"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

May 30, 2012

May 29 - Baltimore, MD

Back Home on the Boat
Henderson's Wharf Marina

We had a great week at home...full of visits with family and friends. It's always nice to catch up with everyone. There wasn't a dull minute the whole week. We drove through some beautiful countryside on our round trip....we could have spent another week exploring historical places in Virginia and Tennessee. After 3500 miles we're back on the boat, ready to get started on our cruising season. We have a few projects that we will work on while we wait for our friends and the weather to improve...then we'll be on our way to New York.

A few pictures taken from the road

May 28, 2012

May 27 – San Antonio, TX

Graduation Day
Henderson’s Wharf Marina

Today was a day that both our son and daughter in-law have worked hard to achieve their whole life. Both have wanted nothing else and have talked of being doctors since they were very small. In Kyle’s case, since he was two…long before he can remember. He would spend hours playing doctor on his Daddy. Stan would come home from work and lay on the sofa and Kyle would listen to his heart, bandage arms, legs and head, take his temperature and diagnose illnesses…such wonderful memories. It’s hard to believe this life long goal is now a reality. They will make wonderful caring doctors. To say this was a proud day for us would be an understatement…to have one member of our family reach this great goal is one thing, but to have two is amazing. They have been blessed to have each other to lean on and love through this long path.

We spent a wonderful weekend enjoying family and celebrating their incredible achievement. Kyle and Bryt we are all very, very proud of you and we love you very much. You both bring joy to our lives and we look forward to seeing what the next chapter in your lives brings.

Introducing Drs. Bryt & Kyle Marshall
The Marshalls
Aunt Earline and Uncle Kenneth
The Pianas
Grandma & Grandpa Piana
Sisters - Macall and Cassandra
A friend of ours made a comment about this picture on Facebook...it really says it all! "It's like they are looking back at everything they have done saying, "We did it!"

May 27, 2012

May 26 - San Antonio, TX

Cruising Distraction
Henderson's Wharf Marina

I know this is a cruising blog and I know San Antonio isn't a cruising destination...but sometimes we have our course altered by more important things. Our oldest son, Kyle and his wonderful wife Brytanie have archived their lifetime dream of becoming doctors and this weekend is a celebration of that dream.

We will also have our cruising course altered in July when our younger son, Eric, and his wonderful wife, Courtney, have their first child. There are just some things in life that are more important than cruising. We'll fly into Austin, which is close to Stan's sister's home, so we took our SUV there this morning so we would have a way to get home when we fly in. From Lockhart we drove to San Antonio...our first stop was the Blue Star Bicycle Company to get a new tire for Stan's bike. It's located in a neat little complex on the river with an art center and brewery. We had lunch at the Blue Star Brewery and spent a little time afterwards walking along the river. The art center was working on projects in the parking lot...I was told this type of art was woodcarving printing with roller. You'll see exactly what it is from the pictures below. It was pretty interesting to watch.

After lunch we met Kyle, Bryt and her family at their home. We spent the rest of the day visiting, eating, playing silly games and enjoying our time together. We had a great time celebrating...tomorrow they become Drs. Bryt and Kyle Marshall.

Blue Star Bicycling Company
Blue Star Brewery Company
Bike trail along the river
First the wood carving is inked and laid on the ground in a wooden frame
A large piece of paper is laid over it and then carpet padding is laid on top of that and then a think sheet of plastic
The roller drives over the whole thing
The finished product

May 20, 2012

May 19 - Somewhere Between Boat & Home

Chesapeake Facts
Henderson's Wharf Marina

We spent twelve hours today heading south and west...only 1585 miles between our Pearl and our great state of Texas. All that time in the car gave me a chance to learn a little more about the Chesapeake Bay. We've spent over 80 days so far exploring this great body of water. We've anchored in 18 areas and have visited 16 cities and towns, and there are so many more we'd like to see. I can definitely see how people can spend a lifetime boating and never leave this area. It is truly my favorite place we have visited in our 4000 miles of cruising.
  • The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary: a body of water where fresh and salt water mix. It is the largest of more than 100 estuaries in the United States.
  • The Bay is about 200 miles long, stretching from Havre de Grace, Maryland, to Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  • The Bay's width ranges from 4 miles near Aberdeen, Maryland, to 30 miles near Cape Charles, Virginia.
  • The average depth of the Bay is about 21 feet, but is 174 feet at it’s deepest.
  • The Bay and its tidal tributaries have 11,684 miles of shoreline – more than the entire U.S. west coast.
  • The surface area of the Bay and its tidal tributaries is approximately 4,480 square miles.
Water and Watershed:
  • The Chesapeake Bay holds more than 18 trillion gallons of water.
  • The Chesapeake Bay watershed covers 64,000 square miles.
  • The Chesapeake Bay watershed includes parts of six states – Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia – and the entire District of Columbia.
  • Approximately 51 billion gallons of water flow into the Bay each day from its freshwater tributaries.
  • The Susquehanna River is the Bay’s largest river. It provides nearly 50 percent of the fresh water coming into the Bay – an average of 19 million gallons of water per minute.
  • The Chesapeake Bay watershed is home to more than 17 million people. About 150,000 new people move into the Bay watershed each year.
  • More than 100,000 streams, creeks and rivers flow into the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Approximately 7.3 million acres of land in the Bay watershed portions of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia are permanently preserved from development.
  • There are more than 700 public access points on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
Flora and Fauna:
  • The Bay supports more than 2,700 species of plants and animals, including 348 species of finfish and 173 species of shellfish.
  • The Bay produces about 500 million pounds of seafood per year.
  • The Chesapeake region is home to at least 29 species of waterfowl.
  • Nearly 80,000 acres of bay grasses grow in the shallows of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Young and molting blue crabs rely on bay grass beds for protection from predators.
  • Approximately 284,000 acres of tidal wetlands grow in the Chesapeake Bay region. Wetlands provide critical habitat for fish, birds, crabs and many other species.
  • Forests cover 58 percent of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The region loses about 100 acres of forest each day to development.

May 19, 2012

May 18 – Baltimore, MD

Inter Harbor
Henderson’s Wharf Marina

We spent the morning getting things ready for our trip home.We decided this afternoon we would walk to the Inter Harbor and spend a littletime watching people and seeing the sights one more time. We will be sitting inthe car the next few days and figured we needed the exercise. I have an app onmy phone I use to track how far we walk or bike…we did over 6 miles thisafternoon. On our way back to the boat we stopped at the Dead End Saloon for abeer and dinner…I think we earned it! We had fun visiting with other people inthe bar and the food was pretty good. Henderson’s Marina is in the prefectlocation…close to the Inter Harbor, Little Italy and Fell’s Point; all full ofgreat places to explore and wonderful restaurants to try.

Rams Head Live! music venue with Baltimore skyline in the background. 
USCGC Cutter Taney is the last surviving warship of Pearl Harbor
The old power plant...now used by Barnes & Nobles and The Hard Rock Cafe
S.S. John W. Brown – is one of only two Liberty Ships thatremain in existence. It was built in Baltimore in 41 days. It was launchedSeptember 7, 1942,  it made seventrans-oceanic voyages during World war II, made six post-war voyages, served asthe nation’s only maritime high school and operates as a historic vessel nowmaking “Living History Cruises” in the Chesapeake Bay, East Coast ports and theGreat Lakes. 
Pride of Baltimore II– the world’s only authentic sailing reproduction of an 1812-era BaltimoreClipper…it’s a living, working symbol of Baltimore’s maritime heritage. Theoriginal Baltimore Clipper ships were the life blood of the fledgling AmericanNavy during the War of 1812. 
Pictures of the Inter Harbor from Federal Hill Park
Panoramic picture of the Inter Harbor from Federal Hill
Looking up to Federal Hill Park
Memorial to the Captain & crew of the Pride of Baltimore that went down nearPuerto Rico on May 14, 1986. The original Pridewas built in 1977 and was the first Baltimore Clipper built in 150 years. 

May 18, 2012

May 17 - Baltimore, MD

Horse Racing
Henderson's Wharf Marina

We rented a car this morning for two weeks. We will leave Saturday and spend about a week at home. Since we had the car we decided to drive out to Pimlico Race Course. Pimlico is the second oldest racetrack in the nation behind Saratoga; it was opened on October 25, 1870 and is home to the Preakness Stakes. The Preakness is the middle jewel of America’s premier sporting event, The Triple Crown. It’s traditionally held on the third Saturday in May, it’s a mile and three sixteenths in length, with a purse of $500,000. Saturday will be the 137th running of the race. I was less than impressed with the outside of the racetrack. It seems a little run down for such a famous place. The track and infield are fixed up for this week’s activities, but the rest of the facility seems to need a little work. We only placed a bet on the first race...the rest of the races we just picked horses between ourselves. We didn't do very well, although we each picked a winner once...unfortunately not when we had placed our bet. The weather was prefect today, it felt wonderful sitting in the stands, we even enjoyed sitting in the sun. We had fun getting away from the water and doing something a little different for the today.

Pictures of the races
The winner I picked in the winner circle

May 17, 2012

May 16 - Baltimore, MD

People Watching
Henderson's Wharf Marina

It was such a beautiful morning...we sat on the flybridge and enjoyed our coffee. Henderson's Marina is in a great location to watch boats coming and going into the Inter Harbor...tugboats, tour boats, water taxis, pleasure boats and this morning a battleship from Japan. It was quite a site to see it come in, all the sailors lined up along the rail in their white uniforms. Two tugs were maneuvering it through the channel and docked it at the end of Fell's Point. We had a chance to see it close up later in the day while we were wandering around. June 13-19 Baltimore will host 20 tall ships during the Star-Spangle Banner Sailabration, plus many military ships. All will be docked along the harbor and will be open for tours. It sounds like an amazing site to see, but the crowds will be over whelming. I'm kind of glad we'll be in New York by then.

After our morning entertainment we caught up on bookkeeping, checked on our car rental, made hotel reservations in San Antonio for graduation and did some research on a few things we might like to do before we leave Baltimore. Some days you just have to take care of business before youcan have fun. After lunch we rode our bikes along the Waterfront Promenade towards Canton. About the time we got to the park Stan's back tire blew out...it split the tire and the tube. That put an end to our bike ride, we had to walk them back to the boat. We found a bike shop close by that had a tire that would fit, but it wasn't a white wall like the ones that are on the bike now. Stan did a little more research and found a place in San Antonio that has the exact tire, so we will pick it up next weekend while we are there. The rest of the afternoon we spent hanging around the park in Fells Point enjoying the weather and watching people. We're enjoying this marina...nothing fancy, but the bathrooms are clean and roomy and the people are great...very friendly and very helpful. This would be a great place to spend a summer...if we were tired of cruising.

Japaness ship coming into Baltimore
Japaness ship docked at Fell's Point
Fells Point
The Pride of Baltimore

May 16, 2012

May 15 – Baltimore, MD

History Lesson
Henderson’s Wharf Marina

We thought we might have to find things to do inside today from the way our morning started, but by lunch the sun was out. We decided we’d visit Fort McHenry today; we didn’t have a chance to get there on our last visit. We saw the original “Star Spangled Banner” at the Smithsonian last summer and we have been by the buoy that marks where the ship was anchored as Frances Scott Key watched the battle take place on September 13, 1814, that inspired his writing of the song that later became our national anthem, so this was just another piece of history we needed to check out. The Chesapeake has lots of activities planned this summer to celebrate the bicentennial of The Warof 1812. We took the water taxi from Fells Point to the fort…the ride was fun and the park is very pretty. We got a nice over view of the War of 1812 and the history of the flag that flew over the fort during the Battle of Baltimore in the Visitor’s Center. The flag measured 30 x 42 feet and was made by Mary Young Pickersgill in 1813 at a cost of $574.44. They fly a replica of the original flag over the fort…it takes a wind of 5 mph to unfurl the flag and a smaller flag has to be flown when winds are higher than 12 mph. Fort McHenry was the first place they flew the new flag when stars were added in 1959 & 1960.

We took the water taxi back to Fell's Point and then another one to the Inter Harbor. We wandered around the area for a while and then slowly walked back to Fells Point. We walked through part of Little Italy…we’ll be back over here to eat one evening, lots of cute little places. I think you could spend months checking out all the great places to eat in Baltimore.

Key's original draft of the song first printed as "Defence of Fort M'Henry." It was republished with the music and retitled "The Star-Spangled Banner."
The Visitor's Center shows a video telling the history of the Battle of Baltimore, at the end the screen goes up and you get this wonderful view of the fort.
Fort McHenry
Part of Baltimore's Inter Harbor
Looking down Fell Street to the Marina
Relaxing on the flybridge