Departing the C&D Canal, we headed down the Chesapeake for the nearly 200 miles to Norfolk, Virginia, where the ICW officially begins at “Mile 0”.A new stop for us along the way was Rock Hall, Maryland, complete with a great marina sunset. A nice little town, but as now so common, many stores & restaurants were closed for much of the week due to insufficient staff. Next was a few days at Solomons, Maryland where we had a fun visit with Mike & Ann, former cruisers, who now live there in a condo (but another boat may soon be in their future!).
With one more stop needed on the way down to Norfolk, I decided to stop at an anchorage we had stopped at our first year near Gwynn Island. The name of the entrance should have been clue: “Hole in the Wall” – should be called “Thread a Needle”! Even though there is an “official” channel marked with buoys, it has really shoaled in! While this chart view shows an extremely narrow break between the sandbars, our Navionics SonarCharts displayed a more generous path with decent depths … but nope! Our depth display of only 3.5 feet had me ready to turn around (we draw 3 feet), but we were coming up to a pair of new-looking buoys marking the channel & SonarCharts showed an area of much deeper water just ahead. But BUMP – BUMP – BUMP – AGROUND! Fortunately we had been at nearly idle & the bottom was just muddy sand, so we could easily power off, but where to go? Not being foolish enough to continue into the unknown (& having to repeat our track leaving in the AM), I attempted to carefully turn around back onto our track we had taken in (SonarCharts on my iPad was recording “breadcrumbs”), but we could only make a few feet every time before bumping once again. Lori to the rescue! “Let’s lower our dinghy – that will rise up the stern an inch or two” That was just enough to let us power back to our track & get the heck out of there!
Going aground is definitely not a good feeling (& can be extremely expensive!), but at least it’s been nearly 6 years since the last time, so I’m not too embarrassed!