Sunday, October 30, 2022

Chesapeake Bay

We are under way southbound in the Chesapeake Bay after a lovely few days in Maryland. We've had an uncharacteristically social week. We are approaching the mouth of the Potomac, and tonight we will be in Virginia.

Monday we anchored as planned in Rock Creek (map), a familiar protected anchorage in the community of Pasadena. We splashed the tender ahead of our vaccination appointments and headed ashore, landing at the friendly Bar Habor Marina with our blue folding wagon, the old Starlink terminal, an eBay shipment, and two gallons of used motor oil in tow.

It was a half mile slog through the Bar Harbor neighborhood to Riviera Beach. I dropped the eBay packet in the mail and we headed into Walgreens for our shots. Walgreens is also a FedEx ship center and I dropped the Starlink for its return trip to SpaceX. I locked up the wagon, motor oil included, outside the store.

Dorsey fished this decorative gourd out of Annapolis harbor as we returned to our tender. We washed the harbor slime off before setting it out on the counter. I'm guessing it was decor at the boat show that just concluded.

After our 15-minute post-vaccine wait we walked next door to the Weis grocery store for provisions, then headed for dinner a short distance south at Primo, which was quite good, and unexpectedly a white-tablecloth place. On the way back to the dock I dropped the used oil at Advance Auto and picked up a gallon of fresh, without which we could not even leave the anchorage. It was a good ten bucks more than I usually pay, but I was in no position to be choosy.

Tuesday was flat calm and we had a very pleasant short cruise to Annapolis, where we dropped the hook in a familiar spot in the outer harbor anchorage (map). At dinner time we tendered in to the dinghy landing in Ego Alley and met up with our friends Dorsey and Bruce. We ate at the newly opened Choptank restaurant, where the food was very good but the noise level was unacceptably high.

It was OK when we were seated, but mid-meal Bruce's iPhone was giving him noise level alerts and ultimately registered 98dB. The floor is tile and every other surface is hard and flat, and the place is popular. In spite of the noise, we really enjoyed our conversation, and lingered a long time. It was great to see them again and catch up.

The lower dress panel has broken off our starboard nav light. I've asked AquaSignal if they sell just that piece.

It was again flat calm on Wednesday and we weighed anchor with the tide for a very pleasant cruise to Solomons. We were hoping for the small anchorage near town, but it was full, so we instead proceeded up Back Creek to our fallback (map). That was also quite crowded, but we squeezed in, moving a bit further from the channel (map) the next morning when things emptied out.

We splashed the tender to head back to town for dinner. We did not get far before we were waved down by someone on a boat at the Zahnisers dock. That turned out to be Paul and April aboard Parnassia, a gorgeous Dutch canal boat whose immaculate steel finish puts Vector to shame. I had spoken with Paul on a couple of occasions regarding this vessel and what it would take to make its European electrical system work here in the US. They had purchased the boat with the intent to cruise over there, but the pandemic intervened and they had it shipped here instead.

After chatting a few minutes we continued on our way, agreeing to meet the following evening for dinner. We landed the tender at the town dock and walked the half mile to Charles Street Brasserie for dinner. Google maps reminded me we had eaten there in 2015, and sure enough, a check of the blog revealed that to be correct. We drink to forget, but we blog to remember. I was not yet in the habit, back then, of writing to my future self about whether the place was any good or not. It was OK, but there are better restaurants in town.

Computer surgery, mid-swap. The busy fabric is the reverse side of our (quilted, natch) tablecloth.

On the way from and to the town dock we passed a spa, and Thursday morning I called for a massage appointment after lunch. The massage was very relaxing but was not particularly therapeutic for my abused neck and shoulder issues. In the evening we returned ashore, landing at the very nearby Zahnisers dinghy dock, as guests of tenants.

We enjoyed our tour of Parnassia before walking over to the on-site restaurant, Vela. The meal was enjoyable, as was the company, and once again we lingered. It was great to meet April and Paul whom, heretofore, I had only interacted with remotely.

Friday afternoon Esmeralde arrived and tied up at Zahnisers, not far from Parnassia. We thus had an unexpected second chance for a meal with Bruce and Dorsey, and we walked down to the CD Cafe, which was quite good. Once again we lingered over coffee and dessert before walking back. They left yesterday and are once again well ahead of us.

This sign at Island Hideaway amused me.

We thought it would be a bit rough crossing the Potomac yesterday (a hunch later confirmed by Bruce, whose boat is more suited to those conditions), so we stayed put another day. I continued a three-day run of boat projects until dinner time, when we tendered over to Island Hideaway, which has its own dock, for a final meal in Solomons.

Projects included far too much time repairing cheap spotlights just to keep them out of the landfill, doing the same with a pair of ancient FRS radios, diagnosing a charging problem with our weather station, and swapping the cpu fans between our main helm computer and a used item I purchased on eBay. An entire used computer is cheaper than a replacement fan, and I'll sell it for about what I paid for it, albeit with a somewhat noisier fan. Noisy fans eventually fail, and that's not a failure we can afford to have on the main plotter.

Our decision to wait until today to depart has proved correct, as we are now crossing the Potomac in fairly calm conditions. Tonight we should be anchored somewhere between Ingram Bay and Windmill Point. Tomorrow should also be calm and we will make it to Hampton Roads or beyond.

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