Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Subdued Fairlee Creek

Fairlee Creek is typically a hotbed of excitement -- from beached boats, to boats drifting into other raft-ups, to quiet clam bakes with a group of friends. This past weekend was a bit more serene than usual. Don't get me wrong, Jellyfish Joels was open, the drinks were flowing, the band was playing, and there were friendly cornhole competitions, there just wasn't any real craziness. Where was everyone? We did hear whispers of a Bumper Bash and it's possible people ventured over there. It doesn't really matter to us - anchoring out for the night is a great way to escape from the city and avoid housework. Sure, we can work on the boat anytime, but that would be rude when we have guests. 

We anchored on a single hook - something we hadn't done in a while. When we raft-up with a group we always set a couple stern anchors so we don't spin and get our bow anchors twisted. This past weekend was just us with a couple friends on board and we didn't want to fight with the stern anchor on Sunday. The bottom in Fairlee is soft and silty so it took two attempts before we felt the anchor had truly caught but then we were set for the evening.

We did see a Sharknado:
And THREE bald eagles in the same tree:
Look for the white heads and you'll see them.
We frequently see bald eagles in Fairlee Creek and I recommend that anyone looking for them checks this dead tree first. It is located across the basin from the marina and is a favorite spot for them.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Lovely St. Michaels

The Chesapeake Bay is full of destinations and St. Michaels never disappoints. We went last year for the Running Festival and this year to celebrate the 5th wedding anniversary of our dear friends on Durrano. Between three boats and another couple that drove in for the day, we had 10 adults and one child - good times!

Unlike our last trip to St. Michaels, we did have to pay attention to the Kent Narrows Drawbridge schedule. I appreciate promptness and this bridge keeps a tight schedule, unfortunately for us, we missed the 10:30am slot by three minutes. No problem, we weren't in a rush, we just hung out waiting for 11:00am. Doug mentioned that he took the time to learn more about how the boat handles in a current while waiting. Over the next 30 minutes, eight boats lined up waiting (five heading southbound and three going north). We were the first boat in the line heading south and we are aware of the "rule" that boats traveling with the current have the right of way in this situation but we weren't sure if the boats on the other side would comply. A kind (or perhaps seasoned) mariner on the northbound side saved us from any worry by announcing over the radio that boats heading southbound were traveling with the current and we should all take the lead. I need to remember that for the future if I'm ever the boat heading against the current.

The parade of southbound boats after passing under the bridge.
At our leisurely 10mph pace, the trip took about four hours but the day was gorgeous and the trip was half the fun.

This town is fun because it is filled with cute shops and restaurants. We were excited to have lunch at Gina's Café again this year. The food is amazing, the margaritas are tasty, and the place is wonderfully eclectic.
The cozy bar.
The fun décor.
This store has something for the cultured and backwoods personality in all of us:
The Preppy Redneck

Yes, those are actual red solo cups on top of candle holders.
Even Eastern Shore Brewery has fun décor:
Dinner was on the water at The Crab Claw. The tide was really high and we were practically in the water:
And, while we aren't sure what this guy did wrong, we had entertainment:
After dinner we had a little fun of our own:
I'm still trying to decide if I should throw this fish back. :)
For those of you following the saga of our cats adjusting to boat life, I did talk to their vet after our trip to Rock Hall. I explained how Tigger has had a rough time when the boat is in motion but that he seems to recover quickly. The vet suggested that we let Tigger get his sea legs naturally rather than medicating him every time we go somewhere. I'm very happy to report that he did not get sick at all this past weekend. We took a leisurely cruise to St. Michaels and he definitely likes the slower pace. While the trip back was a little more rough for him he'll be a sea cat in no time (I hope). And it seems that Latte has found her new travel space - she hung out in this bag on the salon floor both ways:
Yes, boating friends, that is a West Marine bag.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sue Creek Strikes Again...but the fireworks were awesome

The 4th of July is a true boating holiday. There is nothing like watching fireworks from the water and I always make sure I take July 5th off from work (seriously, who wants to go to work after such a fun evening?). With the 4th falling on a Thursday, we were lucky enough to have double the fun this year.

Harborview Marina is a prime spot for the Baltimore City fireworks and no less than 38 boats moved to our marina for the occasion (I asked at the marina office).
Our dock was full for the festivities.
The fireworks are set off from a barge in front of the Tiki Barge so we practically had a front row seat, hence the reason we ended up with 20 friends on our boat for the show.
The Tiki Barge is the orange and blue building on the right. The fireworks barge is in the middle of the water.
Friday afternoon we set off for Sue Creek for two nights and a day of swimming and the Middle River fireworks. My brother, niece, and one of my nephews joined us and I was so excited to share the experience with them.

The ride over ended up being rather eventful. We tend to have our radio on and, unfortunately, we frequently hear about boats in distress and calls for other boaters to assist if possible. This time we came across a boat in trouble.
This single-person catamaran was in the middle of a field of crab traps so we were not able to get very close, however, another boat was closely circling the situation. If we had seen someone in the water, we would have set down an anchor and taken the dinghy over to help. We hung around and attempted to radio in to see if we could assist until a police boat arrived. Thankfully, before leaving we heard that the person on the cat had already been rescued earlier and the vessel would be towed to shore.

We arrived in Sue Creek, rafted up, jumped in to cool off, and settled in for the night. The next day was hotter than beach sand on the bottom of your feet so we spent a majority of the day in the water. The warm sun wore everyone out:
Don't worry. She is just sleeping.
And then it was time for more fireworks! As always, we had multiple shows visible from the boat. The house in front of us set off their private display:
The official fireworks were behind us:
And we could see other displays in the distance. The grand finale for the Middle River display was disappointing but the house in front of our bow more than made up for any disappointment. They had fireworks left and they set off a memorable finale. In essence, the "official" display got served. The airhorns and claps were much more prolific for the private display.

This is where the evening got interesting. As my faithful readers know, we have seen/had issues in Sue Creek before. On this particular evening, the issues started with the parade of boats leaving after the fireworks. One of the guests on the boat next to us had to leave that evening, so we got all the lights necessary and he was brought to shore on a properly lit dinghy. During the trip back, a cabin cruiser - With No Lights At All - almost hit our friend. If you are going to boat at night, please have the common courtesy to follow the law and have your lights. Also, do not get an attitude when someone reminds you to turn your lights on.

Back to settling in for the evening...when we hear some of the our friends start yelling "Bow lines! Bow lines!" This boat was too close to the front our boats and it clipped one of our anchor lines.
Apologies for the dark picture. It was around 11pm. However, you can see how close the other boat came to hitting boats in our raft up.
This can be both dangerous and expensive. Dangerous because a boat with a rope wrapped around its propellers can be dead in the water. Expensive because many times the only way to solve the issue is to cut the anchor line and lose a multi-hundred dollar piece of equipment. I will give them credit, they put two of their own guys in the water to work on the issue and everything was settled within 20 or so minutes. No one was hurt and no money was lost.

Oh, Sue Creek, we can't seem to stay away and we'll be back again soon.
Our raft up as we were leaving the creek.
And now for a quick Where's Waldo moment. Can you spot the lone seagull?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

It's Not All Fun and Games

Living on a boat is a lot of fun. There are lots of people around. The views are amazing. Life is pretty good.

However, just like a house, boats require upkeep. Since boats, obviously, sit in water all the time they become havens for barnacles and other growth. One way to keep this from becoming an issue is to periodically pull the boat out of the water and power wash the hull. Anybody want to guess what we did Monday?

In the lift and ready to be pulled out of the water.
Up and out of the water.
Power spraying in action.
Doug got off the boat to look at the bottom while it was hauled (many thanks to him for all the pictures). I stayed on board to calm the cats. They were a little skittish when they felt the boat being lifted but the noise of the power sprayer wasn't very loud and I think they'll be okay for future haul outs.
This is how she looked when we picked her up in April.
Nice and pretty after a bottom painting in April.
Barnacle growth visible on Monday before being power sprayed.
Nice and clean and ready to go back in the water.
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming of fun in the sun....

Monday, July 1, 2013

June Neighbors

One of the great things about being on a boat is that you can easily move if you don't like your neighbors (or hope they move). Luckily we have pretty awesome neighbors and an ever-changing set of temporary neighbors. Check back at the end of each month to see pictures of the new boats on our dock.

First, here are our full-time neighbors:
"To Di For" - Viking - fellow liveaboard
"BackScratcher III" - Bayliner 4087
"Timeless" - Chris Craft - fellow liveaboard
"Chasing Orion" - Beneteau 423 - fellow liveaboard
"Impulsive Dreamer III" - wooden boat
"Vesalius" - Regal 44 - We may not own a Regal anymore but we still have a beautiful one near us.
Unnamed - Cruisers 4270
And the June 2013 visitors:
Unnamed - Maxim 4600
"Steele-n-Time" - Cruisers 3760
"Banker" - I think this was a charter fishing boat. The little boat came with them too.
"Hope" - This catamaran normally docks in Kent Narrows. They came to Baltimore for a couple nights so they could go to the Sting Concert at Pier 6.
"Mama Said Yes!" - Carver 36