28/06/2008/9:02 pm, Galesville, West River, MD
We backtracked to Galesville in the West River on Saturday because we had a very important date.
It was only 10 nautical miles south and into a new anchorage; once more, we anchored ourselves next to Sapphire. A phone call later, Mike dinghied ashore for a pickup and before long Nancy and Jim (Solitaire) joined Kathy and Mike, Deb and Davey, Jim and me aboard Sapphire. The Sapphire, Solitaire and Madcap crews spent many happy days together in the Bahamas, one joyful dinner in Fernandina Beach and this would be our last gathering on this trip.
Nancy had a new drink to share - pineapple rum, orange juice, pineapple juice and cranberry juice - very pretty, very refreshing, very reminiscent of the Bahamas. After a couple of hours of breathless conversation and a few dips in the water, we headed ashore to Big Mary's at Pirate's Cove Marina for grouper sandwiches, crab cakes, and assorted other goodies. Too soon, the time came to say our goodbyes as Nancy and Jim headed off by car to their marina - what a change from waving goodbye to a dinghy! WHY didn't I take a picture??
We will miss these people as we continue to make our way north. They taught us things, shared their thoughts and ideas with us, commiserated with us, laughed with us and explored with us. Next season, they will be Bahamas bound once more while we spend a Canadian winter. The year after that though, we may just meet again in some sheltered cove with crystal clear water below us and blue, blue sky above.
One of the great joys of this year has been the friendships we've formed. We've met, exchanged boat cards; and shared food and stories with dozens of fine cruisers. And there are a handful we'll keep close to our hearts for all the years to come.
27/06/2008/8:57 pm, Annapolis, Maryland
It was a perfectly glorious sailing day - winds 10-15 knots on our port beam - and we sailed all the way up the bay from Solomon's Island to the Severn River (over 50 nautical miles), averaging better than 6 knots.
We negotiated our way through the little sailing boats zigzagging across the Severn River, to pull into Spa Creek and hook a mooring right next to the familiar boat we were searching for - Sapphire!
We were soon onboard Sapphire, meeting Mike's sister Deb and her husband Davey, catching up on all our news and enjoying the gustatory delights found on boats - pretty little cherry tomato-basil sprig-cheese skewers, cheese and salami, crusty baguette with dipping oil, and the grand finale - a heaping bowl of freshly steamed shrimp. Oooh - good company, good food, good sailing, good life.
On Friday, Jim and I spent the day on land. We indulged in free showers (included in the $25.00 mooring fee). We ate crab cakes and rockfish at the Federal House Restaurant on the waterfront, strolled the streets of Annapolis - so different when Ego Alley and the surrounding areas are not plugged with Boat Show exhibits. We checked out marine things at several of the stores in the area and strolled around the state capitol building with its distinctive golden acorn atop the steeple.
We took a guided tour of the US Naval Academy that occupies over 300 acres on the Annapolis waterfront. That was fascinating. It is a 4 year program; 4 years on campus - oops "Yard" - with field training in the summers. 1200 hundred men and women between the ages of 17 and 23 will arrive here next week for Plebe Summer - boot camp that starts off the next year's class. There is tremendous competition to get in, rigorous mental, physical and moral training followed by graduation as naval officers. Tuition, bed and board is totally paid for by the government and the graduates are expected to remain in the Service for 5 years after graduation. We found the facilities just amazing - huge Olympic swimming pool, fields for every kind of sport including a considerable number of opportunities for "Beat the Army" calls. The coed dorm - Bancroft Hall - where every Midshipman lives was huge and impressive - see picture of the foyer! Interestingly, every student lives there for the whole 4 years; everyone eats together (that's somewhere upwards of 3000 students at one time); no one gets married; and bonding, obedience and loyalty are cultivated. Among its many illustrious graduates are Jimmy Carter, Ross Perot, John McCain, Alan Shepard.
In the evening, we waited out an impressive thunderstorm and heavy shower, then pumped out the dinghy and headed for the Ram's Head Tavern where we listened to the music of Josh Joplin and Alice Peacock. Both were unknown to us; both were excellent performers. We especially liked Alice with her lovely warm stage presence, beautiful voice and music that appealed to us.
By the time we walked back home after the show, we felt we'd had an excellent taste of Annapolis - without the Boat Show. Thanks for all your recommendations, Mary and Blair!
26/06/2008/4:14 pm, Lusby, MD (Mill Creek)
What a very cool feeling - to write this posting from Mill Creek in the village of Lusby, Maryland.
We met Carole and Richard Hackett in Green Turtle Cay on New Year's Eve, and waved good bye to them in Black Point Settlement. As I said to Carole, I always felt we didn't have enough time to get to know them despite several happy hours and streetside conversations so we were very happy to take them up on their "When you come this way, stop by" invitation. As we neared the dock where Kilissa was moored, Richard hailed us and said that his neighbour, Joe, had offered his dock if we wanted to tie up. We did, and in the process met another group of "beautiful Chesapeakeans". Richard, Joe, Robin and Bob took our lines, offered us beers and a warm welcome to that exquisite little cove. Before long we were seated around the table in Richard and Carole's lovely home, admiring Richard's carpentry skills and enjoying Carole's culinary skills. With all the tall trees and shady greenery, the area reminded us of where we lived in the Princess Park area of North Vancouver. True - these trees shed their leaves, but the summertime feeling was the same.
We rented a car on Tuesday and drove to Baltimore for an extremely exciting encounter at the Customs building. You may remember from a few postings ago our frustration with the Cruising Permit process. Well - I have a new recommendation. Get to know the good folks in Baltimore.
Let me back up a step or two. We had our horrible visit to Morehead City. We called in to Norfolk like the woman told us, only to find out that Newport News handles the Hampton side of the River, so we called there. The officer at that office told us we didn't have to report in person, cleared us in and also gave us permission to leave. Jim called Baltimore on Friday to let them know we were in Maryland and got a voice message telling us to call back on Monday. After warning us that "we had been misinformed and were subject to arrest and seizure of our boat if Coast Guard stopped us, Miss Gray said, "Why don't you just come in and get a new permit?" Once Jim picked his jaw off the floor and recovered his voice, he replied, "We'd love to do that" and made an appointment for 11 am Tuesday morning.
This official visit could not have been more different from the last one. We went through the sign in and screening at the front door of the Customs House, and then walked into the friendly cheery confines of the vessel permit office. We presented our vessel registration, the Bahamian Cruising Permit, the documentation of our entry back into the US and soon had a year long US Cruising Permit in hand. Miss Gray told us she had been worried about us and was glad we now had the proper documentation. Along with it, she gave us a list of all the phone numbers to call for the check ins from here to the Canadian Border. We still don't know why we have to go through that process - but we know it is just a phone call - no more expensive taxis and rental cars and fees. Last year, the Reed's book said it was not necessary, and the officers who issued the permit and checked us agreed with that. In 2008 there doesn't seem to be that ambiguity; Reed's doesn't offer any exceptions, and Miss Gray was clear on the issue so we'll do it.
We roamed around Baltimore's Inner Harbour, ate delicious crab at Phillips and returned to Lusby. Carole had book Club that night, so Richard joined us for dinner at CD's Café over in Solomons Island. It was just as good as on our last visit.
Wednesday morning was taken up with putzing around on the boat, followed by a yummy lunch at Richard and Carole's where we met their friends Deb and Doug - Floridians and also boaters. After another dockside conversation with our slip host, Joe, who made us feel so welcome, we headed over to Spring Cove marina for fuel and a pumpout, then anchored at the beginning of Mill Creek (near where Dick and Tina used to live) for an early morning start on Thursday. Jim (Sea Rose) dinghied over for a chat after dinner - he and his wife are headed up to Canada - through the Trent-Severn Canal, and back down through Lake Champlain. As senior sailors, they are a reminder for us that we can look forward to many more sailing years.
We had a quiet night and an absolutely fabulous sail on Thursday all the way to Annapolis where we grabbed a mooring ball right next to old buddies Mike and Kathy (Sapphire).