Sunday 15 July 2012
Journey: Fisherman’s Inn and Crab Deck, Kent Narrows – Mears Point Marina, Kent Narrows – Rolph’s Wharf Sandbar, Chestertown – Fish and Whistle, Chestertown
Time: ~ 11:15 am – ~ 6:00 pm Engine Hrs:428.5 – 430.2
Vessel: Chaparral 260 SSi Bowrider
Conditions: mostly sunny, warm; showers in the early evening
- 428.5 – 428.7: Fisherman’s Inn and Crab Deck – Mear’s Point Marina
- 428.7 – 429.9: Mears Point Marina – Rolph’s Wharf Sandbar
- 429.9 – 430.2: Rolph’s Wharf Sandbar – Fish and Whistle, Chestertown
We departed the Crab Deck expecting to meet Steve, Mary and the kids at Red Eye’s Dock Bar. Next to Red Eye’s Dock Bar sits Mears Point Marina where we planned on topping up on fuel before leaving for the Chester River. The Marina instructed us to dock on the inside wall if we planned on going to Red Eye’s, which we did, as well as fuel. We walked to Red Eye’s but didn’t see Steve and Mary, et al. Through a juggling of phone calls we finally discovered that they had been to Red Eye’s, saw the limited before noon menu, decided they wanted more and went over to Annie’s.
We re-secured our boat and walked to Annie’s. We had an expensive, yet exquisite, brunch. The kind of brunch I’d be willing to sit and enjoy for HOURS. Since Steve and Mary wanted to head up the road to home, completely understandable, we departed sooner rather than dawdle. Lori and I had no schedule, just planned on meeting up with Zach and family later in the afternoon on the Chester River. We returned to Red Eye’s for a drink and decide what next and when.
While going back and forth to check on the boat I noticed the Kent Narrows current swiftly flowing up channel. Add the significant wind also blowing from the south, it made for a bit more navigationally challenging. As we sat at the bar, near to three young locals chatting with the bar, when a fairly large go fast, carrying two women and a man, begins to pull in for docking at Red Eye’s. The young fellows immediately say, “Well, you can tell those women are not with that guy for his looks.”
We all watched as the current caused the go-fast to drift in a bit fast without being able counter maneuver. The Dock Hands at Mears Point and Red Eye’s deserve a huge amount of cudos – they jumped into action to assist with collision prevention, and pushing him off to have another go. During the second attempt, with bow attached, the wind and current whipped him around to almost a 90 degree angle from the pier, not an ideal situation.
Throughout the docking attempts, the young fellows at the bar made a number of non-flattering comments critiquing his docking. I wanted to go up to these young know-it-alls and ask them, “Oh yeah, and what boat did you come up on?” Anyone who had come by boat, in this wind and current, knew that the docking conditions posed challenges. Add to that the larger size of the boat … even trickier. I didn’t care to get into, nor had the energy to waste on, a confrontation so I kept my mouth shut.
We tired of waiting at Red Eye’s for Zach and Karen to call, so we decided to head up the river to Rolph’s Wharf Sandbar ahead of them. As the name would indicate, the channel in and out of Kent Narrows is indeed narrow. At some channel markers, two medium sized boats would not comfortably pass through at the same time. Heading north, towards the Chester River, the channel makes a 90 degree left/ port side turn; a unique feature, especially for such an active current area.
The mouth of Kent Narrows, on the north, empties into Chester River; convenient for us – easier navigation. We followed others out of the narrows, looped around the point, and headed up the Chester River. What a lovely river with interesting sites along the way – picturesque farmland, unique homes, horse pastures, undeveloped land. I found it surprising that along the way we saw some markers that sat so close to land that I think you could stand on the shoreline and almost touch the marker. There must be some serious drop offs near to shore.
We found Rolph’s Wharf Sandbar with ease and found an appropriate slip. I wondered if it’s common place that every marina or water restaurant owns a “flagship”. In Rolph’s case, a lovely wooden tug like vessel. We asked the dock hand if she was from the area and familiar with Chestertown, and whether or not she could recommend a hotel. She informed us the Rolph’s had an inn, so Lori went in search of the managers to arrange lodging. She returned to say that Rolph’s had “closed” for the next few days. That’s fine – we headed to the Sandbar.
As soon as Lori arrived she noticed a woman waving at her. Lori looked around wondering why this woman kept waving at her. She then introduced herself as Karen’s sister and had seen us yesterday at Zachery and Karen’s celebration. She had been at Sandbar since 1:00, waiting for people to arrive. We wish we had known that, we would’ve have left Kent Narrows much earlier. Oh well.
Finally, around 4:00, we noticed Zachery and Karen arriving with the kids. I hurried out to the pier to snap some pics and lend a hand. Rather than park on the end, Zach decided to pull into a slip. As he maneuvered, Bubba stood to the side on top of a small step separating the bow from the helm. In order to avoid hitting a piling Zachery needed to do a quick forward burst which threw Bubba off balance and he face planted on the floor. Understandably, he began crying. Karen picked him up and handed him over to me as soon as they reached the pier. Hum, just what someone wants, a bawling baby. I actually didn’t mind. I took off his life vest, headed towards shore, and as soon as we hit land he forgot he was hurt.
We ended up really enjoying the Sandbar! It sat at a bend in the river which provided a nice sandy beach area. Adirondack chairs, with umbrellas, sat along the shore which allowed for watching the kids play yet have food and alcohol delivered to your seat – best of both worlds. I commented that I could see that this will be the bar where the kids will be raised, which is much better than the bar I was raised in.
Around 6:00 we noticed approaching storm clouds so we hopped in the boat and headed up river to Chestertown. We had already made reservations for a night at the Imperial Inn. Just as we pulled into a slip at the Fish and Whistle Restaurant it began to sprinkle. Zachary and Karen, with the kids, arrived soon after us to join us for dinner.
We hoped the rain would pass as we ate, but it was still sprinkling when Zach and Karen left with the kids. We tried to talk them into staying, or at the very least, just leave the kids with us. They said they would be fine since they had such a short distance down river. We walked to the Imperial Hotel, checked into our room, returned to double check the boat, and along the way called to make sure Zach and Karen made it safely home.