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

April 30, 2012

April 30 – St. Michaels, MD

Slow Day
San Domingo Creek – Anchorage

Some days on the boat are not exciting…no matter how hard you try to make them. There are days when there really isn’t much to do…days when the weather is lousy and there is nowhere to go. We had such wonderful weather last year, I think we might have gotten a little spoiled…I’m hoping this cloudy, dreary weather isn’t a trend for our whole cruising season. I guess cloudy won’t be bad once the temperatures warm up. Locals say this has been a very strange year…warm winter weather and now cold spring temperatures. Our excitement today was going back to town to do a little shopping. The first thing we needed to do was find me a pair of shoes that would be warmer than the ones I brought with me, then we picked up a few things at the grocery store. The rest of the day was spent doing little things around the boat…good thing for our little mifi; we would be extremely bored on days like today without the Internet. I also spent a little time playing with my pictures on Photoshop…that can entertain me for hours. Homemade rolls and potato soup for dinner was the best thing about the day.

St. Michaels really is a cute little town

April 29 – St. Michaels, MD

Perfect Day
San Domingo Creek – Anchorage

We woke up to a gorgeous day…clear blue, beautiful skies.St. Michaels is having their annual Wine Fest this weekend, so the town was full of people and activities. We decided not to buy tickets to the tastings…although I’m sure we would have enjoyed the variety they had. I read somewhere they would be pouring over 300 wines during the two day festival. We had lunch at Marcoritaville (Marcos), a little place on Talbot Street, where we sat outside and watched the people go by while enjoying the wonderful day. We spent the afternoon wandering through a few shops, watching people, riding our bikes to the harbor and tasting a few locally made beers at the Eastern Shore Brewing Company. We had a great day in one of our favorite little Eastern Shore towns…this part of Maryland is so picturesque. In all our travels on the boat…the Eastern Shore of Maryland has been my favorite.

We finally had a warm enough evening to sit on the flybridge and relax, while we fixed dinner on the grill. This was a picture perfect day on the boat.

Our dinghy, loaded up with our bikes
Fresh oysters on the street
Stan enjoying a Dogfish Beer (one of Kyle's favorites)
A few of the stores on Talbot Street
Part of St. Michaels harbor
Eastern Shore Brewing Co. Not very fancy, but it was fun to try their craft beers
Sampling a flight of their beers
Eastern Shore Brewing Companies' beers
We are the only ones in our anchorage, so it was the perfect time for a dinghy driving lesson.

April 29, 2012

April 28 - St. Michaels, MD

Meghan’s Bay Shower
San Domingo Creek – Anchorage

It’s days like today that really make me miss being home...I truly miss our family and friends. Today was my niece’s baby shower, she is having twin boys in August (maybe July) and her sister, Heather, gave her an amazing party to celebrate. From the pictures I’ve seen it looks like they had a great time. I’ve always been one of those Aunts who is there for everything…I feel I let her down and I know I missed a wonderful time, filled with laughter and fun.

Our day here was cold and dreary…that didn’t make me feel better about missing the party! The good thing about today was the lack of wind, so we took the opportunity to cross the Chesapeake to St. Michaels. We loved our time there last fall and wanted to see a few more things. We stopped at the public dock in Solomons for a free pump out and filled our water tanks before we left. The bay was full of fishing boats, large and small. Our crossing was smooth and uneventful, but COLD. The anchorage was empty except for one sailboat…I guess it’s a little early here for weekend cruising. Tomorrow is predicted to be clear and warmer, well if you consider warmer being 65 degrees…better than 50 and cloudy! I know real spring will be here…someday.

I sure hope Hunter and Jacob aren't this big when they get here!
Meghan, the beautiful mother to be
Messages for the boys
What a cute diaper cake

April 28, 2012

April 27 - Solomons, MD

Micro Brews & Pizza
Mill Creeks - Anchorage

A cold front moved through early this morning, blowing out the rain and bringing in high winds and blue skies. Stan did a little work on our antenna tower...there's always something to work on when you own an old boat.

After lunch the wind laid down (a little) so we took our bikes and dinghy to town. We read about a micro brewery called the Ruddy Duck and we wanted to check it out. We docked our dinghy at The Holiday Inn & Marina’s dinghy dock and rode our bike about 1.5 miles to the Brewery & Grill. They make the beer on site and you can see the operations as you enter the restaurant. We tried three of their eight award winning craft brews. I’m not as big a fan as Stan for these types of beers, but I had the Rud Light and it was very good. Stan enjoyed the IPA and the Imperial Belgian Wit. The food is also excellent here…they have won many awards for their crab cakes. We decided to have one of their signature pizzas, we chose the Mediterranean Pizza - Chicken, feta, Greek olives, pesto, pepperoncini, mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes. It was amazing, truly one of the best pizza we have ever had. Finding places like this is one of the best parts of cruising and exploring new places. If you would like to learn more about Solomons, Maryland read our post from August 10, 2011.

Looking back at the marina at the Holiday Inn
Ruddy Duck
This is were the work is done
The Ruddy Ducks award winning craft brewed drafts
The Pizza Oven
Our Mediterranean Pizza

April 27, 2012

April 26 – Solomons, MD

Rain and Sunset
Mill Creek – Anchorage

As predicted the day was rainy and dreary. Stan worked on the throttle from the flybridge and even made a trip to town in the rain. Not a lot of fun when you’re in a dinghy…good thing for rain gear. He went to Zahniser’s Yachting Center, but they didn’t have what we needed, so he had to make do with what we had. He made some modifications to the piece he had and hopefully that will work until we can get the parts we have at home. It’s an old boat…so parts are hard to come by sometimes. We spent the rest of the day watching it rain and being lazy. The sun finally came out just in time for a wonderful sunset. We took the dinghy to town, walked along the waterfront on the Patuxent River and had dinner at The Tiki Bar. A nice ending to an other wise uneventful day.

Stan on his way to town in the rain
Solomons Point Marina
Parking our car!
A beautiful ending to the day
Solomons Riverwalk
Solomons Pier
Tiki Bar...we had fun visiting with the staff and other customers

April 26, 2012

April 25 – Solomons, MD

Long Day on the Water
Mill Creek – Anchorage

We were up at the crack of dawn and were on our way by 6:30…breakfast was served on the flybridge after we got underway. We knew we were going to have a long day…in fact it was our second longest day since we started cruising. It was beautiful, but chilly and we wanted to get as far north in the Chesapeake as we could. The weather is going to deteriorate tomorrow, with rain and wind that will be around for several more days. We traveled 95 miles to Solomons…we are anchored in the same anchorage we used last fall on our way south. It’s a nice spot with plenty of room and close to town. If the weather is nice enough tomorrow we will take the dinghy ashore…actually we need a part for the throttle on the flybridge, so I know we’ll get to town…rain or shine! There is no TV reception in this area and no friends with us this time, so we surfed the web a little and made it an early night. This should be our last long day until we head for New York in June.

Getting an early start to the day has it's benefits
My herb garden...Stan has attached the containers to the window sill with tire wraps. Maybe they won't go flying across the deck this year.
Stan checking emails on his iPhone
AYB took this picture as we were getting ready to leave on Tuesday

April 25, 2012

April 24 - Bloxoms, VA

Finally on the Move
Salt Ponds - Anchorage

We finally untied the lines and pulled away from the dock. It felt a little sad and exciting at the same time. Just as we were pulling away from the dock a large barge came into site...we stopped for a pump out and let the barge pass. Commercial vessels take precedence over pleasure crafts, so we knew they would allow him through the bridge and lock before us. The barge, another boater and The Pearl made the 8:00 bridge opening, but the pleasure boats had to wait for the 9:00 lock. It took them almost 45 minutes to get the barge in place for him to lock through...morning rush hour on the ICW. We had a beautiful, but cold morning to start moving north. The twelve miles from Great Bridge to Norfolk are very slow...there are seven bridges and a lock you have to deal with. One bridge is 65 feet and the railroad bridges stay open unless there's a train coming. Our luck last fall was wonderful...this time it seemed there were issues at each bridge and we were detained at each one. It felt great to finally get through the Gilmerton Bridge and pass the boat yards in Portsmouth. There was very little boat traffic around Norfolk, but it was very windy (15-20 mph) and Hampton Roads was a little rough today. I thought it might take us a while to get our sea legs back, but it wasn't bad at all...it really felt great to be back on the water, cold wind and all.

We're anchored in Salt Ponds, a little inlet just past Hampton. The map calls the area Bloxom's Corner, but it all seems to run together with Hampton. There are lots of nice vacation beach homes and several marinas in this inlet. The anchorage is pretty and very quiet today, but the space is small and I don't think we would come in here again. I definitely wouldn't want to be in here on a summer weekend. It was a little too cold to sit outside and enjoy the view for long, so we spent the evening fixing homemade pizza, visiting on the phone with family and watching TV.

This thing looked like a dragon
Looking back at Great Bridge
Morning traffic
Going through the lock...they lowered us 1.5 feet
One of the military ships in Portsmouth
Waterside Marina in Norfolk
Looking back at the Chesapeake Bay from Salt Ponds inlet
Our evening view

April 24, 2012

April 23 - Great Bridge, VA

Getting Ready To Leave
Atlantic Yacht Basin

We spent the day getting the boat ready to leave Great Bridge. We filled the water tanks, ran a few errands, cleaned up the dock by the boat, put our bikes aboard and took care of last minute details with the marina. We will leave our car here until next fall. It will feel a little like leaving home when we cast off the lines. We've gotten to know all the dockmasters by name and made some new boating friends while we were here. We invited one of our new friends for dinner...her husband is moving another boat up from Florida and she is alone this week. They are from Ontario Canada and have shared a lot of helpful knowledge of the Erie Canal, Lake Ontario and the Thousand Islands with us. We truly enjoyed visiting with her and hearing her stories. Thanks Julie for all the information.

April 22, 2012

April 21 – Great Bridge, VA

Atlantic Yacht Basin

It was such a beautiful day…just too nice to stay on the boat. We decided to take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to the Delmarva Peninsula. The CBBT was opened in 1964 and connects Southeastern Virginia with the Delmarva Peninsula. It’s a 17.6 miles engineering marvel that crosses over and under open waters where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. The tunnel consists of more than 12 miles of trestle roadway, two mile long tunnels, two bridges, four man-made islands, almost two miles of causeway, and 5.5 miles of approach roads, totaling 23 miles. We have now traveled on and under the Chesapeake Bay.

The Eastern Shore of Virginia is very pretty, dotted with beautiful farmland, quaint little towns full of history and neat little harbors and beaches. We visited Cape Charles, for many years they were the terminal for the Little Creek-Cape Charles Ferry, providing passenger and car ferry service across the bay to Norfolk and Hampton. It’s now a charming little town with art shops, beaches, marinas, golf courses and a wonderful view of the Chesapeake Bay. We ate lunch at Kelly’s Gingernut Pub, which is located in a 1907 bank building, wandered through the shops and then looked for sea glass. We actually found a beach full of glass…more than we have found anywhere, but most of it wasn’t worth keeping.

In June the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia will celebrate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of the Star Spangled Banner. To celebrate these historical events OpSail 2012 has planned activities that will range from the traditional Parades of Sail, ship tours, spectacular fireworks, concerts and festivals, educational events and programs, Adopt a Ship opportunities, and crew sporting events along Virginia's Waterfronts and in many Virginia communities. Many of the tall ships will be in Cape Charles. It would be amazing to see the tall ships and be a part of the parade of boats, but it will probably be a zoo. I think I’m glad we will be out of the area by then.

The start of the CBBT
Information on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
Looking from Island 1 to Island 2, the large ship is about to go over where the first tunnel runs
One of the tunnels on our way to the Delmarva Peninsula
Mason Ave. Cape Charles
Kelley's Gingernut Pub
Stores along Mason Ave. in Cape Charles
Watson Hardware in downtown Cape Charles
One of the beaches we found glass on today