Southbound – a beginning

The Seven Seas Cruising Association sponsors gatherings for southbound cruisers each year at Camp Letts in the Rhode River (Chesapeake Bay). The GAM, brings together cruisers who are headed down the Intracoastal Waterway to share experiences of those who’ve made the trip – some more than a dozen times. Presentations by experts on planning, weather and other skills fill out the program..

Being my first trip, this is an opportunity to learn from those who’ve gone before, and make new cruising friends who I will likely meet again along the way.  As I sit at anchor and watch the arrivals, we are already nearly 50 boats,– power and sail.

This is an exceptionally friendly group, as informal evening gatherings already have demonstrated. A late afternoon dingy raft was an informal time to ask questions and listen to the candid, and sometimes conflicting, answers. Every sailor has their own perspective, but lots of good information got shared.

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As the evening arrived, anchor lights went on and made for a beautiful view.

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Chasing Summer

There comes a point in the calendar year – and in life – when all the signs of approaching Fall and Winter become sharply apparent. The quality of light changes ever so slightly, there’s an occasional chill, birds flock together and the long skeins of geese are overhead and honking.

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It rains yellow leaves that litter the ground with the slightest breeze. You rake, and the next breeze undoes your work in an instant. Your esthetic sense says ‘leave it’  –  accepting change is inevitable.

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???????????????????????????Bit by bit the green of summer turns first more colorful, then brown and bare – or white (mostly).

Perhaps we’re not quite as quick or agile as we once were. Along with the birds, we feel the urge to head south in search of our own personal summers.  So it is that Valinor will turn her bow southward this Fall, perhaps seeking her namesake, the ‘undying lands’, along with the J.R.R.Tolkein heros.

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Every year about this time, since I first sailed here on the Chesapeake Bay, I’ve watched the ‘snowbirds’ gather. Boats with faraway place and hopeful names scrolled on their hulls, loaded with extra gear, tanks of fuel and water and assorted water toys, all begin flocking here. They’re preparing to go in seek of warmer places down the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).  I’ve envied their adventure, and followed their blogs and other reports to experience the trip – if only second hand.  Stay tuned – this is my year to leave the cold behind …

One cold winter

One cold winter

Reports from the ICW through the Fall and Winter will appear here. I’ll share my experiences and thoughts in the hope that others will enjoy them as I have of the many that I’ve followed. I’m looking forward to crossing paths with sailing friends on the same quest, making new ones, and encountering other land-side friends along the way.

The general float plan is to depart home port on Back Creek in Annapolis mid- October, bound for Hampton Roads, VA.  After a brief stop there to attend a ‘snowbird rendezvous’, begin to wander down the ICW.  As Kenny Chesney sings, ‘I’ve no place to go and nowhere to be’  on any particular schedule.  The approaching chill may push me along faster, but don’t expect to be in Key West until Christmas.  And then …..we’ll see.

See you on the water, or here on these pages.