As a storm front stalled over Virginia, Severn River Marina on Mobjack Bay became the perfect spot to sit a spell.
by Jody Argo Schroath
It was probably on just such a fine sunny day that the brave 600 of Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade rode into the valley of Death, I thought as I left the Poquoson River this September in front of three-day storm of high winds, 5-foot seas and great bucketsful of rain. But thanks to considerably better intelligence than Lord Cardingan had received before ordering his men into the barrage of Russian cannons during the Battle of Balaclava in 1854, I was turning my back on the enemy, heading instead for Severn River Marina, where I would have a comfortable place to hole up for the next few days . . . and to get my head examined. (No, not my actual head, the boat's head.)
The trip was quick and simple: out the channel through the Poquoson Flats, across the mouth of the York River and then into Mobjack Bay. The morning was utterly still and the sky a blue haze as I passed Browns Bay and turned west at flashing green "1" to enter the Severn, Mobjack's southernmost river. At flashing green "3" I turned the Albin 28 southwest to follow the aptly named Southwest Branch. Passing Stump Point and then Bar Neck, I found red daymark "4", where I turned to starboard and headed for the marina, which I could see ahead of me along the Bar Neck's north shore. Following the first fairway, I found my slip at a floating dock just off the bulkhead.
Mike Ladas was there waiting to take my lines. Ladas is the president and managing partner of Epic Yachting, which owns this marina, and two others, Bay Creek Marina and Resort in Cape Charles, Va., and Third Street Marina in Annapolis. After the initial exchange of introductions and pleasantries, I urgently explained my head problem. Ladas jumped aboard, called Dan Camp, the service manager, and we moved the Albin to the nearby pump-out station. Camp and Ladas immediately set to work. Half an hour later, the head was working again, the holding tank had been pumped out and I was back in my slip.
And there I stayed for the next three days. Between waves of rain and lightning, I replenished my supply of marine toilet paper at the ship's store, restocked on munchies and prepared for the siege. I dined on salmon with a couple living aboard a Kady Krogen sailboat, walked Skipper through the 45-acre marina grounds, shunned the use of the marina's loaner car in favor of my splendid isolation, read, made use of the marina's wi-fi, and chatted with manager Shawn Gordon about the future of the facility. In the next couple of years, Gordan said, the marina will be expanding from 60 to 100 slips. The old store/office building will be demolished and replaced with lawn and trees, while a larger Key West style store/office/swimming pool will be built farther back from the water. The marina will continue to offer full service--with its 75-ton lift and 23-foot-wide lift basin, it's particularly popular with catamaran owners.
Finally, on Monday, the storm pushed off to the east and I eased back out the Severn and into Mobjack Bay. The marina had been the perfect hidey hole, but it was great to be back on the water again!
Severn River Marina
Fuel: gas and diesel
Power: 50 amp
Depth: 7 ft