Skip to content

October 23, 2013

8

Back Where We Started: Annapolis and the Next Leg

by frankandems
Well approximately 1,200 miles and 5 states later, we came back to Annapolis where this adventure began.  Before returning to Annapolis, we left Oxford and really got away from it all in the Wye River via Knapps Narrows. We discovered a new activity: bait fish rodeo!! I (Ems) was at the wheel for the last part of the trip coming into Eastern Bay when we started seeing large schools of bait fish. Frank had thought he wanted to try his hand at crabbing again the next day except that we had no chicken parts left as bait. He got the idea of trying to catch some of the bait fish to use instead. And so the fish rodeo began! I would see the school of “boiling” fish and head straight for them, cutting the engine way back as we approached them and gliding into their midst. Frank had pulled out the fishing rod and would cast right into the middle of the circle. Only problem was that our lures were too big, so the fish would briefly latch onto the lure, but then couldn’t really get it in their mouths. Even so, he managed to net one of the hangers on and get it in a bucket to keep for the next day. When one “boil” didn’t pay off, I’d look for another one and go after it. Anyone looking at our track on the GPS would truly think we were drunken sailors as we were truly circling and darting all over in our wild chase! We are usually maneuvering Eleanor Q in a very thoughtful, purposeful manner, so steering her like we were on a horse trying to herd cows was pretty funny! I’m sure we confused some nearby boats (not TOO nearby) who were trying to figure out our course . . . so be it. We had fish to wrangle, by golly! (Truly – we didn’t do that if anyone was very near, I promise.)
Knapps Narrows Bridge

Knapps Narrows Bridge

Knapps Narrows

Knapps Narrows

Anchored in the Wye River

Anchored in the Wye River

Frank doing some fishing.

Frank doing some fishing.

A blue heron in the bushes.

A blue heron in the bushes.

After a couple of nice days in the Wye, we  headed back to our old stomping ground. It was a beautiful October Saturday meaning that the bay was PACKED with boats.  We steered our familiar route right back to our old marina. Dean, owner of Stella’s Stern and Keel, had an open slip that we were able to rent for a couple of weeks, and when we pulled in it was just like we had left it . . . there was Dean in the yard ready with a hearty welcome and Buttercup, the yellow dog, with her mom/owner, Suzanne.  It was a very welcoming feeling and we were excited to be back in our old stomping ground.

Reunited, and it feels so good . . .

Reunited, and it feels so good . . .

Back at Stella's Stern & Keel

Back at Stella’s Stern & Keel

Stella's is at the end of Jones Cove in Back Creek. At the very end of the marina is a heron refuge. It is beautiful and peaceful back there!

Stella’s is at the end of Jones Cove in Back Creek. At the very end of the marina is a heron refuge. It is beautiful and peaceful back there!

We spent our time in Annapolis seeing friends, readying the boat for our trek south and visiting the boat show which gives us a chance to catch up with Mike, Liz and Robyn Gozzard, the builders of our boat. We met up with friends which included a “chick day” at the Boat Show with Cheryl! And sister Caroline met up with us at the end of the day, too! (That’s Ems sister Caroline – not like a nun or something.) Caroline brought a delightful dinner with her and then helped with a major grocery run the next day. Our very dear friends, Tom and Cathy, have a Brewer sailboat that they have been lovingly restoring over the last several years. We spent time catching up with them and seeing the fruits of their labor as they get ready to move aboard! They were our neighbors at Stella’s our first two years there and we have watched each others’ projects and preparations as we shared the cruising dreams over a beverage or meal. The offers of rides and help and errands from many was heartwarming, and we are always grateful for them!

Boat maintenance never ends!

Boat maintenance never ends!

Oh - the ever present laundry backpack appears. Guess what today is?

Oh – the ever present laundry backpack appears. Guess what today is?

Maryland Ave. laundromat is a dream, and the day we were there, it was a cruiser's party! It made laundry day fun, if that's possible!

Maryland Ave. laundromat is a dream, and the day we were there, it was a cruiser’s party! It made laundry day fun, if that’s possible!

Boat Show - an annual pilgrimage.

Boat Show – an annual pilgrimage.

Cheryl and I trolled the boat show. Caroline met up with us for a perch at the Marriott to watch the parade of boats leaving the city docks as the show breaks down - an event!

Cheryl and I trolled the boat show. Caroline met up with us for a perch at the Marriott to watch the parade of boats leaving the city docks as the show breaks down – an event!

Okay, we let Frank come, too.

Okay, we let Frank come, too.

After seeing the pictures from the previous day, I realized how badly in need of a real salon I was. Especially since we were going to my mom's birthday party! Bleached blonde no more - for a while. I will give up real salons, soon , I promise.

After seeing the pictures from the previous days, I realized how badly in need of a real salon I was. Especially since we were going to my mom’s birthday party! Bleached blonde no more – for a while. I will give up real salons soon , I promise.

We rented a car which we used to do a visit of the Mamas! First stop, a nice visit with Frank’s mom and bonus fly-by with two nephews while there! Always good to “chat with Pat”! Then we drove to attend Mama Rapking’s 90th birthday celebration. (That’s Ems’ mother – and yes, that is really my maiden name . . . ) All six children came in from all over the country to recognize this happy occasion! As I like to say, my mom is 90 going on 70.  Not that I am at all biased, but she is spunky, witty, affectionate and independent and we love being around her. Frank and I made use of her spare bedroom . . . and I asked her if we could pretend I was in college again so I could bring my laundry with me!! We loved having the gang together again for a couple of days . . .

Mama blowing out her candles with sister Frances behind her.

Mama blowing out her candles with sister Frances behind her.

Me and my mama!!

Me and my mama!!

We took off from Annapolis this past Sunday morning early to start making our way south. First stop, Solomon’s Island, MD for a quick overnighter. We ended up anchored by a boat that we met in Martha’s Vineyard this summer! After a quick chat with them as we rode the dinghy by, we agreed to meet up the following night in Deltaville, VA, the next night’s scheduled stop. We anchored up side by side in Fishing Creek and enjoyed cocktail hour in their very pretty and spacious cockpit.

Leaving Annapolis . . . again.

Leaving Annapolis . . . again.

We left Solomon's Island on a misty morning.

We left Solomon’s Island on a misty morning.

Gotta love this trawler who put up a GIANT inflatable pumkin on deck! What an easy way to find your boat at night!

Gotta love this trawler who put up a GIANT inflatable pumkin on deck! What an easy way to find your boat at night!

We spotted our first pelicans on the way to Deltaville!

We spotted our first pelicans on the way to Deltaville!

Feathered visitors as we sit in the cockpit of Pendragon.

Feathered visitors as we sit in the cockpit of Pendragon.

The minute we left Solomons and took a right on the bay, we were in new territory for Eleanor Q! And so we begin the next leg of our trip – the southeast coast of the U.S. First stop, Hampton, Virginia. Hampton is “right close” to Norfolk, thus major military area. As we were getting close we noticed several helicopters and a couple of fighter jets hovering over the area, and we figured that might be normal for the area. Then we heard a “securite” announcement (French pronunciation sounding like seh-cure-i-tay) commonly used on the VHF radio to alert boaters that a large vessel is underway. It announced that aircraft carrier # 71 was departing the area and going out to sea. It also reminded mariners that it is against the law to be any closer than 500 feet of a naval vessel, enforceable by force including deadly force. That certainly will make you think twice about doing a buzz by one of the navy fleet!  And sure enough, there was a Naval entourage leading the way with four heavily armed gunboats coming out first. Then we watched as the USS Theodore Roosevelt come out of the Navy base. It was surrounded by a few skiffs directing it out. The ship had just undergone a complete overhaul in August, and after passing all of its sea trials had returned to Norfolk. Carrier #77 was parked right behind it, the USS Hebert Walker Bush. Both are nuclear powered ships. Frank looked up their specs. He quizzed me, “What do you think their range is?” This means how long can the boat stay out without need of refueling. The answer: 20 – 25 years. That ship wouldn’t have to come back into port for 20 – 25 years. I imagine that there would be a mutiny before they tested that theory, but that’s the deal. It is a self contained small city. Pretty amazing. When you look at the deck of the thing, you wonder what it is like for the young pilot the very first time they ever have to land on its deck.

Navy gun boat

Navy gun boat

The gun boat entourage...

The gun boat entourage…

USS Theodore Roosevelt leaving port.

USS Theodore Roosevelt leaving port.

We settled into Hampton at the public pier, a very nice and well priced facility. Jake, the dockmaster, was delightful. We stayed for two nights since we’d covered a lot of ground in a few days and figured we deserved the rest. Once again, we ran into some sailors we had met before as well as new cruisers and a group of eight of us shared beverages and good conversation aboard one of their boats. The next day we visited the Virginia Air and Space Museum and saw “Gravity” in their IMax theater. A most delightful day. Hampton is a very attractive and welcoming town and we’ve enjoyed our stay here. My ONLY complaint is that if you have exactly one washer and one dryer in your marina, please do not call it a “laundry facility.” Just sayin’. Fortunately, it was not an urgent need for us right now. I am writing this at 11:30pm . . . perhaps I should run up and see if THE washer is available yet. Nah . . . (Laundry update before posting: the washer was open at 7:30 this morning. YES!)
And so, we’ve completed our first loop in the big adventure and are starting off on the next big piece: the southeast coast of the U.S. Tomorrow, we head for the Dismal Swamp. It’s not as bad as the name sounds . . . stay tuned!
8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Rich & Donna Darr
    Oct 24 2013

    We loved this tale of bait fishing, birthday celebration, and battleships!

    Reply
  2. Cheryl duvall
    Oct 24 2013

    Loved our chick day at the boat show! Fun to see my photo on your blog. Even more fun to read about Frank trying to catch the bait fish. They are amazing. We’ll have to try it sometime, perhaps with a net. Very interesting to learn about the nuclear ships. Wow! Looking forward to your Dismal Swamp experience. Sail safe!

    Reply
  3. Oct 24 2013

    So happy to be included in your travels. I am a great vicarious sailor. Stephany, Seaberry/Gozzard 36

    Reply
  4. Nancy Powell
    Oct 24 2013

    Wishing you smooth sailing as you work your way south.

    Reply
  5. Loretta and Jim Elliott
    Oct 24 2013

    20-25 years. Wow, who knew! I am learning so much from your blog! I have always enjoyed the boat shows, even if I didn’t buy a thing but lunch! Will continue to follow along cause now you’re on to the Dismal Swamp and I’ve never experienced that! Except for one rest stop while driving home from Florida one year that was along the Dismal Swamp! Can’t remember where though! Enjoy the moments! My sister sent me an e-mail recently and referred to me as “Fist Mate” (a typo I’m sure but now I’m wondering if it was intentional!) Loretta and Jim s/v Plan Sea

    Reply
  6. Donna Nowik
    Oct 24 2013

    I got stuck in the Dismal Swamp for HOURS during a hurricane evacuation from the Outer Banks. Hope your stay is more delightful than mine! Enjoying your blog!

    Reply
    • Oct 26 2013

      Hi there!! I was explaining our history to Frank . . . included when we would do our 11:00pm AOL chats!! Miss those!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

%d bloggers like this: