Started out the day last night, and at about 6:00 AM. (Does that actually make sense?) I got everything packed last night and ready to put in the car. So did C. Iím taking her stuff with me so she doesnít have to on the plane when she flies down for Memorial Day on Thursday.
This AM, I drove to West Lebanon where I found Tom and Judith at the Laundromat as planned. Tom and I took off and were on our way.
Sometime before we reached Hartford we called Jeff who was just leaving home. We agreed to call again when we got to Hartford, and so we did. Rocky Hill was the exit agreed upon to find breakfast .
We arrived at the exit at the same time. This is unheard of. It is also an omen of good times to come.
Had Breakfast and Tom traded cars to ride with Jeff for a while. We drove on to the next gas stop in NJ, where T and J both bought sunglasses. Another shotgun trade and we drove to a TCBY at the Clara Barton rest stop for a short break. Yet another passenger change, and we drove the last leg of the trip to Bill and Collotís in MD.
Couldn't resist a pic of this truck I passed on the way down.
Collot had prepared a great supper, and my son Matthew, DIL Cate and their nephew Eli were there. Eli was pretty impressed with the collection of Lego stuff I brought down. There is about twenty pounds of Lego pieces. I told him that he could have all that he could carry, and he managed to pick up the whole bin of them and go about 5 feet before I said that was good enough. Heís pretty happy about it.
The Legos king hard at work
We had a great supper, sitting around talking and laughing, having a little wine, Matt and Jeff playing a little after.
L to R: Captain Bill, Collot, Cate, Jeff, Eli, Matt, Tom.
The Nancy Lakin has been cleaned and readied for the cruise, and we leave tomorrow morning. Iím ready.
boog si efil
"I..I'm not lost. The map is broken." Greg Brown
"The less you know, the more you believe" Bono
Last edited by leedsb; 06-08-2010 at 04:04 PM..
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Got up at 5:45. Too early. Got up at 6:15. Good enough. Took the first shower of the day and went downstairs to make coffee. This task accomplished, I had a cup and looked over one of the scrapbooks my mother made and that we brought with us to rotate through Jeffís family. It wasnít too long before others started to stagger in and pretty soon we were all sitting around eating cereal and figuring out the day.
Our Cruise Ship at berth, The Nancy Lakin
It was raining, but by the time we started to load up the Nancy Lakin, it had stopped for a minute and we were able to load everything before it began again. We said goodbye to Collot, and Matt and Cate came down to the dock with Ely to wave us off. It was raining again.
We weren't the only ones who wanted to go.
Enough of this - we're going back in!
We started across the Chesapeake.
The aluminum forest.
Life on the bay.
By the time we were mostly across, the rain had stopped for good. It wasnít long before there were sails appearing on the bay.
This light house is a fake.
It belongs to this house. The owners built it, and the rather long breakwater for erosion protection.
Chesapeake style duck blind.
Virtually every channel marker in the bay is occupied by an osprey family.
We cruised by Wye Island to look for a place to spend the night and found a good mooring in Dividing Creek cove. (Wye Island is the island that Cate rowed around in, a race she was in, rowing with 7 others in an 8 person shell. The race was 14 miles long, which is a lot of rowing, for anyone who doesnít know.)
We spent the afternoon trying to sail around in the dingy, the Annie Arabella. There was little wind , resulting in little success, but it was fun anyway.
Tom has high expectations.
I get a shot of our home
Bill actually gets some sailing in.
We all sat on the back deck in the early evening and had a sip or two of Tullamore Dew with crackers, cheese and sardines. I havenít had sardines for years, and they were good.
Dinner was salmon with rice and a corn/French green bean vege. mix with cookies and grapes for dessert. Quite good. Jeff decided to try another sail about 5 mins. before dinner, so he was a little late.
Itís very quiet here. The loudest noise is the little fish jumping out of the water and our own conversation.
This cruise is a wonderful experience. We all have Bill's son Conant to thank for keeping after us to get together and do it. I have never spent a significant continuous chunk of time with Bill and Iím really happy that I have the chance to do it now. Heís a good boatman and a great person, and I think Iíll wind up wishing that there have been more opportunities.
Tomorrow I think we are going to St. Michaels to do a little museum perusing and maybe buy some eggs and real maple syrup so we can make pancakes.
We awoke at about 7:00 this Am and had breakfast.
This has been a very peaceful anchorage, and the number of Great Blue Herons around is astounding. After Breakfast, we returned the sailing dingy to its cradle on the roof and set off to St. Michaels.
Where the hell are we?
Approaching St. Michael's harbor.
We arrived at Higgins Yacht Yard at around 11:30 and decided on lunch before going to the Chesapeake Maritime Museum.
I've finally got my brother where I want him.
The museum is on 16 acres of land right in St. Michaels harbor and is comprised of several historic houses and some newer buildings. Each house contains exhibits of a different subject matter Ė oyster fishing, crabbing, a light house that was removed from the bay and planted here for safe keeping, an art exhibit. There is also a wooden boat repair school where they restore old boats, many of which used to work the crabbing, oyster and fishing industries. The men who work these trades are called watermen. It was all very interesting.
This Skipjack is getting a new bottom. In the 1950's, there were thousands of these fishing the bay for oysters and crabs. Now, there are only a few in museums and maybe a couple in recreational use.
This exhibit of Skipjack nameplates included this bottom view of a small motor boat that they towed around behind. In the event of no wind, the roles were reversed. So that they could use a regular car engine with a closed cooling system, the copper pipes on the bottom were installed instead of a radiator. Hot water from the engine ran through the pipes and was cooled by the bay water.
A figurehead from a Skipjack. Seems the carver was a stickler for detail.
After the museum, which we took about 3 hours to go through, we went shopping for food and a few essentials. Tonight we are going to splurge and have dinner at the Crab Claw Restaurant in the harbor.
We walked by these houses in the harbor after dinner on the way back to the boat. The houses closest to the water are very small - only 8 or 9 hundred square feet, but quite picturesque.
This trip is everything I hoped it would be. Itís great being with my brothers and Bill, and I am enjoying it immensely. Just before I left, Charlotte said that the cruise would be a perfect 65th birthday party, and she was right. This is so much more meaningful than a party at home where one would see a lot of people for a few minutes each. Thanks Conant.
We did the usual wake up and breakfast routine. Breakfast was Uncle Tomís Famous Chocolate Chip Pancakes, but without the chips. They were quite good anyway.
I suppose this next picture may require a little explanation. See - when we were all growing up, the normal after dinner activity was washing dishes. My father would wash and we kids were supposed to dry and put away along with my mother. We would do this while singing rounds, of which my mother knew many.
Mysteriously, Jeff would disappear just as the washing began and reappear when it was done. He had comics hidden under the sink in the downstairs bathroom and thought he was getting away with something, until he found one in his pile that my mother had made describing his dish avoidance in detail. We all knew where he was, and why, but no amount of yelling would dislodge him from his seat.
The result is that Jeff was rarely observed doing dishes, which he is doing here, so I needed to immortalize the experience.
Afterward, we cruised up the bay to an anchorage just above the bay bridge.
This is a screw leg lighthouse, the only one left on the bay. The legs are actually huge augers that have been screwed into the bottom of the bay to avoid ice damage to the house.
Here is a different one of more standard design.
These fish nets are set out by hand. Watermen go out with a boat full of poles and jam them into the bottom. The nets are strung up on them afterwards. If done in the wrong place, or not in exactly the right shape, they don't work.
Baltimore harbor needs to be dredged constantly. The dredgings are carted by barge out into the bay where they are used to reconstruct an island that has washed away. The erosion of land around the Chesapeake is actually a pretty serious problem and much of the waterfront property has been protected by rock walls.
It took us about 4 hours to make todayís trip. We all took turns at the helm, and even though the auto pilot is used for most cruising, there is still a lot to pay attention to while youíre there.
There were 9 of these tankers anchored just south of the bridge, waiting to get into Baltimore harbor.
And a Navy cutter keeping things in line.
I had the shift which took us under the bay bridge. Itís pretty interesting to see a bridge of that size from the underside. Itís a whole different perspective.
Bill knows of a nice little cove which was very quiet and calm Ė good for sleeping. There were several other boats there and everyone but the water skiers seemed to enjoy the quiet. Even the latter were not particularly noxious.
When I went to start supper, there was no water coming from the faucet. This required a half hour of diagnosis while Bill and I sat below decks in the engine room, which was still about 120 degrees from the dayís activity. There was pressure in the system which we had somehow to release before we could do the diagnosed fix of the newly installed water filter, but we figured that out too and soon all was well again.
We had baked chicken with rice and veges for supper. Mosquitoes showed up for the first time in the windless cove, so we confined ourselves inside and told stories of the Brewer families. It was rather interesting to hear about events from different perspectives.
Bill says that he has a surprise in store for tomorrow. More he will not divulge.
By about 10:00, sleep came easily.
I got up a little early today. It was about 6:00. Made coffee, finished my book and started the sausage cooking. Tom got up and soon after, Bill and Jeff appeared. Tom made scrambled eggs, I made toast in the oven broiler. Once again, it was good.
After breakfast, T, J and I went swimming. The water was warm enough to be swimmable and refreshing all at once.
We then headed to Annapolis Harbor, pulling the dingy behind us in case we need it to tie to a mooring later. It turns out that towing the dingy isnít all that great an idea, since it somehow fills with water in the process.
This is a disappearing island, slowly being washed away by wave action. It probably won't last another 10 years.
It was almost windless. Not nearly enough wind to sail, but just right for an arsty/fartsy shot of some boats unable to fulfill their calling.
Approaching the harbor from the water, you are greeted by three VLF (Very Low Frequency) towers that were once part of a larger array erected in 1918 and used to communicate with Europe in World War 1 and after. All but three were removed, the three left for visual aids for boaters finding the harbor. It amazes me that in this day and age of Homeland Security and terrorist fears they are allowed to remain.
It was a short haul to Annapolis, where it became obvious that there is some kind of event happening. As I type this, there are about 400 boats moored around the outer harbor and more coming every minute. It turns out that the surprise is the navy academy graduation, which will be accompanied by fireworks this evening.
Approaching the harbor.
Looks a little busy.
They kept coming
Jeff decided to go sailing. Stepping the mast.
Hanging on for dear life after nearly capsizing and falling in to the drink.
Surprise Ė no fireworks. Blue Angels instead. They came this afternoon and put on a show for about 45 mins to an hour. Really fast planes doing ridiculous things which planes should not be able to do. I had never seen the Blue Angels before, so this was a real treat, and, yes, a surprise. There were at least 2000 boats in the harbor watching this which in itself was a show. Somehow all those boats managed it with no serious collisions, even after an afternoon of heat and beer!
Afterwards, we motored to the South River, emptied the dingy again, and had rotellini and salad for supper.
It was a traffic jam leaving.
The brothers 3 then went swimming. The sun went down and the moon went up all at the same time.
The Chesapeake Bay monster
It was a great show while I played the guitar. Jeff joined in on the mandolin and we all sat on the back deck playing and talking until 11:30 or so. It was a wonderful last cruise evening.
Tomorrow we plan a gentlemanís breakfast, after which we will cruise back to Galesville and the next leg of the trip will start.
We had a leisurely breakfast of homemade coffee cake, using the rest of Uncle Tomís Chocolate Chip Pancake mix and various other parts. It was excellent and disappeared quickly.
At 8:00, we got the cannon out. Yup, Bill has a cannon that fires 10 gage shotgun shells. No shot, just black powder for the noise and smoke effect. Tradition has it that firing the cannon is a signal to the women on board that the men have finished their nude swimming and they are free to come out without being subjected to a bunch of nakedness. This is probably just a little bit of overkill, but then it is the men doing it. It was a huge bang, followed by a an equally large cloud of smoke, most of which drifted into the cabin and fouled our air for a awhile. All of the local wildlife was pretty surprised by this, both the first and second times we fired it off. I would have pics but I was too busy blocking my ears.
Tom and Bill went for a row after we ate while Jeff and I went for a swim. Stupidly, because I changed slightly my routine, I neglected to remove my glasses before diving in from the top deck of the boat. The result is that I can no longer see worth a damn because my glasses are at the bottom of the Chesapeake.
Someone needs a parasol.
Inspecting the competition.
Jeff tries his hand at a monkey fist.
On the way out, I noticed an osprey with a big stick in its feet flying by. It landed on this boat, where it was building a nest on top of the flying bridge. We got a pretty good chuckle out of this, since it's against the law to disturb an osprey nest. Teach someone to have a boat and not use it!
Charlotte called in the middle of all this to tell me that her flight has been cancelled. She didnít find out about this until she arrived at the airport. Scrambling to find an alternative, she got another flight with a different airline, but to the Baltimore airport rather than Dulles. Fortunately, BWI is only about 30 mins from Bills house, so the change wonít really mean much at this end. It all does make me wonder about the Karma of this day though.
After several calls, describing various changes to her schedule, Charlotte made it to all the planes necessary to actually complete the trip. After saying good bye to Bill and the Nancy Lakin, I met her at the airport by using the trusty GPS to lead me there. We then drove to Matt and Cateís, through Washington traffic, and got there at about 8:00.
It took 3 hours for a 1 Ĺ hour trip. Tom and Jeff were there, along with Jane and Robert, Charlotteís cousin and her husband and also Milton's parents.
Milton, who was not there.
We all had dinner together and sat around laughing and talking while there was an impressive thunder storm afterwards.
It was a great end to the final cruise day.
boog si efil!