Updated: Sep 12, 2020
How we prepared for Hurricane Isaias while seeking shelter at Ingram Bay Marina, VA.
After surviving a gnarly lightning storm at Gwynn Island, we headed North to seek shelter from brewing Hurricane Isaias.
We found a spot on the Navionics app called Ingram Bay Marina. It’s known for being a great little place to tuck in to avoid bad weather. The triple-filtered diesel gas was a cherry on top.
To enter Ingram Bay Marina, you have to navigate the tight opening of Towles Creek. We managed to pull in unscathed, and in reality, it wasn’t all that bad (at least on a calm day!)
We had called a few days ahead to reserve our spot and the dock master, Captain Billy, obliged saying there was plenty of room for our 43’ sailing catamaran. He greeted us at the fuel deck and told us to head over to the end tie that would be our home for the next 4 days.
We started to get the boat ready for the impending hurricane, which was still 2 days out from our location. So, we took advantage of the nice weather - the calm before the storm - and borrowed the marina car to head to a nearby winery.
Turns out, there are 4 wineries in close proximity to the marina. We visited 2 during our stay, but Jacee Winery was by far our favorite. The staff was friendly and accommodating; we even got a tour of the wine production area which boasted a casket in the corner. You’ll never guess who’s inside!
When the hurricane finally made an appearance, it had calmed down and was downgraded to a tropical storm. Still, 40 knot winds are not to be taken lightly. With the winds coming from the east, we ran the real risk of our boat slamming into the dock of which we were tied up only on the starboard side.
The Captain hauled out a spare anchor, affixed it to our port side, and used the dinghy to drop it in the creek…hopeful that the opposition would help prevent the boat from slamming into the dock (along with our fenders, of course!)
We kept a watchful eye on the radar and the activity outside, and the storm passed within 4 hours. While it left some debris around the marina, it wasn’t enough to stop Captain Billy from hosting a party for his marina guests. We enjoyed crab, Spanish Mackerel, and Ingram Bay Oysters…all caught by the Captain himself!
The next day Captain Billy and his wife, Mary, invited us along for a very special mission. Their son had been working aboard a marine cable-laying ship called the Global Sentinel. He had been gone for 82 days, and his ship happened to be passing through Ingram Bay that day.
We captured their touching reunion at sea and hope you’ll stick around to the end to watch!
And if you ever find yourself facing a hurricane in the Chesapeake Bay, head to Ingram Bay Marina and say hi to Billy and Mary for us!
J2 (Julia & James)