go Green Go White!
    Then driving up to clean up the Dutch Treat for the haul out and heated storage. Then we winterize the cottage , celebrate at The Gray Gables , and head home. We always find other boaters to visit with and neighbors too. Headed for PG in Jan. Will you two be back for a visit. Dick and Ruth will celebrate their 50th Anniversary in May or June? Will find out. They are also going on the Churches trip to the Holy Lands. April I think?
    Be well our friends. Blessings to you both.


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