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Posts tagged ‘Chesapeake Bay’

7
Aug

The Best Laid Plans… Sailing North

Do you know that famous literary quote, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry?” Since we have no mice aboard that I know of, I’ll alter it to say, “The best laid plans of sailors often get revised.” Such was the case for us last week when we set off for our cruise to New England. After watching and waiting for a weather window, we left on August 1st at 6:11am. (My best time of day – note the sarcasm).

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Boarding the boat at dawn.

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Beautiful Sunrise… a good omen.

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Our favorite residents of #5 came out to wish us bon voyage.

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Out of the “lake” and into the bay.

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And passing under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge heading north.

Truth be told, we both were a little verklempt as we pulled away from the dock. We have been having such a good time in Annapolis, we kind of wondered if we had made the right decision to take off for a while. Frank uses an expression from his former fishing days to describe a moment like this: “You don’t leave fish to find fish.” But Eleanor Q has been sitting there staring at us, pleading to go out for more than a day sail or an overnight trip. “Let’s GO,” we could hear her saying. And she’s right. So off we went.

Plan A was to travel most of the day up the bay, proceed on through the C&D canal and anchor up on the Delaware side at Reedy Island. The next day we would transit down the Delaware Bay, up the NJ coast, through NYC and into Pt. Washington, all without stopping. We’ve done it once before – it does knock a big chunk off of the trip early and we wanted to get to Long Island Sound rather quickly. That second part would take about 1.5 days straight. We were set. Right? Day 1 executed as planned.

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Anchored up at Reedy Island

Day 2 we headed down the Delaware and made it to Cape May in record time with favorable current. We rounded the tip of NJ in sunshine and a nice breeze, threw up the sails (unfurled them, not upchucked them), turned off the engine and stared at Frank’s home town, admiring the beach-goers, the light house and Cape May in all its glory.

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A veritable traffic jam on the Delaware

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Ems’ shift – check out the new enclosure! And Ems looking much more awake than earlier…

Yeah, 6am – not my best time of day…

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Left: The caffeine has NOT hit my bloodstream yet and I didn’t even get to brush my hair! Right: Try to look perky? I’ll show you perky, HONEY!(code for “asshole”) But let me get this damn hair out of my face first!

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You know you’re almost to the Atlantic when you see the Cape May-Lewes ferries cross in front of you

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Frank loving life as he admires his Cape May

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The parasail captain brought his passengers in for a closer look at us. We waved at the flyers and they waved back!

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More recreational vehicles off of Cape May

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If you want to parasail in Cape May, I guess I would call this number…

We were just about to set up the coast on this beautiful day when we thought, “Hey, let’s take a quick peek at the radar map.” Good plan.

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Okay, bad plan. Ah crap. Really? But it’s sunny and we’re sailing. It’s perfect (we whined, admittedly). We, of course, are the blue dot. Now, not that we haven’t been in thunderstorms on the boat before, and she can handle it… but there were more up the coast as well. When given a choice, do we really want to be in the ocean, overnight in thunderstorms? No, not really. There are very few “bail out” points on the NJ coast, but Cape May is certainly one of them, so we turned on the engine, took down the sails and made a hard turn to port and into the Cape May Inlet to settle in for the night. Sigh. The best laid plans… As it turned out, Plan B turned out to be a better plan in the long run. We had been running pretty ragged getting everything ready to go, so a decent night’s sleep and a better frame of mind to do our first overnighter in a couple of years was not a bad thing. Plan B was better than Plan A. Based on our NEW plan and timing the currents in NY, we didn’t have to leave until 11am the next morning. There is not much of an anchorage available in Cape May right now due to dredging equipment taking up a good portion of that space, but we found a little spot right beside the Coast Guard station, and right beside a piling with an osprey nest…

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We had a surprise visitor land on top of us while sitting in the cockpit! An adolescent osprey got pushed out of the nest and this is where he landed!

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Pretty sure he was saying, “What the hell just happened?? And who are you?”

That osprey made a serious “thud” when he landed… and didn’t look like he knew how to get off. We finally scared him enough with our incessant picture taking that he landed with a splash all splayed out in the water. Kids. He finally gathered himself and managed to take off out of the drink.

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This is us running out of the restaurant and back to the dinghy to get to the boat before the storm does!

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Amazingly, the dolphin and whale watching boats were still heading out!

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How close were we to the Coast Guard station? THIS close.

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The next morning we started getting back into our boat routine – morning coffee and checking in to the “nets” on the single side band radio.

Day 3 we set off for the 25-30 hour trip up the coast and through New York. That was truly one of the best pure sailing days we’ve had – definitely in the top 3. Perfect beam reach and sunny skies. Then we noticed this big, dark area forming in the sky in the distance. One again, the trusty radar map revealed another set of classic summer storms popping up all over, but still a ways away.

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Storms to the left of us, freighters to the right, here I am – stuck in the middle with you! (Bonus points for getting the song reference… an easy one.)

We had time to make a call… bail in Atlantic City? Bail in Barnegat – an inlet that has been rumored to have shoaled up pretty badly? Shout out to my friend Hank for helping to get us some intel on Barnegat. In the end, we decided that we can’t run away from EVERY chance of thunderstorms or we’ll never get there! So we kept going and had EXCELLENT storm karma. We watched storms all around us, but other than 30 seconds of rain around Sandy Point, we got nuthin’. Nada. Zippo. Yippee. When we lost our wind in the evening, we turned the engine back on and had a blissfully uneventful overnight motor up the coast taking 3.5 hour watches. Got to Sandy Hook ahead of schedule, so pulled into the anchorage by – well why not – the Coast Guard station to take a 4 hour break to wait for favorable currents through NYC and to take a well deserved nap. All was well. We did not have to go to Plan C. (Shout out to cruiser friends, Loretta and Jim, who aptly named their boat “Plan Sea.” I get it!)

Here is a collage of the sights going up the Jersey coast…passing by Atlantic City, sunset over land, the night time lights of Seaside Heights, then dawn close to Sandy Hook, the storms darting around us, and then a little bit of sunrise just as we were pulling in to anchor for a few hours.

And one last poetic picture with which to end this episode…. (I had to use proper grammar there so the grammar police wouldn’t strike – aka my sisters)…

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Frank spent 23 years working in Atlantic City… and there he goes sailing past it!

Yup – sailing past Atlantic City and his old office from many years ago. Poetic, don’t you think?

Think I’ll stop writing for now and crack open a beer – excellent plan. Next post: NYC, baby!

 

29
Jul

A Few of Our Favorite Things: Life on the Chesapeake

Don’t pass out… but the blog rides again!

Quick catch up… and most of you reading this already know this, but Frank retired in March. No really. He means it this time. So he is not living out of state for work any more – he is really, really here in Annapolis with me full time. This is truly home now.

It has been quite a while since we posted about our move to Annapolis. We celebrated two years of home ownership here in May. And how do we know when we moved in? Because it was the same week as the Blue Angels Show! Their demonstration is an annual event here during commissioning week at the Naval Academy. It is something you put on your calendar 6 months in advance and make sure you don’t have any out of town commitments on those days! And it is SPECTACULAR! That leads us to our first Chesapeake favorite…

CHESAPEAKE FAVORITE: BLUE ANGELS

And of course, one of the main reasons for moving here is the amazing sailing! Eleanor Q lives with us now which means staying on top of boat projects all the time. But it also means taking her out on a more regular basis!

But Annapolis also means Frank gets to race! He has been testing the waters (literally) by crewing on different boats. So far he has raced on J-30s and J-24s. Although he makes 61 look good, he’s trying to decide what race boat makes the most sense for him at this stage in the game. Lately he test drove a Laser which is a one-person racer. (That also means he’s the captain which suits him.) Stay tuned as his racing career evolves. I promised myself that I’d race this year to help with my sailing skills… perhaps next year. Stay tuned on that one, too.

CHESAPEAKE FAVORITE: SAILING

But our latest love is anything related to Blue Crabs. We both read “Beautiful Swimmers,” a wonderful book that gives a peek inside the business and culture of crabbing and crabbers on the Chesapeake including detailing the reproductive life of the blue crab in more detail than you ever thought you wanted to know! Frank has his crabbing license and is perfecting the trot line method of crabbing. Let’s just say, we have had some AMAZING crab feasts on our deck this year! We have come a long way from our early days of using weights and twine on floating water bottles (although that was pretty effective some days, too).

CHESAPEAKE FAVORITE : CRABS

Next…

We have a lot of visitors to our house, and not just the two-legged kind! There is WAY more “nature” here than we would have ever imagined. Critters of all kinds like to hang out around Lake Ogleton (where we live). By the way, “lake” is a misnomer. It is more of a harbor than a lake in that it has an inlet to the bay as opposed to being self contained. Anyway, we have critters and they’re fun to watch.

CHESAPEAKE FAVORITE: NATURE (a) Critters

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Still in the nature category is just the scenic nature of this entire area. Nicole said to me this morning (during our latest crabbing trip), “Pictures just can’t do this place justice.” She’s absolutely right… but here are a few anyway.

CHESAPEAKE FAVORITE: NATURE (b) The Scenery

But our #1 favorite part of being here… sharing it with friends and family.

The adventures of Eleanor Q will continue! We will be sailing north for about a month and visiting some of our old favorite haunts in New England as well as exploring a few new places, too. Stay tuned!

 

31
Aug

Two Countries, Three States, Four Homes

Wow. I just reread the post from last winter. It promised of charming tales about “Life in a Northern Town,” the posts I thought we would put out during our time in Ontario. And now it is nearly September. All of our family and more than half of our friends know where we have landed since . . . but it was a real wake up call last week when I received very lovely birthday greetings from some people I consider very good friends who said, “By the way . . . where are you????” That was the wake up call, perhaps, that the blog needed an update and that I need to do a better job of keeping in touch with friends.

Well, the theme for us in recent years has been that we’re always on the move. The last six months have been no exception. So far 2015 has included 2 countries, 3 states and 4 homes. Yeah, just in 2015. Let me explain – as briefly as I can.

First, a wrap up of the “Life in a Northern Town” chapter. We had visions of sharing stories about sledding and snow shoeing and learning the sport of curling, but it didn’t really pan out that way. We were in Canada from January to the first week of May. The two weeks before we left were just about the first time we saw the grass anywhere in the area. No lie. It was ice and snow all of that time. We wanted to embrace winter. Frank had proudly proclaimed that “If I can survive winter in South Dakota, how much colder can it be in Orillia?” We found out the answer . . . A LOT! Frank had also proclaimed that, “Once it gets below 20 degrees, how much colder can it really feel? Cold is cold.” He answered his own question on that one, too . . . with the same answer. Minus 20 degrees does not feel anything like plus 20 degrees. There is a difference! There were days and days on end when the temperature never got above zero. That said, our motivation to enjoy any outdoor activities was severely stunted. Still, it really was a beautiful area and we enjoyed the scenery and the very friendly people. The job was challenging and kept Frank extremely busy, and I made regular trips back to the states for either work or to check on family or the house in NJ. Driving became my preferred way to travel . . . winter flying on Air Canada’s tiny planes to the states was unpredictable at best. The 10 hour trip by car was much better and gave me a more flexible schedule to work around the weather. We rented a GREAT furnished house on a lake with super neighbors – and from the nicest people. We stumbled into that ideal situation! The lovely surroundings made it easy to come home at the end of the day and just hibernate!! We became part bear, I suppose. I’ll put in a picture or two here to make your hot, humid day feel a little bit cooler!

Home sweet home for a few months. Looks like a new house - actually a renovated older home. Very cool place.

Home sweet home for a few months. Looks like a new house – actually a renovated older home. Very cool place.

The view out the back door. That is a lake under the ice.

The view out the back door. That is a lake under the ice.

We did make it into Toronto for a weekend and paid a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

We did make it into Toronto for a weekend and paid a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Fast forward, the casino identified a new GM and Frank’s “interim” gig came to an end . . . but they had other plans for him. Staying in Ontario for a few years was presented as an option and we seriously toyed with the idea of bringing Eleanor Q up to Georgian Bay and hanging our hats in Ontario for a few years, but we both agreed that we missed our country (I’m not being trite there) and we missed being a little more accessible to family and friends. And perhaps, yes, it was a bit much to consider several more winters like that one!

A week before we left we got a glipse of what Orillia looks like in the spring! The ice melted around April 20th.

A week before we left we got a glipse of what Orillia looks like in the spring! The ice melted around April 20th.

After passing this giant Adirondack chair several times, I had to try sitting in it after the snow had melted off of it! Who remembers Edith Ann from

After passing this giant Adirondack chair several times, I had to try sitting in it after the snow had melted off of it! Who remembers Edith Ann from “Laugh-In” ??

While we had time on our hands during our evenings of hibernation, another plan was hatching. We have had it in our minds that our ultimate retirement location of choice would be Annapolis. Why Annapolis? It’s an easy drive to most of our family members, it’s right on the Chesapeake Bay and our favorite cruising grounds, and it’s a place where we’ve been hanging out for years on Eleanor Q. Hmmmm… the markets were up, interest rates looked like they were about to start moving up, the housing market was starting to pick up…was this the time to strike? I will spare you all the agonizing we went through re: “To Buy or Not to Buy,” but the moral of the story is that we (happily) purchased the home in Annapolis. It is a house that we had eyed up six months earlier, but we felt like the timing wasn’t right when we considered it the first time around. Here it was – our dream location – still sitting on the market. We didn’t walk away a second time – we bought the house. We plan to make that our home base for years and years to come. Being an older home, it has plenty of projects to keep us busy!

Eleanor Q's new home!

Eleanor Q’s new home!

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But wait! What about that work thing we’re supposed to be doing? Frank’s company had the “permanent” position in mind for him around the same time that we were dreaming up our Annapolis plans . . . Hollywood Casino in Toledo, Ohio. Yes, you read that right – Toledo. (Hey, it’ still not as cold as Orillia, Ontario, I promise you!) Some of you might be thinking, “I didn’t even know there were casinos in Toledo!” The Detroit/Toledo gaming market has become a big regional gaming area and Penn opened Hollywood Toledo just three years ago. It is one of Penn’s “Tier 1” premier properties and truly a beautiful facility. Our cruising pals from Magnolia (you blog followers have read a lot about them) had a family reunion in the area and visited us and the casino – and gave it two thumbs up!

Hollywood Casino Toledo

Hollywood Casino Toledo

So, we have become a two state couple. We have an apartment in Toledo and the house in Maryland and spend time in both. Frank gets back to the Annapolis home about once a month for several days and I have been getting to Toledo about twice a month, so we are together a good portion of the time, but I home base more out of Annapolis. Baltimore airport is only 30 minutes away making travel for work very easy. From door to door it is a 7:45 drive from the MD house to the OH apartment. (Hey – less than the 10 hour commute to Canada!) I’ve been driving to haul things back and forth and he’s been flying to maximize his time back. We’re figuring out how to make it work.

Checking out the German Festival in Toledo.

Checking out the German Festival in Toledo.

Frank is in search of the largest soft serve ice cream twist. So far this one is the leader in the club house!! Toledo knows how to do soft serve!

Frank is in search of the largest soft serve ice cream twist. So far this one is the leader in the club house!! Toledo knows how to do soft serve!

Frank had the month of May off between the Canada gig and the Toledo gig for us to move out of Ontario, move out of our NJ house in the “retirement community” that served us well during our cruising time and move into our more permanent home in the sailing mecca of Annapolis. A few weeks later, we packed some belongings up again and moved into the apartment in Toledo as well. Notice that some form of the word “move” was used four times in those two sentences. April, May, June and July are just kind of a blur at this point.

We will make our home in both locations until such time as Frank decides to do the retirement thing again. Eleanor Q is not getting as much use as she would like, but I keep a watchful eye on her and spend time on her at the dock so she knows she is still loved. We get her out when Frank is in town. When the time is right, we will pick up cruising with her again, although our plan will be to split our time between land and sea. We learned that we like both lifestyles very much and don’t want to give up one for the other. Meanwhile, we’ll enjoy visiting some of our old favorite haunts around the Chesapeake… a BEAUTIFUL place to be.

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So between Ohio, Maryland and a variety of other locations required for work right now, when friends ask “Where are you?” the answer will still be a bit of a moving target. For now, Eleanor Q lies in wait to see what her next adventure will be down the road.

4
Oct

Back Home on the Chesapeake Bay

“Back home” is such an interesting term for us at this point. Where is home? When people ask us “Where are you from,” we stumble and stutter . . . it’s not a simple answer. Is home where we grew up? Frank called New Jersey home for the first 47 years of his life. There is a part of him that will always call that home. I grew up in WV but have moved around a good bit since then. I spent 15 years living in NJ, but that was a different time and life. Although we have moved our stuff into a little place in New Jersey and have lots of family there, that doesn’t exactly feel like our home . . . we’ve barely slept there 20 nights total. Harrisburg, PA was most recently our home, but we don’t live or work there any more. So right now, home is on the boat. And the place where Eleanor Q called home for the last four years is the Chesapeake Bay . . . and her hailing port is Annapolis,  so that feels as much like home to us as anywhere right now. I guess that explains why we feel a little like we’re coming home this week.
Home is where the boat is . . .

Home is where the boat is . . .

Frank happy to be with his three children: Frank, Andrea and Nicole.

And, home is where the heart is. Frank happy to be with his three children: Frank, Andrea and Nicole.

After a wonderful visit in NJ with family (who we miss very much) and friends, and two weeks of a big, comfy bed and long hot showers, it was time to hit the road again (so to speak).  We set out on a beautiful day with the goal of getting to the bay as quickly as possible. We didn’t leave Longport, NJ until September 24th and wanted to make it to the Seven Seas Cruising Association Gam south of Annapolis by Thursday the 26th so we really needed to make tracks! We had a very nice sail down the NJ coast and anchored up in Cape May overnight. Unlike our big tour of Cape May in June, we never even touched land in Cape May this time –  just anchored overnight and left early the next morning to catch the perfect combination of the tide going up the Delaware Bay and then the current in the C&D Canal. It timed out just perfectly! It was quite a long day, but we got 80 miles under our belts and settled in Still Pond in Maryland for the night. Both of us had the same reaction to being there: our shoulders felt a little bit lighter and everything suddenly seemed more relaxed and peaceful. The bay generally has that effect on us.
Goodbye Longport and Seaview Harbor Marina!

Goodbye Longport and Seaview Harbor Marina!

A beautiful sail down the NJ coastline.

A beautiful sail down the NJ coastline – the “skylights” are a new addition which allow us to keep our canvas up and see the sails – a BIG improvement in comfort underway.

Anchored up in Cape May with many other boats heading south.

Anchored up in Cape May with many other boats heading south.

Ems behind the wheel at 8am with an unexpected 18 knots of wind. Clearly looking in need of more of the coffee sitting next to her!

Ems behind the wheel at 8am with an unexpected 18 knots of wind. Clearly looking in need of more of the coffee sitting next to her!

Going through the C&D canal was, once again, a non-event . . . although we had lots more company than in June, but only small boats like ourselves. No tankers!

Going through the C&D canal was, once again, a non-event . . . although we had lots more company than in June, but only small boats like ourselves. No tankers!

Frank teaches Ems the term "sun dog." It's a mini- rainbow kind of thing. See to the right of the sun . . . that's a sun dog. Try to find something prettier - I double sun dog dare you!

Frank teaches Ems the term “sun dog.” It’s a mini- rainbow kind of thing. See to the right of the sun . . . that’s a sun dog. Try to find something prettier – I double sun dog dare you!

Red at night was certainly our delight!

Red at night was certainly our delight in Still Pond.

The next day we hoofed it right on down to the Rhode River, another long but wonderful day.  It was very exciting when we caught our first sight of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge again for the first time in several months!

Looking at the Bay Bridge again! A familiar sight.

Looking at the Bay Bridge again! A familiar sight.

We love this view of the bridge!

We love this view of the bridge!

Frank has found that, while I'm at the helm and conditions are calm, he likes to do boat chores. There were OH so many things I could have done to him at this moment, but I resisted the urge . . .

Frank has found that, while I’m at the helm and conditions are calm, he likes to do boat chores. There were OH so many things I could have done to him at this moment, but I resisted the urge . . .

We anchored up with nearly 80 other boats to attend the gam. It was fun to reunite with friends that we made from last years’ gam and great to make some new friends as well! I was even reunited with my former neighbor, Kate, from Hellertown, PA from more than 10 years ago! She has married a sailor as I did and they are talking about cruising to the Bahamas! She and I laughed: if anyone had told either one of us what we’d be doing in 2013, we wouldn’t have believed it! Life has funny twists and turns. Why I didn’t get a picture with her is beyond me. If only I was traveling with someone who could operate a camera . . .
We attended seminars given by seasoned cruisers on a whole host of topics. We are now more well versed on going to the Exumas in the Bahamas and traversing the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW)on our way through the southern US coast. I met a remarkable woman at the gam last year who I got to visit with again this year: Margaret Roth. Margaret is a tiny little woman in her 90s who comes up to about my chin. She and her husband lived together on their boat cruising the world for more than 30 years! Her husband authored a number of books on sailing and I bought one and asked her to inscribe it for me. During a panel discussion, a group of accomplished woman sailors (including Margaret) was asked, “What is the worst thing that happened to you on board?” Mostly the answers were, “You know, nothing really bad has happened.” There was a health scare or a particularly bad storm mentioned. Margaret took the mic and chimed in with her very scratchy voice, and in a non-plussed, matter of fact,  British manner answered, “Well, there was the time we were shipwrecked off of Cape Horn . . . ” It was priceless. Why I didn’t get a picture with her I’ll never know. If only I could get my hands on a photographer . . .
The opening night dinghy raft up at the SSCA Gam

The opening night dinghy raft up at the SSCA Gam. I borrowed the picture from Michele who borrowed it from a friend . . .

Gam Friends from left to right: We met Anthony and Annette from Magnolia last year. They are in their first two weeks of cruising! They introduced us to Al and Michele on Kindred Spirit (which they are) and last year A&A introduced us to Dudley and Cheryl who came with us on a test drive of our Gozzard since they are in the market. Cheryl is my #1 blog supporter! (after my sister)

Gam Friends from left to right: We met Anthony and Annette from Magnolia last year. They are in their first two weeks of cruising! We have enjoyed getting to know them very much. They introduced us to Al and Michele on Kindred Spirit (which they are) and last year A&A introduced us to Dudley and Cheryl who came with us on a test drive of our Gozzard since they are in the market. Cheryl is my #1 blog supporter! (after my sister) What a truly wonderful group of compadres.

Then we headed to one of our favorite places on earth: Oxford, MD. We love it so much we got married there aboard Eleanor Q  more than two years ago. We came around the corner happy to find “our spot” in the anchorage unoccupied and spent a great few days at anchor. We were thrilled to find our new friends on Kindred Spirit from the gam anchored just across from us! Then another boat from the gam showed up and a mini-gam was born! We had “date night” our first night there – we always like to go back to the restaurant at the Robert Morris Inn where we had our after wedding dinner! It is a splurge when we are in Oxford, but one we can never resist. So you might think, “Why do you need date night when you’re sailing around alone together every day? Isn’t every day date night?” Well, here’s the criteria for it to be considered a date night:  a)we both shower, b)Frank puts something on other than his dirty relaxed cut jeans that make him look like Farmer Jim, c)we don’t do our cheap cruiser calculating when we order our food and actually get a bottle of wine with dinner, d)I actually wear my hair down and attempt to make it look like something. If I’m feeling real sumthin’ sumthin’, I put on some mascara and a little lip gloss just to be sassy, d) we have an actual conversation over our meal and it takes us more than 7 minutes to eat it. And THAT, my friends, is date night! I manage to coerce Frank into one every couple of months.
A cleaned up Ems . . . nice to feel a little girly from time to time. Almost forgot how!

A cleaned up Ems . . . nice to feel a little girly from time to time. Almost forgot how!

Awwww . . . isn't he handsome?

Awwww . . . isn’t he handsome?

Tuesday we went crabbing. Our friends from Kindred Spirit took shots of the action. We take about 10 floats (water bottles and mixed nut jars), wrap twine around them for a line, put a weighted hook on the end to hold the raw chicken, and zip around in the dinghy dropping our “buoys” about 30 feet apart. Let those puppies soak for a few minutes and then it’s time to start checking the lines. The net and bucket are at the ready for our catches, and after about 3.5 hours we had 15 LARGE crabs ready to serve up for dinner to our boat neighbors! Frank is the finest crab steamer around . . . a big pot with water, beer and old bay. Yum. He is also a good coach on the most expedient way to clean a crab – Granny taught him! (who was THE Eleanor Q, by the way.)
Crabbing in the anchorage in Oxford.

Crabbing in the anchorage in Oxford.

Here we are casting our crab line apparatus. Very high tech!

Here we are casting our crab line apparatus. Very high tech!

Crab Fest! Michele's photos . . .

Crab Fest! Michele’s photos . . . and tomatoes and quinoa salad, for that matter! Rob and Karen brought an outstanding tuna dip. Cruisers are experts at the pot luck dinner.

The next day we took advantage of the bike rentals and had a little picnic lunch at the park beside the Methodist Church in town looking out over the water. By the way, thank you to the United Methodist Church of Oxford for the beautiful chimes that play every day at noon and 6:00pm. I’ll hum along and Frank will say, “Do you know that one?” And I’ll say, “It’s a Methodist Church . . . I’ll know ANYTHING they play!” There was a funny moment during our bike ride . . . it’s not going to SOUND funny, but it really was, so hear it the right way. We rode around the Oxford cemetery which overlooks the anchorage where EQ was parked. Neither one of us has any intention of being buried in an actual plot (not that we discuss it much, mind you, other than Frank saying “Put my ashes in a coffee can and throw me in the dumpster.”) We toured the whole place admiring how well kept it was and looking at the view. As we pedaled down the long road out, Frank looked at me and said, “You know, I don’t want to be buried in a cemetery, but if I did, this wouldn’t be a bad one to be in.” I laughed out loud and said, “I was thinking the EXACT same thing!” Great minds . . . I know, that’s weird humor.
Picnic at the park . . .

Picnic at the park . . .

Frank looking over at Eleanor Q in the anchorage

Frank looking over at Eleanor Q in the anchorage

As much as we love Oxford, Frank had a major setback there, however. . . the Highland Creamery (home of the finest ice cream) was closed for mid-week. He is still under treatment for depression from the incident. He had to make do with other ice cream options – and he did. Actually, on Monday we thought the Creamery was going to be open and planned to hit it on our way back to the boat . . . we had walked to the little market in town and while I was grocery shopping, Frank went to the ice cream counter inside the store and got a cone. Here’s the conversation that followed:

Ems -“Didn’t you just go online and see that the Creamery is open today?”
Frank – “Yes.”
Ems – “So when were you thinking we were going there? It’s not open tomorrow.”
Frank (with half eaten ice cream cone in hand) – “When we leave here. DUH!”
Yeah, I know . . . what was I thinking? Who wouldn’t have ice cream with an ice cream chaser? Especially if you’re Frank Quigley. Duh indeed. Unfortunately, the website lied and the creamery was closed until the end of the week. He’s nearly over it now, but it was a rough go.
This was actually the following day - Frank now brings his own spoon and goes to the freezer section of a store when there are no ice cream stores around - a technique he learned from a fellow cruiser.

This was actually the following day – Frank now brings his own spoon and goes to the freezer section of a store when there are no ice cream stores around – a technique he learned from a fellow cruiser.

Downtown Oxford

Downtown Oxford

By the way - for those who saw June's picture of Frank's "catch" - this would be the scene of the crime, otherwise known as where he "caught" the striper. Just sayin' . . .

By the way – for those who saw June’s picture of Frank’s “catch” – this would be the scene of the crime, otherwise known as where he “caught” the striper. Just sayin’ . . .

Another nice evening with boat neighbors, a good nights’ sleep and we were underway to our next Bay destination. Until next spring, Oxford! It’s good to be home on the bay.