Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back to Annapolis Via "the Hub"

Saturday, July 31 - Monday, August 9, 2010
Okay, it's official...we've now been to Solomons more often than any other spot in the Chesapeake. For one thing, it's a very convenient town for cruisers. As we've mentioned before, there's a grocery, a liquor store, and a West Marine a short walk from the Holiday Inn dinghy dock. You can bike around the city, eat at a number of good restaurants, and visit the Calvert Maritime Museum. To be honest, though, we've pretty much done all there is to do in Solomons. Its real draw is its location - Solomons is a perfect jumping-off point to or from Annapolis, the Potomac, the Eastern Shore, or points south. If you want to break a trip into more manageable segments, Solomons is your place.

Having arrived at the Solomons jetties on Saturday afternoon, we found ourselves trying to maneuver among the dozens of sailboats out for pleasure cruises. "Rules of the Road" say that a sailboat under sail almost always has right of way (just don't try that argument if a commercial tanker is barreling down on you); we were motoring into Solomons, and nearly everyone else was under sail. Imagine a pinball machine, and you get the general picture. We dropped the hook at our favorite anchoring spot behind Zahniser's mooring field, and weren't there for 30 minutes before our phone rang. It was Sue and Art from Destiny, and they were in Solomons! Best of all, it was Art's birthday, and we were invited to join them for dinner. Talk about a surprise ending to the day! We were thrilled to see them both, and will hopefully spend more time with Art in Deltaville later this year.

Monday we made our way up to Annapolis. Winds were light, but it made for a comfortable trip. We arrived in Weems Creek before 6pm, and were helped onto a mooring ball by our neighbors. You may remember the blog from our first Annapolis trip: Weems Creek has seven US Navy moorings that are reserved for the Naval Academy patrol boats during hurricanes. If there isn't a storm, cruisers often use the moorings. Well, leave it to us to arrive in Weems Creek when a named storm is brewing in the Atlantic. Granted, there wasn't a single computer model bringing the storm to land, let alone to Annapolis. Still, a skiff with a couple of official-looking gentlemen came by Tuesday morning to tell us we weren't supposed to be on the moorings, and that the Navy could tow our boat if they needed to use the ball. All righty then... One of us (take a wild guess who) got paranoid about getting into trouble or worse, coming back to find our boat gone. Rene had reserved a slip in the harbor on Wednesday morning to have our air conditioner serviced, so we compromised: one of us would stop looking out the window for a Navy tow boat to come confiscate Pipe, and we would drop the anchor in the creek when we came back from the A/C service appointment on Wednesday.

Wednesday we were off the USN mooring by 8am to move Pipe to a slip in the Yacht Basin. We had expected to be on the face dock, so imagine our surprise (borderline terror?) when we were told we'd have a slip mid-way down a very narrow fairway. Rene did an incredible job of getting us into the slip without incident, and Derek from Annapolis Cruisair soon arrived to save us from the heat. Our A/C units had been slowly losing their effectiveness over the past few weeks, and we learned that both were out of freon. Oops... We were back at our anchorage that afternoon, basking in the comfort of two working A/C units. (P.S. Rene chatted with the Annapolis Cruisair office while he was arranging for a dock and the repairs, and we learned that a few of them have begun reading the blog. We have to thank them for doing such an outstanding job, and want to recommend this family-run company to anyone needing A/C work done in the Annapolis area!)

We had also re-connected with friends Skip & Betsy from Ducks in a Row upon our return to Weems. Betsy now works from home on Fridays, meaning she actually gets to spend more nights home than away each week. (We're so happy for her!) They invited us to an incredible home-cooked meal on Friday evening, where Betsy made tenderloin and scallops, with mushrooms, red potatoes, and asparagus. We brought appetizers and dessert, and Rene even crawled into the cellar for a couple of good bottles of vino. Skip's son, Matt, stopped by for a bit, and at some point the Zaya sipping rum came out. Somehow we managed not to get any pictures of the evening...let's just say a good time was had by all. Thanks, Skip & Betsy!

Saturday we met up with Stacy's college friend, Rob, and his wife and daughter, Rachel & Cailin. They live two hours from Annapolis and made the trip up for a visit. Little did we know downtown Annapolis would be such a zoo! Granted, it was a Saturday, and a beautiful one at that. After spending 30 minutes hunting for a parking space, they finally found something across the bridge. Talk about dedication! We had a great visit over lunch, and then brought them back to the boat...we even got to provide Cailin with her first dinghy ride!

We wish we could say this visit to Annapolis has been all good, but we have some very sad news to share. After getting back to the boat Friday night, we discovered that Tawny (our Calico, aka "baby girl") was missing. We looked throughout the boat at all of her usual hiding spots, and then dinghied along the shoreline twice with a spotlight. Rene circled the creek again at sunrise, and repeated the trip a dozen times over the weekend. (We really need to thank Rob and Rachel for being so understanding on Saturday; God knows we weren't the best company, and we really appreciated the distraction.) Our friends and family know how much we love our furry kids, and this has been heart-breaking for us both. We hope Tawny was somehow able to make it to shore, and that maybe she's bringing as much joy to whoever found her as she's given to us. Tux is safe and sound, although he's been much clingier than normal. We're sure he senses how upset we are, and on some level recognizes that his "partner in crime" is missing.

After lots of searches and more tears, we've finally decided to leave Weems Creek and go to Baltimore. We haven't been able to stop scanning the creek and shoreline for some sign of Tawny, and have decided that some new scenery is needed for our mental health. We appreciate all of the kind thoughts and words from our friends and family, and hope that each day will get a little easier.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

We had a great time with you all! So sorry again about Tawny.