03 June 2013 | Hampton, VA, USA 37’01.43N 76’20.43W – Solomons, MD, USA 38’19.87N 76’27.58W via Deltaville, VA
Some say that “Two is company and three is a crowd”. Others, well one person in particular*, says “Two in a bed is boring, three is much better.” As we’d made it to Hampton in a timely manner to meet our very good friend Jason Poole, we knew we would be very much in the second camp. In front of us we had a week of fun and frolics and the opportunity to sell both the highs and lows of our floating lifestyle.
Our timing into Hampton could not have been more perfect. Not only had we coincided things with Jason finishing his job in Washington, we’d also timed it to coincide with the Black Beard festival. Apparently the town was expecting over 100k people to visit and the tiny anchorage was expected to get so crowded that if you wanted to get ashore you could simple walk from boat to boat. Luckily enough we bagged ourselves some primo anchoring real estate and to make doubly sure, for the first time ever, we deployed a second anchor. If we thought that mooring stern too in the BVI’s was uber faff, then this was uber faff with sugar and sprinkles on!
With Ruffian on her hooks we marvelled as the town ramped up for its Black Beard festival. It was full of pirates, vagabonds, thieves and drunkards and there on the dock, we spotted their head who leads by example. Jason had arrived and true to form, as he walked down the pontoon to greet us he clunked and swayed under the weight of the champagne and gin bottles that he’d brought as essential supplies for Ruffian.
And so the fun began. There were smiles for miles at every turn. Bars, with up to 47 beers on tap, were frequented and restaurants visited and this was only on our first night together. As the night drew on we thought that we ought to find somewhere to eat and we happened across a little gem. The waitress, who we nicknamed ‘Sassy’ was simply amazing and she recommended the daily special of ‘Chicken Paws’, as chickens don’t have paws we were intrigued and ordered. Out came what we can only described as deep fried babies hands and we all proceeded in trying to out gross each other and the staff. Fiona seemed to raise the grossness bar to an unobtainable high as she renamed them 9 month marinated foetus fingers. Sassy however got the last laugh as said said be off to get some afterbirth for our main course. She was awesome.
With hangovers now having kicked in Jason’s ‘holiday’ could start properly. We really wanted to immerse him into our lifestyle and so instead of lounging on beaches, swimming in blue water or hiking up hills to viewpoints we set about servicing the engine and searching for pilot books. After our trip from the Caribbean and through the ICW our engine was desperate for a service and all was going well until the impellor which had given us a massive 650 hours of service had a serious case of separation anxiety, but this was fixed with Iain’s addition of brute force and ignorance, both of which he has in abundance.
Next on the list were finding pilot books for the Chesapeake and up to New York. Hampton had been billed to us as a yachting Mecca. This maybe the case but it was a Mecca with no chandleries or yachting book shops. We therefore found ourselves in the back and beyond at the local mall and a West Marine chandlery and discovered that neither of these could help. After traipsing around town in the sun for hours on end we returned to Hampton and then managed to strike a deal with the guys on the dock who sold us theirs at half price! Our day however wasn’t wasted as we gave Jason some great experiences that he’d never get elsewhere. Never before has he had to risk life and limb by sprinting across a 7 lane highway whilst wearing flip-flops or been dragged around a supermarket by 2 excited people who are in awe of all the choice that you get in America.
Hampton was now in full Black Beard swing. Everybody was taking their fancy dress to a new level and seemed to almost live their fancy dress having grown beards and moustaches in pirate fashion. We watched sea battles in front of Ruffian complete with cannons and muskets and when the day drew to a close the bridge that we were anchored in front of was the centre of the fireworks. We really had bagged the primo real estate within the harbour.
Having been fully pirated out we made a plan to get Jason to Annapolis by the end of his ‘holiday’ and so we undid all the anchoring faffness and headed north up the Chesapeake. There are hundreds of top spots to spend time in within the Chesapeake and we’d identified what we thought would be a sweet little town and anchorage called Deltaville. The sailing was super easy with a 3rd pair of hands. We had every sail combo up we could, we poled out the Genoa, popped the kite, goose-winged the Genoa etc etc and we made it into the picture perfect town of Deltaville with plenty of time to explore. The only trauma of the day was when we were anchoring and Iain asked “How deep is it? I think it’s about to get really shallow.” and clunk. Once again we were driving Ruffian out of the mud.
With Ruffian floating again and only attached to land via her anchor we went ashore and Deltaville proved itself to be just the sweetest little town. Iain took it upon himself to increase the sweetness by waving a happy hello to every passing car and Jason warned him that if he continued a car would stop and then what would he do then? Duly a car stopped. In the drivers seat was ‘Capt Bill Crump’ who seemed to ooze generosity out of every pore. He first drove us to the supermarket and then insisted that we have sundowners on his pier overlooking the bay with his wife and neighbours. They warmed our hearts with their generosity, openness and humour.
The trip north had to continue and all too soon we bid Deltaville a fond farewell. Again sails were hoisted and played with and after yet another dawn start cheeky power naps were taken by all. As the afternoon wore on and the wind died we were surrounded and then enveloped by rain. This seemed to be the perfect time for Jason to get his head down, so whilst Iain stood upstairs with only 20 meters of visibility in lashing rain and Fiona looking on he slept like a baby without a care in the world.
With everybody’s minds free of worries we entered yet another charming town and hope that it’ll be as heart warming as that of Deltaville.
* CDR J Poole RN
Hmmm deep fried babies’ fingers. Yummy.
What did you do on holiday? Engine service anybody.
The long lived impellor had a big case of separation anxiety and didn’t want to leave the engine.
Just for Tim & Aoife. Champagne was popped on Ruffian.
Just like old times.
The US Navy has all sorts of weaponry on show.
Green food = green tongue x green based hyperactivity.
Ruffian was in the prime spot to check out the fireworks.
We’re really pleased that we didn’t anchor under the bridge.
Glamour sailing for Jason.
The best of southern hospitality.
The Americans know how to licence their vehicles.
Aye. More glamour sailing for Jason.
That’s not looking quite so glamour and it’s coming our way.
It’s not glamour sailing now. Where’s Jason?