Cruising on a tight schedule feels a bit like going against the very principle of cruising. I mean, if I wanted to be stressed out about getting places on time I would’ve stayed on land, right? It would be like giving up your home to move your family into an RV then spending every day in rush-hour traffic.
And yet that is the situation in which we found ourselves after unexpected hurricane delays forced us to motor north as quickly as possible in order to meet Samuel and Simon flying in from the West Coast.
Our typical day consisted of getting up before dawn, making coffee, pulling up the anchor, then motoring for 14-18 hours before finding a new anchorage, dropping the hook, and getting a few hours sleep. Rinse and repeat ad nauseam.
We picked up a mooring ball in Washington less than 24 hours before the boys’ flight came in. Now, I realize that “less than 24 hours” may not seem like cutting it close–I mean we weren’t exactly speeding across town or sprinting through the airport–but with potential weather problems or engine failure it sure felt that way.
Even with the overly hectic pace, the trip up was beautiful and we had some fun adventures along the way. We passed through our first lock ever while in the Albermarle and Chesapeake Canal. We saw a monkey in a diaper in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, of all places (the monkey was in the diaper, not us, in case that was a bit ambiguous). And we found some of our favorite anchorages to date: Buck Island, North Carolina; Mobjack Bay/East River, Virginia; and Point Lookout/Smith Creek, Maryland…all stunning and serene.
The highlight of my trip had to be seeing George Washington’s lifelong home, Mount Vernon, as we approached from the water. I happen to be a history nerd and a fan of our first president, and to be sailing (motoring) through his old stomping grounds filled me with emotion, if I’m honest.
Even just being on the Potomac itself felt somehow historically sacred. It wasn’t hard to imagine Native American villages scattered along its banks, or John Wilkes Booth rowing across its waters to elude capture after assassinating Lincoln, or John Quincy Adams skinny-dipping in it’s waters daily during his presidency. Okay, I tried not to actually imagine the last one, but you get the point.
A break from our travels will be nice. We will replace motoring with museums, and quiet anchorages for a bustling city. Looking forward to the change for a bit.