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May 17, 2013

10

Our First Week of Cruising: Solomons and Oxford, MD

by frankandems

We are coming up on a week since we pulled out of the slip in Annapolis for our first stage of adventure and it feels like we’ve been out here for so much longer! Uhm, I meant that in a very good way, not in the “we spent a month on the water one week” kind of way! It feels like longer because it feels strangely comfortable and natural. (If you’ve cruised before and you’re reading this, you can stop snickering now while thinking, “Oh yeah . . . just wait.”) Of course, it’s easier for it to feel comfortable on a day that has been as idyllic as today . . . talk to us after it’s been raining for a full week and maybe we’ll sound a little less pie in the sky; but, for now, this has been a wonderful start.  We’ll share a few pictures and thoughts from our visits to Solomons and Oxford this week as well as some observations about life on a boat.

Also, I’m putting this disclaimer out here now: some of our friends and family are boaters . . . some are not. If I throw in an explanation about a sailing/boating term, please don’t be offended, boaters! I know YOU know what it means. But I’m thinking it might be fun for some non-boaters to learn a little something about this along the way, too, so please be understanding!

Last Sunday we headed off to Solomons Island, MD. Although it was a little chilly, the wind was perfect (NW 10- 15 knots gusting to 20+) and we got there without tacking or jibing! (Land people, that’s a very good thing . . . it means less work for the crew. You set the sails once and you don’t have to do too much else to them after that. ) One of my sisters, upon hearing this, reminded me that it also meant that I had to find another way of getting a workout in that day. Sisters are oh-so-helpful!

We had been to Solomon’s once before last fall and enjoyed it. Here is some of our visit in pictures. If you want to see the larger version of a picture, just click on it:

The view from the wheel during our sail to Solomons Island, MD

The view from the wheel during our sail to Solomons Island, MD

Frank testing the jack lines - things that keep you tethered to the boat in bad weather

Frank testing the jack lines – things that keep you tethered to the boat in bad weather

Captain at the helm

Captain at the helm

A view of the Maritime Museum in Solomons

A view of the Maritime Museum in Solomons close to our anchorage

Okay, sing it with me now Elton John fans . . . "Take me to the pilot . . ."

Okay, sing it with me now Elton John fans . . . “Take me to the pilot . . .” I hope the letters on the side of the boat are big enough to make that make sense.

The nearby naval air station training provided some great entertainment.

The nearby naval air station training provided some great entertainment.

A nice evening in the cockpit to break out the guitars!

A nice evening in the cockpit to break out the guitars!

Walking along the waterfront in Solomons

Walking along the waterfront in Solomons

An important run to land in the dinghy...

An important run to land in the dinghy…

...for provisions!

…for provisions!

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Frank’s idea of heaven: an ice cream cone 10 times the size of his head!

A couple of the ongoing challenges on the boat:  1) finding secure storage for stuff and 2) boat maintenance. A few examples:

Space in the galley

Bungees, stick-on hooks and industrial strength Velcro are our friends!

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Yes, my olive oil has a seat belt. What’s your point?

A new place for the produce to hang out

A new place for the produce to hang out

 

This is the "write your own caption" part of the post

This is the “write your own caption” part of the post

 

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This is Frank servicing the winches. And still I giggle every time he says, “I’m going to service the winches.”

Other notes about live aboard strategy: water management and power management. We left Annapolis with two full water tanks . . . it is 5 days later and we still have some water left! You have no idea how good that is for us . . . okay, especially me (MM). Besides, if Frank thinks I use too much water when I wash the dishes, guess what that means???? Yup . . . guess who’s doing the dishes! We have become very creative about the ways to use water efficiently. Could we leave at any time to go to the marina close by to fill up? Yup. But risk losing our perfect spot? No way!  We installed solar panels last year which have been tremendous. For the three of you out there (my brother, the electrical engineer, being one) for whom this will be of interest, we broke a record making over 150 amp hours with our panels today! That means we haven’t had to run the generator or the engine to fill our batteries. We have had plenty of power to do what we need including charging our technology. We get very excited about such things. Scary, I know. But there is truly something about being that self sufficient that is pretty cool. Onto the next topic: Wednesday we sailed to Oxford, MD, one of our very favorite places. We’ve come here several times over the last few years . . . and it holds a very special place in our hearts because we anchored up here in June two years ago to get married on the boat. We are anchored in the exact same spot this week. Oxford is a stately little eastern shore town with beautiful homes and gardens. It has some restaurants and facilities, but it is not highly commercial and is a little slower in its pace. It really does feel like stepping back in time about 30 years. Here are some of the sights around Oxford.

Mary Marie on watch

Ems behind the wheel on the way to Oxford

Coming into Oxford ... the gold building is the Robert Morris Inn where we had dinner after our wedding. An old Scottish Inn with a wonderful chef and great staff.

Coming into Oxford … the gold building is the Robert Morris Inn where we had dinner after our wedding. An old Scottish Inn with a wonderful chef and great staff.

 

Our anchorage in Oxford. Maybe we'll leave tomorrow . .  maybe not!

Our anchorage in Oxford. Maybe we’ll leave tomorrow . . maybe not!

 

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A beautiful sunset our first evening. Met the nice people in the boat to the right

Morning Coffee Spot in Oxford

My spot for drinking coffee the next morning

ice cream

Here’s what is the most exciting product of Oxford for Frank! The most amazing Scottish Ice cream. He must visit there at least once a day.

The view from Schooners, Friday's lunch spot. Eleanor Q is sitting in the background. They serve a tasty jambalaya for not being in the south.

The view from Schooners, Friday’s lunch spot. Eleanor Q is sitting in the background. They serve a tasty jambalaya (for not being in the deep south.)

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Another beautiful evening. We had cocktails with the people in the sailboat pictured behind us. They’ve sailed to the Bahamas 14 times and had valuable info to share.

Today we felt like true cruisers: We dinghied to town to buy groceries, did our laundry at the coin operated machines at the local marina, and while waiting for the wash, rented two bicycles and cruised town (including a trip to the post office to mail in a defective piece of equipment to Raymarine, but that’s another story).

A backpack full of supplies from the local market. Grocery restocking without a car is interesting!

A backpack full of supplies from the local market. Grocery restocking without a car is interesting!

Bike Riding along the Strand in Oxford

Bike Riding along the Strand in Oxford

Sights along our ride

Sights along our ride

 

Dinner on the Grill - but where did the fish come from?

Dinner on the Grill – but where did the fish come from?

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You know what a fish tale is?

And we’ll just leave it there for now!

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Caroline
    May 18 2013

    Excellent report. Good snaps. You have a future as a professional blogger, “EMS”.

    Reply
  2. Cheryl
    May 18 2013

    Great photos and musings! Keep it up. Looking forward to journeying with you, vicariously for now. But ohhhh, my heart yearns for a similar adventure, complete with water rationing and provisioning via a dinghy. Enjoy!

    Reply
  3. Christine
    May 18 2013

    Enjoyed the blog, got Mama set up for the e-mails!

    Reply
  4. Donna & Rich
    May 18 2013

    Oh, fun! As the fishing has started up again around here in Illinois/Wisconsin, we’re hoping for some of Frank’s luck with the catch of the day!

    Reply
    • May 25 2013

      Uhm…it’s a special kind of luck…all is not necessarily at it appears, that’s all I’m sayin’! Enjoy your fishing!

      Reply
  5. Excellent read! Particularly the part about the ice cream! We are heading to Oxxford for Memorial Day weekend. Going to get one of those cones!

    Reply
  6. Michelle Bell Mallon
    May 25 2013

    Looks like your having a great time.

    Reply
  7. Mush
    May 26 2013

    Finally found the blog but about a week behind – amazing how Mary Marie brings all the beauty to the photos. I am catching a recurring theme centered around eating and adult beverages – all good. Look forward to hooking up with you next month off the Jersey shore. You both look great and very happy – it doesn’t get any better.

    Reply

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