09 June 2013 | Solomons, MD, USA 38’19.87N 76’27.58W – Annapolis, MD, USA 38’58.40N 76’29.49W
Name the town and to help here are a few clues. Big naval academy, full of yachts, super pretty, full of history, a river that goes on for miles, surrounded by lush green countryside. Are you thinking Dartmouth? We’re thinking Annapolis which should be twinned with Dartmouth and like everything in America it’s the same just much much bigger.
Our goal of getting Jason to Annapolis was within our grasp and so we left Solomons with all the elements against us. Neither the tide nor the wind wanted us to get to our destination and with both Iain & Fiona having grown soft, after an hour of pounding upwind; we made the decision that a day chilling out in the harbour was better than having a day being chilled on the high seas.
As we returned with our tail between our legs a shrewd and cunning plan came to us. Instead of a final big night in Annapolis we’d have a final big Malbec lunch instead. We’d travel overnight when the breeze had abated with fair tide and arrive at dawn. The plan came together like something from the A-team. The overnight ‘sail’ was fabulous, not only did we get oodles of sleep but the stars sparkled and there was just enough navigation to be interesting but not stressful.
Having made it to the historic town of Annapolis and knowing that we had an important lunchtime appointment with a couple of bottles of red wine we made a beeline for some of the towns attractions, principally among them the naval academy. The USNA is a phenomenal facility and we were free to just wander around it. The whole place was inspiring and you could feel the pomp and circumstance in the air as we walked through halls adorned with battle flags and the spoils of war.
There were also the historic buildings to take in, the state house and many many sweet winding roads but our focus was now elsewhere; the long awaited Malbec lunch. As expected the red wine flowed along with oysters and steak and it was fitting that our final reminder to Jason after a great week together would be a monster hangover, which he’d have to battle whilst packing up his flat and flying back to the UK cattle class.
Jason will be surely missed by all those on board Ruffian. He has proved himself to be a great man of the sea and worthy of his elated position in the Royal Navy. Those times when he left Ruffian on Thug without paddles and ran out of petrol, or broke the cardinal rule of no coffee on the chart table, or even knew the best way to trap fingers in hatches goes to show that all the investment the Navy has made in him is not wasted and he deserves his new promotion to Captain of Chaos.
One of the reasons why we left the Caribbean and made for America was because of the risk of hurricanes. It was therefore with some concern that we heard a severe weather warning; we were in for our first taste of a ‘named’ tropical storm, Andrea. We tucked further up into Annapolis in preparation and readied for the worst. Andrea passed over us and we’d tucked in so well that all we saw was 8 knots of wind.
Although we could take shelter from the wind we couldn’t escape the rain and to make matters worse on the agenda for the day was switching our gas system from European Camping Gaz to American propane. Not an easy task. So with Fiona happily downstairs watching the rain Iain headed off into it to purchase propane bottles, connectors, regulators and hoses from all four corners of the town. He scooted his little legs off clocking up a massive 20 miles in a single day and all with only a single crash to boot. Thankfully the crash didn’t occur whilst he was scooting with a full 11lb of propane in a rucksack on his back or he would have been seriously rocket propelled! After his multiple soakings and monster crash the cup of tea heated on the new propane has never been so deserved.
With the storms now having gone north to Nova Scotia it’s time to push off once again and we’ll now be heading for the great city of Baltimore where we hope to anchor under the gaze of its skyscrapers.
The chef at work. What a multi talented individual.
Solomons in the sun. Happy days.
The banning of scooting made Iain & Fiona very upset.
Fun and games with Iain’s favourite pudding - fake lemony desert.
Ruffian sits in yet another perfectly flat anchorage.
Oh lordy I think the sky is on fire.
News flash. Jason sleeps on his own.
The halls at the Naval Academy were spectacular.
And who says that the Americans can’t do pomp and ceremony.
One last skinful.
Goodbye good friend you’ll be sorely missed, but we are really looking forward to your wife coming out to see us!
St Pauls by the sea.
Finally the boat is converted to use propane.
Annapolis is awesome. Every road ends in a dingy dock.
That’s a sobering view. Rows and rows of fallen unknown solders.
Annapolis. A mini Washington, state house and all.