Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Reaching Our Most Northerly Point of the Loop

On Tuesday 8/23 we untied at Rock Harbor and headed north back into the nettle free Sassafras River to enjoy a meet up with our old friends on California Lady.  The intense summer heat has lessened so anchoring out without running the air conditioner was nice!  It was great to see Nancy, Mike and little Leroy dog again.
Floating in the river was cool and relaxing especially since we didn't have to guard against nettles!

We, of course, enjoyed docktails and meals together taking turns hosting the gathering.  This is InSpeyered 2 basking in the sunset, taken as we sat on the back porch of California Lady. 

Diver Mike provided us with free diving service as he dove under our boat to check our props and the boat bottom.  On the way to the anchorage we went over a partly submerged crab pot that was seen too late and we never saw it pop back up which meant its crab line was possibly wrapped around one of our propellers!  Always a bad thing for a boat.  But Mike found no errant lines and a clean bottom!
We anchored out 2 nights and then headed to Bohemia Bay Yacht Harbour where Cal Lady has spent most of the summer.  Friends of theirs rent a slip there and are away for a bit so offered us the use of the slip for free.  We love free stuff so stayed 3 nights!  
Mike took this photo as we cruised to the Bohemia River which is the most northerly point on the Chesapeake that we will travel to on this leg of our journey. 

We followed Cal Lady into the Marina going very slowly with 2-3 feet of water below our keel.  It is much easier to cruise in scary shallow water with someone ahead that knows the area! 
Mike and Nancy celebrated their 26 wedding anniversary while we were visiting and took us into Chesapeake City to treat us to a delicious seafood buffet at the lovely Bayard House. We had ringside seats over looking the C&D canal which joins the Chesapeake Bay with the Delaware River. 

Not a great shot of Nancy and I, all dressed up for a real dinner out but it shows the C&D canal which which will be the starting point of our journey up into New England, the next leg of our loop in Spring of 2017.  We spent the days at Bohemia Bay doing boat chores, taking advantage of having transportation to town to reprovision, enjoying the pool and for Al, morning games of pickle ball against the formidable Nancy.  

The visit was great but we had a dark day on Friday 8/26 because we made the tough decison with Erik to have Domino put to sleep to end her suffering as her health had been failing for a few months and she stopped being a happy, active dog. We are so grateful to Erik for caring for her over the past year so she could be content rather than stressed on our boat travels. She was a wonderful, sweet dog. 
So we left Cal Lady on Sunday 8/28 to begin our trek south and passed this barge pulled along by the tug.  Our next stop was back to Annapolis to tie up on a Navy mooring ball so we could enjoy another lunch at Chick and Ruth's Deli.  This time we left there with 4 crab cakes to cook on the boat at a later date.  The best crab cakes on the Chesapeake are now in our freezer! 
This picture was our view heading toward Annapolis and the Naval Acaemy. 
As we cruised away from Annapolis on Monday 8/29 we were utterly amazed at this view of the   sailboat under sail (so it would have the right away) head right into the path of a Navy patrol boat causing the much larger and more powerful patrol boat to come to a complete stop to let the sailboat pass safely.  

Then the Navy boat continued on its way.  That was a gutsy move on the part of the sailing boat captain! From Annapolis we cruised further south back to the Rhode River so we could anchor two nights and again walk the trails of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.  No pics because we are retracing our path.  Today we are cruising further south and will anchor near Solomons Island just for a place to stop.  Our destination tomorrow is a Marina in Crisfield to enjoy a weekend event with the Watermen Cowboys! That should be a fun Labor Day weekend! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Time to Meet New and Old Friends

Our week at Herrington Harbor Marina ended Monday 8/15 and our last night there we met new friends who just purchased a lovely cruiser as a way to transition from sailing the Chesapeake to prepping for the Loop!  So they were happy to host docktails to pick our brains about looping and we picked their's about local anchorages.  So Monday morning, after our walk, we headed to the Rhode River only about 15 miles north per their suggestion.  It was a beautiful area, quiet and full of wildlife including our friends the nettles.
Late in the evening a storm brewed cooling the air wonderfully.  We lucked out because it passed more to the northeast so only brought us some fresh water rain to rinse the decks!

And it made for a pretty sunset as well.

We stayed at this anchorage 2 nights because we could dingy to a dock at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center to walk their series of woodland and marsh trails.
It was another extremely hot day but the tall trees gave us relief from the sun.

We enjoyed the variety of scenery and bird songs along our walks in this beautiful area. Back on the boat each day, we had to refrain from swimming due to the nettles so spent our time reading and of course I did more than my share of Sudoku games.  Now I have a new game addiction called Spellbound that I found on the AARP sight.  It's good to be old enough to belong to AARP and play games instead of work! We moved across the bay to the Easterrn Shore to the Wye River on Wednesday 8/17, also per the recommendation of our new friends, and found a beautiful area around Wye Island which is a protected area and essentially uninhabited by humans. 
On the way we passed this marker ominously called Bloody Point Bar just south of Kent Island. 

And then we were again greeted by our buddies the nettles!! Since we couldn't swim, (would you?),  we dingyed into Wye Island and hiked some of the trails managed by the State Park rangers. 
And once more, the high heat during the day brought storm clouds and a lovely sunset to enjoy!  We stayed two nights up the Wye River and headed into the town of St. Michaels to tie up at Higgins Marina and reconnect with old friends on Friday 8/19.  Our primary purpose was to join the Kane family for their family reunion. Mo Kane (now Mo Hollis) was my college roommate and has remained my good friend.  Back when we were young I always wanted to be adopted into her large, 7 sibling, Irish family and this time I came really close to being voted in!! To help with that, Captain Al and I took some of the family out for a lunch cruise to see the Chesapeake from the water view. 
We look almost as cute as we did as UConn college freshman! Two of the best physical therapists I know! The gathering was on Saturday 8/20.  Then on Sunday morning we met more old friends from the looping boat Corkscrew who were also visiting St. Michaels and had a tastey breakfast with them. Ironically their home port is also Hendersonville, TN, although we never knew them before starting out on this adventure.  We met them at the Rendezvous in Alabama last October.  After breakfast and boat chores, we  headed back up into the Wye River on Sunday to catch up with our boating buddies on Greek's Folly and Short Vacation.  Despite a heavy storm late in the day, they made the trek to our boat for docktails once the thunder and lightening subsided and the rain lightened slightly!  What friends would set out in a dingy in the rain, bringing snacks and drinks so we could swap boat stories?   The answer is looper friends! 

The storm passed by and the calm followed for a beautiful setting sun behind Greek's Folly on the left and Short Vacation on the right.  Per their recommendation we continued on the journey yesterday, 8/22 to Rock Hall to tie up on the free town bulkhead and walk into town to find The Mainstay, a unique musical theatre. It is a tiny 100 year old building furnished with comfortable chairs and tables strewn around the room with a small stage set with 2 beautiful pianos. Every Monday night a very talented pianist, Joe Holt, hosts a performance where he and a guest musician partner to play an eclectic collection of jazz. His guest was Dick Durham, a pianist of unlimited talent. It was an outstanding performance where they each seemed to play off of each other in a dueling fashion and absolutely wowed the audience with every tune. It was a unique experience for us to add to our looping adventure! 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Swinging on a US Navy Mooring Ball!

We continue to do circles all around the Chesapeake Bay but the recent highlight was finding a free mooring ball put into Weems Creek just up the Severn River from Annapolis by the US Navy!  The creek is one of many "hurricane holes" that the Navy uses as a safe harbor for their boats in the event that a major storm is predicted.  So they anchor many mooring balls all around Annapolis and we were lucky to find one unoccupied Sunday afternoon 8/7.
We have had some heavy storms several nights in a row while anchoring and did well with setting our anchor but wouldn't you know, the one night we were on a ball tightly anchored by the Navy, we had no storms and little wind!  But we still felt honored to be held tight by the Navy.  We were close enough to Annapolis to take a bouncy dingy ride into town and take our walk and find a late lunch.  Then on Monday 8/8 we took a short trip to Herrington Harbor Marina on the west shore of the Bay to stay for a week while Al took another trip to Miami for his eye.  We rented a car for the week and returned to Annapolis by car to tour the Naval Accademy.  

These shots were taken inside the beautiful chapel on the campus.  We took a walking tour in high 90's heat so I only took these two pictures inside.  But then we again went looking for a late lunch and see what Al enjoyed at Chick and Ruth's, a Jewish deli just like you would find in NYC! 
A half pound crab cake on a bun that Al believes is the best so far on this Chesapeake journey.  He is donning his dandy tour tag just to be ornery!  (Despite my plea to take it off for the picture!)
On the way into the Severn River to get to Annapolis Harbor is this historic Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse that is the only remaining structure that is on pilings screwed into the floor of the bay. 

Also on the way to Annapolis we ducked under the massive Chesapeake Bay bridge, spanning  4.3 miles, which connects the more rural eastern shore of the Bay with the cities of Baltimore, Annapolis and Washinton, to name a few of the major cities on the western shore. 

On a Sunday, this is a typical view of the wide open Chesapeake which is the perfect sailing area, thus sailboats far out number us "stink pot" motor boats! 
So the last blog written 2 weeks ago (yes I am getting lazy) we had just arrived at St Michaels and here is Al trying on a rather large size of shrimp boots at the Maritime Museum which was a wonderful all inclusive history archive of the Chesapeake from war times to fun vacation times. 

This is a view from the museum's light house on another Sunday afternoon, 7/31

Storm clouds over the San Domingo Creek, our anchorage site in St. Michaels, provided another spectacular sunset. 
Leaving St. Michaels on Monday 8/1, we passed the Sharps Island Lighthouse which was knocked over 20 degrees in the 1970's from a particularly frozen winter season.   

We stopped in the Magothy River near Dobbins Island with this beautiful home sitting on its own tiny island but we found ourselves once more surrounded by the "enemy", the nettles. So Thursday 8/4 we cruised further up the Bay into the northern third to find the nettle free Sassafrass River and settled into Turner Creek for 2 uneventful days and nights. (Except our walk from a Marina near by which lead us to a really cool produce and gourmet market where we scored real Pennsyvanian sticky buns and a home made cherry pie; all is well in our world!) 

A Turner Creek sunset with nothing but peace and quiet! 

A second Turner creek sunset before heading down to Annapolis where I started this story.
And to add to the record.  Al had an excellent report from his eye recheck, revealing continued healing of the now attached retina and much improved vision.  He returns in 2 months to hopefully hear it is time to remove the oil bubble and then plan for where that much less invasive surgery will occur. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

From Capt'n Al - A Wonderful Day

-  Burned some diesel in InSpeyered2
- 3 hour cruise, opened her up, wow 13+ mph
- Blue skies, 80's, light winds
- Took a ride in Victory Lap to Annapolis, walked, had lunch
- Took a dip to cool off
- On U.S. Navy mooring ball "4" in Weems Creek, off Severn River
- Watching Rio Olympics on our Sony Bravia hi def TV in Saloon
- Out