Mike and Kathy
06/22/2008, Galesville, MD
June 21st... St. Michael's, MD to Galesville, MD
Our trip today takes us out Broad Creek into the Choptank and then west to the Bay proper then north for about 15 miles to the West River which is a few miles south of Annapolis. We got an early start to avoid bad weather in the afternoon, but nothing ever materialized. We had our sails up, and they may have contributed, but for the most part the wind was calm and the waters flat.
Jim had told us where to anchor and we followed his directions motoring up river until we saw the "Pirate's Cove" sign and then pulling over. We arrived about noon and there were only about three or four boats in the area so we had our pick of locations and backed the anchor well down into the mud.
All the way up the West River (about 5 miles) "Go Fast " boats were flying past us loudly at about 70 miles an hour. When we got ourselves set and looked around they were all docked at a nearby restaurant on shore having lunch. When they left a couple of hours later they seem to be having a contest of who could generate the most engine noise at idle.
After lunch, Kathy spent some time beginning the task of cleaning our storage areas while I covered up the sails, zipped in the bimini insert and lowered the dinghy.
Throughout the afternoon boats were streaming into the anchorage. A couple of large power boats came in and rafted. As we got ready for a dinghy ride to explore the harbor, three more boats stopped and rafted from the first two in the process of anchoring elsewhere.
We went up the West river about two miles and looked at boats. (Kathy's new choice is the Hinckley Bermuda Yawl, Mark II. ) Then we explored up South Creek for about the same distance. Although there are some large homes, the majority were not the elegant old homes or the brand new starter castles that we have seen along the Chesapeake. Most were 50's and 60's middle class places that looked manageable and comfortable.
On our way back to the boat we motored past the boats that were rafting together to find that their group had now grown to about 20. There were all kinds of boats in the raft and they were very organized. The raft consisted of a row of mostly large power boats and another leg of mostly sail boats angling off at about 90 degrees. The positioning of boats was being orchestrated by a couple of guys who had obviously done it before. Smaller boats were told that they need to anchor and come back later to fill in the edges.
Kathy called Nancy to comment on the anchorage that they had recommended and when she hung up we had dinner plans. Jim and Nancy were driving (by car) up to join us.
Although it had been only a week since were were traveling together, we had a great evening with our friends.
Back at the boat we sat in the cockpit at dusk...on the longest day of the year, and heard music nearby. It wasn't a stereo because occasionally a trombone would join in...it didn't take much to figure out it was coming from the raft of boats. Anyway, it wasn't long before we were idling over to check things out. As we approached it was apparent that not only had the raft grown but it's shape had changed as well. There were still two lines of boats forming a 90 degree angle but as we motored to the rear we found about 5 boats anchored with their sterns forming the middle of the third side of the triangle. These boats were tied to back to the first two rows of boats and the ends of this third side were open to allow dinghies to enter the triangle. The band was playing on the stern of one of the boats that comprised this third side.
We believe it was a celebration of the longest day of the year. We had read in our guide book that this was a very quiet anchorage! Not today. . .
As we neared the party, a guy waved us into center of the triangle where we stopped and listened for a couple of sets before heading back. The inside of the triangle served as dinghy docking as well as a swimming pool... the whole system was well done and very "kewl".
06/20/2008, St. Michael's, MD
June 20th... Oxford, MD to St. Michael's MD
Over coffee we decided to move to St. Michael's back door and anchor in San Domingo Creek. Kim would have been proud of us tacking out of the Tred Avon River into the Choptank and then tacking up the Choptank against the tide before sailing down Broad Creed as far as we could. We motored up the Broad and into San Domingo Creek for a few miles and anchored just before we ran out of water depth. The anchorage here is peaceful and pretty. There are nice neat houses set into the woods, so mostly it seems like a tree-lined creek.
We took the dinghy to a public dock used mostly by watermen and walked about six blocks to town. After hiking over to the harbor area we had lunch at the Crab Claw where we've eaten before and then wandered around town shopping some, but mostly just watching the people.
At the grocery we picked up a few things before heading back to the dinghy and the boat. St. Michael's reminds me of Harbor Springs... little shops and a few restaurant, or like Petoskey on a smaller scale. They have quite a maritime museum which we have not visited and Big Al's-one of the best seafood stores we have ever visited. Many of the homes here are old... Christ's Church was dated 1562.
Back at the boat we read for a while...neither of us being hungry after such a late lunch, and finally warmed up some left over goulash for dinner.
Lovely little town
06/20/2008, Oxford, MD
June 19th.... Solomons, MD to Oxford, MD
Our plan this morning was to pull into the fuel dock on our way out of Solomons and fill up with diesel and water. By the time we got our anchor up there were two power boats there taking on fuel so we drove in circles waiting for one of them to finish up. By the time we were off the dock it was 9am...but our tanks were full.
Once we got out of the harbor and into the Bay, we found the wind to be out of the north and on our nose. So we motored north trying to stay out of the way of ship traffic in the channel.
By the time we got to the Choptank River where we make a turn to the east and could take advantage of the wind, it was flat calm. We continued into Oxford where there were three different groups of sailing lessons going on in the anchorage. Between races we got our anchor down and set.
We took a nice walk around town, the highlight of which was the Hinkley Boat Company, and then took the dinghy into Town Creek where all the boats are parked. Oxford is a quaint old Eastern Shore town and the boats were amazing: work boats, picnic boats, fishing boats, sail boats. People here must try to one up their neighbors by having the best old boat on the block.
We split a steak for dinner and watched a movie later. (We really need to widen our movie selection)
....One of the things that we need to improve is the use of tidal current here in the Chesapeake. By leaving Solomons today at 9 when low tide was at 10:30 we motored into a knot and a half current for most of 6 hours. Instead of making 6.5 knots over land we made 5. If we had waited until 11:30 to depart or one hour after low tide, we would have gained that knot and a half. It was about a 30 mile trip so at 5 knots it took us 6 hours arriving at 3pm. By waiting until 11:30 and running at the same rpms, we would have arrived at 3:15pm. Or we could have lowered the rpms, run at the same 5 knots and saved between 1/3 and 1/2 half of the fuel for the trip..... and arrived at 5:30, and I(Kathy) am rarely opposed to a leisurely morning of coffee and crossword puzzles.