Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Gypsies Returns Home

The other day we left the Little Choptank River bright and early after a beautiful sunrise for our trek up the Chesapeake Bay to Haven Harbor Marina in Rock Hall, Maryland where we bought Gypsies.
Sunrise Over the Little Choptank
Heading for Haven Harbor where it all began when we bought our boat there in October 2007 seemed somehow appropriate albeit coincidental since August 31 was a huge milestone for us - it marked the one year anniversary of when we set out from Kennebunkport on this amazing cruising trip - can you believe it??? What we have seen, done and experienced in that year is hard to describe in just a blog but could be fodder for a book (now there's an idea - maybe I'll think that one over!) - but seriously it has been an unbelievable voyage of discovery and personal growth for us and I'm glad so many of you have been able to take that journey with us through our blog. Hopefully we have taken you to places you will want to visit and you have learned something about this great country of ours and the Bahamas from our travels - if not, that's OK too - hopefully you just enjoyed the pictures of all the crazy things we've done, places we've been and people we've met!! Doug and I consider ourselves extremely lucky to have been able to fulfill our dream of cruising and hope to continue to find a way to make it possible although I'm sure we'll have to head back to some form of work sooner or later - after living this kind of unbelievable life for the past year, I'm sure whatever we choose to do next will be something pretty fun and will involve the water somehow!! Not sure we're capable of going back to the rat race and anyways after being barefoot or in flip flops for the past year, the thought of going back to high heel pumps is singularly unappealing to me....but for now, the journey continues!!

The trip up from the Little Choptank on a beautiful Sunday afternoon was busier than we've seen the waterways in a long time!!! Tons of boats were out in the Bay enjoying the day sailing or fishing or just having fun and the radio was ablaze with chatter - not all of it appropriate for the hailing/distress channel 16 as the Coast Guard repeatedly reminded those boating idiots who haven't learned the rules and radio etiquette yet!! There is also a lot more tanker/cargo ship traffic in the northern Bay heading in and out of Baltimore especially!!
Cargo Ship on the Bay
Tanker in the Bay
Although we tend to enjoy a quieter afternoon with the waters largely to ourselves, in the northern part of the Bay on a sunny weekend we know that is tough to come by so we just sat back and enjoyed the day (except for the occasional bat fly that seemed to want to ride with us - those things are just huge and gross!!)
Flies as Big as Bats
I especially love going under the enormous Bay bridge (in direct inverse proportion to how much I hate driving across it) as I know from there Rock Hall is just a stone's throw away.
Gypsies Approaches the Bay Bridge
A View of the Bay Bridge from Between the Spans

Heading into Haven Harbor we formed up into the stream of boats heading back in for the day - as we knew all too well, a cluster f___ was in the making because the harbor leading to the marina is not only very tight but it is extremely shallow!!
A Convoy of Boats Head into Swan Creek
Take it from us, if you haven't run aground here at least once, you really haven't taken your boat out through this channel!! - or you're lying!! In fact, the folks we bought Gypsies from ran aground on our sea trial! But we got in line and did our dance around the channel markers with the 50 other boats and made it almost to the marina before hearing those dreaded words from the dockmaster "can you guys just hold for a minute while we get this other boat docked??" Now a boat isn't like a car so we can't just put it in park and even if we could, did I mention there was a string of boats behind us??? Yikes! The only good thing is that we were largely at slack tide and there wasn't a ton of wind (and the boat we were waiting to dock was September Song...), however the boats behind us (many of whom were sailboats which never have their radio on so hadn't heard the marina's instructions) started to come up and sniff our butt. We resorted to yelling to them the situation - several wanted to go around us as we waited - sure thing, go at your own risk of grounding! Of course it always happens that just as we got the word to start heading in to our slip one of the sailboats we had let go around us and we thought had found his slip, realized he'd made a mistake so jumped back out in front of us and forced us to hold tight again. Even though I am a reformed sailor, there are a lot of sailors out there who don't know what they are doing!!! (I'm sure they say the same thing about power boaters and they may have a point when they're talking big Sea Rays and go fasts...but you didn't read that here!)

We finally got into our slip which was an interesting series of physical gyrations with very little water below our keel - you know it's never good when the guy greeting you on the dock says "gee I didn't realize you were this big" - does 49 feet have a different meaning in Maryland than elsewhere?? besides this used to be Gypsies home port - what do you mean you didn't realize?? Oh well, no worries - we are tucked into our slip just fine, we just stick out into the fairway a little more than the other boaters having to make their way in and out of their slips might like!!

Shortly after docking we joined September Song up at the TIki Bar for a post cruise beverage - we had earned one!! Well one turned into two and we decided to introduce the September Song gang to our favorite haunt in Rock Hall, the Harbor Shack!!! The Harbor Shack is a little joint down by the water that happens to have happy hour all day on Sunday - now how cool is that!!! So we consumed some very tasty and inexpensive adult libations along with wings, nachos and quesadillas!!! All liquid and no food makes the crew sloppy!! Of course both Bob and I forgot our cameras so we have no pictures of the evening at the Shack (which in retrospect is probably a good thing)!! Nor do we have any pictures of our friendly bartender who appeared to be something straight out of Wrestlemania what with the no neck, the chest that could stop a moving bullet and arms that could crush a beer bottle not just a can!!! Turned out to be a great guy as he kept the mini cold 10 ounce beers coming (for $1) and only charged us $1.88 for Captain and cokes - now I ask you who came up with that price?? Happy people who plan on heading back to the Shack each afternoon for happy hour I tell you!!!

Yesterday was a day of boat chores - Doug worked with the marina guys on our watermaker all day - turns out they are as stumped as Doug was over in the Bahamas when he was trying to fix it. At the end of the day, they just decided to pack the whole unit up and ship it back to Spectra in California for them to either fix and test it or send us a whole new one!!! What does this mean for our cruising plans?? Well not much since we don't make water in the Chesapeake anyways (we'd go through way too many filters and there is no real need as marinas where we can get water are plentiful) so we'll just head out whenever we are ready and swing back by Haven Harbor once they get it back. Hopefully that won't be too long!!! While the guys were being mechanics I took advantage of the courtesy car Haven Harbor has and did a big food/booze provisioning run (we were down to our last four beers!!! emergency!!!!) - you have to take advantage of cars when you have them!! So now we are back to being fully stocked and ready for anything!! While we slaved away all day the boat kitties enjoyed the relatively cool weather (when we woke up in the morning it was downright chilly - - Bob even dug out his jeans!!)
Puss Does What She Does Best
Bootsie Enjoys the Comfort of the Settee

By 4:00 pm yesterday we were very much ready for a cocktail or two after a long but productive day so we headed to the Shack (same bartender, same great cold beers and same awesome BBQ wings - did I mention I love this place!!) - September Song was having the mechanics help them with a battery issue so they hung back at the marina.
Entrance to the Harbor Shack
Doug Enjoys a Cold One at the Harbor Shack
Today the guys are going to swap out at least one if not a couple batteries on September Song and then we both should be good to go. We plan on getting a bunch more boat chores done on board and I need an expedition into town to hit the spice store for more of Doug's favorite mango hot sauce and to refill our propane tanks (which is what fuels our cook top)! Another round at the Harbor Shack to top off our visit tonight would be my guess and assuming everything goes well today, we may head out of here tomorrow for points yet unknown - yet another thing we need to figure out today!!

Click ere to see a Google map of our location at Haven Harbour.

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