30/06/2008/9:53 am, Annapolis, Maryland
As Jim prepared to haul up the anchor on Sunday morning, the operation suddenly stopped. That handy dandy little switch on the windlass didn't work so he pulled the chain up the hard way. As we sailed out of the West River he took it apart to see what might be the problem. Sure enough, it was all corroded and would not be working again without replacement parts.
Despite Mike's call that it must be an omen - we were just not supposed to leave - we kept going ... back to Annapolis. A stop at the hardware store provided the parts and the problem was soon fixed. Because a severe thunderstorm was forecast for late afternoon, we decided to stay the night and enjoy one more day of Annapolis' hospitality. It was sweltering hot (33C in the shade) and the thunderstorm never did develop - unlike Saturday in Galesville where we had a real light show with gusts of strong winds.
We wandered the narrow streets of the city, (this picture is of the Alex Haley memorial on the waterfront) ate a light dinner on board while we watched - and rolled with - all the Sunday traffic in and out of the harbour. One more stop at Fawcett's - the nearby marine store - resulted in a purchase of a neat little gadget - a Find Me Spot. It's a small device that will allow us to send google earth postions, and emergency signals if necessary - giving GPS coordinates to search and rescue authorities.
After an absolutely calm night with no wind, rain or thunderstorm, we paid a visit to our neighbour - a Bayfield 40! As they came in we thought, "Is that Sapphire?" No, it was Adventuress - beautiful name - with Nancy and John aboard. She's a lovely boat and we had a great conversation with her Captains.
We're off to Still Pond on Monday and then on through the C&D Canal on Tuesday. That puts us into the Delaware Bay, and if weather and tide permit, we'll be in Cape May by Wednesday night. We're keeping our fingers crossed for great sailing by day and crabs on our dinner plates at night!
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!