Thursday, June 26, 2014 (Virginia Beach to Onancock): After a delightful three days with friends Judy and Mike at their yacht club we head out at 08:20, bound for Onancock on the eastern Virginia shore. The forecast couldn't be better. Without a cloud in the sky, fitful breezes mostly out of the west leave cat's paws on the glistening surface of Lynnhaven Bay. Turning into the Chesapeake, we are greeted by flat calm. Since our route will take us up the eastern shore past Cape Charles we choose to pass through the Bay Bridge Tunnel in the Chesapeake Channel between the second and third "islands." As soon as we pass beneath the bridge complex we enter a different universe. The wind has freshened out of the north and four-foot short period swells are rolling down the throat of the bay. For our shortest distance between two points we are obliged to take the beating on our port bow.
The distance to Onancock Creek from this point is about 45 miles. We adjust speed and trim to achieve some stability and let Blackthorne do the heavy lifting. We look forward to 2 hours of bashing though the relentless anger of the Bay in a freshening north wind. Onancock creek runs approximately west northwest to south to east southeast. The mouth is both narrow and shallow. We discover the waves breaking over the shallow mud bars on either side. We must slow down and make a turn broadside to the chop on top of the swells. I choose to run a bit past the entrance in order to get the slop more on the bum than broadside. Mr. and Mrs. Osprey sitting in their nest atop "green 1" give us the eye but aren't kicking up a fuss. She wouldn't leave the nest because of her tiny chicks. He has his wings humped up ready to fly at us. On a calmer day he would do just that and they would have raised their alarm, a piercing, dying "p-e-e-e-e-e" sound. In this wind they are staying put. It seems they know that one false move and we are in the mud.
As we get into the shelter of the banks of Onancock Creek the run is about 4 miles down to Onancock Village. The banks, mostly the south side, feature substantial homes on large lots and manicured lawns and gardens, the inevitable boat dock at the foot of the properties. Few people are about in the dock area. The town dock is nicely kept but the dockmaster is nowhere in sight. We tie up alongside and hook up dockside services. The weather has become a little gray and stuffy away from the open water. We need the AC.
We choose to do lunch at the pub next to the wharf. We have a beer and a sandwich and watch Germany clobber the home team in the World Cup match being televised from Sao Paolo. Afterwards we go back to the boat and straighten up below decks where loose stuff got tossed about during our passage. That done we head out for a walk in the town. The dockmaster catches up to us and tells us to leave the boat where it is. He will leave the papers onboard for us.
He advises us about Onancock's renowned bakery. We are suckers for coarse crusty bread but, alas, the bakery is closed, not to re-open until 09:00 the next morning after we have long let go our lines. Oh well ,,, we don't need the bread. Anyway, we have some frozen homebaked bread of our own. When we buy bread, "off", we are mighty particular about what is in it. We hate preservatives and do not buy loaves with butter, milk, or other shortening ingredients. We only accept vegetable oil, not palm or coconut.
Onancock features a King Street just like Charleston. We follow the signs. The Admiral is unimpressed and the Captain is ecstatic. We do find a piece of history. It seems that Francis Makemie founded presbyterianism in America on this very spot. Not only did he bring the Word to the Colony of Virginia, he did preach "legally" for the first time on October ye 5th 1699.
How about that!