Exploring the Chesapeake: Fall 2007

Krogen Rendezvous: Oct. 4th-7th:

The Krogens have invaded Solomons.

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Members of the Krogen Cruisers Organization have been arriving one by one all week long for the annual Krogen Rendezvous. There are now 69 Krogen boats in Solomons. This year is also the 30th anniversary celebration for Krogen so the rendezvous is far bigger than in past years. Last year was a record rendezvous with 40 boats. It is quite amazing to see all of the Krogen boats rafted together.

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They are all wedged together like a jigsaw puzzle. The two floating docks at Calvert Marina are completely full of Krogen boats.

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The boats are moored stern to the docks and rafted tightly together with the bows touching the boats on the adjacent docks.

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There are also many krogen cruisers attending the rendezvous without their boats. There are over 200 Krogen owners in attendance. The event is sold out as they can not fit any more people into the tent.

The first annual dog parade kicked off the event on Thursday evening. Over 20 dogs participated in the event along with one cat, each sporting a spiffy costume. Bella who is a black pug was the parade master along with her owners, Jim and Charlie Ann aboard “Blue Heaven”.

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Bella and her owners were modeling fantastic pirate costumes.

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Charlie Ann was the organizer the first annual dog parade. Daisy and Sebastian are all decked out in their “Krogen Cruiser” outfits. They each have a Krogen burgee around their neck along with matching sunglasses. Daisy is dressed in hot pink pants while Sebastian is clothed in baby blue cruising shorts. Daisy’s ensemble also includes a Krogen ball cap while Sebastian is displaying his new blue socks.

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After parading up and down the docks past all of the Krogen Cruisers, judging takes place. Bill and Stacy aboard “Tapestry” have been given the judging duties. Bentley, another Jack Russell, is awarded best nautical costume.3041 It is next time for the grand prize winners. Daisy and Sebastian are surprised to hear their name called out as the overall winner. They receive a nice gift basket full of doggie treats and toys. All of the dogs and owners seemed to enjoy themselves. I am sure this parade will continue in future years as it was a big hit among the cruisers.

Friday’s activities began with a breakfast of home baked goods from many of the cruisers galleys.

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Afterwards there was a very interesting talk given by Tom Button from Krogen on the history of Krogen along with a slide presentation of how a Krogen is manufactured. Later in the morning there were several seminars on boating related subjects. Friday afternoon kicked off the “Krogen Krawl”. Boat owners open up their boats for display. It is a great way to see the different boats and get ideas. Friday evening was a pot luck dinner in which all the cruisers brought a dish.

Saturday began again with breakfast and then more very informative seminars and the “Krawl” in the afternoon. We especially enjoyed the seminar on teak varnishing.

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It was very informative and gave us very helpful tips for varnishing. We have found varnishing to be very challenging and we need all the help we can get for learning this skill. It is definitely an art which takes much practice. We spent Saturday afternoon with a new Krogen owner showing them our boat. Their boat is now in production and they are still getting ideas for modifications on their boat. We were in their shoes several years ago and are glad to pass on information which we have learned over the past few years.

Saturday afternoon Greg Gandy, Krogen’s service manager, and Bill Harris, our Krogen salesperson, came aboard to assist us in lowering our radar arch for the first time.

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Instead of a mast and boom that is standard on Krogens, we have a radar arch which is hinged at the base so that it can fold down. We had the boat designed this way in order to reduce the overall height to 15 ft. This will allow us to get under all the bridges of “The Great Loop” waterway. We had never lowered the arch before and wanted to see if it was something that the two of us can do by ourselves. The process went very smoothly and we should not have a problem doing this by ourselves in the future.

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Krogen Yachts sponsored the Gala Caribbean dinner on Saturday evening. In celebration of Krogen’s 30th anniversary, Mr. Lin and family, owner of Asia Yacht Harbor who builds the boats for Krogen, flew in from Taiwan for the event. They were overwhelmed to see all of the Krogen boats rafted together and this event seemed to mean a lot to them. They have been building these boats for Krogen for over 20 years. Krogen also flew in their entire staff from the Stuart, Florida office for the celebration. It was great to see all of the familiar faces again. There was also a live band playing oldies from the 50’s. The rendezvous was a big success and everyone was sorry to see it end.

We returned to the boat Saturday evening and received quite an unwanted surprise. We opened the rear door to find Sebastian waiting at the door for us but Daisy was not to be found. We quickly scanned the saloon windows and saw that the screens were intact. Daisy had ripped these screens out during fireworks in Washington, DC and that was our first thought. I quickly went into the pilot house to discover that the exterior window cover had been pushed open. Daisy had escaped through this window.

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Our next door neighbors said they had heard a loud clash just a few minutes earlier. They had looked out but had not seen anything. They thought it was someone’s anchor hitting on the hull. Little did they know it was Daisy falling head first from the pilot house onto the starboard walkway. I quickly started scanning the water as I was sure she probably fell in as the walkway is only several feet wide where she would have landed after a 4 ft. fall. Our neighbors had not heard any splash in the water and did not think that she had fallen in. We could hear fireworks across the harbor. I am sure Daisy became frightened by this noise and ran in panic. We immediately began searching the adjacent docks and fields. Several of our neighbors wonderfully joined in searching for her. The fireworks are still exploding across the harbor. If Daisy did not land in the water, she is probably long gone from here. Jeff hops in the car and searches the main road to the marina. We are still not 100 % sure that she did not fall in the water. After about 30 minutes of searching, Jeff gets a call on our cell phone. Daisy has shown up at the Krogen rendezvous about ½ mile from our dock. Someone found her wandering around the tent. Bill Harris, our Krogen salesperson, recognized Daisy and gave us a call. What a relief. I was sure that we not find her this time. From now own, either Daisy will have to be crated each time we leave or all windows will have to be locked. She can not be trusted aboard the boat by herself. We were also touched by the immediate response from our boating neighbors in their help searching for Daisy. There are many other dog owners here on the dock and they all understand what it would be like to loose their pet. Thank you all for your help in finding Daisy.

Sunday morning there was a meeting of boat captains before unraveling the tangled web of boats. One by one they pulled away from the dock in reverse order of which they came in. It was quite a sight to see them peeling off one by one.

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Not a single piece of fiberglass was damaged in the process. It was amazing. Denny Maude, owner of a 48 Krogen, organized the entire docking and undocking procedure. He did a great job.

Life at Solomons:

Several folks have asked us what Calvert Marina here in Solomons is like. Instead of boring you with meaningless details, we thought photos of our dock might help to explain the spirit of this place. DD Dock, where we have stayed, is home to several resident boaters and their dogs. We have enjoyed our time here getting to know everyone and the daily rhythms that dictate life. Paul and Jane Achtellik, our port-side neighbors, have lived on their boat for many years here at Calvert. Paul has graciously shared some photos of the dock during the other seasons that we would not be able to experience. These photos are very good and will help explain the spirit of the dock, its waters, and the marina called home for us and its long term residents.

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Solomons Island: Sept. 22nd-30th:

We have had a very busy week here in Solomons. On Saturday, we made a short trip to the town of Leonardtown which about 15 miles from here just across the Patuxent River. Here we participated in the 18th annual Amish Century Bicycle Ride. This ride took us across two peninsulas to the shores of the Potomac River and back through Amish farmland. As we were riding, we kept seeing hoof scrapes on the pavement. Eventually we came across several Amish horse drawn buggies traveling to and from town. As we passed the local Food Lion grocery store, we saw a hitching post outside the store with a horse and buggy waiting while its owner was inside grocery shopping.

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After our 60 mile ride, we enjoyed a cookout sponsored by the local bike club. I lost count after Jeff’s burger number five. Luckily none of the club members noticed and asked us to leave.

On Sunday, Solomons hosted the 6th annual Waterman’s Festival. We decide to walk into town for this with the dogs. There was a crab soup cook-off, boat docking contest, and blue crab habitat lecture. We sampled many of the crab soup entries and they were all very delicious. We spent several hours being entertained while watching the local crab fishermen compete in the highly competitive docking contest.

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Using their personal working craft, they competed against the clock to see who could leave a slip, move two spaces over, back into a slip, and securely tie all four lines the fastest. The watermen take this docking contest very seriously. It is a source of pride for them all year long. The winning time was 18 seconds done on a 30 ft. boat from Smith Island. Upon returning home, I made Jeff give me the boat keys as he wanted to see how fast we could dock IT.

We took a road trip to the Shenandoah National Park early in the week. From Solomons it was a 3 ½ hour drive each way. Front Royal, VA is the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive which is a 110 mile long scenic drive through the Shenandoah National Park.

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We located the Appalachian Trail which intersects Skyline Drive in several places. With the dogs in tow, we hiked eight miles of this trail.

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The Appalachian Trail is a footpath from Georgia to Maine traversing 2174 miles over very mountainous terrain. We have hiked much of this trail in Georgia and Tennessee over the past years. Our dream is to someday thru hike the entire trail in one season. Today we met two thru hikers making their way south. We enjoyed spending a few moments talking to them about their travels. Although the lengthy drive made for a long day, the scenery and hiking made it worthwhile. The dogs both slept very soundly on the return drive. They were both rewarded with double rations for dinner.

On Wednesday, Lisa from Lisa’s Canvas came aboard and installed new sumbrella covers for our saloon and stern windows. The starboard cover was easy to install as there is a walkway around this side of the boat. After watching Lisa install the first cover, Jeff felt confident enough to tackle the port side. In order to reach this window he would have to hang out over the boat with one hand while measuring and marking the other side for placement of the snaps.

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He next had to drill holes with an electric drill into the sides of our boat where the snaps are to be located. It is scary enough having holes drilled in our boat much less while hanging on with one hand while balancing on the rub rail.

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These are the first holes we have ever drilled into the boat. Everything turned out nicely and our covers look great.

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Thursday was the start of TrawlerFest which continued through the weekend. TrawlerFest is a type of boat show specifically for trawlers. There were over 100 boats on display at the docks available for tours.

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There are also seminars during the day and vendor booths on display. The manufacturer of our boat, Krogen, had seven boats on display. Jeff volunteered his time on Saturday to help give tours of the Krogen boats along with several other boat owners. The crowds were larger than expected and all help was much appreciated. He worked from 10:00 AM to 5 PM non stop giving tours of the Krogens. Even though it was tiring, he always enjoys talking about the Krogen boats.

Nate’s Notes Chapter #4:

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Just a quick note from the engineering officer aboard Idyll Time. During this summer, I’m happy to report no major mechanical issues aboard the boat. Capt. Dad replaced te John Deere raw water impeller while in Washington, DC. I had him do this as part of my preventative maintenance program (PMP). It’s a good thing he did because the old impeller had some cracks in the fins and it had never been changed. He did a fairly good job and he only scraped four of his knuckles and said two bad words. Not bad for him. The blood cleaned up quickly from the engine room walls and floor boards once Clorox was sprayed on it. Also, Capt. Dad and friend Jerry did an oil/fuel filter change in Solomons. Boy was it hot! This went a lot smoother than the impeller and no blood was shed. Other than those two things, I’ve got IT running well. As long as Capt. Dad continues to follow my PMP, we should be fine. Fall cruising on the Chesapeake should be great!

Later,

Nate

Homer’s Handout #4:

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I thought we didn’t have to do this report stuff anymore. So what’s the deal? The other day at our briefing, that weenie Sebastian asked about them and Capt. Dad said he thought that it was a good idea to have everyone start doing them again. I would have killed weenie-boy if I could have opened my cage quicker. Next time, I’m out on the t-stand with Nate, I think I’ll fly over to Mr. Suck-up and show him a little “Guest Relations”. After all, that’s what I’m in charge of – Guest Relations. And while I’m on the subject of Guest Relations, what’s up with all the visitors this summer- first Courtney, the neighbors Greg and Carol, then friend Jerry and now shore visitors from Solomons. Will they ever stop! Every time someone stays aboard Dad (oops, I’m supposed to say Capt. Dad) and (Admiral) Mom stay in our room. They say it’s because they want the guests to have a restful night’s sleep without being bothered. Bothered by whom? I bet it’s because Daisy barks at every little noise. Surely it’s not from Nate or me with our melodious calls and songs. The only exception was Niece Courtney- she stayed with us the whole time she was aboard. She even snuck that weenie Sebastian into bed with her! I told Capt. Dad but he just shook his head and muttered about the crew becoming too spoiled. I also told him when weenie-boy snuck into Carol and Greg’s room one night. He said that Sebastian had been requested to do so by special invitation. Yeah, right! How come I never have gotten one of those before? I think he just made that one up.

That’s enough for now. I’m tired of writing and I think I can go take a chunk out of Sebastian. That should cheer me up!

Homer

The Patuxent River: Sept. 19- 21st

After spending a week tied to the docks here in Solomons we are anxious to be back out on the water. We have decided to take a short trip up the Patuxent River and explore this area. The Patuxent River is 110 miles long and our guide book describes it as “one of the Bay’s outstanding rivers”.

We have an easy departure from the docks at 11:30 AM and are quickly out into the river. Passing by the town of Solomons, we pass under the massive Thomas Johnson Bridge which takes car traffic across the Patuxent from Solomons.

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As we pass under the bridge, we spot a Krogen 58 headed down the Patuxent.

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Just as we are speculating that it may be Tapestry, they hail us on the VHF. Bill and Stacy’s original Tapestry, which was a 48 ft. Krogen like ours, was one of the first Krogens that we toured inside when we were boat shopping several years ago. We have followed their logs this summer as they just returned from doing the Down East loop. We look forward to spending some time with them and hearing about their adventure. They said it was a trip of a lifetime. We hope to make this same trip in the next year or two and can’t wait to pick their brains for information. They will be in Solomons also for several weeks so we will make it a point to catch up with them.

The Patuxent River is very wide and deep. At one point we see 126 feet register on the depth sounder. About eight miles upstream, we see the entrance to St. Leonard Creek.

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We travel up this creek about two miles to our anchorage spot just off Breedens Point called Rollins Cove. There is another small trawler already at anchor here. At 1:00 PM, Idyll Time is securely at anchor. Sebastian immediately goes to the back deck waiting on us to lower the dinghy and take him ashore. There is a nice beach just below a small cliff where Jeff takes the dogs ashore. While he is ashore, I wonder to myself if sharks teeth would be in these cliffs like those at Calvert Cliffs. They look very similar although not as massive. When Jeff returns, he pulls out a really nice shark’s tooth from his pocket.

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He found it while walking on the beach. We plan on doing some more sharks’ tooth hunting tomorrow.

St. Leonard’s Creek is a lovely place to anchor. There are nice homes scattered between the hardwood trees along the shore. It reminds us very much of the rivers in Tennessee. This afternoon, fish are jumping all around the boat. Jeff decides to pull out the fishing rods to try his luck. We do not have a Maryland fishing license but I am able to go online and purchase one. The whole process takes only five minutes. It is amazing what one can do with a computer. He soon catches four small fish.

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We are not sure what they are so we look them up on the internet. We determine that they are gizzard shad and not good for eating so we throw them back. Since we can’t eat our catch, dinner tonight is leftovers. We enjoy a peaceful night at anchor.

Thursday morning we decide to hunt for sharks teeth. We have a small shovel and a piece of screen which we can use to sift through the sand. We try our luck around the cliffs where Jeff found the sharks tooth yesterday.

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We dig in the sand for over an hour without finding even the smallest piece of tooth. We hunt in the cliffs themselves and then try out in the deeper water all to no avail. We next decide to get the kayaks down and explore some of the areas which we can not reach on foot or by dinghy.

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Even this produces no sharks’ teeth.

All of the hunting for shark’s teeth made us hungry. There is a famous restaurant just around the bend called Vera’s White Sands Beach Club. We pull up to Vera’s in the dinghy.

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The theme is a South Pacific beach resort. There are plastic palm trees lining the shore. The interior has a very tropical décor. Vera was quite the legend in this area and our guide books all say you have to eat there just once in order to see Vera in person. Unfortunately she sold the restaurant last year and has since passed away. Evidently she was quite the character. Operating the restaurant well into her 90’s, her personality made this restaurant quite unique. Once a Hollywood starlet, she had the taste for the exotic and made many collecting trips to Fiji for local artifacts which she later decorated her restaurant with. Our guide book says there was never any question as to who Vera was when she walked into the restaurant and you would never forget her once you saw her. She was known for her signature martinis and long bleached blond hair. We are sorry that we did not get a chance to meet her. We did see her portrait along with many of the exotic artifacts in one room which has been dedicated to her memory.

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This afternoon we take the dinghy and explore further up the St. Leonard Creek. Many nice homes line both sides of the shore. We see a bald eagle and osprey flying overhead. This frustrates Daisy to no end as she really wants to chase these birds but knows the water is blocking her fun. Her eyes closely follow every movement that the birds make but she knows there is nothing she can do as the water is her barrier.

Back on the boat, we spend the afternoon cleaning and waxing the hull and stainless rails. We use the dinghy to reach parts of the outside hull. Jeff holds the dinghy in place while I polish the underside of the hull. Idyll Time looks much more presentable once we are finished.

Jeff’s late night run into shore with the dogs gives him a startle. As he pulls the dinghy up to the beach, he sees two sets of eyes peering through the darkness at him. This beach does belong to someone but we have not seen a house here so didn’t think anyone was around. He is mystified as to who would be standing in the water staring at him at this late hour. It turns out to be two cows standing in the water. I think they were just as startled as Jeff. They quickly retreated up the hill to safer ground.

On Friday, we enjoy a few hours at our anchorage before heading back to Solomons. The bald eagle is once again flying overhead. There are also several ospreys diving for their morning breakfast just in front of the boat. We wish we could stay here longer. However we have a century bicycle ride tomorrow so we need to head back to shore.

We have a nice cruise back out St. Leonard’s Creek and are soon out into the Patuxent once again. Once in the Patuxent, we spend some time with Susie at the helm practicing maneuvers. Hopefully someday she will feel comfortable enough to try docking the boat.
Before heading into our slip, we take advantage of Solomon’s free pump out dock. There is a sailboat just leaving the pump out dock when we arrive. We wait about 15 minutes as they try to maneuver away from the dock. It is quite a scene to watch. Before it is all over, both husband and wife are up on the bow trying to push the boat around several pilings. Someone finally comes over and offers to help them. Unlike the sailboat, we have an easy pump out and are soon docked back in our slip at Calvert Marina where IT patiently awaits her next adventure.

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Daisy’s Diary #4:

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As security officer, I have only one incident to report during this summer. Admiral Mom briefly touched on it. It was during our downtown Baltimore stay at the public docks. Someone got on our boat one night and tried to enter in through the back door. Luckily, the boat neighbor next to us scared him away before he got inside. I keep the doors locked as a good security prevention measure. Sebastian said he heard the guy when he was on the dock and barked once. I silently checked out any unusual noises but since our cabin door was shut, and the A/C was on, I couldn’t do my usual full interior search. If Homer hadn’t been making such a racket earlier in the evening, maybe the cabin door could have stayed open. I told Capt. Dad and Admiral Mom that I didn’t think it was a good idea to sleep in a cabin all closed up and Capt. Dad said he agreed with me on this. Since then, Capt. Dad has been leaving the windows open at night- he says it’s for better security and so he can hear what’s going on outside the boat. I would have to agree. I can hear much better too and so can Sebastian. We now bark at every little noise during the night (or day). Admiral Mom says there will be a new security policy coming out shortly. One that includes heat, A/C, and no bugs from open windows. I wonder when it will be? Stay tuned.

I guess by now most of you have heard about the new screens aboard IT.

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In my defense, I must say the fireworks started much sooner than expected before my medication kicked in. What did they expect? Let’s see- Fourth of July in Washington, DC. Did they think it was going to be “Silent Night”? Do they know I get freaked out by loud noises? I was only trying to get out to warn them that the fireworks were starting early. Capt. Dad says the new “pet-proof” screens are much better anyway. So now there is no chance of Sebastian or the birds falling out through the window. Admiral Mom said she doesn’t think the screens are “Daisy proof” but then again, not much is. We’ll see.

Later,

Daisy

Solomons, Maryland: Sept. 14th -18th

We have spent the last week at dock here at Calvert Marina catching up on boat chores and touring the area. The area where Calvert Marina is now located was originally our nations first Naval amphibious training base. Between 1942 and 1945 some 88,000 sailors, marines, coast guardsmen, and soldiers trained here. They formed the major component of the amphibious forces which landed at Guadalcanal, North Africa, Sicily, and Normandy. You can still see some of the ruins from this training base in the fields around the marina.

Most mornings we take the dogs for a six mile hike in Calvert Cliffs State Park. They very much look forward to their morning hike.

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We enjoyed a nice dinner at the Dry Dock Restaurant with our friend Chris Wells. Chris had told us about this restaurant and said that their crab cakes were the size of tennis balls. Of course, we had to verify this first hand. He was correct, and they were also very good. On Saturday, we entered the 15th annual Solomons Biathlon.

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It was a 6.5 mile bike, 4 mile trail run at Calvert Cliffs State Park, then 6.5 mile bike ride back to Solomons. We were both very tired at the end but pleased with our fitness level. I managed to come in 4th overall in the women’s and 1st in the 35 to 50 age group. Saturday afternoon we enjoyed the local artsfest festival just down the street from our marina. There was a wide variety of arts and crafts along with several different food venders and some local entertainment.

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Sunday morning we attended the local fireman’s fundraising breakfast. They had a buffet of eggs, hash browns, grits, sausage, bacon, biscuits and pancakes. On Sunday afternoon we walked into the town of Solomons with the dogs. Our marina is just across Back Creek from the town but to get there on foot you have to walk around the creek which is about 10 miles roundtrip. Downtown Solomons is not very big with just one main road which runs along the Patuxent River. There are several gift shops and restaurants here. The town has built a nice boardwalk which runs the entire length of town along the river.

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We saw many people walking on the boardwalk enjoying the nice Sunday afternoon.

Sebastian’s Story; Part 4

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Wow! Did the summer go by quick or what? Captain Dad said at our boat briefing the other day that the summer vacation was over and that we all had to get back to doing our logs. Homer did a lot of gripping and grumbling. He said he didn’t want to and absolutely refuses to help. Dad immediately scheduled some new attitude adjustment classes for Homer. Daisy, Nate, and I think we all should help out and are happy to do it.

People have asked me what was the highlight of my summer. A few things come to mind and not in any particular order:

Niece Courtney coming to visit me in DC.

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Neighbor Carol visiting and me getting some good lap time (also in DC).

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Making new friends with Jerry.

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Paw-Paw ice cream treats in Oxford ( yum,yum).

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I could go on but these are just a few highlights that come immediately to mind.

I know a lot of folks were upset with the record heat this summer but for me it has been great. Only one time did I get overheated during our walks. Dad had to cool me off in the men’s room sink at Colonial Beach. Other than that, I’ve been enjoying the heat and wish I could have it all year round. I usually get in 3-4 hours of sundeck time each day. Being tan and fit is important when you’re the boat Cruise Director. A cold front came through on Saturday and it’s reminded me to look for my sweaters in our drawer. While searching, I found an old piece of rawhide that I think Captain Dad has been hiding from me since July. I got this rawhide out of the drawer and just about finished it before the darn thing disappeared again after I came back from my morning walk.

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Raw hide chews are very hard to keep track of. I have the same problem at home. Captain Dad says I leave too much stuff lying around both here and in our house. I know exactly where everything is once I’ve set it down but he doesn’t believe me.

Now that we’re docked at Solomons, MD for a month, Daisy and I can go for walks several times a day. Going ashore in the dinghy was always fun but hopping onto the dock and heading for the bushes is sure a lot quicker now. Especially after drinking a lot of water and chewing my raw hide. That really gets my system perking.

Well, that’s about it for now. I’ve got to go- the sun is out and I’m falling behind in my deck sun bathing duties.

Later,

Sebastian

Cambridge, MD: Sept. 10th-13th

We woke up this morning to another beautiful day here on the Chesapeake. The fog was heavy this morning and we could not even see the shore. It has quickly burned off to become a bright hot sunny day. There is a local waterman who sets out a crab trot line each morning just in front of our boat.

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He then works his way back and forth across the Tred Avon River. He has a take up wheel mounted on the stern which the line runs over as he moves through the water. The line is baited with chicken necks about every three feet. He scoops up any crabs attached to the line with a net and flips them into a wooden basket. We have seen this waterman out each morning as he harvests the crabs. We purchased some local backfin crab meat yesterday in the country market here at Oxford. We were told the crab was caught here in the bay by a local and delivered to the store for sale. I wonder if our crab came from this waterman. He seems to do very well. We have watched him fill his wooden baskets full each morning. The large American Eagle cruise ship departed from the ferry dock sometime during the night. We met some of the passengers last night while walking the dogs. Their itinerary was to travel to Yorktown today then back up the Bay to St. Michaels and Annapolis before docking in Baltimore where their trip started. They had visited Cambridge yesterday which is where we have decided to go today.

Just as we pull up the dinghy in preparation of leaving, “Forever 39”, a Krogen 39’ with Tom and Charlene, hails us on the VHF. They are just up the Tred Avon River returning to Oxford from an overnight anchorage. They pull alongside and raft up to Idyll Time. We last saw them while in Washington, DC at the Capital Yacht Club. We enjoy chatting with them. They give us some information on Cambridge and also tell us about a nice anchorage called La Trappe Creek. We will anchor there after visiting Cambridge.

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It is almost 1:00 PM when we finally pull away from Oxford. We are getting a late start but it is only about 15 miles up the Choptank to Cambridge. In no time, we see the entrance to Cambridge Creek. We follow the narrow harbor channel into the turning basin. There is one sailboat at anchor here. The turning basin is very small with little room for anchoring. There is a public bulkhead where we can land the dinghy. Today is a nice calm day so we decide to anchor just outside the creek on the Choptank River itself. We find an area just before the municipal marina which makes a little basin and is well outside the main channel. Even though this spot is not very well protected, we feel it will be O.K. for tonight as the weather looks good. There is a nice park and beach just ashore from here where we can walk the dogs.

This afternoon we take the dinghy into Cambridge Creek to explore. There is a draw bridge just inside the creek which raises on demand for larger boats. We are able to slip under in the dinghy without an opening. Sebastian and Daisy enjoy riding on the bow while looking at all the sights.

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Daisy is more interested in the seagulls flying around than in any of the sights. There are condos, each with their own boat slip, going up everywhere inside the creek. Most look empty and we wonder how they will ever sell all of these condos. We decide to have lunch at a restaurant right on the creek called Snappers. The dogs wait patiently tied to a tree in the park next door. The restaurant has a strange menu of both Mexican and seafood. The crab cakes were excellent. Jeff had a crab quesadilla which was also good.

During the night, we had some severe thunderstorms. Jeff was up at 1:00 AM lifting the dinghy back onto Idyll Time. We usually leave the dinghy tied up behind the boat but with the storms and wind coming he put it back on top of Idyll Time where it is more secure. Most of the bad weather went to our north but we did not get much sleep as the lightning was flashing all around us. Bad weather is always a little nerve racking while at anchor. The dogs also feel uncomfortable and bark at each lightning strike.

The next morning all the bad weather has passed. We may get thunderstorms again this afternoon as the cold front passes through the area. This front should also bring cooler weather which will be much appreciated. We take the dinghy ashore to explore the town of Cambridge. High Street is lined with old stately Victorian mansions many needing repair.

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The roadway is all brick with wide sidewalks. It is known locally as the “Yellow Brick Road” and leads into town.

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Many of Maryland’s former governors lived in these mansions. We understand from locals that the city is going through a renaissance. The city is offering tax credits and other incentives to draw businesses to the downtown area. The town has potential but it is still struggling to make it attractive to both tourist and investors. Just a block off the main street you are quickly in some very poor neighborhoods. Even though the homes are much larger and statelier than in Oxford it still lacks that small town feel. Daisy and Sebastian make friends with a local dog named Max while out for his morning walk.

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Each morning Max walks into town with his owner. It is too far a walk for him so the owner brings a baby stroller which Max rides home in each morning. Daisy and Sebastian could not believe that he actually rides in this. They say “Max needs to toughen up”. Sebastian looks at dad and says “you thought I was a weenie but I would not be caught dead in a baby stroller”.

We want to be at our next anchorage before any of the afternoon storms. We depart Cambridge at 10:30 AM and have only six miles to travel back down the Choptank to La Trappe Creek. We soon see the two unusual large concrete structures marking the entrance to the creek.

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They look like a miniature light house. We weave our way between them carefully avoiding the shoal which is building out from shore. Just inside the creek, there is a lovely protected cove with a large sandy beach for walking the dogs.

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No other boats are here so we grab this spot. We are anchored with dinghy down at 11:30 AM. Shortly afterwards another sailboat joins us in this sheltered cove. There is plenty of room for both of us. We take a dinghy ride to explore La Trappe Creek. The creek goes for several miles upstream and is one of the most scenic tributaries that we have seen. There are very few houses here but the ones we see are about the size of five or six houses put together.

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There are some very impressive estates. The creek ends at a boat yard several miles up river. There are also a handful of docks with local watermen’s boats berthed here. We arrive back to the boat to find that four sailboats have now anchored in our cove.

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It appears that they are all together as they seem to know one another. We are treated to a gorgeous fiery red sunset while anchored in our little cove.

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The wind howls all night long. We are very thankful to be in this sheltered area while the cold front passes. Our anchor digs in and we never budge an inch. The wind is still blowing pretty hard the next morning. We set up the stationary bike and are both able to get in an hour workout on the bike. Our neighboring sailboats probably think we are nuts. The sailboats soon leave and we have this nice cove all to ourselves. We are in no hurry to leave as today we are only traveling a short distance back to Oxford today.

Our time goes quickly and we once again find ourselves weaving between the two huge buoys to avoid the sandbar which is building out from the island. There is a really low tide today so we cautiously maneuver through this area. Our depth sounder drops to six feet at one point. After a few tense moments, we are back out into the Choptank River. The wind is still fierce and we have two to three foot waves on our bow. IT handles these waves just fine and we soon make the turn off the Choptank back into the Tred Avon River. This area is much more protected from the wind and we have a smooth ride to the anchorage just off Oxford. Each Wednesday afternoon Oxford has a local farmers market. We are in need of some fresh produce so we put the dinghy down and walk into town. Of course we just have to make a stop at the Highland Creamery ice cream store first. This time Daisy and Sebastian each demand their own paw paw treat much to the protest of Jeff.

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Sebastian buries his nose deep into the cup and doesn’t surface until every last drop is gone.

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Daisy, always the lady, takes her time and ultimately finishes with Sebastian watching eagerly in hopes that she will share.

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This trip we also purchase some of their homemade fudge to have tonight for desert. We next make our way to the local farmers market which has a huge turnout today. We purchase homemade bread, blueberry pie, apples, lettuce, cantaloupe, and tomatoes. Daisy and Sebastian also get treats from the bread lady. This is quickly becoming their favorite town also. We enjoy a nice dinner aboard sampling all of our goodies from the market.

On Thursday we say goodbye to the eastern shore and make our way back across the Bay to Solomons. Just after entering the Choptank, we spot a large two masted schooner in the distance. As we get closer, we see that it is “The Pride of Baltimore” out for a daily sail. She looks quite majestic under full sail against the early morning sun.

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Once out in the Bay, we have a very nice ride as the winds have calmed down and we have a light following sea from the east. It is a bright sunny day and it appears that fall may be finally here with temperatures in the low 70’s. Sebastian says it is too cold and wants to head south.

This afternoon finds Idyll Time safely nestled in here slip here in Solomons patiently awaiting her next journey.

Total Miles Traveled: 64

Oxford, Maryland: Sept. 6th-9th

This morning we prepare the boat for a trip across the bay to Oxford which is on the eastern shore of Maryland. We briefly visited Oxford last month and really enjoyed the town. Our friend Chris Wells comes by to see us off and helps with the lines. We pull away from the docks at 11:00 AM and are soon back out in the Chesapeake Bay. Today there is a light breeze and small chop on the bay. We have a nice cruise across the bay and soon enter the Choptank River. There are many boats fishing here in the Choptank. We wonder what they are fishing for. The town of Oxford is on the Tred Avon River just a few miles up the Choptank. We arrive to Oxford at 4:00 PM. We anchor just off the town beach in an area known as “The Strand”.2777 From here we are able to watch the Belview Ferry come and go as it carries cars, bikes, and people across the Tred Avon River. There are two other sail boats at anchor along with us. From here we have just a short dinghy ride to the ferry dock which offers free dinghy tie-up. The dogs are very pleased about this. They are quickly in the dinghy waiting for us to take them ashore.

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On Friday morning we load the bikes into the dinghy for a nice day of biking. We are doing a loop that travels from Oxford to St. Michaels then to Easton and then back to Oxford. It is about 40 miles round trip. We take the Belview Ferry across the Tred Avon River to begin our ride.

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This ferry is the oldest privately operated ferry in continuous use. From here it is about 9 miles to St. Michaels. St. Michaels is very much a tourist town. Boutiques and gift shops line Talbot Street which is the main thoroughfare traveling through town. From St. Michaels we head for the town of Easton. In Easton, we stop at the Amish Farmers Market. Inside we find a wonderful assortment of foods. Here one can purchase fresh cheese, homemade breads and pastries, a wide variety of meats, along with a variety of prepared meals all made by the local Amish people. Unfortunately, we have no way to carry any of these goodies on the bikes. Had we brought our backpacks, they would be full. We do purchase a whoopie pie and poppy seed roll for immediate consumption. Boy are they good! From Easton, we have a gorgeous ride back to Oxford along some very rural country roads many of which are lined with corn and soy fields. Many farmers are out harvesting their crops.

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Once back in Oxford, we stop at the historic Robert Morris Inn for lunch.

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Robert Morris was one of Oxford’s most influential early citizens. He is known as the “Financier of the American Revolution”. Supposedly, James Michener wrote the outline to “Chesapeake” here in the tavern. Michener also rated the crab cakes at the Morris Inn as the best on the eastern shore. Today these crab cakes are shipped nation wide. Inside, the tavern looks much like an old English tavern with its dark mahogany walls and tables and brick walled bar.

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You can picture Michener sitting in the corner jotting down ideas for his novel. After lunch we make a stop at the Highland Creamery which is located in Town Creek.

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I would be willing to say they have the best ice cream on the eastern shore. All of the ice cream is made fresh daily. We enjoy a nice chat with the owner of the creamery. Back on the boat, we spend a relaxing afternoon at anchor giving our legs a much needed rest. There is a sail boat regatta at the yacht club today which we are able to view from the boat. This evening we take the dogs back to shore and decide to make a second trip to the creamery. We learned this afternoon that they will be closed for the next two days while they sell their ice cream at a large carnival in Pennsylvania. This trip we also get a special ice cream which they sell for dogs called paw paw treat. Daisy and Sebastian take turns eating this treat.

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This was the first ice cream they have ever had and they really enjoy it. After a few minutes of sharing, Daisy picks the cup up and tries to take it away to have all for herself.

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I guess next time we will have to get each dog their own paw paw treat. They like it just as much as we do.

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Saturday morning finds us back on the bikes for a trip out to Tilghman Island. We again ride through St. Michaels. Today they are having the local Saturday farmers market here in St. Michaels.

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We make a quick stop here where we treat ourselves to some local baked goods. The almond croissant is probably the best I have ever had. This gives us the energy to bike the next 15 miles out to Tilghman Island against a strong headwind. Once on Tilghman Island, we cross over the Knapps Narrows and ride out to the end of the island to a point known as Blackwalnut Point. There are many locals here fishing off the point.

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From here we retrace our path and end up back at Oxford having bicycled over 50 miles today. This evening we take the dogs ashore to a local restaurant on Town Creek called Schooners. They allow the dogs to sit outside with us and even bring them two bowls of water. Our 50 mile bike ride ends up being very expensive as Jeff’s appetite is all worked up. He orders crab soup and a dozen crabs, along with a soft shell crab sandwich.

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After eating all of this, he wanted to order another sandwich but we had been there almost two hours. Susie and the dogs were ready to go. Unfortunately the ice cream store is closed today.

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The local volunteer fire department is hosting an all you can eat pancake breakfast on Sunday. We take the dogs for a walk into town and make this our first stop.

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There is a good turnout of over 100 people at the breakfast. The dogs patiently wait outside for us while we consume pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits, and fruit.

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After breakfast, we spend several hours walking through town admiring all of the old historic homes. Oxford is by far our favorite town that we have visited on our entire trip. The town is very quite and charming with its historic homes all with picket fences and well manicured lawns. You almost feel as if you are in Mayberry walking along the quite streets where everyone waves and no one even bothers to lock doors.

Sunday afternoon we visit the local Oxford Museum. The museum was founded in 1964 by a group of local residents who wanted to preserve and display Oxford’s 300 years of history. The museum is run by volunteers. Although it is small, there is a very impressive collection of museum pieces.

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This afternoon we are surprised to look up and see The American Eagle cruise ship pulling into the ferry dock. This small cruise ship is part of the American Cruise line’s fleet.

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We have seen them at various ports during our travels up the east coast. They specialize in stopping at the smaller ports. We are glad that our dinghy is not tied up to the ferry docks. We had left the dinghy here for several hours each day while exploring. I wonder what the cruise line would have done had our dinghy been tied up there when they arrived?

Tomorrow we will travel up the Choptank to Cambridge.

Total Miles traveled by boat: 54
Total Miles traveled by bike: 92

Solomon’s Island: Sept. 1st-5th 2007:

Our two weeks at home has quickly come to an end. Since we have rented a boat slip in Solomons to use as a home base for the next two months, we decide to take our car there instead of a rental. It will be nice having our car in Solomons. With the car loaded to the brim full of our boat stuff, we are ready to head north. Somehow we find room for the two birds along with Daisy and Sebastian. Pete and Crush, the two hermit crabs, are also nestled amongst all the stuff. It is quite a menagerie. The drive from Chattanooga to Solomons takes eleven hours. We arrive to see Idyll Time waiting patiently for us. We are happy to see that everything looks in good order on the boat. It is a pleasant surprise to see that she has stayed nice and clean while we were away. The extra work cleaning her before we left paid off. We enjoyed our several weeks at home but it is also nice to be back on the boat.

On Sunday, we got the bikes down and explored the Solomons area. We rode out to the Calvert Cliff’s State Park. From there we were able to take the three mile bike trail out to the cliffs. These cliffs drop right into the Chesapeake Bay from a height of about 100 feet. 2749 We saw these big white cliffs while cruising out on the bay several weeks ago. Being a Sunday, there were many people out at the cliffs digging in the sand for pre-historic shark’s teeth.

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Afterwards, we rode the bikes into the small town of Solomons. The town sits on a peninsula with the Patuxent River on one side and the harbor on the other side. There is one main road with shops and restaurants lining both sides. It is a very picturesque fishing village. Being a holiday weekend, the town is very busy with tourist. We decide to come back and explore during a less busy time. Back at the boat, we are surprised to see that we have added over thirty miles to the bike odometers on today’s exploration.

While at Calvert State Park, we discovered several hiking trails which lead out to the cliffs.

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We drive out to the park each morning with the dogs and are able to get in several two hour hikes with about 20 pounds in our backpacks. This will help us maintain some degree of fitness for our Kilimanjaro climb in January. We spent between 2-4 hours each day while in Chattanooga trying to get our bodies back in good hiking shape for the climb. Now our challenge is to maintain that fitness level while on the boat. The dogs enjoy the hikes also. We see several deer, squirrels, and turtles each morning while on the trail. The dogs want to chase them all. There are three trails all leading to the cliffs. These trails were an Eagle Scout project several years ago. They have done a fantastic job.

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On Tuesday, we learn that our good friend, Chris Wells, aboard Koan is also in Solomons. We stop in and say hello. This afternoon we have a front row seat to the weekly Solomons boat regatta. The junior team has set up their race course just in front of our bow. We spend a nice afternoon on the front deck watching as they practice their boating skills while their coach zooms back and forth yelling instructions.

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Several times the boats veer wildly toward our bow only to make a last minute correction before bearing away. It was quite a show. On Wednesday evening, we have a nice dinner catching up with Chris at the C & D Café. The food and company were both excellent. We enjoyed sharing cruising stories with Chris. Chris has been following us up the east coast all summer but this is the first time we were both at the same place at the same time. Chris helped us deliver IT to Chattanooga when she was first commissioned.

After several days ashore, we are anxious to be back out on the water. We decide to head back over to the eastern shore once again. We are looking forward to spending more time exploring some of the places we briefly stopped at several weeks ago. Tomorrow we will make our way back across the Bay to the very small town of Oxford.

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