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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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Birds, sandbars, skipjacks
N. Winds 20-25, 2-5 ft waves, high 54, low 37
10/18/2008, La trappe to Cambridge MD

Woke up to the sound of geese calling each other before sunrise. I wish I could speak goose this morning. I wanted Wayne to hear them lowly calling to each other in the darkness. Big mistake. Remember the rain last night? It collected in the window and as I opened it, Wayne didn't appreciate the cold water in the face. Oops... There's a lot of conversation going on out there that I don't understand as they collect into bigger groups. The conversation in the bed after the wet face I do understand...perfectly...

Made some coffee and went up top to look at our surroundings. Since it was about dark when we pulled in last evening, I didn't really see much. The colors are more pronounced here than in Annapolis and there's an amazing amount of birds here. I couldn't begin to name them. They're different than what I'm used to back home. An osprey is sitting atop a tree branch, various petrels are soaring and diving for breakfast, hundreds of little white birds are sitting on the sand spit off Martin Point, and there's a huge flock, no two huge flocks of some birds that are into synchronized flying - darting and flitting around as one entity above me. The geese are collected all over the creek and river in various groups calling to each other. I can hear guns in the distance so I know that there is some kind of hunting season. Wayne says "it's probably water fowl" since there seems to be an abundance of them migrating right now. He reminds me of the first time I was on a sailboat (Hans' boat - a little Westerly) on Lake Erie. We ran aground and stayed the night there in the fog. At daybreak there was the sound of guns going off, even though you couldn't see anything, duck season had begun. Funny how I'd forgotten about that - it seems so long ago, also in October, also cold and damp. Who'd have thought that 30 some odd years later we'd be sitting on our own sailboat, in the cold, listening to water fowl and guns again remembering my first time on a sailboat. Well, at least we're not aground, and in the fog (yet). Not sure where we're heading yet today. Depends on weather. It looks like maybe the Patuxent River, Solomon's Island is within our distance at 35.3 miles.

Hmmmm... well scratch that place on Patuxent River. In coming out of the Creek at 10:00 am, we ran aground in 4.2 ft of water. We were supposed to follow the same path out as we took in (9ft), but veered off to the right a little ran into mud and couldn't get off. Phone has no dots but we tried backing out. No luck. Tried going forward, no luck. Tried hoisting the sail to heel us over, and the sail ended up in the lazy jacks, shrouds, and got a bit twisted due to the wind abate (abaft? Behind) at 20 knots. So basically, no luck. A fishing boat came by and signaled do you want me to call someone? I yelled yes please - Boat US. So he called and wished us "Good Luck". I brought my phone up top and got 1 dot and tried Boat US and got through. I asked if someone called for us and she said Nick called. Thank you Nick, where ever you are. I hope you catch a lot of crabs (the good kind), or fish, or whatever you try to catch. Tow Jamm 2 showed up at around 12:30 and we were freed at 1:00pm. To late to go 30 miles, so we decided to go down to the Little Choptank (I couldn't see returning to the same anchorage - even though it was gorgeous - and having a repeat tomorrow morning). There's free tie up in front of the Dorchester County Building with enough room for 4 boats (ifff they tie up nicely to let a 4th boat get in). We couldn't snug in behind the small sailboat that had taken up a lot of room that he didn't need. In trying to, I ran aground (4 ft) but was able to back off again. We circled around the little area between the drawbridge leading into Cambridge proper, the Dorchester County Building and Snappers Water Front Café in 11 ft of water. Hope we're okay here (2:40pm) because Skipper Bob's called this an anchorage (???). Sooo all that's missing now is the fog (from that first time on a sailboat) LOL. Wayne says I jinxed us this morning mentioning running aground. I told him he ran us aground on purpose because I put it in his mind... We passed a pretty little skip jack coming through Little Choptank. What a beautiful little boat! Low shear, large sail and a boom longer than the back of the boat. It was taking people out on the Choptank River.

After dark a riverboat came by us. It was the kind with the big paddle wheel off the back. There were people partying inside and outside - it looked pretty fun.

Happy Birthday Lonnie from the Choptank River
High 64 Cloudy, Drizzly
10/17/2008, Annapolis 38o58.388 x 76o29.222 to La Trappe Creek, Choptank River Behind Martin Point 38o38.975’ x 076o07.185’

mmmm. 6:00 am - the clang, clang clang of the bridge began. I woke up out of a haze thinking that it was 7am and jumped up to see what boat was leaving next, but there were 8 hard hats up on the bridge looking at things and testing the equip. Clang, clang, clang the bridge rises and they look at it, then lower it back down, clang clang, clang... They threw me off my stride - I thought I really slept in (yawn). Hash Browns, eggs and sausage for breakfast this morning (I was feeling ambitious I guess). It feels like we're leaving home again after 2 weeks. Cool morning out too. I was thinking about our visit to the Naval Academy yesterday while making eggs this morning and I'd forgotten to mention the 12:00 assembly of the cadets for the mid-day meal. While we were standing there waiting for it again, we noticed a group of kids on tour there collecting to watch it. They were all in school uniforms of blue blazers, oxford shirts, very clean cut. About 11:45 another group of kids shows up - my kids basically, inner-city minority mixtures in sags, t-shirts, girls showing off the curves. Their tour leader talked about what was going to happen and I was checking out the kids - some not paying attention at all but some listening, eyeballing the cadets beginning to collect, but paying attention. I thought "how cool, these kids could use this kind of exposure" positive images of what teamwork and cohesiveness could look like in a "positive gang type atmosphere". Gangs are a family like military is family. Loyalty, duty, honor, etc... Within 5 minutes, they hustled the kids away before the formal sound offs and parade into the building. They were told about it but not allowed to observe the formations and assembly. The kids that got to stay to observe it - the private school kids. Who needed to see and "experience it" the most? The ones that were shuffled off, that it could have had a large impact on. It angered me to think that they brought those kids on a fieldtrip of this magnitude but didn't let them observe the gathering and formation of the cadets for the mid-day meal assembly. Read between the lines here - It irked me.

The work we did on the dingy yesterday? The rubber cement stuff worked 50/50 which is to say... it doesn't work... We dingied our garbage to the dumpster then got back, hooked the dink up to the davits, hoisted it. It wasn't high enough. We started playing around with the straps to see if we could raise it higher, and while pulling it one came undone. So much for the straps that I worked on yesterday and so much for the cementing of the D rings onto the dink. I could have just sat back with a cool one and said "ahhhh". Such is life... We then attached the dink to a short painter and the back of the dink near the motor. Not good. We then took the motor off, and the last strap (uh huh) and hooked the davit to the dink itself near where the motor was, and to the front strap on the top of the dink and it held up pretty good today. We didn't need to do anything yesterday. I guess it was a good brain exercise - what works, what doesn't.

While sorting all that out the Harbor Master came by to see if we were staying longer. Nope. But it took us until 12:00 until we got it all sorted out, engine running, unmoored, and through the bridge. Sad leaving Annapolis, it's one of my favorite places, it really could become home quite easily. I love the old houses, waterways, Academy, etc... there's so much history just viewable in the structure of the streets and brick and cobblestone sidewalks, granite buildings and slate & copper roofs. Onward...

We motor sailed down the Chesapeake about 28 miles and then eastward on the Choptank River (made famous by James Mitchner in his novel Chesapeake) to the La Trappe Creek. Kind of cold out today. Wayne had on 2 sweatshirts and a fleece and I had on a t-shirt and 2 sweatshirts. Still chilled. Made hot chocolate to keep warm and put together a meat loaf for dinner since it looked like we were going to cut it close getting into the creek before dark. It wasn't to bad below deck thanks to the oven, and I got the meatloaf together and into the oven by 5:00 so it was ready at 6:30 and on hold while I made the cheddar/garlic potatoes and corn to accompany it once we got in. We just barely made it to anchor before dark 6:30ish and this time no cannon going off to signal sunset like at Annapolis. Did I forget to mention that every night they shoot off a canon and a trumpet plays taps at sunset? Oops, my bad. Dinner was good; we could hear the rain as we ate below with our oil lamp on the table for ambiance. Now that I've made a meatloaf in the oven, I guess this is officially home LOL. It's supposed to go into the 30s tonight so the peepers I'm hearing as I type this might get silenced Brrrr.... The cold is starting to catch up to us at last and we're looking to get to lower latitudes a bit more quickly than we were.

Annapolis is starting to feel like home!
80's sunny, 70s rain & cloudy
10/16/2008, Annapolis, MD

Okay, today - we trashed the boat... Tore the boat apart to get at the sewing machine which was at the very back corner of the garage (back berth). Then we both realllly needed a shower, then to the Naval Academy for those missing clams... Ran into Greg & Jo (Simpatico) - they were going into the Officers Club as we were leaving. The crab soup mmmmmmm.... Divine. Wayne doesn't like soup, but he agrees, it was good - lotsa crab in a tastey, rich, creamy base. Went to the hardware to replace things that go overboard, then we were going on a beer run but it started raining so we scrubbed that and went back to the boat and finished working on the dingy and davits. I got the straps sewed up, we hooked them on the davits and tested them out for reachability. Tomorrow morning when we take off, we'll see how good of a job this rubber cement stuff is... It'll also be a test of our creativity in putting those davits up. It looks pretty good right now though...

Now to put things back so we can take off tomorrow... Where? Not sure, but the eastern shore of the Chesapeake is probably where we'll end up (somewhere around the Choptank River).

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