Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bob finally came out of hiding...he is soaking up the sun and thinking....whew dodged that one...where's my dinner!!!!

You can't fool mother nature...but she sure can fool you!

A Pictorial Story of our day today.

We were crossing (AGAIN) back to the East Shore from Solomons Island.  This was our second front of the day. The first one skirted us and we were confident this one would too.  But you know mother nature...she decided to spin the wind pretty much around the clock a time or two and kick it up a notch or two.

and...Bob thought 'this does NOT look good!'

Notice the seas behind us..and multiply by 2 when they are right next to you. I'm with Bob...and we are ready if we 'turn turtle' as the captain would say.  Turn turtle is nautical in Gary speak for rolling over (for anyone wondering).

Notice the captain's life jacket..not in an appropriate place Bob & I say.  We didn't roll but it rained so hard the cushions were soaked and sliding off the benchs....with the curtains closed!

The dripping wet 1st mate after the storm.  Wet from slipping and sliding from the bridge to the cabin and back turning on lights,  freeing up the jammed anchor windlass, etc.  ( I made this picture small because I look like a drowned rat, you get the idea.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Good Day in Solomons

Marina Office..pretty posh don't you think?

Restaurant on the Patunxent shore in Solomons

Looking off to the Bay 

This is a crab pot...have no idea why they call them pots...shouldn't they be cages?

More colorful crab pots.  The floats are styrofoam and are painted to denote the owner.

Looking down the Solomons harbor from Back Creek the entry to the Harbor.  Note the masts....there seems to be an equal amount of power and sail here though.  The power boats seemed to be in the inner part of the harbor.

Club Med...Zahnisers...isn't this the life?!!

No floating in the pool today, although I did get a Solomons style bus ride with Gwen to JoAnn's Fabrics.... not the best bus trip so far, we nearly froze to death....and a bag full of goodies at the Amish Farmers Market on the city dock when we got back.  Finished the day with our new friends at the "Tiki Slab" (it's quite a bit short of being a bar) at the Holiday Inn Marina  where Gwen & Walter and new friends Bud, Elaine, Mike & Peggy are moored .  They are all full time cruisers, no houses, no cars, just holes in the water unto which they poor money, and wouldn't have it any other way.  Talking to them you begin to realize the meaning of 'lifestyle' and what this means to them. They have 47 years of cruising between them! Tomorrow we head out for St. Leonard's Creek on the Paxutent.  Another new adventure.

Options & Procrastination

We left our cushy slip at Lankford Bay on Sunday morning.  After 3 days in the searing heat (high 90's to over 100 with heat indexes in the 110-115 range...we were in a quandary.....where is this path leading us?  That brought us to 'do we stay or do we go'?  I stewed and we discussed our options.

1. Put the boat in a marina and fly home for a month... that would be not only pricey but a logistical nightmare (no car and most cheaper marinas are far from a grocery store let alone an airport).

2. Find a marina here for a month....much cheaper than for a few days at a time.  You can get an entire month for the price of 4-5 nights (if you go to an out of the way marina or town), but then we would be stuck in the same place for a month without a car and we have a hard time staying in the same place for 3 days let alone a month. We have definitely found we are not the type of cruisers who can just 'veg out' and sit for days on the boat at anchor.  (That may be a bad sign)

3. Start heading back south now and hope we beat the hurricane gamble.

Well, we procrastinated on any rash decisions long enough for the heat to break (Monday night) and it has been great so far this week.  If only it would last!  Another heat wave is coming Friday but right now, at this moment, (this could also change at any moment) we are planning on sticking around the Bay for the near future.  We bought a 12 volt fan for the aft cabin yesterday and the Breeze Booster seems to help...but ONLY if there is a BREEZE...which hasn't been often in this kind of heat.

Sunday we decided not to head up the Chester River to Chestertown as planned ( we were mid point in our options discussions and heading South was at the top of the list) but headed to Kent Island Narrows. We didn't get far ashore but the waterway itself was lively with lots of boat traffic and tiki bar restaurants and marinas.  The biggest difference we noticed was that unlike Annapolis where sails are king Kent Island Narrows is a mecca for powerboats and is a major boating center on the East Shore.
We spent the night peacefully anchored just off of Prospect Bay south of the narrows and dinghied into Owl's Tiki Bar to listen to the band.  There were lots of people there that had travelled miles to see Kelly McGuire singer songwriter and John Patti on Steel Drums, a 'Parrot Head' band from Texas.  I checked out Kelly's web site.  He plays everywhere from Canada to Mexico. It was an unexpected treat to get in on the show.
We left the Narrows on Monday afternoon headed back to the West Shore but we were detered by a big storm coming across so we tucked in near Knapps Narrows another "narrow" waterway that connects 2 bays.  The storm skirted us and we ended up having a quiet night until the crabbers woke us up at 5am.  You would think I would be used to it by now!
Bright and early Tuesday morning we headed across the Chesapeake for Solomons.  At the time we figured we were heading south and we hadn't been to Solomons and we wanted to see it.  Well what can I say except I like it...a lot.  We are on a mooring ball, we have the use of a beautiful pool, bicycles, courtesy transportation, I feel like I am in Club Med.  We met up with Gwen and Walter whom we haven't seen in almost 2 months!  Right now things are going well, we've met some new cruising friends via Gwen & Walter and hopefully the forecasted heat for this week doesn't occur.  We are heading for shore today to explore a little now that we have the darn grocery shopping completed and the new fan installed!  
Maybe procrastinating is working for us!!

The Big Owl Tiki Bar....from a rocking Dinghy

More Restaurants and Fish Houses

Most Popular Tiki Bar 'Red Eyes Dock Bar'

Piney Narrows Marina Condominiums...your house in your slip!  About 6 of these covered slip buildings.  HUGE!

Small Cruise Ship that passed us looked pretty desolate not one person except in the pilot house.

Cove Point Lighthouse....Solomons

Cliffs on the bay approaching the Paxutent River and Solomons Island

Back on the Big Boy bikes loaned by Zhanisers Yachting Center included in our mooring ball fee.

Scene from the bike path on the road the Paxutent river off in the distance.  Crops in the field.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Note time and temperature......
This is not looking good!!
Our boat in upper middle with grey dink on hard top.
Marina Pool
Bath and Laundry House
Lankford Bay Marina on Davis Creek near Rock Hall, Md.

This is going to seriously dent our already dented budget for sure.  We came to the marina to charge our batteries....and mother nature is dictating that we stay for 3 days.  Not in our plan but as you can see by the thermometer we have no choice.  It is at least a very nice place.  They have a rendezvous of 25 Trojan's coming in today though, we shall see how it goes.  May clog up the pool a bit.  We had it to ourselves yesterday afternoon..sweet!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

On the Navy Ball in Weems Creek...notice the lack of wind?

The Breeze Booster

I think we got more from Annapolis than we expected.  We have been here for 9 days!  Granted we were waiting for our 'Breeze Booster' which we got yesterday and is seems to help (when there is a breeze that is).  We finished our tasks....getting the flat tires and bent wheel on the bikes fixed, getting a bolt for our wobbly dining table (1st Home Depot since April!), with all the fabulous shopping here my head was spinning.  I did manage to get a pair of walking shoes at Marshall' knees have not been thanking me for all of the walking in flip flops and we walked like dazed podunks through the Annapolis Mall with every store under the sun and did not find one thing.  It is interesting what does not interest you anymore when you have gone without for a length of time.
The one problem we have had here is groceries. Not the easiest provisioning in that area although our frig is so small and holds so little that we really can't stock up on anything that needs to be refrigerated.  That tends to be a problem in the Chesapeake as most grocery stores are a hike from the water.  Just another of the little lessons of cruising.
Other than being hot and cranky...all is well.  We are dropping the ball today and going to Rock Hall where we have reserved a slip for 2 nights.  When we started this trip we figured we would have to get a slip in a marina every 2 weeks and it has been more like 6-8 weeks and one thing you don't get for  Free is electricity.  Our batteries are showing their lack of energy (we have to run the generator more to keep them charged) so we are going to go in and give them a good charge and get a couple of good nights sleep with air conditioning!!!  ...It is supposed to be 98 today and 100 tomorrow....  we will have a pool and air conditioning....Nirvana!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Annapolis & the Boat Race

Hopefully, this mini slide show will work. If it does I will do the big one when I get a little better signal.  It is SO tiring fooling with this stuff all the time.  Just when you get it down pat and it becomes easy some techno idiot at Google decides to mix it up a little. ' Ya' know, I think I'll just make it better by doing this'.....and all they manage to do is screw it up for the simple minded like me!! 

We arrived in Annapolis last Tuesday and decided to get a City Mooring Ball at $30. a night so that we could experience the Wednesday night sail boat races through the mooring field and harbor.  Gwen told us it was not to be missed.  Tuesday was great, we explored. Wednesday started out sunny and we decided to go in and see the Maryland State House which is the oldest state capital in continuous use.  From November 1782 to August 1784 it served as the nations capital and meeting place for the Continental Congress. We had a great little tour only to find that it was raining when we were ready to leave.  Short story...we got soaked running through the streets back to the dink then a wetter ride to the boat.
It started to clear up about 4:00 and we were excited because boats were starting to come into the harbor to view the Wednesday night race.  The race boats started going out about 6:00 and we waited with anticipation for them to come racing back through the harbor.  Not happening.....they came back all right, under power.....NO WIND!  Doesn't it just figure.
Later that night the wind picked up and with the opposing current in the small round harbor we were ROCKING (that is with big capital letters) it was unbelievable....I was awake all night and on deck at 5am for the sunrise at 5:30.  (This is retirement?) Needless to say we decided to try Weems Creek and hope we could get on one of the FREE (my favorite method of payment as you know) Navy mooring balls.  We hit the jackpot and although it was difficult to grab... just a foot long chain...and the wind was blowing around 10 and of course it was taking us in the opposite direction of the ball. It took 2 passes.  I finally grabbed it off of the swim platform (daring attempt after our debacle in Marathon) Gary rushed down from the helm and together we dragged the ball up the port side of the boat and got her hooked another version of the cruisers curse....hours of boredom punctuated by seconds of high anxiety and sometimes terror.

So far we have visited the Naval Academy....a WOW.....walked the town.....fought the bus system....schlepped laundry (in black garbage bags no less), fixed the leaking dinghy (again) had a fabulous Father's Day lunch....a little late...we are worn out from all the activity!  We are staying probably through tomorrow.  As you know from my whining we are doing this trip without aid of air conditioning, so we are taking notes from the sailboats and we ordered a Breeze Booster, which is a kind of tent that goes over the forward deck hatch that catches the wind and pushes it through the boat.  We've talked to several people who use them and they say they are great.  It is supposed to arrive today..oh joy!


Sunday, July 17, 2011


In case you were wondering what happened to' Bob the Boat Dog' he is just fine and loving the trip. As you can see here he is waiting for his tummy to be rubbed.  Although we do forget and leave him below sometimes he has yet to get seasick.......Go Bob!!!!

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Friday, July 15, 2011

St Michaels Pictures

Well the Blogger people are playing again and now the slide show link from Picassa is not working...hence I will have to post with lots of individual pictures for a while. So here is the previous 'slide show'!
St. Michaels Harbor entrance

Circa early 1800's

Bad view of Main Street there was much more to it than this.

Circa mid 1700's

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
Hooper Strait Lighthouse moved here in 1966. It gave a very good depiction of  the keepers life .

Skip Jack 'Rosa Parks' ....museums restoration Project...that is with a capital P  !

This is a restored Bug Eye (or log boat as it is build from solid logs and hollowed out like a canoe.  It was built in 1879 and is a functioning boat.  It is the only Bug Eye still in use on the Chesapeake as far as they know.

BIG...BIG Bandsaw!

Display of Boats in one of the museums buildings

Another example of a Chesapeake Bay Watermen's Boat

Joe the retired Waterman who was kind enough to give a demo of oystering and answering my questions about crabbing.  

This  is a Skip Jack...the little boat behind is not the dinghy but the propulsion for the boat . It pushes it around like a little tug!  It was used by the watermen of old but they are now mostly for pleasure as the powered boats have taken over and made the job easier.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


These are the days to remember.....aah yes.  We didn't really give enough thought to what it is like to be a 'camper' in 90 heat.  Tempers get short, and clothes and sheets get smelly.   Actually we never even gave a thought to heat in the high 90's we were going north to get away from the heat.  The joke is on us.  
We do have air conditioning but since our generator is ancient we try not to use it any more than necessary and unless you are paying dock fees you don't have electricity unless you make it yourself.  So it is a no win situation.  Just grin and try and bare it.  I did find out this morning after a warm beginning to the night that waking up with a gentle breeze wafting in to cool you and being quite comfortable is much better than waking up to recycled boat air and a noisy fan, so some good comes of all.  (Although those are not my exact thoughts at 10 pm when it is 90 in the boat with all hatches open and NO breeze in sight.)
We stayed 2 days in St. Michaels which is a very Charlevoix type town (for you Michiganders) that had lots of cute shops to wander through on a hot day.  We anchored off the main harbor which got us very close to the action in town but a little too close to the boat action going in and out of that town!  So we left after 2 nights and went to the Wye River which is a very beautiful peaceful river in Eastern Maryland.  There were farms everywhere along the water and not very many houses compared to what we have been seeing.  We anchored in a wide spot in the river in 12' of water with a huge Osprey nest nestled in the trees in front of us on the undeveloped shoreline.  I took a dip in the water (we haven't seen any Nettles up this far and a lot of people seem to be taking advantage and swimming.  I have only done 'dipping' so far, the trauma of the Man of War incident still fresh in our minds.  Gary has gotten in once but we will soon be in nettle free waters and we will be decadent and not only swim but wallow, that in itself keeps me going on these dog days.
We are now in Annapolis, after a 3 hour trip from the Wye yesterday.
We decided to grab a mooring ball on Spa Creek in front of the Naval Academy so that we could get a pump out (they have a pump-put boat, but of course it is inop at this time) and be hear to watch the Wednesday night sailboat race.  We have been told that they race right through the mooring field and come within a foot of your boat.  Sounds like great fun....hope it lives up to our expectations.  Last night we went ashore and were treated to the first 2011 Summer Concert by the Naval Academy Band in the park.  It was great and there were a ton of people braving the temps. to enjoy it.
Today we will see the Capitol building circa 1700's and walk around some more.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Oxford & Cambridge

We missed the fireworks at Oxford, they were delayed because of weather and we fell asleep.  Old age settling in for sure!  We decided to head for Cambridge on Monday and see if we could get a space on the 'free wall',  luck was with us, one other boat there and room for 4 so we tied up and ended up seeing an 'Algonac Fireworks' display from the old days,  really took us back to some wonderful memories.
We also met Nancy and Dean, live boards for 15 years with lots of tips, got some essentials at Wal Mart and had an all in all good weekend.

By the way, before we left Oxford we got a chance to talk to a crabber who was removing the bait from their lines and found out that they use chicken necks and clam sacks for bait on the trot lines.  They have to remove and replace them every day.  Did not look like a fun job, but his wife was throwing that bait overboard like there was no tomorrow and she told us that they removed  and replaced the bait every day.  Not an easy job being a crabber,  but she seemed ok with it.  She also mentioned bull lips as a bait  they use but  I drew the line and didn't ask for specifics.  Too much information!

Oxford and Cambridge are towns that are a step back in time.  Oxford has a total of 3 stores in town.  A book store, a resale shop and a convenience store where you PAY $$ for the convenience.  We bought a loaf of bread and a bottle of water to the tune of $7.00. Yikes.  It is a quaint little town that looks like its been pretty much taken over as a summer getaway for the wealthy, like most water towns, but it was very historical with a lot of the houses dating to the 1800's and ankle twisting brick side walks that added to the charm.  Then there was Cambridge, that was built on the fishing industry.  Then the Japanese came with their net fishing and with the dwindling fish population the city shows the lack of revenue.  The downtown had a lot of stores still open with restaurants and boutiques but there were also many dark store fronts.  There was a beautiful historic area here also with very large houses that had all seen better days . Then there were 'the burbs' with  the conveniences of a couple of grocery stores and a Wal Mart.

For anyone wondering, Gary is back to normal, I am as normal as can be (that should tell you something) and after a week filled with second guessing we are still on a northerly path. We have been told that it will be VERY warm here in July & August so we are contemplating heading even farther north. The other day when we returned to the boat, which had to be closed and locked because we were not  aboard, the temperature inside was 96 , hot in any language.  Every day brings a new scenario, so we may be surprised even more than you in what our final destination will be!!

Chris Craft in Oxford

Woman & her pet goose who was following her around the yard.

Just a nice view

A storm she is a comin' !!  Didn't prove to be much though.

4th of July parade in Oxford.....the day was all for kids!

Oh yeah....even Fido was decorated for the 4th

Most of the houses in Oxford on the main streets were like this.  Very nice.

Quaint and lumpy brick sidewalks in Oxford
The FREE dock in Cambridge

Cambridge Harbor from our boat

Another view of the harbor from the boat

Historic Episcopal Church Cambridge

Cambridge Harbor Entrance to the Choptank River
Waiting for the bus at Food Lion...he hates it when I take these pictures of him !

Entering Knapp Narrows headed towards St. Michaels, Md.

Fish Dock Tilghman Island...(notice the fish in the blue bucket to left.
A boat had just dropped them off as we went by.

Old Skip Jack...crabbing boat from the "old days" now used as a pleasure craft