October 15th
We left Solomons island after a very peaceful night and a great sleep.  Everybody slept in.  It was so calm, there was no rocking at all.  No boat wakes, jet skies, early morning crab boats, no high winds, no waves.  It was really great. 
Sahara went half way up the mast for a quick fix.  A jack line came undone and she had to go up and tie a knot to fix it.  the jack lines are the lines that make a basket for the sail, so when lowering the sail, it keeps it from going all over the place.

We were going by a pump out dock and though we would do a quick stop, empty the holding tanks before our week long stay in Reedville.  but their pump was not working well, so the quick stop turned into an hour.  But the tanks are now empty.  

Then, as we were leaving the river, we heard numerous calls on the VHF from the Navy.  The target area was in action and they were turning all boats away from the electronic targets, 2 miles in all directions.  This put us a few miles out of the way, but then added even more time onto our trip.  We had lots of jet fighters coming out over the water.  A neat sight.  The were landing and taking off not far away.  Noisy!

You can see how clear the skies were.  It was raining by 2:00!!!  How the weather changes on the water.  Or, perhaps, because the weather is so much apart of your life, the changes are just noticed more.

We sailed till 1:00, but then calculated that even with the engine on we would not set the anchor until 5:30.  We are trying to avoid all night time sailing/motoring.  And we wanted to get to my parents for dinner on time!!!  We were making 6-7 knots with the sails up, but we couldn't go directly south, so the extra zigzagging would have added an hour to our trip.  So we motored.

The area where the Potomac river and the Chesapeake bay meet is notorious for bad waves.  With the currents from the river and the bay mixing, and the winds, the waves are knows as "Washing machine waves".  They come from all directions.  It makes controlling the boat difficult.  The main direction was from behind us, with some about 45 degrees off those coming out of the Potomac.  The auto pilot can not handle big waves coming from the back of the boat.  They lift up the back and turn the boat very quickly, so a human pilot has to start turning before the boat does to cancel out the affect.  but it is very tiring.  Tara and I took turns through out the day.  Eventually the kids will have shifts, but this was a bit beyond them at the moment.

At one point we had a big scare.  The bilge alarm went off!! That means we have large amounts of water coming into the boat!.  So after a few moments of panic, we realized
1.  not a lot of water was coming in.
2.  The little pump did not automatically go off, so the water was slowly coming into the boat.  
3.  The water was leaking in where the rudder shaft goes through the boat.  

There is a giant nut there with special packing in it to seal out the water.  It is one of those tricky spots on a boat, where the shaft must be lose enough to turn, so you can steer the boat, however, tight enough to keep water out.  When the boat is in flat water, no water can get up through the nut.  But with the following seas, the water can push up through the hole.  It took 1/4 turn with a pipe wrench to stop the leak.  The little bilge bump was working, but a wire to the float switch had broken, (now fixed).  So we just had to hold the button and pump out the water.  Panic over.....ate some M&M's to calm the nerves, and kept on going.  A sailboat keeps you on your toes!

Now we are hanging out at the Perfect house in Reedville.  Tara has gone off to Toronto to accept an award and give a talk, then Boston for a conference.  We will next continue south in a week.