Sailing Vacation - Part 2

July 19, 2013

In case you missed them, all of the pictures from our trip (or at least all of the ones that I've posted online) are here.

If you're a map person, here's a regurgitation of our chart.

Chesapeake Bay Chart

6/30Left Annapolis (house). Sailed to Harrington Bay (1)
7/1Harrington Bay (1) back to Annapolis (2)
7/2Annapolis (2) to St. Michaels (3)
7/3Moved the boat, but still in St Michaels
7/4St. Michaels (3) to Oxford (4)
7/5Oxford (4) to La Trappe Creek (5)
7/6La Trappe Creek (5) to Rhode River (6), and then back to home base

Day 3 - Annapolis to St. Michaels

The next day's sail -- from Annapolis to St. Michaels, was probably my favorite of the trip. We moved along at a nice pace in a comfortable temperature for hours. No close calls with tankers or fish sticks or anything.

The St. Michaels approach is a mess, and you really have to keep an eye on the nav markers, because a large patch of water that looks like deep open bay is in fact a sunken island, just a few feet deep.

The bosun takes care of his line handling duties.

The town's waterfront is nothing but dock space, and our marina guided us into a slip right in front of an outdoor bar that looked promising. I got us checked in and took the kids to the pool, while Mrs. theskinnyonbenny found the laundry room.

By the time the laundry was done, it was raining again. I, for one, was in a very sour mood when Mrs. theskinnyonbenny returned with a pile of still-wet laundry and needed me to fold it while all four of us sat cramped in a leaking 60 square-foot salon.

The rain cleared, and we took a walk around the bit of harbor to the biggest restaurant we could see -- the Crab Claw. This particular place had been recommended before we left Louisiana, and with good reason. Between us all, we had steamed clams, fried clams, crab cakes, well seasoned steamed crabs that were as big as footballs, a smoked dip with some sort of seafood, and several pints of local beer. After that, my spirits were much improved.

Day 4 - St Michaels

The next morning, we went back to town, under skie0s that didn't threaten rain at all. We walked up and down their little street of shops, and then went to the Maritime Museum. It's a good museum of all things boating and Chesapeake Bay, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

A little anchorage in St. Michaels, from the lighthouse in the maritime museum.

From the museum, I called the marina and asked if we could stick around into the afternoon hours. The lady who answered was quite bitchy, and she said she couldn't possibly leave my slip occupied, as she had so many other boats coming in for the holiday weekend. We went back to the marina, and Mrs. theskinnyonbenny and the kids hung out in the marina bar right by our boat while I washed a stream of potato chip crumbs and Cheerios out of the cockpit.

We didn't go far. We rounded the point where the museum and the Crab Claw sit as neighbors and anchored in a pretty and protected little inlet on that side of town. We gave ourselves a waterfront tour from the dinghy, and then tied up at the town's dinghy dock.

After a quick lunch in town, we went back to the marina bar, which was pretty well swinging by now. We met some nice locals, including an old couple who were pretty much just Jagermeister-swilling versions of my parents. The place was full of dogs and even a cat, and everyone seemed to know each other by the time the sun was getting low.

By coincidence, we were sitting right in front of our vacated slip -- the one that couldn't possibly be occupied past 1:00 because of the huge influx of incoming boats. It sat empty all day long, along with several others.

(I'd like to call her a name here, but this seems like a post that friends and family will read, so it seems a little inappropriate for me to include the word "cunt." So I'll just move on without calling her a name.)

Back on our boat, we invited an anchor-neighbor over for cocktails. She was a young single-handing female with monstrously hairy legs and lots of helpful local knowledge. Far away, we could hear but not see a grad fireworks display.

Day 5 - St Michaels to Oxford
Seafood restaurant in Oxford

We left St Michaels pretty early, but the wind was against us, so it was a long slog to Oxford. There's a little straight known as Knapps Narrows, which was just barely deep enough for us to pass once the bridge tender opened up for us. We might have even kicked up a little mud. After that, we were able to turn off the motors and sail for a couple of hours.

We took a slip at a marina with power and wifi, but not much else. Then, we tried to walk into town, but there wasn't much town to see. Lots of houses, but no cute little street of stores, and only 6 restaurants in the place.

While we ate another huge meal of clams and crab cakes, I checked the visitors guide and found that the fireworks we heard on July 3rd were Oxford's. Because of topography, we had traveled all day by water to cover what would have been a very short bike ride over land.

In retrospect, if you have July 4 as a holiday, it makes sense that July 3 is the day you keep people up to all hours drinking and shooting off fireworks. But that never occurred to me as a possibility.

I will say that it stays light for a very long time there in the Summer. It was light until after 9:00, and in Oxford, that meant I was barely awake past sunset. I think we all got 9 or 10 hours of sleep that night.

Day 6 - Oxford to La Trappe Creek

We went to LaTrappe Creek because our guidebook made it sound off the beaten path. And for Chesapeake Bay on a holiday weekend, it really was. But we're used to having pretty little anchorages all to ourselves. In fact, I've never shared an anchorage in Louisiana or Mississippi at all.

La Trappe Creek

Not much to tell, but a whole big portion of my pictures from the trip are from this day. We motored up and down the "river", and then dragged the dinghy up on a sandy little beach to swim and play. We had the beach to ourselves (even though we could see down river to a crowded one). The water was nice and cold too. Before dark, we were joined by a couple of other big sailboats, but they stayed reasonably far away from noisy from the noisy family on the charter boat.

Day 7 - La Trappe Creek to Rhode River to Annapolis

We had a long way to go on this day, and we sailed for a long time. But the wind was super-light, and we weren't making a lot of quick progress. After a long, lazy sail, we motored the last couple of miles up the bay into the Rhode River.

It's a big inlet. It looks nothing like a River at all.

It is pretty, but on this holiday weekend, it was super crowded. Without exaggeration, there were probably 75 sailboats at anchor, a half-dozen motor boats zipping around with tubers, and a couple of jet skis for good measure.

We took the dinghy to a sandy spit to swim, but we saw a couple of healthy looking jellyfish right up by the shore and chose not to go. The jellyfish in the Chesapeake are surprisingly numerous and large.

Back on the boat, we found ourselves low on ice and mixers, and we decided to make the short motor back to our home marina. There, we cooled off in the marina pool for a little while. Then, we changed and went into town for -- take a guess -- crab cakes and steamed clams.


The next day, we unloaded the boat, cleaned up, and went back into DC. We found a Mexican place where we could have bottomless mimosas and brunch, and walked down to see a couple more monuments. That night, we ordered pizza for the kids (me being still full of eggs, sausage, and cheese from brunch) and started reviewing pictures from our trip.

lighthouse againbaby at the mallLincoln Memorial

Last pass of the lighthouse, and a couple of DC shots. See more pics.