Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gypsies in Charm City

Now who knew Charm City is the nickname for Baltimore....yes, you read that right - Baltimore! It was given the name in 1974 by an ad agency and it stuck. That's where Gypsies is at the moment - at a funky little marina in Fells Point, home to the world famous restaurant Bertha's Mussels and the fabulous bar Max's Taphouse that is owned by the cousin of our good friend from Kennebunkport, Marc Feldman (did I mention Max's has over 100 beers on tap!!) Guess where we plan on being tonight??

Sorry about the lack of a blog for the past week and a half but I was traveling back to Massachusetts to see friends and family for a real quick visit - can you say planes, trains and automobiles??? More on that later....

Well we finally figured out our oil filter issue and wound up not going the route of remote filters - instead Doug and Bob used a hammer to tap out some of the rounded bottom of the regular Napa oil filters we use to make it a little shorter and voila, it was enough for them to get the filter on!! Doug talked to a bunch of people to make sure we weren't compromising the filter's performance and got a few mixed thoughts but at the end of the day, we got comfortable that it would work and it saved us over $550 per remote filter and the headache of trying to get them shipped overnight and then installed. To install the remote filter we would have to lift the engine over 2 inches! We had planned on taking Gypsies over to Baltimore that Thursday before I had to leave by train on Friday morning to head to parts north. Despite solving the oil filter issue, unfortunately the weather didn't quite cooperate with our plans (darn those fickle weather gods!!) - the weather forecast called for gale force warnings on the Bay and one of our key rules on Gypsies is to never compromise safety and comfort for a schedule. (As the weather really turned out, we probably could have made it, but who knew that morning??? you do the best you can with the weather info you have!!)

So what did we do??? We sat tight and battened down the hatches and rode out the storm on Thursday and then borrowed the marina's courtesy car to drive me to Baltimore to catch the train the next morning. The problem was that Doug still had to get the boat to Baltimore which was three hours across the Bay!!! After having Doug over for dinner on Friday night so he wouldn't have to cook for himself (thanks guys!!!), on Saturday morning Bob and Stephanie helped him off with the lines at the dock and Doug single handed Gypsies across the harbor in 20 knot winds to our marina in Baltimore harbor where he was met by the dockmaster who helped him into our slip. Can I tell you how weird that was for both of us!!!!! In all of our years of boating together, through four different boats and hundreds of days at sea, we have NEVER not been together for any boat trip - I was freaking out because I wasn't there and Doug was on the boat by himself so he had to do everything - way too weird and hopefully we never have to do that again!! But of course Doug handled everything great and I'm back on Gypsies and she looks wonderful so all's good. What is weird though is that when I walked down the dock to our slip, I didn't see September Song right next to Gypsies - SS stayed an extra day at Rock Hall and then have been cruising the Wye River - other than a day here or there, this is the first time we've been apart since we left for the Bahamas almost 6 months ago!! We miss you guys!! But I talked to Bob the other day and we plan to meet back up with them over in Cambridge (on the Eastern shore of the Bay) on Monday along with hopefully Norm and Vicki of TideHiker!!!!

Paragraph from Doug: The trip over from Rock Hall was weird because Tammy wasn't on board but it was rather uneventful otherwise. It was dreary, rainy occasionally and cold. I ran from the flybridge getting out of the harbor in Rock Hall and then moved down into the pilothouse where it was dry and warm.
View from the Pilothouse on a Cold and Dreary Day
I ran from there the rest of the day until about 500 yards from the marina when I went upstairs for the better visability to dock. The five mile trip up the Patapsco River to Baltimore was busy since it was a Saturday morning but not too bad since it was cold and wet. Baltimore Harbor is where Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner during the War of 1812 and is even today an active working commercial harbor.
View of Baltimore from the Francis Scott Key Bridge
Historical Buoy Marks Spot of Ship Where Francis Scott Wrote the Star Spangled Banner
Baltimore is a Working Harbor
When I got to Henderson's Wharf Marina, the dockmaster put me on the dock usually reserved for local liveaboards. Gypsies is the biggest boat on the dock by almost 10 feet. Since most of the boats on the dock are either liveaboards or people who spend a lot of time on their boats, it is littered with stuff to make their life easier. Things like picnic tables, barbeque grills and bicycles. Very weird.
The Liveaboard Dock at Henderson's Wharf Marina

Back to Tammy: Before we left Rock Hall though we had a chance to meet up with Karen and Jeff Siegel from Castine, ME (almost neighbors of ours in our prior life!! - heh, they are from ME!!) who run a cruisers' website called Active Captain that we use all the time and who have a beautiful 53' DeFever named aCappella. They had pulled into the town docks in Rock Hall so we all took the SS boat dogs over to meet aCappella's boat dogs (two yellow labs named Dyna and Dylan) - the four labs had a grand old time sniffing and getting to know each other while we humans chatted and tried to reign them in (we lost!) Karen was the canine candy man trying to bribe our furry friends with dog treats!
From left; Karen, Jeff, Doug, Bob and StephKaren the Candy Man
Finally we hit the Harbor Shack for a coldie and some great burgers while the canine crew chilled out - you've got to love a bar that welcomes animals to happy hour (one of our favorite bars in Key West is known for this - there's even a song by Michael McCloud a local musician down there about how he wants to come back as a Schooner Wharf bar dog!!!)
Dinner with the Gang at the Harbor Shack
The next night Doug and I hit happy hour at the Shack again and wound up hanging out with some wonderful local folks who invited us to their house and to get some homemade crab cakes when we get back into town - we might just take them up on the offer!! unless of course it's $0.35 wing night at the Shack which is awfully hard to pass up!!

We had a great time in Rock Hall but it was time to leave - it's not a real big place and there's only so many nights in a row that you can hit happy hour at the Shack (who said that???) and we'll have to return to Haven Harbor when our watermaker comes in (who knows how long that will take!!!) Besides I had to head to the frozen tundra in the north for several days to see family and friends - so I set out on September 11th by train for Providence, RI where the plan was to stay with our good friends Mary and Steve Ouellette in Lincoln, RI - thanks for a great time guys!! The next day I headed up to Massachusetts to visit my nephew Drew and his girlfriend,
Drew and Stacy
then on to my brother Tom's and finally to my cousin Chris' house where I was crashing for several days - now of course they all live in different parts of the state not remotely near one another so I had the unmitigated joy of driving a rental car all over kingdom come in the pouring rain and cold that can be Massachusetts in the Fall. It was great to see everyone though - at my cousin Chris' not only did I get to hang with him and his beautiful fiancee Carolina, but my fabulous Aunt Peg who continues to amaze me with her spunk and humor was there as well as my cousin Warren and his bride Debbie who drove up from Cape Cod to surprise me!!! How Kewl!!!! We had an amazing dinner with way too many bottles (yes I did say bottles not bags) of wine - what a treat - thanks guys!!
Dinner at Chris': from left; Chris, Warren, Debbie, Carolina (foreground), and Peg
Tammy Enjoys Drinking Wine from Bottles Rather than Bags
We of course had to call poor Doug at 11:40 pm so he could talk to everyone (what isn't everyone up at that time of night??) and then again at about 1:45 am - good thing he loves me!!
Peg Talks to Doug at 11:40 PM
The next day it was back out to central Mass for visits with my amazing niece Sam, her husband Steve and their new "bundle of joy" Rocco (what a really cool little dude!!)
Steve, Sam and Rocco
and my very hip nephew Wyatt and his mom, Kristy!!!
Wyatt the Man!
What a great visit but not long enough by far - I miss those guys!!! then it was off to my cousin Melissa's (to see Melissa, Russ and her great kids Mac and Bridget...and Bridget's guinea pig Sushi!)
Melissa and Russ
and then on to my other brother Tim's - now the good part is that they all live in the same town which was huge!!! The next day it was back to RI to the Ouellette's where I actually got to watch the Pats game complete with more food than any four human beings could possibly eat in one 6 hour sitting (we had to watch the pre-game too of course!!!) Man were those ribs good and despite a really poor showing, the PATS WON (ugly I know but a win nonetheless and in dramatic fashion in the last 2 minutes of the game!) Thanks again guys for a great time - you guys rock!!

I got back to Gypsies on Wednesday late afternoon in time for Doug's friend Ray Maskell to come over to the boat for a drink and then they went out for dinner. I of course had plenty of penance to do (ie kissing and loving of the boat kitties) before Puss and Boots would welcome me home - so I spent the night feeding them treats and doling out love!!! They finally admitted to missing me!!
Puss Met Tammy at the Door
Bootsie was a Little More Restrained

Paragraph from Doug: Ray and I went to a really cool restaurant/bar on S. Ann Street in Fells Point called Peter's Inn. It is one of Ray's favorite restaurants and Ray was actually sitting there a year and a half ago when I called him to tell him Tammy and I were quitting our jobs to go live on a boat. Too Kewl! If you're ever in Fells Point, check out Peter's Inn.

Today it is as cold and rainy as it had been up in Massachusetts - guess I must have brought it back with me - sorry!! We plan on hitting Max's tonight for several cold draft beers and perhaps a burger and tomorrow the Red Sox are playing the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yard which is just about my favorite ball park (not that I've been to a ton, but....) so we went online and got tickets!!! We'll probably head out of here on Saturday for the Magothy River to relax for a couple days before hooking back up with SS and Tide Hiker (those party animals!!!)

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

1 comment:

  1. Seems strange not having Gypsies a stones throw away in an anchorage. See you guys on Monday.