Saturday, August 17, 2013

So This Is What "Recreational" Boating Is Like!

First, a few new pictures from Annapolis
Parents Week at the USNA

Darrell and Lisa (Why Knot), Ross and Laura (The Zone), Chris and Susan (Forever Friday)


The Glass House, the namesake of Glass House Anchorage, Magothy River

Us all again at Pusser's in Annapolis, on Ego Alley
We departed Annapolis on August 15 and it was kind of bittersweet. While we certainly were looking forward to getting underway on our southbound leg with an exploration of the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay and new stops on the ICW, it did mean that we would be leaving our friends Ross and Laura of The Zone. They would be staying on at Annapolis Landing Marina for ten more days, then move a tad bit further north to Rock Hall, Maryland for a month. We are not sure when we would see them again but hopefully our paths will cross soon.

And speaking of Annapolis Landing Marina we enjoyed our stay there very much. Evie and Jack Collard are the dockmasters there and they have a pretty cool way of living. They spent the summer at ALM working and running the marina along with two guys named Dusty and Shawn. They live on their boat at the marina and certainly seem to love the life there. Then in the fall they will cast off their lines and head south to Florida or the Caribean for the winter. Then in the spring they head back up to Annapolis. That's pretty cool. They're lovely people.

Our first stop on the way south is at St. Michaels, Maryland. Well, not exactly St. Michaels but an achorage below it. This takes a little explaining. St. Michaels is a very popular spot. It is on a penisula of sorts that comes out from the eastern mainland that is very convuluted creating many different streams and creeks. This penisula separates two bodies of water, Eastern Bay on the north and the Choptank River to the south. St. Michaels is inside of Eastern Bay on the Mills River. So from Annapolis you would enter Eastern Bay on the north and make your way to St. Michaels. Now, as I said St. Michaels is very popular and with that popularity comes high docking fees...a bit too much for our tastes. Lisa got turned onto an alternative that is anchoring just south of St. Michaels on a large creek called San Domingo Creek, which is approached from the south side of the peninsula from the Choptank River. It is then a short dinghy ride up to the top of the creek which is in, TA DA!, St. Michaels. So from San Domingo Creek there are two ways to get to St. Michaels. By boat it is forty miles. By foot after a very short dinghy ride it is three blocks.
Sunset at San Domingo Creek

Sunset on Lisa
San Domingo Creek is nice and large with plenty of water. 

We never saw less than seven feet of water under our keel.

Morning. If there are sailboats there, you can get there too.

San Domingo Creek is spectacular. It is wide and deep enough with beautiful forests lining the shore with what would have to be called mansions tucked into the woods. The weather was perfect. There was very little wind and the high temperature during the days was only about 73 degrees which made for lovely and relaxing evenings and nights. It was great! As a matter of fact it has shot up the list of our favorite anchorages. It really is worth the trip.

WTH? Who is peering out of that window?
As for St. Michaels it is a very cute town with a nice little downtown, a very nice waterfront...and that's about it. We both enjoyed our day there but in the end we were kind of baffled about all the positive hubbub about the place. It's very nice but because of all the "wow" kind of talk we got we expected more. And like I said previously with the pricey marina fees we don't see the value. Now, there is one really nice feature that is worth spending your time and $13.00 per person on. That's the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. It is very nice, very well put together, has lots of cool things to see and it is very well maintained. It is also a working museum with several restoration projects of classic Bay boats going on on the grounds. They are some very good static and floating examples of the unique boats, both pleasure and working, that have been prowling the Bay for generations. If you do visit St. Michaels the museum is worth the trip.


As we sat on the sun deck in the evening we reflected that our attitudes were a little bit different now. We are not in such a hurry. The routes I have planned are not as long nor aggressive. We will be cruising at lower speeds. Sure, we do have it in our heads to be in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina by mid to late September, but that should be an easy task barring any weather or mechanical problems. And we want to take our time exploring the eastern side of Chesapeake Bay. What we have already seen of it is very beautiful with plenty of interesting places to go to.

There is a running joke amongst many cruising boaters. That is asking, "when do we get to the "recreational" part of "recreational boating?" Well, we have decided that it started in Annapolis, will continue on down the Bay and will be a part of boating lives from now on. Sure, we still have plans like doing the Down East Loop or maybe even go to Texas. But we are on a slower track now. We don't have to and we won't crunch day after day of routes to be able to get to some position to either take advantage of or avoid some seasonal or navigational necessity. The best place for us to be will be where we are. We are going to see some new places that are a bit out of the way and we are not going to stop at all of the same old marinas. We are also going to take more daytrips to interesting locales and stop at a few more restaurants that have a dock. Before spending our wonderful month in Annapolis there was a motivation to hussle, hussle, hussle with daily routes of forty, fifty and sixty-plus mile days. Now, hey, if our next stop is fifteen miles away that just leaves more time for relaxing and enjoying what we are doing even more. Why it will even be "recreational"!

3 comments:

m/v Erika Lin said...

Sounds like you found your "aha" moment, congratulations and enjoy!!!

Bob and Lynda
aboard Erika Lin
Mystic, CT

mike said...

I see you have discovered the “back door” at St. Michaels.

As a boater who has been visiting St. M by water for over 30 years, via front and back doors, I share your assessment of the town.

The best part of the town? The A&P - best and easiest place to re-provision in mid bay on the eastern shore.

Keep a close eye on the weather while heading south through the Carolinas. It’s that time of year.

Fair winds,

Mike

mike said...

I see you have discovered the “back door” at St. Michaels.

As a boater who has been visiting St. M by water for over 30 years, via front and back doors, I share your assessment of the town.

The best part of the town? The A&P - best and easiest place to re-provision in mid bay on the eastern shore.

Keep a close eye on the weather while heading south through the Carolinas. It’s that time of year.

Fair winds,

Mike