We were feeling a little adventurous and fuel prices were down so we decided to run down to the bay and visit Smith Island. The trip was amazing. The destination not so much. After departing friday afternoon we spent the night in Nomini Creek. We originally set anchor in Nomini Bay but a 1 AM wind change we ended up relocating deeper into the creek. If you are looking for a nice hole to anchor in this one is quite peaceful and good anchoring for most any weather. Saturday morning was beautiful but windy. We took on fuel at Point Lookout before making our crossing. One of the sites we hadn’t seen up until that point was the target ship USAS American Mariner. At first glance it looks as if it is simply anchored out on the water until you hit the correct angle at the right time of day and realize you see sunlight through her hull. I imagine up close its a creepy site but between the charted danger zone, the windy conditions, and the fact that it would have been off of our track we decided not to venture closer.
The channel into Smith Island is probably one of the most intricate I’ve been into so far. With a narrow channel that tends to move with bad weather its the first time we’ve encountered locally placed markers for the channel. What was the most disconcerting though is the fact that I could see the sandbars where the channel was collapsing.
Smith Island is one of the few inhabited islands left in this area. Its only accessible by boat and with the water eroding they have had to move the lighthouse several times now. Sooner or later the island will be gone. We docked near where the ferry comes in and realized quickly that the island has its own official bird. From what I can tell its some sort of deer fly and they were hungry. Even with the wind blowing these flies managed to find us everywhere. We had lunch at the restaurant by the dock and discovered the second surprising thing about this island besides their “wildlife”. There is no alcohol on Smith Island. How an island who’s economy has for centuries centered around boating, fishing, and crabbing doesn’t have even beer available is amazing. From my experience most boaters are simply drinkers with a boating problem, myself included. At the end of our meal we learned third shocking thing about Smith Island. Smith Island Cakes are not made on Smith Island. Instead they are made in Crisfeld. Its the equivalent of purchasing a bottle of kentucky bourbon made in New Jersey. Sure New Jersey can figure out how to make bourbon but it just doesn’t seem right. Overall the island wasn’t much to look at but the trip was fun. We departed about 4 hours after we arrived.
The trip back met with even rougher water as the winds were really kicking up the rollers. We stopped in at Coles Point for fuel and a meal and ended up staying the night as several boats from our marina were staying there. Originally the plan was to return home monday but weather made us reconsider. So Sunday morning we headed out early to beat the weather. Overall it was a good trip. We expect to do a couple of bay trips in 2017 with a run possibly to Norfolk or Annapolis.
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