Time to Cross The Bay

Our plans would take us over to the western shore to visit with friends on Rock Creek in Pasadena, MD. We decided to go down river and find an anchorage that would put us closer to the Bay and make our trip to Rock Creek shorter the next day. The options were Langford Creek or Grays Inn Creek, near the mouth of the Chester River. We departed Chestertown on Sunday afternoon, and as usual, the boat traffic was pretty heavy. We had tried to wait for the powerboat group at the marina to leave because we knew they'd be running full speed down the river to get home before their normal boat slips ran away. All of them had left but one Cruisers Inc. 455, and it came past us full throttle, throwing up a huge wake that rocked every boat on the river. The lack of consideration for the safety of others still baffles us today. The decision to stop in Grays Inn Creek instead of Langford Creek was made mostly because there is always lots of boat traffic in Langford on weekends. It turned out to be a good decision.

We haven't anchored in Grays Inn Creek before so it was nice to experience a new place. The creek is deep and there are several anchoring opportunities depending on wind direction. We traveled a little farther up the creek than we might have because the winds were forecast to increase and the river was open to the forecast direction. We knew from past experience that there was a good probability that winds would be stronger than forecast, so we headed up the Grays Inn Creek branch of the river and dropped anchor near the western side. It was another beautiful anchorage with little boating activity other than a local small sailboat and a couple of waterman working a trot line. The wind increased to over 20 knots during the afternoon, but the creek offered good protection and holding. By early evening, there was little more than a light breeze. This was a good sign and the next morning we were underway shortly after the sun came up to take advantage of  light conditions to cross the Bay to the western shore.

Wind and seas were on our nose making the crossing from the Chester River over to the Patapsco River. The wind had picked up to about 5 to 8 knots and seas were 1 to 2 feet. Not at all uncomfortable. The river leads up to Baltimore and is very heavily industrialized. The remnants of the Bethlehem Steel Plant and the current shipyard can be seen on the north shore and a large power plant is opposite. Rock Creek, our destination, is near the power plant which is always visible by the belching smoke from the stacks. Spanning the river is the Francis Scott Key Bridge, the gateway to the Baltimore Inner Harbor. Once we sighted the well-known "White Rocks" near the entrance to Rock Creek, it was almost like coming home again. We spent many years in this creek before we headed off to do some serious cruising. On this trip, we would only be spending a few days visiting at a friend's dock. There is a long shoal that extends almost to the ship channel off Ft. Smallwood that has to be cleared before turning directly into Rock Creek. Once inside, the speed limit in the entire creek is 6 miles per hour. There are two marinas and a yacht club inside the creek entrance. The yacht club takes transient vessels from time to time.

Staying at any of the marinas will put you a long way from anything, so if you have plans for provisioning, etc., a car is needed. None of the marinas offer a courtesy car. Farther in there are two service yards with limited dockage and haul-out facilities. Our friends live past all of the marinas and yards in a section of the creek that has been utilizing a bubbler system to try and bring back the health of the waterway. This gives the creek the look of a white water river, even though the depths are 12 feet all the way in. There is no anchoring allowed in the creek where the bubbler system begins. There are a couple of good anchorages near the large marinas and the yacht club. We were soon tied up at our friends dock and enjoying their hospitality. Our friend Bill was in his skiff checking his crab pots as we arrived. A crab feast was planned for the afternoon and we were certainly looking forward to it. It's always good to reconnect with friends, especially those we haven't seen for a long time.

After a few days, we needed to move on to the Baltimore Inner Harbor, where we planned to stay put for about a month to take care of a few personal things and finish The Great Book Of Anchorages, The Bahamas. We want the book available in the stores by mid to late September so boaters heading south to the Bahamas will have a copy on board. We made reservations at Henderson's Wharf in Fells Point through the Marinalife website reservations system. The trip from Rock Creek to the Inner Harbor at a leisurely pace took about an hour and fifteen minutes. Along the way, we passed ship yards, power plants, commercial wharfs, the Baltimore Marine Terminal and historic Fort McHenry. The Patapsco River is very industrialized and we wouldn't call this a scenic trip, unless you're into commercial industry. Henderson's Wharf juts out on a point just as one enters the Inner Harbor area. It was early when we arrived so we had to stand off and wait for a few minutes until someone could get down the dock, assign us a slip and help with lines. Except for some of the T-docks and side ties, most of the slips have very short finger piers and many do not have pilings on which to tie between the slips. This required us to back into the slip or we wouldn't be able to get off the boat without trying to climb over the anchor platform. The weather cooperated and backing in didn't present any problems. In wind and current conditions, this can be challenging with our single engine and no thrusters. Tied snugly in the slip, it was time to take care of business and do some exploration around Fells Point. We also had a concert to attend in Washington over the weekend, so we were looking forward to a change of pace and a little distraction. More on that later. Don't forget, as always, for more photos and information, visit our Facebook page

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