September 16. We were up and underway again at 0700 hours. Today we were leaving Solomon’s Island and headed for a yet to be determined spot on the Potomac River.
The wind was already cranking as we raised the anchor. As we left the anchorage and turned east it became apparent that the wind would be right on our nose for the first hour or so. How does it know? Anyway, we put up the full main and motor sailed out into the bay. As soon as we were able to turn south we pulled out the genoa and shut off the engine.
This mornings run to the mouth of the Potomac was about 20 miles. We were moving along at better than 7 knots about half way into our trip and then the wind very slowly petered out. We had 20 knots for a while and then it was less than 5 knots. When we turned west and headed up the river we furled the genoa and started the engine. We were able to maintain 7 knots in spite of the tide ebbing against us.
I was shocked at the width of the Potomac, 30 miles up the river it’s still wide as hell. It’s also a lot more shallow than I had imagined it would be. There’s very little barge and tug traffic and it was alive with fish. They were literally jumping out of the water. The banks are dotted with pretty homes but on a whole it appears to be very undeveloped.
On one of our charts there is a sunken German U-boat recorded. It seems that the Germans tried to send a U-boat right up the Potomac River to Washington during World War II. This trip has been a real education for me as we’ve visited so many different places and each one has its own story. I’ve always enjoyed history but I guess you can only learn so much until you actually start to run into it. I for one never knew that the Germans actually got a sub into the Chesapeake and then the Potomac. Those wacky Nazis.
Our anchorage for the night was chosen as it’s only a 50 mile run to Washington, D.C. We decided to spend the night in the Tobacco River. Tobacco is evidently the Indian word for crab pots. This anchorage is the last possible stop for 25 miles and the previous good spot was 7 miles behind us. When we arrived at our choice for the night we were disappointed to find that it was practically paved with crab pots. We wove our way in for close to 2 miles before settling on a spot with just enough room for us to swing at anchor without getting tangled in one of their floats.
The water depths are not an issue for us but its bizarre how many abrupt depth changes there are. When we entered our anchorage we went from close to 70 feet of water to 9 feet in a boat length. The chart said we’d be okay and we were but it still makes your butt clinch a bit.