The Gods have smiled, and assuming its not our imagination, we will actually leave tomorrow for a cruise of the Chesapeake. We have been planing to leave for several weeks but everything has intervened. On our first shakedown cruise: our autohealm had a stroke and started steering us in circles, our weather station fried its self, our primary GPS insisted we were in China, faced with 95 degree heat our air conditioner decided to take a vacation and the compass developed an aneurism. Many hundreds of dollars later all is well. Well not really, both the autohealm and air conditioner started to work on their own, lulling us into complacently, so that they could surprise us later at the most inconvenient time.
The weekend, before last, our daughter and her family, Kendall, Lindsay and Cole along with, whats his name, her husband Graham joined us. The plan was to arrive on Thursday, sail on Friday, start home (Atlanta) on Saturday. The Gods laughed, Friday-small craft warning and 20+ knot winds. Saturday turned out to be perfect 15 from the SW, which meant offshore and plenty of wind with no waves. So they put off their trip back and off to sail we went. Normally we put the first reef in at 15+ so what to do? When we were in the slip every time the boat tipped one of the girls would ask if we were going to tip over. We mistook this for fear rather than a desire for excitement. Little did we know, and mislead, we put a double reef in, and set off for a sedate sail. The kids where beyond bored. Out came the reefs and over 30 degrees we went. They loved it. Walking around on the sloping, plunging deck we were sure they would fall overboard, but as we learned they only fall overboard in the slip. Kendall was sitting on the stern. Nothing to worry about there at all. Until. Splash! "I am in the water." She had seen a couple of jelly fish and tried to use the folding ladder to get back in the cockpit. It started to fold and into the water she went. The surprising thing is that without the aid of the ladder she got back on board before any of us could get to her and not one of us knows how she did it. I understand that Kendall has by now turned all this into a very interesting story. I wonder who she got that from?
We have been ready to leave since Monday and all we have had was small craft warnings.
Tomorrow we leave.
We left.We had the assurances of 10-15 knot winds from the SW through next Monday. Perfect except that the winds were actually from the South a very bad point of sailing for a boat with swept back spreaders heading North and ... so ... we motored and all was well for a while .... We saw what Kay thought was a large school of dolphin. I thought it was a pod of dolphin. Whichever, it was a thrill, as always. Dolphin along with pelicans were a rare site when we first came up here and today we saw plenty of both. Nice day.
I usually plan to motor at 7 knots, but pulling the dinghy I am satisfied with 6.5 and that was pretty much what we were doing until around Noon when our speed slowly decreased: 5.5 5 4.5 3.9. Yikes. What was wrong? Well we were getting our speed from the (new) GPS, as our knot meter, which worked flawlessly last week, was dead. Knot meters measure speed through the water and the GPS measures speed over ground. So there can be differences in what they report, but unless we encountered a South flowing Gulf Stream in Chesapeake Bay, that wasn't the explanation. The only thing we could think of was that we had snagged something with our prop and were towing a silent and unappreciated partner.
I knew what that meant. When we anchored I would have to dive to clear the prop. When you think of this, imagine a 63 year old ping ball attempting to do this. Not a pretty thought. When I was in high school I could free dive to 60 feet (it was a contest so I know) and hold my breath for 3 minutes; now I can hold my breath for 60 seconds and deep dive to 3 feet.
After lunch we turned on the weather radio and the same cretins who had been promising us SW winds for several days said that it was about to switch to the North. Damn! As if on a switch it promptly switched (though lightly so - but a predicted 10 to 15 from the NE tomorrow is not what we want).
Several times during the day the Great Wicomico passed us by, not the river, the Menhaden boat. The river by that name houses a Menhaden fleet. If you don't know what a Menhaden is imagine a combination of a Cod's liver and a School of Anchovies and you have got it. ( I actually love anchovy sandwiches, but I understand that to be an acquired taste.) The next to last time the Great Wicomico passed us, it was close by on the starboard, and at the same time a motor yacht passed us close by on the port. We were shaken violently, after which our speed increased to 7 knots. Thank the lord for inconsiderate boaters I am high and dry as I write this and will remain so tonight.
Coast Guard: This is the Coast Guard Eastern Shore
Coast Guard: Sir do you know what body of water you are on?
Coast Guard: You know like, Deleware Bay, Potomac Rriver, Atlantic Ocean?
I can only imagine what the boater was saying.
Yesterday was a beautiful day for a transit if one didn't want to sail. The winds were light from the NNE and the day was relatively cool. As we motored North I wondered what I would have to write about. I need not have worried.
We did have to cross the mouth of the Potomac and that has always been rough even on a calm day in the past . But here too we were to be 'disappointed' it would turn out to be very calm. The only excitement was when we were approaching the Smith Point Light navigation marker, 'sp',marking the southern border of the Potomac, Kay was steering; we were in deep water; No traffic around; nothing was happening and Kay suddenly called out "13 feet" ,meaning the depth finder was showing only 13 feet of water. While that would have been satisfactory on Pamlico or Albemarle Sound it was very alarming in this deep water part of the Bay. I lurched out of my daze for the companion way to check the charts. I emerged again with a smile and told Kay to look at the depth gauge again. She did and after a moment laughed, she had been fooled again. The meter was showing 130 feet. The depth meter displays three digits. At depths of less than 100 feet it shows the tenth of a foot as in 13.0 feet, and at over 100 feet it drops the decimal in order to display the depth. Since we are long time shallow water sailors the first time this happens on a Bay trip, one or the other of us is fooled.
After rounding Smith Point we set our course to 'Point No Point', and no I don't know how that curious name developed. Point No Point was half way to the Solomons our destination and we figured we would be in our slip before 3:00 PM. As it turned out it would be two and half hours and many degrees of stress later.
As we motored along a tug pushing a coal barge was slowly gaining on us. We gradually adjusted our course so that the 'tow' would pass beside us a couple of hundred of feet away, which it did. The strange thing about this was it left a most peculiar wake, a mirror sheen that seemed to stretch for miles. It was like someone ran an iron in one straight path across a badly wrinkled sheet. Eventually we had to cross the wake and as we approached the wake I took the boat off autohelm. In the past we had strange things happen in such a wake, but we were certainly not prepared for what happened this time.
Several things happened at the same time, the wind switched off, the GPS went blank and the motor sized its control away from me. Without me doing anything the rpms dropped from 2500 to 1000, came back up to 2000 then 1000 and then off. I expected at any moment to see the missing flight of World War II bombers. We had entered the Bermuda Triangle or so it seemed to us at the time. I checked the fuel tank and though we were not moving, the fuel was madly sluicing around the fuel gauge oscillating back and fourth between almost empty to 3/4 full.
I changed the batteries in the GPS and it now worked but with no motor and no wind we were helpless. I thought that possibly the sloshing fuel might of gotten condensate into the fuel line or possibly air. I have no idea if that was what was wrong but it lead me to add 5 gallons of Diesel from the emergency container. I did this but still the motor would not start. It would cough, stutter around and die repeatedly. I knew that I probably needed to bleed the fuel line and remembered how to do it but I did not remember were the little pump was located and I did not relish feeling around the hot engine to find it.
Continually trying to start a diesel is risky since your pumping water in and no water is coming out, leading eventually to incompressible water finding its way into the compressing pistons. However I noticed that during the sputtering and the coughing the engine was expeling water so when Kay asked if she could try her hand at restarting it I readily agreed. Each time she tried it sputtered longer. Eventually she got it to run at 1000 RPMs under load and off we went at a snails pace. Gradually the RPMs and our speed increased until everything was normal or so we thought.
As we approached Point No Point a boat with flashing lights hailed us and we were informed that the Navy was conducting bombing tests ahead at "The Targets" and we would have to detour either going close to shore and following the shore line to our destination or detouring 1.5 miles out and then continuing North for 5 miles before returning to our course. The shore line route looked long and uninviting and we elected the outside route. The disadvantage of doing this was that it put us in the big ship channel. As we motored along we heard the same warning boat or other similar boat warning other passagers with the same message. The most interesting of which was a call to a Navy Ship.
Warning Boat: Navy ship 157 you will have to detour 1.5 miles outside.
157: Why we are a Navy ship and these are our waters.
Warning Boat: Well we are a Navy boat also. Detour!
Earlier Kay had wondered what would happen if we said "No", I didn't want to find out and apparently neither did 157 as we would learn later.
We motored along in the ship channel and sure enough a large ship "The Alabama" overtook us from behind. We moved over to allow it free passage and intently watched it as it passed. However the Alabama hailed us saying something that I could not make out, but pretty clearly it could have been paraphrased as "You idiot do you know what you are doing?" I went below and contacted the ship on the radio and was asked "What are you doing out here? Where are headed?" To which I responded "The Patuxent River and we are out here because the Navy ordered us out here"
The Alabama: "Oh! Well then you have other problems with the Navy."
Spindrift: "What Problems?"
The Alabama: "You are about to be run over by a destroyer"
Spindrift: Stunned silence
Sure enough straight ahead of us was a 'destroyer', which turned out to be good old 157, bearing down on us from the North. We switched to the military frequency and commenced evasive maneuvers. Since I am writing this they must have worked. It was certainly an armed Navy vessel but I don't think it was a destroyer. When this trip is finished I will post this log to the web at carladler.org/waterlogged as I did others along with pictures and perhaps one of you can tell me what it was.
Eventually we reached Spring Cove Marina and figured that nothing else would go wrong. Are we always that naive? We waited for our chance to get to the fuel dock? As we approached the dock from the North a boat behind us in line decided to save time and come in from the South. Two boats coming into the dock head on at each other at the same time apparently confused the lone attendant and produced a Key Stone Cop type sequence with us as the principle entertainers.
It was at the fuel dock we learned what slip we were to occupy, slip H9 was the designee and it would be better known as K9 as it really was one. Behind the Marinas restaurant, The Naughty Gull (cheap drinks, expensive food), there was a small wooded cove where many powerboats boats are crammed. We had often sat in the Naughty Gull and wondered how you would get a sailboat out of there and now we will know.
Not a breeze to be felt, but the air conditioner still works which is more than I can say for our pressure pump and the pump for the head. Next up fix those. Damn.
Spring Cove along with Salt Ponds are perennial Best of the Bay choices although for last couple of years Salt Ponds has not made it. I am at a lose as to why, if anything Salt Ponds is better than ever. Spring Cove on the other hand has become quite expensive, $1.80 a night per foot and $4 a night for electricity. We could stay at a Hampton Inn at that rate. More later.
It looks like we will be on the move tomorrow probably stopping to spend the night on the Choptank. We have spent most our time here doing repairs. No matter how well you plan it, Murphy's special corollary for boaters always applies: "If you are dumb enough to own a boat then even the the things you do right will be wrong."
Yesterday, for example, we decided to replace the misbehaving fresh water pressure pump. We anticipated no problem as we had carefully gotten a drop-in replacement pump sometime ago in anticipation of such an event. Imagine our surprise when, after removing the old pump, when we discovered that a Flowjet model 4405-143 is not the same thing as a Flowjet model 4405-143. The pluming geometry was altered and worse yet the mounts were completely different. This would not be a problem except that the original pump had been installed before the water tank had been installed and now there was only 5 inches of clearance between the tank and the mounting location. Try to find a way to drill new holes in that space? Three hours later, in the heat, with every tool we own liberally strewn throughout the boat we flipped the switch and it worked. We did this with out once arguing, which should mean that we can probably stay married for 40 years (3 more weeks that is.)
Spring Cove is very nice. One of its best features is a well shaded park like picnic area with plenty of picnic tables and park grills. It is large enough that everyone is so spread out that you still have privacy. Parties are usually going on at many of the tables. It is great fun we have done it in the past and we have used it every night for dinner this time except the first.
One other nice feature of the location of Spring Cove is that West Marine and Woodburns Gourmet Grocery are virtually next door. I have seen nice grocery stores but nothing matches this one for gourmet choices. Of course, no one goes to a store with "Gourmet" in its name to save money.
I happy to report that there is nothing to report. Today was as smooth a passage as we could have had. The only drama was, as is usual, in leaving the slip. No mean task. Most of the boats around us where power boats which are considerably more maneuverable than a sailboat. Besides us there where two other sailboats. We never saw the owners of the one but one day we saw a couple of people get on the other one and take the sail cover off. When asked they said that have yet to take the boat out this year either because of motor trouble or difficulty in getting out of the slip. They didn't make it out that day either.
This morning we both woke around 4 A.M. and had difficulty sleeping after that in anticipation of leaving the slip. The number one spectator sport at a marina is watching boats try to leave their slip and sure enough as soon as we started preparations to leave a group of people assembled at a railing above us. To their great disappointment Kay executed a perfect departure and then faced them, smiled and waved. If I had been at the helm (god forbid) and executed such a nice maneuver (unlikely) I may have chosen another gesture.
In any case we ended up at the Little Choptank rather than the Choptank at a very nice anchorage spoiled only by a plethora of biting flies. We did not sail today because there was no wind, at this point we are hoping for the wind to come up to rid us of these pests.
"It was a dark and stormy night." OK it was not night it was day and it was not exactly stormy more like gloomy with rain. So it was a dark and gloomy day and that it was. The winds were supposed to be 5 to 10 from the East, but for the most part we found it at 10 to 20 from the NE, which of course was our destination. We hauled the anchor at 7:00 A.M. and made it into the slip at St Michaels at 1:40 P.M. Altogether a somewhat rough and unpleasant day, but still fun. As we were going up the Bay we noticed a large ship coming at us from afar. I tracked him on the radar and all looked well, when at about 1.5 miles he altered course and headed straight at us. Quite a sight seeing that large bow bearing directly down on you. Naturally we performed the 'chicken maneuver', hard left at full throttle. When we straightened out again to pass beside him and he got close enough to for me to read the name I immediately started looking around for errant Destroyers. It was our old friend the 'Alabama' who had alerted us to the doings of the nefarious Destroyer (or whatever) 157 several days earlier.
Really the only unpleasant apart of the trip were the cruising clubs. Power boats by themselves are generally respectful of other boats, but the same can not be said for cruising clubs operating with a pack mentality and numbering anywhere from 6 to 26 boats. They come streaming by sometimes just feet away and you get hit by wake after wake until you go into violent chaotic oscillations. Sometimes mean thoughts come to mind.
But, alas and alac, we are here, neatly tucked into a slip that would have been small for our Catalina 22. As always Kay got us into the slip with nary a problem despite difficult circumstances. We arrived not knowing which marina was our destination, along with a dozen other boats all calling helter skelter for directions. We had no idea if directions we were receiving were for us or some other lost soul in the holding pattern from hell.
Finally to answer my daughters question: "You do this for enjoyment, why?"
Because it is challenging, it is fun, we love being on the water and we are just not quite so bright as our children."
Having a great time, but will leave tomorrow. While here we had diner with my cousin Bill Adler and his wife Rebecca. Bill was born exactly one month earlier than I on the day Germany invaded Poland. Bill is a big time sailor first with a J-24 and now with a J-105. For comparison I am a Martini sailor "Its moving, what me worry?" Bill and Rebecca live on the Magothy River just North of Annapolis. We have kept in contact over the years and it was good to see him again. Another visitor was Tom Dove who I have also known for years but have never before met in person. A sign of the new electronic era, we met via email and have many mutual interests including Mac computers. Those who are sailors will recognize his name as a frequent contributor to Sail and Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Tom and his wife, Pam, live on Kent Island across from the Magothy.
Saint Michaels reminds me of Ocracoke but Kay says it is more like Beaufort NC. I guess it is sort of a combination. In places it has the narrow streets and 'quaint' homes found in Ocracoke and in other places it has the expensive (and even more so) stores found in Beaufort. One thing it has that Beaufort no longer has since the lamentable loss of Mikes Restaurant is a place where I can get a bacon and egg sandwich for breakfast.
Last night there was a concert on the park next to the marina. The performers where the Eastport Oyster Boys who among other things gave a perfect imitation om Louis Armstrongs "Its a Wonderful World" a song to which I danced with my daughter at her wedding. Found memories there. One of the Oyster Boys was off a Cape Dory 30 two slips away and we talked. Cape Dory users are the number one users of my sail calculator ( http://image-ination.com/sailcalc.html) and Kevin turned out to be one of them. As a result we got a much appreciated CD of their music.
The only other thing of note that happened is while I was away from the boat a boat came in bearing for a crew a young woman my wife described as well deserving the bikini she wore, I kept a eye out in case they needed a hand but alas they came back after dark.
We came from St Michaels yesterday covering the 49 miles in eight hours. A small miracle considering what amounted to adverse conditions. The weather report called for 10-15 knot winds from the South for yesterday and for the foreseeable future, not good news for sailors hoping to flee southward. We had planned to work our way southward at a leisurely pace but a wrinkle in a job I was to do necessitated that we get home as soon as possible. Coming down the Eastern Bay the winds were 15-20 on our nose from the Southwest, which raised the hope that when we turned South we could sail. However the wind slowly died which is a precursor to a change in direction and change it did to the South. This left me contemplating for the rest of the day what was the purpose of that white thing on the metal pole extending backwards from the mast. I think I dimly remember.
Spring Cove was full so we arbitrarily picked another Marina. Town Center Marina is not as plush as Spring Cove and not as expensive either. Also its slips are a lot easier to access and egress. From a boaters perspective the Solomons are sort of like a glove with a thumb and three fingers extending upwards. Our slip is on the eastern shore of the Thumb. The Western shore is Solomons Island itself. We have never been there before as it a long distance from Spring Cove but a relatively easy walk from Town Center Marina. We soon discovered that it was a lot different from what we had been used to around Spring Cove. Dining at the Naughty Gull was always a sedate experience. Last nights repast was anything but sedate. It was closer to a riot.
We arrived at the restaurant at around seven to discover a long line of people waiting for tables. After turning in our names we went to the bar, which though crowded had two empty seats. It turned out that you could order diner there and so we did. It was both reasonably priced and delicious. Further the service was rapid. The bar was full of people all having a great time at maximum volume. The atmosphere was contagious, but the real stars were the male and female bartenders who managed to serve everyone, instantaneously and at the same time. Both made Tom Cruise in "Cocktail" look slow. From my view they where major entertainment and I left the largest tip I have ever left on those occasions of still being in full possession of my wits.
Later that night as we sat in the cockpit we could hear lots of people having a great time on Solomons Island. Glad we are here if even for only a short time.
Today was a "Holly Molly" type of day! Things started out slowly enough as we left the Solomons at 7:15. We actually could have sailed if there had been enough wind. As we motored peacefully along Kay wondered what I would have to write about. She should have knocked on wood and remembered the Chinese curse "May you have an interesting life." All went smoothly until we reached the mouth of the Potomac where as almost always it was rough. I know it was rough because I had a devil of a time mixing my lunch time Martini, but little did I know what laid ahead. (The Martini was definitely shaken not stirred, that is the half of it that did not end up on the cabin flooring.) We were anxious to reach Smith Point light since that would mean we had crossed the Potomac. Little did we know what awaited us there. We have had three rougher times in almost 40 years of boating. Once travelling ocean side from Ocracoke to Beaufort when we found ourselves in a previously unannounced tropical depression, once coming out of the Alligator river into a strong Northeaster and once coming out of Hampton Roads into an incoming wind on an outgoing tide. Not nice. Neither was this. The waves were 4 to 6 feet and at least one time lifted our prop out of the water while burying the nose. Really "interesting." At one time when I was unable to get turned into the wave promptly enough it rolled us over 60+ degrees. This enticed Kay to say "we don't belong in this". Almost the same thing she said on the Ocracoke trip mentioned above, to which, at the time, I replied "what do you want me to do, pull over and park." Being older and wiser I held my mouth tightly shut this time.
OK things couldn't get worse. Yes they could! Ahead lay a very ominous dark mass which lead us to do what we should have done long before, put on our life preservers (personal flotation devices in Coast Guard speak). We hit it or vice versa and it was solid rain. Inspiring Kay to say, sarcastically I think, "this is fun." After it passed, and we figured out how far off course we had gone, we had a reasonably safe trip into the Great Wicomico and our present anchorage where I finally got to finish my Martini lunch.
First thing to notice is that are latitude and longitude have changed and that is because, you guessed it, we have dragged all over the anchorage. We have never dragged here. We dragged. We have never dragged with our delta anchor. We dragged. We have never dragged in sand. We dragged. A perfect ending to a bad day? Well no, more to come.
Several hours ago when we going through the "Holly Mollies" or as my wife translates the "Good goggily moggily", Kay said to me, "What was that?". Looking in the cabin and seeing liquor bottles, books, electric tooth brushes, batteries of all sorts, pipe tobacco and a hundred other things holding an impromptu convention on the cabin sole, I said "could be anything." Little did I know!
We finally stopped dragging and had settled down to our pre dinner Manhattans. Kay was marinating Italian Steaks for a much deserved treat. At some point she asked me to start the grill we carry on the stern railing which provoked the following conversation.
Carl: "What Grill"
Don't get me wrong part of the grill was still there just all the parts that made it a grill weren't. Undoubtedly that was the that in "what was that?". So the Italian steaks where reduced to the ignominy of being cooked on the alcohol stove. Later Kay said over dinner "we need to take up another hobby like sky diving."
While sailing anything that does not kill you is by definition fun.
We are back at our home marina and will return to Greenville tomorrow so Kay can get us ready for our Bahama trip and I can try to finish a project.
Last night at dinner Kay looked at me and said:
"I am tired of things happening to us just so you have something to write about."
Hmm! That would seem to put the effect before the cause, but I am certainly sympathetic to the thought.
Yesterday we woke to rain and a dragging anchor alarm at 6:30 AM (although we had not dragged.). Since it is a long trip from where we were to Salt Ponds, we wanted the best possible day. The morning weather report for the region was 5-10 from the South with showers in the morning (no news there), and the possibility of thunderstorms in the afternoon. That sounded a lot better than the 10-15 and the probability of thunderstorms forecast for the next day, so off we went.
After an hour or so Kay observed that it was like boating on a pond, and indeed it was, not one cloud on the horizon. Instead there were a lot more than one. Rain clouds were all over the place. But that was expected. As a precaution I would go below every 15 minutes to check the radar, thunderstorms are impossible to miss on radar. They are very distinctive from everything else and that is 95% of the reason we own radar. I was being overcautious since you don't see thunderstorms in the early morning. Right?
I checked at 9, no problem; 9:15, no problem; 9:30, no problem; 9:45; get the life preservers. Suddenly we were surrounded by thunderstorms. They were in front, back, left, right, up and down. Good Grief!
They did not look intense on the radar and we really weren't too concerned. Through a mixture of good luck and the radar we avoided all but minimal trouble. Still I do not like to boat in thunderstorms. Who does? After we cleared the weather and rounded Windmill Point we found the mouth of the Rappahannock to be filled with Menhaden Boats. I counted at least nine and due to their rather unpredictable behavior it is always a challenge to navigate through them. Kay made it through nicely and all was well for all of 5 to 10 minutes. At that point the autohealm went berserk again and we had to subdue it with electricians tape.
We continued to the York river when half way across we developed the motor problem from a week earlier. The motor would rev up and down independently from anything we did or could do. The conditions were similar to the past , fuel tank below half and rough seas so I assumed we had contamination in the tank and that the fuel filters were clogged. If I knew where both filters were located on the engine and fuel line, and if I had spares and knew where they were located, and knew what to do with them when I found them, we were out of trouble. We were in trouble! We added fuel as before but this time it didn't get slowly better; for the sake of variety, it got slowly worse instead. As we neared Salt Ponds we were going slowly and sometimes barely. Frequently we thought it would quit altogether, than it would sort of cough and rev up a little. So what would be a worse case scenario? We stall, we anchor, we call Tow Boat US, after all we have been paying for towing insurance for years. It would be a bit embarrassing being towed in but what else could go wrong? (I wish that I would stop asking that question.) Well we could run aground but so what its all sand and no rocks. Well yes... except the northern side of the narrow entrance to Salt Ponds is a rock jetty and the wind was from the Southwest. Neither of us said this at the time, but we both knew that the motor would go though the "I think I am going to die" routine just as we got to the rocks, and sure enough on schedule that it was it did. Yuck! We thought of putting out the Jib but right past the rocks you had a sharp left turn into a very narrow channel and into the wind. So we took our chances and made it.
Now we had one more problem getting into our slip with a motor that we didn't know would keep running and worse yet had no idea what, if anything, it would do when Kay shifted into reverse. The winds came up to 15-20 from the Southwest as we made the turn for the narrow angle of approach to the slip. The South component was blowing us into the slip so the motor had better work in reverse. The West component was another matter, we have floating docks and no pilings to grasp, so, in theory, I 'leap' from the side of the boat unto the dock with rope in hand. The dock is on the East side of the slip so ...Kay better get us close before the wind takes us away. (As a precaution I removed my hearing aid.) Reverse worked. Kay got me close but the wind was blowing away and Kay said:
"That's the best I can do. Jump!"
Addendum: Our slip is next to the Sperry Marine boat and Joe, its Captain, told us the large waves we encountered at Smith Point were not unusual and were a consequence of the Potomac flow interacting with the tides and winds in the Bay. He had seen them up to 8 feet. Egads!