Charles and I anchored in Mattawoman Creek in southern Maryland for two nights to celebrate Charles’s birthday. The hats were my idea.
We arrived on Friday afternoon. So many crab pots to navigate around as we pulled in! There’s not much up to date information about Mattawoman Creek anchorages so I only knew to expect weekend rafters and a lot of fishing folks. We had five neighbors on the edges of the cove so we took an end spot a bit closer to shore than usual. It’s around 5-7 ft deep in most of the cove and parts of the channel so our 18″ draft was easily accommodated.
Birthday hats and much wine later…
Saturday morning we woke up to a busy cove; rafters, dinghies, jet skis and families. We lost the yacht next door and gained a great sailboat with colored Chinese lanterns strung up along the sides. After breakfast and coffee there was good wind for sailing our 10 ft sailing dinghy so Charles put up the mast and I pocketed the outboard key. (Let’s not get into what happened the time we sailed away from the boat without the key in Gunston Cove and someone had to use a shoelace MacGuyver-style to get us back because the outboard key was still on Chiron.) Charles checked the gas and off we went!
Around the bend in the cove we discovered the Smallwood State Park marina and a lily pad oasis. We continued up the creek as far as we could go with the wind on our side, a bit gusty but with nowhere to be the sailing was perfect. On the way back we headed to the marina and tied up at the dock. I forgot the eggs when I left the house so I wanted to check out the marina store but we only found hot dogs, live bait and directions to the arts center.
The arts center? Yes, please! After a short walk through the park we came upon a art gallery with the type of art for sale that you would expect from a state park. Back to the dinghy and past a group of competitive fishermen on the dock with shiny power boats. I think those engines are 250 HP, compared to our dinghy’s 2.5.
Did I mention that Charles checked the gas before we left? Did I mention that I had no idea he was such a good swimmer?
The cove was crowded during the day but we had few neighbors as the sun set. We speculated on how many boats would stay as the sun set and we were left with about 6 quiet-ish neighbors spread around the cove.
Anchoring out for two nights in the summer means you’ll probably want a shower. Charles went first because he’d been swimming and we discovered that the shower pump doesn’t work. Bird bath for me while he pumped the bilge into a bucket. Not ones to waste water, I scrubbed the deck with what he pumped instead of pouring it directly into the river. Nice clean husband, nice clean deck and a bird bath for me.
Saturday night; they say you’re not supposed to anchor close enough to your neighbors that they can see you looking at them with binoculars.
Much wine later…
Sunday morning I woke up to a piercing alarm and dreamed it was setting off alarms on the other boats, then again a bit later, alone in bed, to the motor starting. The sky through the cabin hatch was dim and I crawled out of bed to find Charles at the wheel. Naturally this meant go back to sleep.
Charles woke me up in time to have coffee before I had to handle the lines on the dock. I learned that the alarm was a low battery signal which set off all three CO2 alarms. He got up and switched batteries, then checked the tide and realized if we left at that time we could get home a lot sooner than fighting the current. Since he loves sailing at night and has a penchant for sailing alone it worked out well.
When we sailed away two days earlier we’d left all the lines on the dock so coming in was the easiest we’d ever had. I jumped off the boat and hooked on the front spring line while Charles took the rear. So smooth that we didn’t even need a hand from the dock master who showed up out of nowhere. Where was he all the times the currents and wind have been against us?
Lesson learned- leave the lines on the dock and always pull in with no wind and no current.
Upcoming overnight anchorages: our favorite Gunston Cove. If we can get away early enough and with the right tide to speed the sailing, Aquia Creek may be next.