Saturday, May 31, 2008

Solomons, MD, to Chesapeake City, MD

Monday, May 26 - Beautiful day in Solomons, MD. Still not as much boat traffic around as we had expected, which is good. We're anchored in Back Creek near the Holiday Inn.

We have a problem with our dinghy motor. After taking Lucy to shore yesterday afternoon we took the dinghy over to see Gail Frances at Spring Cove Marina and then headed out for a dinghy tour of Solomons Island. The little Yamaha motor quit! And nothing Wayne could do would get it going again. A couple on a jet ski towed us back to the boat (how humiliating...) and Wayne worked on it a little longer...but still no go. We knew what the plan for Monday was: try to find out what's wrong with the motor and see if we can fix it on Memorial Day.

So...this Monday morning we packed up Lucy in the dinghy and paddled into shore. Fortunately we're not that far away! At noon we set out again by paddle to look for a fuel filter, grab some lunch and check out the town. The Holiday Inn is right behind a gourmet market and shopping center with a post office. One block away is the West Marine. Pretty convenient! To get into the "town" part of the island we walked about a mile, passing by this lovely piece of land right on the Patuxent River.

We checked out a few boat places for the filter (no luck), and ate lunch at the Captain's Table at Beacon Marina. (Good crab cakes, but not a place we would go again.)

We'll be here through tomorrow, we know, and will hopefully be able to resolve the dinghy issue by then.

Tuesday, May 27 - We woke up and looked at the weather again. Could we make it to Oxford, MD, before storms set in...even if we did get the motor repaired? We'll try!! We paddled Lucy into shore. Wayne had arranged to have another dinghy tow us back to the boat by the time she'd finished her business. Then Wayne started out to paddle to the marina that had a repair facility. A large sailboat (45 ft. or more) saw him paddling and offered a tow. They took him all the way into the harbor of the marina. Have we said it before...or enough? Cruising boaters are the best!

A couple of hours later we were pulling out of Solomons and heading for Oxford on the eastern shore. The problem with the motor turned out to be a leaking fuel tank which had let water into the fuel. We replaced the tank and the marina shop cleaned out the motor and we were ready to go. This was the calmest day ever on the Chesapeake for us. So calm, in fact, that there was no wind at all. We fought biting flies the whole way!! Coast Guard, where are you???

We'd called ahead to Oxford to find the lowest fuel price. Campbell's Boatyard at Jack's Point was lowest at $4.22...and they had a transient slip available for the night. We got in around 4 PM and fueled up. Campbell's does a lot of work on wooden boats and there were some gorgeous vessels on site.

In the slip next to the fuel dock was a boat named Mystic Bond...and it was flying a gold Looper flag. (We have a white Looper flag because we're in the process of doing the Loop. You get a gold flag when you've done the Loop at least once.) So after walking Lucy we stopped by to visit with the owners, Olga and Andre Massicotte from Canada (originally, Nova Scotia).

Olga and Andre built their boat. What they couldn't do they contracted out...and living in boat-building territory as they were, this was easy to do. It's their first time owning a boat, too! They sold their house and left out on Mystic Bond in 2006. They completed the Loop once and have been traveling around since then. They are leaving the boat here in Oxford with a for-sale sign on it. Now they want to go to Europe, buy a boat and continue the adventure!

Coming into Oxford we were both impressed with the look of the place. We're anxious to check it out tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 28 – We loved Oxford! Pretty homes, some little and some big. Quaint. We went out that morning looking for breakfast. While we didn’t find a restaurant open for breakfast we did travel by bicycle all around the town.

This looked like it could have been a library at one time but is now called the Mystery Loves Company Bookstore...

That afternoon we went back with Olga to the farmer’s market. Freshly made ice cream from a local creamery, organic greens and local strawberries were among our purchases. The market was small, but well stocked. And it was definitely the place for catching up with neighbors. There were a lot of people out that afternoon. We had a salad of arugula, oak-leaf lettuce and shelled fresh peas that evening…YUM.

Thursday, May 29 – Let’s go 80+ miles today to Havre de Grace, MD, at the top of the Chesapeake! We were out by 8 AM and got to our destination by 5 PM. It was a long day, but easy travel on the Chesapeake. We tied up at Havre de Grace Marina at the Log Pond (don’t ask…) and chatted for a while with another cruising couple there, Carey and Phil on Apolonia. Turns out Carey was from Big Stone Gap, VA, and we had a mutual acquaintance! Small world. Phil has done the Loop (Carey was still working then and came to visit for a few weeks at a time) so now they are going to Nova Scotia by boat. We’ll likely cross paths again somewhere up in the canals…

Friday, May 30 – The weather was going to be good for travel this day, but we had to wait in Havre de Grace long enough to get a UPS package we’d had directed to the marina. Meanwhile we went in search of breakfast…a-gain. We settled for coffee from a “java shop” and a huge cinnamon roll ($1.20) from Holl’s Bakery. We ate all we wanted of the roll and still had half left! Then we proceeded to walk the town streets.

Havre de Grace has a nice feel to it. Maybe the first "northern" town we've been to on the Chesapeake (or on this trip!) When I walked around the first night I came back saying it reminded me a lot of my old Detroit neighborhood somehow. Maybe the style of the houses, the closeness of the houses, and the activity on the sidewalks. Havre de Grace is really close to Baltimore and Washington, DC., and I suspect a lot of the boats we saw there are owned by people who don't live in the town.

We found the marina office about 12 blocks away and found out UPS usually delivered between 11 and 2. At 11 we had lunch at MacGregors Tavern, then stopped by the Save-a-Lot grocery on the way back to the boat. By now it was after noon so Wayne biked back to the marina office to wait on the package. The UPS truck was busy that day…we didn’t get out of town until around 2:15PM.

We have been passing these neat bell markers up here...As waves rock it, the bell rings. An alert in foggy or dark conditions, I guess, but there have to be enough waves to move the ringer.

Fortunately, the run to Chesapeake City was short and we were anchored in the basin by 4 PM. Bill and Jane on Wayfarer tied up at the restaurant dock since the town docks were full.

Saturday, May 31 – Windy, stormy weather today so we’re not traveling. (I started to say we’re not moving, but that would be wrong.) There’s a tornado watch out this afternoon until 5 PM. We’re hoping this front moves through tonight so we can make the run tomorrow down the Delaware Bay to Cape May. Wayne is spending the afternoon working on the battery hook ups.

Chesapeake City is a really neat little town. A real sea town. Pretty little houses with gated yards and lots of flowers.

So this afternoon I called Diane Wade on Bella Luna to see where they were this stormy day. They were here in Chesapeake City...within spitting distance! We took the dinghy over that evening and visited with Louis and Diane...and Bud and Muriel from Sunshine. Tomorrow we all plan to leave out around 8 AM for Cape May. May the weather gods be with us...

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