Goodbye Annapolis, C & D Canal and Hello Port Penn

Day Sixteen in the Movement from Winter Quarters to Summer Quarters

Monday morning, we refueled at the gas dock in Annapolis and took on fresh water for our final offshore leg. We would have liked to pick up some milk, cereal, and fresh vegetables, but they were astonishingly unavailable within walking distance of downtown in the capital of Maryland.

Still shaking our heads, we motored out into the Chesapeake and, nimbly avoiding a rock that we found on the chart just in time, headed north again. We decided not to push things too fast and anchored a few miles short of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, which connects the two rivers that bear those names. After passing up on a crowded anchorage exposed to the strong southern wind that was blowing, we found a nice, protected spot further along and dropped the hook. I took a swim and we passed the evening reading before going to bed early.

Tuesday saw us pass through the C & D Canal, which we agreed bore a striking resemblance to the Cape Cod Canal. A look at the charts caused Aaron to wistfully declare: “I would that this were the Cape Cod Canal.” Sadly, it was not and the weather reports for afternoon winds of 60 mph shook us from our reverie and prompted us to look for an early anchorage. We found one near 2 pm, with Port Penn on one side and a nuclear power plant on the other. A strong cross-current made the 60-foot wide entrance to the anchorage seem even smaller, and a thick rock wall made clear the price of incompetence. Fortunately, we managed to scrape through.

After relaxing for a good part of the afternoon, we went ashore looking for some kind of supermarket, general store, or vegetable stall. It must be said that the town of Port Penn has little to recommend it. A putrid swamp runs alongside the road labeled “Route 9” and despite some five miles of walking, we found not a single place to purchase any provisions. There appeared to be some sort of burlesque house, though we did not venture inside in order to confirm our suspicions. We took the dinghy up and down the coastline a little ways and found a wildlife preserve complete with hunting platforms. Utterly discouraged, we returned to the boat.

I took another swim and we made a good dinner of macaroni and cheese, corn, and cheese and crackers while listening to NPR. The predicted storm came at 7 pm, dumping rain, wind, and lightning on our boat, though not too terribly. It was over in about an hour. Resolving to go offshore the very next day, we turned in early again for the last night of good sleep until setting foot on our home soil of Cape Cod.

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