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Wingnut

Call-Out to National Harbor Marina

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Launched our Chap on Tuesday and headed down the Chesapeake about 75 miles to Solomon Island where we over-nighted. Nice restaurants within walking distance of the hotel, and the bay was flat as a pancake. Wednesday brought with it some stiff winds that I hoped would abate by the time we had a few miles of Potomac behind us, but that never happened, as when the winds lessened, the current remained. Can't say I ever witnessed the kind of water volume rolling out toward the bay and the ride was less than pleasant at times but we covered the 130 miles and arrived at National Harbor Marina in a  reasonable amount of time. There was a major bass tournament going on in the Potomac, and the channel was littered with bass boats which were bouncing around like corks in the ocean.We were stopped by the Navy firing range control near the 301 bridge and directed to hug the northern shore line until we past the power plant, and I actually had to keep our Chap in gear while we talked to the range spotter, in order to keep from stuffing the bow into the surf, so parts of the river were not being kind, and my thought was you must really like to fish if your are willing to be out there in your surfboard with an outboard.

We had never been to National Harbor, and the Marina there is very nice, and secure and the staff goes out of their way in support of their guests. It's a bit of a distance to the National Mall and Uber is a good choice to get around. We did the Zoo, and found plenty of good restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. We stayed at the Gaylord Convention Center which is a Marriott property, and they gave us a room facing the marina so that I could keep an eye on things but the entire area is well lit, secured, and under constant surveillance and the Marine Police keep 3 or their boats there. I asked a boat cop how he liked his 300 HP Evinrude and he said, "It's really loud and reverse is non-existent". Everglades blames Evinrude as their boats were designed around the Yamaha, and Evinrude keeps changing props. I saw that the 3 examples there had three different props on them and the four blade example looked like they had been using it for a depth finder.

On Thursday, I helped bring in a 45' Sea Ray Sedan Bridge, as there was a bit of a cross wind, and after the dock master had her secure, I heard the woman say "such a perfect day", as yesterday was rough down river. I just smiled and wondered what she would have said if she was with us. National Harbor was a pleasant surprise as the 747 version of Air Force One is parked next to the hotel, and there are no limit to the food as it would take a couple weeks there to eat through all the options. The only negative for me was the distance to Washington attractions and if you leave around 9:30 and return after 6, you avoid the worst of rush hour and 25 bucks will get you an Uber.  W

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Your trip to Washington is interesting. I have been watching a live CAM of DCA airport with the Potomac in the background including a green buoy.  Was curious of this area as I'd love to throw anchor and just watch planes with a perfect view.  Are their restrictions?  Once in a while I'll see varying size boat pass through the cameras view.

Cam:

 

 

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The Potomac has speed restrictions under all bridges within the district. There are also many no anchor locations listed on the charts. Heading down river, the military has a few firing ranges too but they patrol on firing days and are responsive and polite to pleasure boaters and plot your detour around the restricted zone, which in my case was smack dab in the middle of the channel. Plenty of water in the main channel, but several rock out-croppings in the shallows.  W

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21 hours ago, Wingnut said:

The Potomac has speed restrictions under all bridges within the district. There are also many no anchor locations listed on the charts. Heading down river, the military has a few firing ranges too but they patrol on firing days and are responsive and polite to pleasure boaters and plot your detour around the restricted zone, which in my case was smack dab in the middle of the channel. Plenty of water in the main channel, but several rock out-croppings in the shallows.  W

National Harbor has been growing for a number of years. There are a lot of great restaurants down there, including a shop where you can get the Marshmallow Peeps in any shape or design you can think of!

So, you said you covered 130 miles in good time. How long did it take you? Just curious.

Thanks for the description!

 

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3 hours ago, summerpenguin said:

National Harbor has been growing for a number of years. There are a lot of great restaurants down there, including a shop where you can get the Marshmallow Peeps in any shape or design you can think of!

So, you said you covered 130 miles in good time. How long did it take you? Just curious.

Thanks for the description!

 

The first 78 miles from here to Solomon's was covered in 2 hrs and 10 minutes as conditions were perfect. Day two the bay down to the mouth of the Potomac was angry, and there were times we traveled at something less than planing speed. The river had a major amount of outflow due to upstream rains, and we also needed to proceed at no wake speed around the Navy's firing range near the 301 bridge, so all in that 130 miles took about 7 hours. Saturday we headed back for 28 miles with the current and the ride was markedly better. As they were calling for gusts to 45 and 4' seas at the river mouth, we executed plan "B". Hey Andy, grab my truck and trailer and meet us at Sweden Point. Nice state park with 6 boat ramps, out in the middle of nowhere. W

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On 6/10/2019 at 12:35 PM, Wingnut said:

The first 78 miles from here to Solomon's was covered in 2 hrs and 10 minutes as conditions were perfect. Day two the bay down to the mouth of the Potomac was angry, and there were times we traveled at something less than planing speed. The river had a major amount of outflow due to upstream rains, and we also needed to proceed at no wake speed around the Navy's firing range near the 301 bridge, so all in that 130 miles took about 7 hours. Saturday we headed back for 28 miles with the current and the ride was markedly better. As they were calling for gusts to 45 and 4' seas at the river mouth, we executed plan "B". Hey Andy, grab my truck and trailer and meet us at Sweden Point. Nice state park with 6 boat ramps, out in the middle of nowhere. W

I laughed at "The first 78 miles..." I'm not ready to go that far with my boat yet. When I bought it last year, it died on me a mile form the marina in the South River, quite a ways away from my house on Stoney Creek. I had to get towed back and wait while their mechanics determined it was just the fuel filter (while it was sitting in a transient slip, racking up a big bill). A month later, the day I drove it home, it conked out on me as I was turning into Stoney Creek off the Patapsco, but I was able to restart it. Knock on wood, I haven't had any other times when it seriously conks out, but I still have that worry. The more I use it, the more I trust it.

Always good to have a Plan B and even a Plan C. My Plan C is, I've been a swimmer all my life, so I know I can swim to any shore in the bay, if I have to. Maybe some day, I'll venture across the bay in this boat. For now, I tool around in the Patapsco, trying to find the best fishing spots. (still looking, darnit!)

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5 hours ago, summerpenguin said:

I laughed at "The first 78 miles..." I'm not ready to go that far with my boat yet. When I bought it last year, it died on me a mile form the marina in the South River, quite a ways away from my house on Stoney Creek. I had to get towed back and wait while their mechanics determined it was just the fuel filter (while it was sitting in a transient slip, racking up a big bill). A month later, the day I drove it home, it conked out on me as I was turning into Stoney Creek off the Patapsco, but I was able to restart it. Knock on wood, I haven't had any other times when it seriously conks out, but I still have that worry. The more I use it, the more I trust it.

Always good to have a Plan B and even a Plan C. My Plan C is, I've been a swimmer all my life, so I know I can swim to any shore in the bay, if I have to. Maybe some day, I'll venture across the bay in this boat. For now, I tool around in the Patapsco, trying to find the best fishing spots. (still looking, darnit!)

I run up above the bridge on Stoney a few times a season, as my friend has a place just before the split, on the left shore. Nice little place, and hard to believe it is so close to Metro Baltimore. We put 230 miles on the Chap this trip, and if we could have returned via the bay we would have added another 130. My issue is never feeling unsafe, but in the back of your mind, if you were to lose power in those heavy conditions, you are likely going to lose the boat.  W

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2 hours ago, Wingnut said:

I run up above the bridge on Stoney a few times a season, as my friend has a place just before the split, on the left shore. Nice little place, and hard to believe it is so close to Metro Baltimore. We put 230 miles on the Chap this trip, and if we could have returned via the bay we would have added another 130. My issue is never feeling unsafe, but in the back of your mind, if you were to lose power in those heavy conditions, you are likely going to lose the boat.  W

I think you mentioned that before, 4th house or something like that, after the drawbridge? When you say, before the split, do you mean before Stoney Creek and Nabbs Creek split off?

Let me know when you are venturing up here again. I'd love to say Hi and thank you in person for all of your helpful advice. BTW, do you know any good fishing spots near there or in the bay along the way???

230 miles sounds like a lot to me. I hope one day I will use my boat that much. I had an 86 Grady White that I would run straight across the bay to Bloody Point to fish and back. Good little boat. Only conked out on me once, and I swam *IT* to shore, haha!

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Sounds like a great trip!  You were in my neck of the woods on the Potomac.  If you really wanted to be closer to everything in DC, you could have gone all of the way up to the new Wharf area in DC itself.  A couple of hotels right on site, and others nearby.  National Harbor is nice though.

We had a plan b like you one time trying to go to St. Michaels.  We made the turn at Point Lookout and felt like we were on Deadliest Catch.  Our plan B was to turn around and head home and drive to St. Michaels.  

Right before you pulled out at Sweden Point on the Mattawoman, you should have gone straight across the river to the tiki bar at Tim's!

Glad you had a good time and made it home safe.

Mike

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On 6/9/2019 at 9:00 AM, SST said:

Your trip to Washington is interesting. I have been watching a live CAM of DCA airport with the Potomac in the background including a green buoy.  Was curious of this area as I'd love to throw anchor and just watch planes with a perfect view.  Are their restrictions?  Once in a while I'll see varying size boat pass through the cameras view.

Cam:

 

 

I've anchored somewhere just off that area without any hassles before.  As you can tell, the channel there is over against the opposite shore from the airport.  You can get just a little ways out of the channel and still be a pretty good distance from the airport.  No guarantee that a Coast Guard or DC boat won't come check you out though.

 

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Thanks for the info. I was just watching a Potomac arrival into DCA and as the aircraft lined up with the runway you could see several boats anchored of to the left of the approach path. I just watched it for a second time and I'm stunned that there is a launching ramp right next too and underneath the centerline to the runway. Could this be heaven for me? haha

EDIT: Gravelly Point Boat Launch

Check it out:

 

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3 hours ago, SST said:

Thanks for the info. I was just watching a Potomac arrival into DCA and as the aircraft lined up with the runway you could see several boats anchored of to the left of the approach path. I just watched it for a second time and I'm stunned that there is a launching ramp right next too and underneath the centerline to the runway. Could this be heaven for me? haha

EDIT: Gravelly Point Boat Launch

Check it out:

 

I always found it strange that there was a marina in the Pentagon basin. W

 

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On 6/16/2019 at 8:46 AM, SST said:

Thanks for the info. I was just watching a Potomac arrival into DCA and as the aircraft lined up with the runway you could see several boats anchored of to the left of the approach path. I just watched it for a second time and I'm stunned that there is a launching ramp right next too and underneath the centerline to the runway. Could this be heaven for me? haha

EDIT: Gravelly Point Boat Launch

Check it out:

 

Gravelly Point is an awesome place to watch planes from!  Sometimes it seems like you can almost reach up and touch the planes!

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On 6/16/2019 at 12:00 PM, Wingnut said:

I always found it strange that there was a marina in the Pentagon basin. W

 

That's Columbia Island Marina.  

There you to be an entrance to the Pentagon called the River Entrance.  My Dad told me stories about taking a boat across the river from Bolling AFB (now the runways are inactive) to the River Entrance at the Pentagon.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Mikemapva said:

Gravelly Point is an awesome place to watch planes from!  Sometimes it seems like you can almost reach up and touch the planes!

I used Google street view to check it out. There is a sign there that says 3 hour parking. Does that apply to boat trailers?

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4 hours ago, SST said:

I used Google street view to check it out. There is a sign there that says 3 hour parking. Does that apply to boat trailers?

Interesting, i've never noticed those signs before, and i have definitely parked for at least 3 hours there to go bicycle riding.  It's been a long time since i've trailered a boat to the ramp, so i'm not sure.  That is a very entertaining ramp as it is one of the only ones I know of in the area that are free to use. 

I'll try to check around about the trailer limit. 

 

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