July 16th and 17th, 2021
We left Havre de Grace headed for the C&D Canal (The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.) This canal was originally built in 1829, dug by hand. A 14 mile path from the upper Chesapeake to the Delaware River. It provided a much faster path from Baltimore to Philadelphia as opposed to going all the way down the Chesapeake and then back up to Delaware Bay. It was quite narrow then and required locks as they could not dig it deep enough to “level” the water between the two bodies. Always a strange concept to me when the two bodies ultimate touch anyway. But, tides do amazing things.
Nearly 100 years later in 1927, the Army Corp of Engineers used mechanical equipment to widen and deepen the canal to 450 feet wide and 35 feet deep. No more locks. The C&D is the busiest canal in the nation and third busiest in the world.
But, let me digress for a moment. Heading from Havre de Grace to the entrance of the C&D, the Coast Guard issues a warning about a performance boat Poker Run from Chesapeake City, about mid-way in the C&D, to Bud’s Bar (or something like that; who knows the name.) in the upper Chesapeake Bay between 10 and 11 am. So, these super fast boats are all going to be heading straight for us about the time we are entering the C&D. A Poker Run on fast boats to a bar? If you know what a Poker Run is, you head from one bar to the next on a motorcycle or now, new to me a boat.
No harm was done to us in the event and these boats for the most part skim the water so did not present too big of a wake issue for us.
We spent the night in Delaware City at the eastern entrance to the C&D in a tiny marina with a very narrow and shallow entrance.
The next day, we headed up the Delaware River to Philadelphia. We we were so excited to visit a big city on the boat. Yes, we’d been to Charleston and New Bern, but Philadelphia is full of high rise buildings and we would be docked downtown, close to the old city. But first, to transit the Delaware Rive northbound about 40 miles. We had read that it was just a big industrial pathway and not pretty or enjoyable. We have to disagree. Yes, there is lots of chemical industry and we experienced some leaving Del City, but all in all, an enjoyable journey.
There was lots of open space between factories and docks and we found it rather interesting to see the current and relics of pieces of industrial America.
I’ll post about Philadelphia in my next entry. I must keep you all in suspense!