Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall in the Chesapeake

Not only is it officially Fall given we've passed the autumnal equinox but the weather down here in the Chesapeake Bay has taken a decided turn for the worse as a serious cold front has moved through. For the past week or so we've noticed leaves on the trees just starting to turn and yesterday in town not only did we see leaves actually falling but all the store fronts were sporting Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations - back up, where did summer go???

The temperatures have taken a precipitous drop - we had to wear sweatshirts yesterday and we've closed up most of the windows on the boat - even the cats are snuggling together in their fur coats - a true sign of the coming Fall.

But Autumn in the Chesapeake can also be beautiful - when the sun decides to show itself that is!! We had a nice steam over from Cambridge the other day although we did start out in sweatshirts, but by the time we hit our anchorage in Long Haul Creek it was pretty nice out. We passed some really funky fishing nets out in the Bay on our trip - what was so weird is that they were right out in the middle of the Bay directly in our path???
Fishing Net in the Bay
Once we pulled into our anchorage we were treated to quite a show from the spectacular blue herons - for one of the most graceful birds in flight it has the worlds most god-awful voice - how can any sound that ugly come from a bird that beautiful?? Guess it's just one of God's numerous ironies here on earth. We sat topsides with our traditional we've made it to another anchorage beer and watched as several blue herons glided across the water and perched themselves in the tops of the trees - now how they balance on the very tippy top branches is beyond me - I would have thought they were too heavy and normally we see these magniuficent creatures on a fallen tree limb much closer to the water. But not these two guys - think they were showing off for us!!

The next day we awoke to rain and cold but it wore off by early afternoon into a splendid day for exploring. We dropped the dink and headed around the spit into St. Michaels which is a very quaint, old town off the Miles River. You are greeted at the entrance to the harbor by the Hooper Strait Lighthouse, one of only three remaining screwpile lighthouses in America.
Hooper Strait Lighthouse
The lighthouse used to sit close to 40 miles south of its current location at the mouth of Tangier Sound . Coming in to the dinghy dock near the Crab Claw restaurant we were greeted by a whole group of ducks who frequent the docks and surrounding puddles!!

There are several historic houses that welcome you to the town that have overlooked the St. Michaels waterfront for well over a hundred years and have been preserved by the maritime museum.
Historic Waterfront Houses
We primarily walked the main drag of Talbot Street in search of cool bars - we found several but none that knocked our socks off or could be ranked even in our top ten - although Foxy's Bar did show some potential (though admittedly nowhere near as much as its namesake down on Jost Van Dyke but then again what could??)
It was good to see the town doesn't take itself too seriously as we passed the Broken Rudder Doggie Bar (without stopping in even).

Back on the boat for a quiet dinner and an early night since the farmers market in town was bright and early the next morning. We hopped in the dink for the trip into St. Michaels - you have to go out Long Haul Creek and into the Miles River for a little while which is normally no issue - yesterday morning it was pretty choppy given the increasing winds so it was a little wet (worse for Doug since he was on the side of the dinghy taking the waves!) While the farmers market wasn't a big deal especially compared to some we've been to, there was some great corn and lettuces so we filled our backpack!!
Farmers Market
Afterwards we took advantage of the morning sun to wander around the historic residential sections of town. St. Michaels is a really cute town with tons of houses of all architectural designs dating well back into the 1800's - what ties them all together are their wonderful colors (even white houses are trimmed in shades of red or green or blue), flowering landscapes and door knockers in the shapes of crabs, turtles and dolphins.
Turtle Door Knocker

We walked through St. Mary's Square where the St. Michaels museum is housed,
St. Michaels Museum
through gardens filled with cannons

and past a magnificent church.

Past the winery (which we didn't stop into on this trip - it was still only 10:00 in the morning not that it's not noon somewhere, but....), we wandered by a very large brick house where one part of the house was built in the 1780s and the rest of it in the 1860s - you could actually see the dividing line in the brick - very kewl!
House Built in Two Different Centuries
What was once a working port full of oyster tonging skiffs, crab boats and commercial sailing boats evolved into a tourist destination for people on the western shores. St. Michaels was also where Frederick Douglas lived as a slave from 1833-1836 - while there he taught himself to read and write and secretly set up schools to teach other blacks to read, escaping to the north to become an ardent abolitionist - Douglas later returned in 1877 as US Marshal for the District of Columbia.

Sorry - bloggus interruptus. We got a small break in the weather (it has been raining for about 18 hours!) so decided to do a quick boogie for Rock Hall - this afternoon's forecast doesn't look great but it sure looks better than the next two days which are calling for gusts up to 30 knots. All was smooth steaming until we got out into the wind and waves of the Eastern Bay (of course) and then we lost the starboard engine...and then a couple minutes later we lost the port engine!!!! Where's our buddy boat???? After that initial thought Doug started troubleshooting down in the engine room and had it narrowed down to a fuel issue but couldn't quite figure out what would have killed both engines - he switched to a different diesel tank - nothing!!! The manifold was OK because we could get the generator started. We called Haven Harbor to talk to one of their mechanics - oops it's Sunday and no one was in... Doug called Bob on September Song to see if he had any ideas - he did but we still couldn't get the engines going so we dropped the anchor in the middle of the Bay to at least slow us down - it's tough to set an anchor without engines but it helped steady us into the waves a little. We finally called Sea Tow and spoke with a Captain Dave - he went through some troubleshooting over the phone with Doug and told him to try one thing before he came out to tow us in - Doug went down into the engine room, pulled the primary fuel filters off the engines, filled them up with fuel to displace the air that had gotten in the filters and lo and behold, he finally got the engines started!!! Seems that somehow, the fuel tank we were using had allowed air into the fuel lines, something I'm told diesel engines don't like. Once we switched tanks and got the air out of the fuel system, the engines started and ran fine.

After letting them run for a little while, we skeedaddled for Rock Hall - the tough decision was knowing that the engines could conk out again at any minute did we brave Kent Narrows which is very shallow and as you'd expect from the name narrow, has a ton of current and we needed a bridge opened or did we go the longer route out into the Bay where we would be in deeper water without much current and we can go under the tall Bay Bridge??? After a gut check we figured we'd try Kent Narrows since it saved us 2 hours and we just wanted to get to Haven Harbor Marina where we knew we could get someone to look at the port tank and dip tube (which is what we narrowed the problem down to be - lots of air had gotten into the line we think)!!! Don't you love the "royal we"??? I find myself using it all the time when in fact it was Doug, Bob and Captain Dave who collectively troubleshot the problem - I just helped drop the anchor and kept the boat kitties out of the engine room!! In fact they were very brave and slept through most of the uproar!!

Well we made it through Kent Narrows (which really, really deserves its name - I think I had a couple inches on either side of the boat through the bridge!!) but the good thing was our "delay" in the Bay caused us to hit the Narrows at high tide so there wasn't too much current and we had plenty of water - oh and did I say the engines didn't quit on us!!!! The rest of the trip up the Chester River and into the Haven was uneventful and we are currently docked in the same slip we had when we were here for two weeks with September Song (they aren't in their slip though.....bummer).

Yesterday afternoon after a much needed coldie on the flybridge we ambled over to the Harbor Shack for all day happy hour - did you really have any doubt?? Steve our friendly bartender welcomed us back with several Coors Light and some BBQ wings - we feel like Norm on Cheers!! This morning the worker bees descended on Gypsies bright and early - Hank is in the engine room and Randy is re-installing our watermaker. After all the problems with the watermaker that we have had, Spectra couldn't find anything wrong when they took it all apart but they supposedly put in a new membrane and tested it for 48 hours and claim it works great. Unfortunately we are in the Chesapeake so can't test it easily ourselves so we'll just have to wait and see - Doug and I aren't too happy with them because we know that when we get to a place like the Bahamas where we really need the watermaker and something goes wrong again, we'll be too far from someone to fix it - UGH!!!! But nothing we can do I guess.....

We're not sure how long we'll be here in Rock Hall but I would guess at least a couple days especially with the weather. The wind is howling through the Haven here which causes the halyards on the several sailboats to whip against their masts causing quite a racket - but in a good way - at least you know you're on the water and short of going over and sinking the snailbots there's not much we can do!! Depending on when we leave, we'll head down and across the Bay to Annapolis where our musician friend Scott Kirby is playing on Oct. 2nd - we plan on surprising him - we're like bad pennies that keep turning up!! Should be fun.....

Friday, September 25, 2009

We're Having Way Too Much Fun!!!!

As Doug and I were doing the blog today after not seeing September Song behind us in our cute anchorage here on the Eastern Shore, we started laughing thinking of all the fun we have had with Stephanie and Bob and all the other friends we have met along the way. So we just thought it would be fun to break out a few pictures (OK maybe more than a few but there were so many to choose from!!) of the fun we have had over the past nine months with the September Song crew - I know Doug and I had a ball reliving these memories - hope you enjoy them too!!! Click here to see the slideshow

Here's to Good Friends....(OK it was a corny commercial slogan but somehow it's stuck in my head!)

We had one more fun filled day and night in Cambridge at the free dock with Tide Hiker and September Song - when you're with good friends even mundane things like re-provisioning can be fun. We had access to a truck on Wednesday thanks to Ann and Richard Strauss, who had met Norm and Vicki at the MTOA rendezvous - they live in Cambridge and had met Tide Hiker at the dock with the offer of the use of their car which we quickly accepted - thanks guys, it was greatly appreciated. It is one of the things about this life that I have come to love (well let's face it, there are tons of things I love!!! and next to nothing I don't like - OK maybe polishing the boat and cleaning the heads...) - all cruisers look out for each other and are quick to offer help of whatever kind to friends and even people they just meet. You figure you are all in this together and some day you may need help from someone which makes you go out of your way when you can be the offeror - don't you wish everyone in real life could be as wonderfully kind and gracious!!!

Anyways, we all piled into their truck (other than Norm and Doug who had the good sense?? to avoid the ensuing shopping madness!) for an afternoon of hardcore frenetic shopping - I think we hit darn near every store in the town of Easton, MD (home to Walmart, Target, West Marine, Lowes, liquor and groceries!!!)
Bob and the Girls Leave for Shopping Trip
But we managed to accomplish almost everyone's goals thanks to Vicki's pre-planning internet session and Stephanie's GPS unit (which by the way has a very annoying tone to her when you don't do exactly what she wants you to do!!) - all except probably the most important item - a new camera for September Song. How can Walmart and every other electronics store in Easton be out of cameras???

Back on the boat with all our new goodies stowed away, we had a final happy hour cocktail on the flybridge of Gypsies with September Song
Happy Hour on Gypsies in the Palace
before meeting up with Tide Hiker and the Strausses for apps and cocktails at one of the picnic tables along the water. What a great looking gang!!
Cocktails Before Dinner at Bella Luna
Then we were off to Bella Luna, an Italian restaurant in town which we had scoped out the day before - remember, home to the famous mosaic in the women's restroom?
The Famous Mosaic in the Women's Room at Bella Luna
Dinner was one non-stop bottle of wine and free flowing laughs or so it seemed - although Vicki did not succeed in her quest to find the best lasagna ever (although it was pretty good), it was a great evening with old and new friends.
Dinner at Bella Luna
It passed way too quickly for our taste but that's nothing new - seems like only yesterday we were meeting Stephanie and Bob in Marathon excitedly talking about our upcoming trip to the Bahamas. WOW - time flies when you're having rum!!!

Well we've put a lot of miles under our keels since then, have shared a lot of adult libations, great food, stories, beaches and bonfires, and have spent the past six months with the best cruising buddies ever!!!! But we woke the next morning with the sad knowledge that September Song would be heading south with Tide Hiker and we have to head north albeit just for awhile. It was a sad morning as we got in last minute hugs and kisses with the September Song crew (canine and human!! - we have spent a lot of fun-filed hours throwing Godiva her tennis ball and watching Cassie hunt for fish on a beach in St. Somewhere!!) before untying the lines and heading out the Choptank River - but not before promising to do whatever we could to meet up for Thanksgiving somewhere down south where it is warm!!!

Heading out the channel and then in to the Bay where we had to go in different directions was a very weird feeling - it's part of this cruising life, but not one of the fun parts. Everyone who follows this chosen life has wanderlust and goes in different directions at times but when you have spent as much time together and become such good friends as we have with September Song, it's hard to go different paths without knowing where or when you will see them again. But on the positive side of life (which is always where I like to be), we have been so lucky to have met Stephanie, Bob, Cassie and Godiva and we have had way too much fun to let them escape from our lives for too long - soon enough guys, you'll look behind you and Gypsies will be chugging along taking up its position as wingman!!! We're kind of like Bob in the movie What About Bob - we're not really gone, we'll never really be gone!!! and when I make cookies or anything chocolate or bacon wrapped pineapples, we'll think of you guys and raise our glasses, face south and toast to great friends and the next time we'll be together - we've had way too much fun together to be apart too long!!!! You guys are the best - thanks for all the fun and friendship!!

So now Doug and I are anchored in Long Haul Creek, just outside of St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay sitting out some rain before dropping the dink and heading into town. Even without Stephanie and Bob we feel the need to go scope out the best joint in town!! We will be here for several days and then head back up to Haven Harbor Marina in Rock Hall to get our watermaker re-installed. Hopefully it will finally work!!!!! Keep your fingers crossed for us - personally I'll believe it when I see it. From there we head down to Annapolis around the first of October to hear our Key West musician friend Scott Kirby play and then it is on to Baltimore for us for three weeks. We are pretty excited - we are going to be taking a 3 week first responder first aid/cpr course and I am going to try and finish up what I need to get my captains license (Doug has already completed his application and is just waiting for it to be reviewed by the coast guard - yes, he did pass both his drug test!!!) We aren't sure what the long road has in store for us but we know when we go back to work we want to do so in the marine field and having our captains licenses and extensive first aid can only help our cause (we think...) At the end of October we plan on making a beeline south to get out of the cold - I know I used to love the winter and all growing up in Maine and Massachusetts but no longer!!! After spending the winter in FL and the Bahamas, I'm a confirmed sun and warmth worshipper - I know all of you that know me will find that hard to believe....NOT!!! So we will make our way south quickly in search of the sun and hope to connect with SS sometime around Thanksgiving maybe in Georgia or northern FL - as always we'll play it by ear and see how things work out. This cruising life is all about the journey not just the end so we are continuing to love every minute and appreciate the little things along the way. Remember "Life is not about waiting for the storms to's about learning how to dance in the rain!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fun and Laughs with Old Friends

We are having an absolute ball in Cambridge, MD on the Eastern shore not so much because Cambridge is a hip, exciting spot (it's so not) but because of the wonderful company!!! We met back up with the September Song crew as well as Norm, Vicki and Vicki's mom on Tide Hiker and are having a reunion of old friends and cruising buddies!!

We pulled into the Cambridge free dock on Monday afternoon after a beautiful steam down and across the Bay from Baltimore - and found a couple friendly faces alongside to grab our lines - thanks Stephanie and Bob!! September Song was across the way at the marina taking on some water after being out on anchor for awhile but they walked over to meet us - it's always great to see friends at the dock when you pull in!! We knew Tide Hiker wasn't far behind us as we had heard Captain Norm on the VHF radio informing the coast guard of the location of a floating tree (I'd say that was a hazard to navigation!) - the funniest part of eavesdropping on the exchange was the coast guard's and then Norm's inability to get the name of his boat right (High Tiker, Tide Hiker - what's the difference?? - we actually got called Guppies in Paradise the other day so we know how it goes.....) Anyways, soon enough Tide Hiker was pulling in and we were there to catch their lines along with another couple they had just met at an MTOA rendezvous who offered them the use of their car (which we are going to take advantage of today!) - aren't cruisers great!!

No sooner were lines secured and the chaff guard on (we're against a cement wall so we need to protect our lines from rubbing against the rough cement), when it seemed we were all aboard High Tiker meeting Vicki's mom, catching up and with adult libations in hand munching on apps up on the flybridge.
Appetizers and Dinner on High Tiker
What a great reunion - other then Big Boat Bob's birthday party down in Williamsburg, the last time we had seen Norm and Vicki was down in the Exumas in the Bahamas where we all had cruised for awhile!!! It was as if no time had gone by - we picked up where we left off - having tons of fun!! We had a great meal up under the stars as laughter rang out across the water - good thing there was no one else around (oops forgot about the sailboat that was tied up between our two boats that we probably kept awake for a little while - but we wanted them to leave the next morning anyways to make room for September Song to come over!!! we succeeded!!)

The next day we were all there to catch September Song's lines after saving their spot from a little tug that wanted to join us on the wall!
Three Beautiful Boats in Cambridge
We all meandered into the town of Cambridge to explore and to try to find the restaurant that Norm had years ago eaten the best linguine in clam sauce in his life (he couldn't remember its name or location, but.....we were on a mission). Sadly it appears that the restaurant no longer exists along with many of the businesses in the town - unfortunately the town seems to have fallen on some hard times and many of the storefronts were boarded up or for rent. The running joke is that even the police have moved out of town - they built a new police building in the next town over!!
Former Cambridge Police Station
We did find a gourmet food store that had some good shit (literally - there were some spices called Good Shit, Aw Shit, Special Shit and then you could get a box of all of them called "Get Your Sh*t Together" produced by Big Cock Ranch out of Austin Texas - no you really can't make this stuff up!!!! they also had Dip Shit for fruit and Dip Shit for vegetables - seriously their website is Outside of the rundown downtown area, Cambridge has some beautiful old churches, stately homes and cute historic buildings - Cambridge which is located in Dorchester County was the home of Harriet Tubman who played such a major role in the Underground Railroad that helped slaves travel to freedom in the north during the mid-1800s.
Church in Cambridge
Another Church in Cambridge

Doug and I decided to try out the local watering hole across the bridge called Portsides - pretty tasty nachos and draft beers for $1.75 (and it wasn't even happy hour yet - at happy hour which we plan to hit today, beers are $1 - have I mentioned I love the south?? I know, I know - technically we're not in the south anymore but we sure as heck aren't in Boston anymore!)
Doug Sitting on the Deck at Portsides
Last night we descended on September Song for a crab feast - we started with hot crab dip out on the front deck and some amazing cheese Stephanie had gotten that day at the Good Shit store. Yum!!
Appetizers on the Foredeck of September Song
Godiva Finds a New Friend
And Bob, remember that Vicki doesn't have to eat things your way even though your way was really, really good! Dinner last night was such a treat - amazing crab cakes that Stephanie made out of fresh Chesapeake Bay crab that Bob had caught and picked himself!! We even had little crab claws dipped guessed it...Good Shit!!
The Crab Feast
Out on the front deck again for dessert we passed around a coconut cream pie and mango squares Bahamian style - grab a fork and pass the sweets!!
Pass the Dessert
Vicki's mom was hip to the whole scene enjoying the pie especially with Bob feeding it to her - she was a great sport!!!
Help with the Pie
Bob even donned the shower cap (actually the pie covering) to try and commune with Todd from Life's2Short (who's been known to don a pink cap with a fork stuck in it on occasion) but Todd must not have had his hat on - either that or the vibes weren't right since Bob didn't have a plastic fork sticking out of his cap!!
Communing with Todd

We just got back from grabbing some Good Shit (it was so good last night that we couldn't resist!) and some Wickles (wickedly delicious pickles) - no I'm not kidding and if you haven't tried them yet, you really need to!! We are going shopping in a little bit - we always like to take advantage of a car when we have the opportunity. Tonight we plan to hit happy hour and then we are off to Bella Luna, an Italian restaurant in town that is famous for the mural in its woman's restroom (yet again I'm not kidding - we stopped in yesterday to look at the menu and all the waiter could talk about was the mural which he made us go see in the restroom - sorry guys, guess you don't get to see it!!) The fun just never stops.....

Click here to see a Google map of our location in Cambridge.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Red Sox Rule

Well we are still in Baltimore even though we were supposed to leave Saturday morning because frankly we are just having too much fun!! We went to Camden Yards to see the Red Sox dominate the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night - what a blast! If you have never been to Camden Yards, it is just one of the coolest stadiums around with not a bad seat in the house (take it from us, we got our tickets at the last minute and were up in the nose bleed section - at least until we moved pretty far down on the first base line around the third inning since the stadium was only about 1/3 full and most of those were Sox fans at that!!) and amazingly good food (not just hotdogs and pretzels at this stadium!!)
Orioles Park at Camden Yard (courtesy of the Orioles Website)
Seriously though - they had a tough time with the fan cam finding orange jerseys and not red ones - I guess if your team is as bad as the Orioles have been for the past ten years and your team has been out of the pennant race since June, there's just not that much to cheer about! Walking around the streets of Baltimore the past few days you would have sworn you were in Boston around the time of the playoffs - it was just a human sea of red! After donning our Sox gear, we took the water taxi form where we are staying in Fells Point over to the Inner Harbor to walk to the game and every single person on the boat was sporting sox tee-shirts or hats or sweatshirts or all of the above! It was certainly a fun fest! And did I mention we won the game too!! That always makes for a better evening although it was also gorgeous weather under a star filled sky! It just doesn't get any better!!

On the way home from the game, we stopped in at a little bar Shuckers for a bite to eat and found our bar of choice in B'more (we always find at least one!) - we wound up there until about midnight which is late for us nowadays - we felt like big people!
After sleeping in a little in the morning (we're not used to getting to sleep that late and believe it or not the boat rooster let us sleep!!), we suddenly decided that it was going to be windy on the Bay so we might as well stay, explore B'more a little and then we could watch the Red Sox game again that night at Shuckers!! Done deal - our plans are always subject to change upon whim at any time!! So we hopped on the water taxi and headed out to see Fort McHenry at the mouth of Baltimore harbor - it is only open until the end of September and by the time we get back here it will be October so now was our chance. Who knew it would be such a cluster??? There weren't enough water taxis running on such a glorious day with the whole influx of Red Sox fans, so it took awhile to finally get a taxi out to the fort and then once we got there, the water taxi captain didn't have a key to let us into the park...or let the folks out who wanted to head back into the city!!!
The Captain Just Didn't Know What to Do!
What a riot - you just can't make this up - so we all had to sit on the docks waiting for someone with a key to let us in - now why would they have the gate locked when anyone can drive to the Fort???? Things that make you go hmmmm?? We felt bad for the captain who had come in early to help out for the day - having 40 highly annoyed people on your hands is not a good way to start any day let me tell you!!!

But anyways, we finally got the gate opened and had a ball walking all around Fort McHenry - the star designed fort that has protected the port of Baltimore for hundreds of years. During the War of 1812, a British sailing fleet headed up the Chesapeake Bay to capture Baltimore and on September 13, 1814 the British force attacked Fort McHenry at dawn with the bombardment lasting for 25 hours!! The Fort, under the leadership of Major George Armistead, withstood the firing of over 1,500 shells and rockets - miraculously only 2 sailors at the Fort were killed despite the devastating gunfire.
Major George Armistead
By 7:00 am on September 14th, the British attack had been repelled and the fleet turned tail and sailed out of Baltimore harbor - the large flag that would later be known as the Star Spangled Banner was hoisted over the Fort and a replica still flies there to this day - the original is in the Smithsonian Museum.
The Stars and Stripes Flying over Fort McHenry

What was one of a few American victories of consequence in the War of 1812, the battle for Baltimore took on much more significance as a result of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner which became our national anthem in 1931. Francis Scott Key was a young Washington lawyer at the time who had traveled out to the British fleet to secure the release of a friend who had been arrested after the battle of Bladensburg outside of Washington. While he was successful in securing the release of his friend, Key was detained by the British out in the harbor pending the attack on Baltimore so he could not warn the town. Key witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry from the deck of a truce ship out in the harbor and penned the Star Spangled Banner as he saw the flag still waving above the Fort at dawn on the morning of the 14th when the bombs and rockets stopped falling. First titled the Defence of Fort McHenry, Key's poem was published on September 17th and was soon being sung to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven" - as a song, it was later renamed the Star Spangled Banner as we know it today!!

In addition to the Fort, all the cannons that are aimed out at the harbor
The Cannons of Fort McHenry
Doug Checks Out the Cannons
and the statue of Major Armistead, there is also a statue of Orpheus on the grounds - who??? and why??? Orpheus was a poet, musician and singer in Greek mythology and I guess someone in Congress thought he'd be appropriate to celebrate the centennial of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner - go figure it was Congress - wouldn't you think a statue of Francis Scott Key, the guy who wrote the poem, would have been more appropriate?? Again, things that make you go hmmmm.....

After absorbing so much history (and before the British schooner out in the harbor could attack again!),
British Ship Preparing to Attack Fort McHenry (actually just a ship that does tours)
it was time to hit the Inner Harbor for some sustenance and a little window shopping so we hopped on the water taxi (without too much of a cluster this time) and enjoyed the great views of the harbor
Approaching Downtown Baltimore
as we passed Gypsies in her snug little slip
Gypsies in the Palace Snug in Her Slip
and of Fells Point where we are staying
Fells Point from the Water
- the downtown area was a zoo with people listening to the various bands playing on the pavilions and in the bars, families riding in the colorful dragon boats on the harbor
The Dragon Boats
and just soaking in the rays along the water. The harbor itself was a sea of boats coming and going on a gorgeous day - some even anchored in the tiny basin amidst the dragon boats (not sure I would ever try that one!!)
Baltimore Harbor was a Sea of Boats
and tied up along the basin walls! Meanwhile the water taxis zipped in, out and around all the pleasure boats and the pirate ship shot its cannons of water at hapless boats- it was a wonder none of the dragon boats got run over!!!
The Pirate Ship (Doug Wants to Captain that Next Summer!)
We walked along the piers to the Seven-Foot Knoll Lighthouse that once stood 15 miles southeast of its current location at the outer entrance to the harbor - it was the second screwpile structure built by the US Lighthouse Service in 1856, was manned until 1948 when the Coast Guard automated the lighthouse and was finally retired in 1988.
Seven-Foot Knoll Lighthouse

Walking back along the cobblestone streets of Fells Point, which is a charming little section of Baltimore,
Fells Point
we enjoyed the waterfront views, the crab and fish statues set amongst little gardens or on the piers and the happy sounds emanating from quaint out of the way bars. This is our kind of place!!!
Fish Statues
and Crab Statues

That evening we headed over to our Cheers (you know where everyone knows your name...) in Baltimore - Shuckers - to watch the Red Sox game - our friendly bartender Roger from the night before busted laughing when we walked in as we had told him the night before that we were heading out that day. What can we say, we change our plans often!! We had a great night sitting at the bar, eating BBQ wings, drinking pitchers of Yuengling and watching the Sox thoroughly destroy the Orioles.
Doug Sitting at the Bar in Full Red Sox Gear
We were joined at the bar by Seve (really Steve but he wanted us to call him Seve when we joined his party at the pool tables and pretended to his wife that we were long lost friends...) who acted like he knew us - after Doug and I puzzled over whether we in fact had ever met the guy (NOT), turns out our only connection was that his daughter was a Sox fan which killed him as a true Orioles fan and he had seen our Sox gear!! Too funny!!

After another pretty late evening (it was well after 11:30 by the time we had gotten free of Seve), we woke Sunday morning with the grand idea of staying one more day to watch the Pats and the Red Sox play at 1:00!! Can you say Shuckers anyone?? We didn't need to be in Cambridge until Monday and it was only a 9 hour trip - piece of cake. So once again we trooped over to our bar in full Sox regalia to be greeted by Kevin (our other friendly bartender who just laughed at us again!!) - good thing we got there early because the bar filled up fast - you'd think it was a popular sports bar or something.
Tammy Sits at the Bar Waiting for the Pats Game to Begin
Well despite the contingent of Pats fans compared to the one lonely Jets fan, our Pats played abominably and figured out a way to lose to the Jets (GOD that hurts!!!!) But all was not lost as our Red Sox came through again with a final drubbing of the hapless Orioles. The Yuengling pitcher and wing special helped ease our pain but we all agreed that Tom Terrific needs to make an appearance next week instead of Tom Terrible or we are in for a LONG season!!

Back on Gypsies we told the boat kitties the bad news about the Pats and the good news about the Sox (they were very distraught over Mr. Brady's performance which numerous treats were needed to overcome) and got the boat ready for our trip to Cambridge the next day. As we told Roger and Kevin, we REALLY had to leave on Monday!!! 6:00 am came bright and early this morning let me tell you, but after a gorgeous sunrise
Sunrise Over Henderson's Wharf
we are on our way to meet up with September Song and Tide Hiker in Cambridge today - yippee!! We are just about to pass under the Bay Bridge (thank goodness we pass under it - I really hate traveling over that bridge!!) and have about 6 more hours of steaming. Luckily the weather is gorgeous - although it was cool this morning coming out of the harbor (we ran from downstairs), it is starting to warm up so think we will move to the flybridge shortly to enjoy the sun!! Sun pig is desperately in need of some sun and warmth!! Time to head south yet????