June 5 to June 11

June 5, 2011  Cambridge, MD (Day 2)

Overnight, we had thunder, lightning, and a rainshower.  That’s the first rain we’ve had in 3-4 weeks.  It’s nice that it came overnight and not during the daylight hours.  We woke to cloudy skies and 68 degree temps.  We had a leisurely morning, while waiting for the arrival of our FL neighbors, Wayne and Jane Medford.
We made plans to meet for lunch at 11:00 at Snappers, the restaurant near the boat. They traveled from Seaford, DE to meet us, about a 40 minute drive.  We had a great lunch, enjoyed their company and conversation.  They gave us a tour of the city of Cambridge and the surrounding area by car…..something that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.  Since they were both familiar with the area from working and living nearby, they were excellent tour guides!  We learned that the DelMarVa peninsula between Chesapeake and Delaware Bays is called that because it stands for Del (Delaware), Mar (Maryland) Va (Virginia).  Thanks so much, Wayne and Jane, for coming to visit us! We had a wonderful time.   After they left, we took Auggie for a walk and just hung out on this lazy Sunday afternoon.  The guys sat in the bar watching NASCAR and drinking $1.50 Natty Boh beer (National Bohemian), I did some reading, and Pam took a bike ride.  A sailboat came in and anchored in the harbor, and an American Tug tied to the wall behind Donny’s boat for the night.  It was still quiet along the wall, except for the band that played at Snappers for the Sunday Deck Party.  (There was enough room for at least 5 good-sized boats along the length of the entire wall, so we still had room for more.)
The rain clouds came and went all afternoon, but none of them dropped any rain on us.  Later, Pam, Bob, and I took a dinghy ride down Cambridge Creek.
The river was lined with crab boats and condos, among all kinds of other boats, like these oyster boats.
We noticed an old skipjack across the creek.  These sailing skipjacks are allowed to harvest many times more oysters than a regular oyster boat because they do it under sail.  The mast and boom were actual tree trunks, probably solid cedar.  They are really unusual boats.
As we came around the corner, the Dorothy E. Megan, an authentic paddlewheel tour boat, entered the harbor, passed through the bridge, and paddled its way down Cambridge Creek and back.  
After our dinghy ride, we returned to our boat, ate a light dinner, and relaxed with some TV.  Tomorrow we’ll all travel across the Choptank River to Oxford, about 12 miles away. 
June 6, 2011 Cambridge to Oxford anchorage

We had a short rain shower overnight and still had overcast skies this morning.  Auggie sat outside in back and got his morning dose of sunshine.
We took our leisurely time getting ready to leave and Gallivant was already set to go.  They pulled away from the dock about 8:30 and we followed shortly thereafter at 9:15.  The winds were calm and the temps were in the high 60’s.  We only had a short 13.7 miles to go so there wasn’t any need to rush.  It was a smooth ride on the Tred Avon River to Oxford.
The wind picked up a little as we neared the town.  Gallivant dropped anchor near Schooner’s Restaurant and we went a little further down Town Creek. 

As a side note from Bob, the sonar died about 6 miles back.  In the past, leaving it off until we really needed it, seemed to make it start working again.  I restarted the sonar as we began to anchor….multiple times… and then finally pronounced it “dead”.  (It’s always nice to know how deep the water is where you’re going to anchor.) I got out the spare sonar that we use for the dinghy and it decided to only operate in “demo” mode.  Fortunately, about this time a sailboat left the anchorage and we took his spot.  If it was deep enough for them,  it would be deep enough for us. 

We ended up putting our anchor down just past marker #9 across from the Hinckley Boatyard at 11:00.  Later on, Bob got the spare sonar to work and we could see we were sitting in 8 feet of water.
We relaxed a little and did some trip planning, made some phone calls, did some Internet research for a new sonar, and had lunch.  Later, we dinghied over to Gallivant to see what plans they had for the day.  We decided to take both dinghies to shore to look at the town.  Bob and I went ahead to take a quick trip down to the end of the creek.  We met up with Pam and Don at the Hinckley dinghy dock at the foot of Market Street.
We walked down Market Street to Morris Street, the main street that runs along the water. Within two blocks of the dinghy dock there was a beautiful park on the Tred Avon River, a post office, and a dog park.  On Morris Street, the Oxford Museum was open so we went inside to discover all kinds of interesting facts and the history of Oxford.  Oxford was declared an official port in 1683 and in 1694 was receiving goods and salt from Great Britain, wine from Spain, rum and sugar from the West Indies, slaves from Africa, and indentured servants and convicts from Scotland and Ireland.  They exported to England, tobacco, furs, pine, tar, and barrel staves.  Oxford is one of the oldest towns on the Eastern Shore and one of the oldest in continuous existence in the U.S.  We walked past the Oxford Library (housed in a former grocery and confectionary store) with beautiful hydrangeas in bloom at its entrance.
We had to make a stop at the Oxford Market just to see what they had inside.  It was well-stocked with groceries and a deli where they made fresh sandwiches.  
We discovered that the town was running their 3rd Annual Picket Fence Contest.  History shows that Oxford’s homes were graced with unique picket fences.  They used the “onion dome with center hole” design.  All the sample fences are painted by local artists and will be on display around town until mid-September when they will be auctioned off.  Proceeds will go to local charities of the artists’ choice.  Here are a few examples I discovered around town.
Walking through town we saw some beautifully maintained, older houses. 
One interesting place was called the Grapevine House, built in 1798.  It got its name from the grapevine that was planted there in 1810 and is still growing today.
Near the shore, we came across the Robert Morris Inn, famous for its crabcakes.  One of the reviews said the food was fabulous, but be sure to bring your fat wallet.   It is beautifully restored inside with oak woodwork. 
It was right across the street from the ferry which travels across the Tred Avon River between Oxford and Bellevue.  It is the oldest privately operating ferry in the U.S. and has operated continuously since 1863.

We walked down towards the beach, known as The Strand, where a family was enjoying the water.
Turning on Tilghman Street we located Cutts and Case Shipyard where we looked at vintage boats and maritime memorabilia.  Cutts and Case are well-known for their patented planking method of boat building.

They do beautiful boat building and restoration.
Walking along the streets in town, we were able to stay in the shade of the mature trees most of the time.  The sun was warm, but the shade provided the cooling relief we needed.
Our last stop was Schooner’s Restaurant and Bar.  Bob and Donny headed for the bar to partake in a cool beverage, while Pam and I made our way towards the Scottish Highlands Creamery where they make their own ice cream.  I chose the fresh crushed strawberry and Pam had the vanilla and rocky road.  It hit the spot!  We all hung out at the outside bar area for awhile, near the water where we found a refreshing breeze.  About 2:30, we got a call from my friend, Joan.  She and 2 of her friends were in the area on their sailboat and would be making a stop in Oxford.  We made arrangements to meet at Schooners as soon as they got the boat tied up to the ferry dock.  (You can dock there for 3 hours to walk into town.)  Joan is from Ohio and spends her winters in Palmetto, FL.  She comes to the Chesapeake every June to sail with her friends and was here on her annual trip.  Before Bob and I left on this trip, she was kind enough to share her knowledge of the area with me and we had hoped to meet up in Chesapeake Bay at some point.  Her friends, Earl and Paula, helped to make that happen.  Thanks, Earl and Paula!  We had a nice visit for a couple of hours while we shared boating stories and information about places to go.  It was good to see another familiar face from home!  Thanks for stopping by, Joan! 
After awhile the guys left to go get Auggie and bring him to shore.  After we said our goodbyes to Joan and her friends, Pam and I followed.  We all ended up meeting at the dinghy dock and went back to our respective boats to relax and make dinner.  After dinner, Bob and I took Auggie ashore for his evening walk.  The sun was going down, taking with it, the heat of the day.  Auggie enjoyed his romp in the grass and back at the boat we all waited for darkness to fall.  The stars and moon came out to light up the evening sky.  There were 3 other boats in the anchorage with us tonight and all was quiet on the water.
June 7, 2011 Oxford, MD anchorage (Day 2)

We slept with the hatches and door open last night.  Being on the water provides a nice cooling effect at night.  I was awakened by the wakes of the watermen’s boats as they left on their morning run about 5:30 and tried to get back to sleep, but it was no use.  The sky started to lighten up with the sunrise–creating a spectrum of rainbow colors on the water.  I just had to get up and see the sunrise!  It was beautiful, as always.
The birds began chirping their morning hellos and it was just me and the other early morning risers.  I sat out back, while Bob slept on, and enjoyed the coolness and peace that that time of the day brings.  As people began waking up, there was more and more activity—crabbers checking their traps, rowers in their skulls, a white goose foraging for food, and a beautiful white swan that came swimming by.
The day had officially begun.  The forecast is calling for hot temps for the next couple of days….94, 97!  Yikes! Bob took Auggie and I to shore so Auggie could play in the park while Bob read the newspaper.
With his eagle eyes, Bob spotted a laundromat at Hinckley’s Boatyard, so after lunch we took our laundry over there and did a couple of loads of wash.  We both got some reading in, while we waited for the wash to get done.  After getting back to the boat and putting our wash away, we picked Auggie up and went back to the park to sit in the shade and watch the boats go up and down the river, while Auggie ran and chased squirrels.  He thought he could fine one in this hole, but no such luck.

Well, how about either of these?  Any squirrels in there?
He had a blast, although I worried if he went in too far, I’d never get him out.  We came back to the dinghy dock after our time in the park, to discover that the city workers, who had repaired the dock earlier in the day, had nailed our dinghy line to a piling with a huge nail.  By chance or on purpose?  We’ll never know.  There was no way we could remove the line without cutting it, so Bob hunted down a knife from a gentleman next door who was kind enough to let us borrow it.  We had to cut off about a foot of line and leave it behind.  Hmmmm.  I guess it makes for a good story anyhow.  We dropped Auggie off at the boat and went to Schooners to meet Pam and Don, the people we met in Crisfield, and some friends they met in the Solomons. 
Donny had a bucket of mussels and Pam had a soft shell crab sandwich.  Yum!  It made everyone hungry!  We enjoyed lots of boating stories, some drinks, and appetizers before all going back to our boats for the evening. We watched more boats come in to the anchorage for the night.  That would make 4.  It was quite a fiasco watching some of these inexperienced people anchor, but it made for good entertainment.  Bob and I made dinner and Bob took Auggie to shore for his evening walk.  We saw a great sunset and watched a DVD before hitting the pillows. Tomorrow we move on to Trippe Creek.

June 8, 2011  Oxford anchorage to Trippe Creek, Pirate’s Cove anchorage

It was already 79 degrees when we woke up.  We checked the weather forecast, as we always do every morning, and found out today’s high is supposed to be 94 with a heat index of 104.  Yikes!  After breakfast, we took Auggie ashore for his morning run.  We then prepared the boat for departure.  We would first stop at Campbell’s at Jack’s Point Marina to do a pumpout (self-serve) and fill our water tanks.  We were on our way to Trippe Creek, off the Tred Avon River at 10:30.  We chose this creek because it’s said to be beautiful (most are) and you can swim there.  It may be fed by underground springs!  We took a slow ride up the Tred Avon Creek at 6 mph and dropped anchor in Pirate’s Cove about 11:00.  Our short trip today took us 3.9 miles.
We heard a boat calling on the radio named Sea Nile.  Cute name! (That’s how I envision the spelling of it anyways.)  Pam and Don arrived about 2 hours later and anchored near us.  Bob, Auggie, and I took the dinghy and went exploring.  We found a road access where we could walk Auggie amid all the big estates.  Here are just a couple on the branch of the river that we could see from our anchorage.  
After our ride, we brought Auggie back to the boat to cool off and Bob and I went over to Gallivant to discuss the plan for the next week.  Donny ran his AC, so we all sat in comfort.  After awhile, we headed back to our boat to take a swim.  The water was refreshing and the tiny minnows nibbled at my toes.
Bob donned his hat, life vest, scrub brush, and set of suction cups to scrub the waterline on the hull, all the way around the boat. 
It was getting pretty slimy.  Auggie had to come take a look. 

Afterwards, we showered on the back of the boat and prepared dinner.  It was chicken on the grill tonight….one of my favorites. As the sun was starting to sink in the west, we took Auggie to shore for the last time tonight and later relaxed in the cockpit as teh sun went down and before any bugs came out.  We ran the AC (very cold) before going to bed, hoping it would stay cold for awhile—-at least until it cooled off enough outside to open the hatches.  It would be a warm night.

June 9, 2011 Trippe Creek, Pirate’s Cove anchorage to St. Michael’s anchorage

We slept pretty comfortably last night until about 4:00 when we opened the hatches and put on the fan. This morning we were awakened by a crabber working a trot line around the boat creating wakes.  As the boat rocked back and forth, we tried to get back to sleep, but gave in and got up. It was going to be another hot one–95 degrees.  At 7 AM, it was already 84 degrees.  After taking Auggie to shore, we pulled anchor at 9:15 and were on the move by 9:30.  Trippe Creek  was already filled with watermen working their trot lines.  We would be leaving the Tred Avon River and re-entering the Choptank River to Broad Creek.  Then up Broad Creek to San Domingo Creek.  We would be coming in the “back door” of St. Michaels and anchor in the creek, instead of going all the way around to the main harbor.  From there we can get to town by taking the dinghy to the watermen’s dock and walking a block to the main street.  We followed Gallivant for 2 reasons.  1.  They had a depth sounder that worked.  2.  They had been to St. Michaels before.  That was our destination today.  St. Michaels is named after St. Michael, the Archangel, after the Christ Episcopal Church of St. Michael’s the Archangel parish, founded in 1677.  St. Michael’s was an early shipbuilding town.  Baltimore Clippers-the fastest sailing vessels of their time, were built here.  Later, St. Michael’s became a packing house center for seafood and tomatoes.  Former Vice President Dick Chaney and the former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld own houses in the area.  The movie “Wedding Crashers” was filmed in the area and at the Inn at Perry Cabin in town.  It is the most “touristy town” we’ve been to so far.  We motored slowly, creating our own breeze, and arrived in San Domingo Creek at 11:30 and dropped anchor after 16.7 miles. 
We put on the AC and sat inside to cool off.  The cockpit thermometer read 107 degrees by now.  That couldn’t be right!  We got Auggie all settled in and cooled down.  Then we went to town in our dinghies.  We all took umbrellas to keep the sun off of us. 
We probably looked pretty silly, but we didn’t care.  We tied up at the dinghy dock at the foot of the park where we saw an old covered footbridge.  We haven’t seen one of those in a long time. 
We walked down Chew St., where we saw some neat scroll architecture on some of the older homes.  
That brought us to Talbot St. – the main street in town.  We walked along the street ducking in and out of the stores, shops, and restaurants to cool off in their AC.  Someone even put out a cooler with free bottles of water to take.  That was thoughtful!  St. Michael’s has 3 grocery stores in town.  We hit 2 out of the 3 and all were very well-stocked.  We will have to go back tomorrow to pick up a few things.  We checked out Characters, the sports and patio bar.  They had some good dinner deals.
Our next stop was the Carpenter Street Saloon – where the locals like to hang out.  It used to be a bank and still has the vault in back.  We had a couple Natty Boh beers and some popcorn, cooled off, and moved on.
Donny and Bob left and walked down towards the marinas.  They checked out all the big boats and stopped for a beer at the Crab and Steak House.  Meanwhile, Pam and I checked out the shops, galleries, and stopped for an ice cream at the ice cream shop.  We walked past Christ Episcopal Church of St. Michael’s the Archangel parish.
We were tempted to ride the trolley because of the heat, but it wasn’t air-conditioned and not for public use at this time.
We walked as far as the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and then switched to the other side of the street. 

Pam and I were working our way back towards the dinghy dock, when we got a call from the guys.  It was time for Bob and I to head back to the boat to check on Auggie and make dinner.  Pam and Don would stay in town and catch dinner there. We ate an early dinner today and took Auggie to the town park when the heat of the day subsided.  He enjoyed his romp in the park. As we were leaving, Pam and Don were coming back from dinner.  We met up with them at the dinghy dock.

We all went back to our boats to sit in the comfort of our AC and wait until the sun went down.  It couldn’t come soon enough. The official high temp today was 99 degrees with a heat index of 110.  Whew! 

June 10, 2011 St. Michael’s anchorage (Day 2)

Well!  That was an interesting night!  The weather report on TV last night, showed severe thunderstorms to the north and south of us, but we went to bed pretty confident we wouldn’t be in jeopardy.  Around 12:30, I was awakened  because the sound of the waves on the hull had changed.  I got up and went out into the cockpit to have a look.  The wind had changed direction  and had picked up.  We were now facing in a completely different  direction, so our anchor had flipped over and came unlocked.  I stood out there watching the “electric light show”, aka lightning, when I realized we were not in the same place as when we put the anchor down.  I yelled for Bob to get up, but he was in such a deep sleep that he didn’t hear me.  I ran inside to wake him up and just about that time, the anchor alarm we had set, went off.  We had moved!  It wasn’t my imagination!  We both sat up and kept a vigil watch for awhile.  Bob reset the parameters of the GPS for our new position and we waited.  The wind and lightning moved on, so I went back to bed, while Bob sat up a little longer.  Finally, after about 30 minutes he came to bed.  About 15 minutes later, the rain started.  It rained hard and steady for about 30 minutes and then it was gone.  We both fell back to sleep after opening the hatches and putting on the fan.  Hours later, we were awakened by more lightning flashes and thunder off in the distance.  We waited for the sound of raindrops, but it never came and we went back to sleep.  In the morning, we were awakened by a crabber doing his thing around our boat.  It’s just a “given” now, so we laid in bed discussing  what happened last night.  I asked Bob to refresh my memory and explain in more detail, how the anchor alarm worked.  I lacked confidence in it’s ability to do the job and I thought if I understood better how it worked that would calm my fears.  Bob determined that the anchor had dragged 100 feet.  Luckily, the storm had moved on and/or the anchor hooked up again, but either way we stayed where we were for the night.  We took Auggie to shore early while it was cool.  Once we got back, we decided to choose another spot and re-anchor the boat.  We wanted to make sure it was securely set, in case, we got another storm tonight.  Bob took the dinghy and checked the depth around the boat with our portable depth sounder to see how deep it was around us, in case the anchor broke free again.  That would tell us how much space we would have before going aground. While he was checking the depth, a waterman came over.  We had mistakenly anchored on top of his trot line.  Bob apologized and helped him get his line back without a problem.  He was very friendly and grateful.  Once Bob was confident about where we were now anchored, we took the dinghy to town before it got hot.  Auggie slept, curled up, in AC comfort. 
We got to town about 10:30 and there were very few people on the streets.
We walked to the waterfront (“front door to St. Michael’s” on the Miles River) where the marinas are. 
We walked along Mill Street where 3 original waterfront homes still sit as part of the historical district and preserved as they were.  
We got close enough to the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse which is part of the Maritime Museum and sits on the grounds there.  
We didn’t go into the museum, but could see a little skipjack displayed out in front.
We ran into Lisa and Al Fitapaldi (boat name Azar) and chatted with them about the storm last night.  Pam and Don introduced us when we were all in the Solomons.  They are from San Antonio, TX.  They went into the museum and we moved on.  From the waterfront, we could see 2 cannons sitting in St. Mary’s Square.
From there we walked down Mulberry Street looking for the Cannonball House.  It was the only brick house on the street and story has it that when St. Michael’s was shelled by the British in a night attack in 1813, the town was blacked out and lanterns were hung in the treetops to lead the attackers to think that the town was on a high bluff.  The houses were overshot and the cannonball hit the chimney and rolled down the attic stairway.  There is no visual sign from the outside of where the cannonball hit, but it’s a cool house just the same. 
We left there and went to have some lunch at the Carpenter Street Saloon.  This tavern was built in 1874 and has served the community as a bank (the vault serves as a cooler), newspaper office, post office, and telephone company.  Pam and Don joined us there for awhile.  We were chatting with a salesman in the bar about the town, when he heard us say we needed some gas for the dinghy.  He offered to drive Bob to the nearest gas station if we would “pay a favor forward”.  That was so nice!  So Bob left with him and I planned to meet him back at the dinghy dock.  I left after paying the lunch bill, but had to stop in the Christ Church for a minute to see the inside.  Christ Church was built in 1878 of Port Deposit stone.  It has beautiful dark oak woodwork and altar with a huge organ.  Someone was practicing on it, so I got an added treat to listen to its beautiful sounds.
I made a quick stop at the grocery store for a fresh-baked loaf of apple spice bread and then back to the dinghy dock to meet Bob.  He was already there and waiting, so we were on our way back to the boat in no time.  We relaxed in the AC with Auggie and around 4:30 went back to town to meet Pam and Don at the Carpenter Street Saloon.  I took a quick detour to see the Tarr House, built as a plantation home about 1661.  It now serves as a B and B.
We sat for awhile, had a few beers, and then headed across the street to the grocery story for a few items.  We carried everything back to the dinghy and went back to the boat to have a light dinner.  After dinner, we took Auggie to the park for his last walk of the evening and ran into the waterman from this morning.  We had a nice conversation with him and learned a lot more about crabbing.  He is such a nice guy.  We let him get back to work and we went back to the boat for the night.  The clouds in the sky were forming thunderheads and it looked like it might storm.  Pam and Don decided to re-anchor their boat near us where the holding was better.  By that time, the clouds had disappeared and things looked less ominous.  The sun popped out of the clouds long enough to create a beautiful sunset.
We went below to watch the rest of our movie from yesterday. While we were watching the movie, the generator started to overheat.  Bob went below to check it out and found that the sea strainer was clogged with weeds.
Good thing he noticed it before it caused any serious problems and it was easy to fix.  We went to sleep, hoping that we wouldn’t have a repeat of last night’s weather. 
June 11, 2011  St. Michael’s anchorage #3 to Weems Cr., Annapolis

There were no storms overnight so we had a restful sleep.  We slept a little later today than usual, probably due to our interrupted night of storms.  Either way, it felt good!  We took Auggie to sore for a quick trip and hauled anchor to get underway just before 9:00.  It was a hazy, humid day with a breeze and a chance of rain this afternoon and evening.  We followed Gallivant at 9 mph to Knapp’s Narrows, a narrow cut through Tilghman Island which provides a shortcut between the Choptank River and Chesapeake Bay.
On the Choptank River, we had 1′ waves and on the Bay it was pretty flat.  We picked another good day to cross. We left Knapp’s Narrows at 10:30 and headed diagonally across the Bay for about 20 miles to the Severn River.  As we neared the western shore, we experienced disorganized waves (chop), thicker haze, and light rain for a short time.  There was a storm cell near the Annapolis area, that was headed our way that we saw on the radar, so we made a slight detour on our path to get around it. We passed the Thomas Point Lighthouse sitting out in the bay. It is a very distinctive lighthouse design. 
As we neared the Annapolis area, the boat traffic increased dramatically—sailboats, pleasure boats, ships, and fishing boats….everywhere.
It was a zoo on this Saturday afternoon.  
The sun came out and cleared off the haze, but it made it very hot and humid.  To add to all the chaos and confusion, the Annapolis Yacht Club and other organizations were having sailing regattas today.  There must have been hundreds of sailboats on the Bay.
The Bay waters flattened out the closer we got to Annapolis.  We entered Spa Creek, the main harbor for Annapolis, and gave ourselves a tour around the harbor.  
It was crazy in there.  We hadn’t seen this many boats in one place since we left Norfolk.  As we entered the harbor we had the Naval Academy on our right.
Further in, we came upon the marinas, the Capitol building, and downtown.  
We took a quick loop around and headed back out.  We didn’t want to deal with the madness today.  Tomorrow, when the weekend people go home, we’ll try and find a place in Ego Alley on the wall, (a thin slice of water where boaters come to parade their craft), for a few days.  It’s on a first come, first served basis.  That always makes things interesting.  For tonight, we went a few more miles up the Severn River to Weems Creek where we anchored for the night. 
We dropped anchor near the opening to the creek at 2:30 and once we cooled off we took Auggie ashore at the boat landing nearby for a walk. 
After a walk, all 3 of us went over to Gallivant for a nice reprieve from the heat and sat on their boat in the AC.  Our trip today brought us 43.2 miles in 5 hours.  The boat traffic out on the Severn River was crazy which created waves coming into the creek where we anchored.  The boat rocked a lot until the boaters went home for the night and things calmed down.  Bob checked the generator and Auggie checked on Bob.
We ate a skillet dinner and later Bob took Auggie for his last walk of the day. I relaxed on the back of the boat waiting for them to return as the sun went down.

It had finally cooled off and the sun was changing the sky from blue to purple and pink as it set behind the clouds.  Donny and Pam enjoyed their dinner out on the back deck of their boat and the waves subsided.
We hit the pillows early after a long, hot, steamy day.