Friday, September 29, 2006

September 21-27, 2006 St. Michaels, MD

We have spent the last few days in St. Michaels. It is on the eastern shore of the bay, south of Annapolis, and the first of three towns we hope to visit on this side of the bay. Boy, do we like St. Michaels. It dates back to the early 1600’s . It became famous as a shipbuilding center; they built the ‘Baltimore Clippers’, the fastest sailing vessel of their time (we went to the Maritime Museum and listened!! – more on that later). Now tourism is #1 here but they have kept it quaint and not tickey-tackey. It is a great walking town with everything you need close by (read that grocery store and restaurants!). Below is the famous Crab Claw restaurant at sunset.

We anchored right outside of the town for the first 3 nights then went to the St. Michaels Marina for the last 2 nights. Our preference now is to anchor out. We are both a bit surprised by that as docking in a marina is easier in that we have shore power and unlimited water and we can just jump off the boat and walk wherever we want! Most importantly, we don’t have to worry about where the anchor is NOW, we still have anchor-itis but we are getting better. But anchoring out is quiet and the anchorages have been beautiful. We can see the Milky Way almost every night. We drop the dingy to go exploring the water then usually go into town. It is a truly wonderful way to live.

Above are some pictures of St. Michaels. Below is the Maritime Museum across the water from where we anchored.

We took the dingy over to town to go to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. We had heard this was a great museum – and we agree. They have nine separate buildings on the museum campus, one of them is the Hooper Strait light house which was moved here when it became obsolete. It was another screw-pile light house and we learned what that mean. It turns out that the steel pilings were manually screwed into the bottom of the bay by a team of up to 40 men turning a giant auger. The lighthouse was cut in half horizontally and moved here in two pieces. It has a fourth order Fresnel lens. These were invented by Monsieur Fresnel who never lived to see his invention become the standard of the majority of lighthouses in the world.

We spent most of the morning with a docent explaining everything to us and a couple from Britain. It was funny hearing the docent try to not insult the British couple when he talked about the history during the Revolutionary War. I kept thinking I knew this guy and it turns out that he was my 4th line manager at IBM back when I worked at K Street in Washington, DC in the early 1980’s! Small world.

The Hooper Lighthouse is sitting behind a vintage Chesapeake 'Buy' boat. These boats went out to get the oysters and fish from the bigger fishing boats so that the fishing boats didn't have to waste any time coming into the docks to unload their catches. Below are pictures taken from the top of the lighthouse.

Not only is it a museum, but they also restore historic Chesapeake boats as well as make new wooden boats

On the second night at the anchorage we were sitting out on the back deck enjoying the evening when we noticed an awful odor wafting our way. We thought that some other boat was having some kind of problem but it didn’t go away and when Rick went down to the engine room he came back saying, incredulously, that it was our boat that was so stinky! It lasted for about 2 hours then went away. When we talked with our sailing neighbors at the anchorage, they thought that we had sucked one of the zillion jelly fish that are in the bay into one of the engine raw water strainers and it just had to make its way out of the system. Boy, hope we don’t get that again.

We received about 3 weeks of mail at the marina. We are having our mail forwarded to my dad’s secretary who forwards it on to us when we know where we are going to be. Nora is great and throws away all the junk mail for us. So, we had to come back to reality for a bit. Rick did the mail and I went to the post office, the library and bought 8 used paperbacks for $2.25 then went to the grocery story. We also did fun things like wash the boat (4 hours), laundry and Rick spent the entire day washing all the water strainers and changing fuel filters. Not every day is a day in paradise, but close enough!

We are leaving to continue south on the Eastern Shore with two more places that we want to go to. One is Oxford, MD and the other is Crisfield, MD, crab capital of Maryland. We are planning on being back in Morehead City, NC on or about 10/20. We have lots to do to get ready for our next trip. We’ll be heading south this time!