Saturday, August 10, 2013

Hanging out in Annapolis

Well, Annapolis, one of our favorite ports, never disappoints. We're nearing the end of our month long stay here and we have enjoyed every minute of it.

Annapolis Landing Marina is a very enjoyable place with a great staff and facilities. We have had to move twice though. That's kind of a pain but its not unusual as I am guessing that most if not all of the slips are leased out to seasonal or year long boaters. Any transient slips available are those where the slip holder has their boat out. We were first at a tee head dock that backed right out onto Back Creek for only one night before the owner of that slip returned. Our next dock assignment was on a very large tee head inside the marina where an eighty foot antique luxury yacht, the SS Sophie usually tied up. It left to go to Rhode Island to pick up its owner and would be gone for several months. Supposedly that would be where we would stay. However when the yacht arrived in Rhode Island the owner apparently decided that it was too hot and sent the Sophie back to Annapolis. That meant that we had to move again to an outside slip vacated by its owner who left to do some cruising. Apparently that slip holder is returning one or two days before our scheduled departure date so we're not sure whether we will be moved to another location or just go ahead and leave.

Sunday, August 28, was a special day. Son#2 Kevin flew up to Baltimore from St. Louis to spend a week with us. Our original plans were for us to cruise up to the inner harbor of Baltimore and he would meet us there. We would spend Sunday night in downtown Baltimore and then cruise to Annapolis on Monday. Unfortunately the weather for Sunday started to look too uncertain so he took a shuttle directly to the marina from the airport in Baltimore. This was a big event for us as both son#1 Bryan and Kevin had only seen Why Knot once while we were in St. Louis in the fall of 2012 while we were on shore leave. Also it is the first time we had an overnight guest on the boat. Kevin is a great guy and a lot of fun to be with and we did all of the touristy stuff such as eating at Chick and Ruth's Delly and tour the Naval Academy.  Other than that we spent much of the time just hanging out and relaxing. We did go on several day cruises to give Kevin some time behind the wheel and let him experience cruising on water that is a bit more, shall we say, active compared to his only other time underway with us on the Illinois River. His quote about that was, "This is a lot bigger than a river, dad." We even went sailing for a day where he spent some time at the helm. So now he can say he sailed across Chesapeake Bay. Ross and Laura also came over for a genuine docktails get-together.
Laura and Kevin. Insert inane caption here...Long and short of it, Mutt and Jeff,  whatever. 

The weather here started out very hot and humid so we spent just about every afternoon at the marina's pool. Lisa really rocks a swimsuit so I enjoyed that! But about half way through Kevin's visit it turned cooler and more likely to rain a bit each afternoon, so we spent more time just hanging out on the boat or running into town on errands.

There was an incident of near calamitous proportions on the evening of August 9. Directly off of our bow there is a sizable anchorage on Back Creek with maybe about a half a dozen sailboats on the hook. One of these sailboats was called Auspicious and it was directly behind us. As everyone at the marinas were settling in for a nice evening a micro-burst storm swooped in from the west directly over our heads producing very heavy winds and a lot of rain. We were in the rear cabin sopping up some water leaking in through one of our windows when we actually looked out of that window and saw that Auspicious was being pulled off of her anchor and towards us or one of the other boats along our dock depending on which way she would swing. And she was swinging. We radioed the marina office to tell them but they had problems of their own. An anchored catamaran came off her anchor too and was heading for the fuel dock. Fortunately for them the crew was on the cat and after finally realizing their plight started the engine and just kind of kept it in a position off of the dock until the storm subsided. Not so for us. Auspicious was crew-less and we ended up scrambling onto the deck in the storm fending her off our stern with boat hooks. It got to within about four feet of us. Then the winds changed direction a bit and swung the sailboat away from us towards the empty slip next to us. This was our opportunity. We jumped off of Why Knot onto the dock and scurried over to the other slip and with the help of another boater, Chris from Forever Friday and Evie, one of the dock-masters whose boat Eldridge C was another target of the wayward sailboat, we were able to muscle Auspicious into the slip about half of her boat length and get her secured. We were drenched but we got the job done. And of course within a minute or two after getting the lines set the storm disappeared just as fast as she cropped up and it cleared into a beautiful evening. It was pretty intense.

Our last day here is August 14 and on the 15th we will be scooting off to head down south a bit. We know that this is an early departure to head south but our objective is to get to Barefoot Marina in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina by September 15 and head back to St. Louis and Denver for our early fall shore leave. We are going to make an effort to visit some different places than the normal stops on the way down. We haven't been on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay at all so our first stop will be an anchorage at St. Michaels, and then down to Cambridge, Maryland where there is a free wall to tie up to. From there we will cut back across to an anchorage on Mill Creek in The Solomons for one night. From there we will go back across the bay to Tangier Island, then to the town of Onancock, then back over again to Deltaville, then to Yorktown, and then back to Hampton Roads Public Pier. Heading back down the eastern seaboard from Norfolk we will be stopping at some new locales also. Stopovers include a one night stay at Hobucken, North Carolina and a couple of days in Washington, North Carolina. We're also going to throw in a few more anchorages instead of the usual marina stops. All in all we will be in Myrtle Beach by September 15 and head back home then. That shouldn't be a problem. The only hang-up is that according to Old Farmer's Almanac, which has been pretty reliable, there is suppose to be a pretty sizable tropical storm flaring up some time shortly after Labor Day so we will want to be within an easy hop to someplace secure during that time.

We also figured out what our cruising strategy will be for the winter. It's fairly convoluted but we think it will work. After we return to Myrtle Beach we will head south somewhat aggressively to make it to Vero Beach by December 1st. That is kind of fixed point in time as we will judge just about everything else by that. From there we have decided to head over to Florida's Gulf coast and find a place to hang out for a month, lets say until mid January. We would then retrace our steps and get back up to Vero Beach once again where we will leave the boat for our two month spring shore leave. We return to the boat there on April 1 and move up quickly to go to New England and maybe even the Down East Loop. That's exciting! We have also left the door open to doing something completely different by not going back to the Atlantic coast at all but instead going back up to Panama City, Florida, and maybe even further on the Gulf ICW to Texas. Ya' never know.

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