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Summer Boating on the Chesapeake Bay

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Universal Fun

Harbor Cruise & Mike's Crab House North

August 18th, 2012

My best friend from Iceland was in town for just 2 nights and Friday was the BMC Customer Appreciation Event and so we just had Saturday to get her and her son out on the bay.  (They don't do a lot of recreational boating in Iceland!)  Plus, she spent some time in the Maryland area in the 90s and LOVES crabs, so that was also a must do event.  As it happened, other great friends of ours were returning from a week at the beach Saturday morning, and so we set out for a harbor cruise with our crew of the day -the  Eberhart's with adorable sons Jack & Tommy in tow, Bev & Chase Anton from Iceland, Cap't Buddy, me and Lexi-dog.

Bev & Chase Anton
New attraction at the harbor
The harbor was active with boats on this gorgeous, sunny Saturday afternoon, as we slowly cruised through Fells Point, around the new Harbor East area (a lot has changed since the 90;s), over to the Inner Harbor where the promenade was lively with tourists and pedestrians.  The new "Ripleys Believe It or Not" attraction is open now and seemed very popular.  We tucked inside the Science Center alcove and checked out Watermark's newest fleet addition - the Raven, and over around the Tiki Barge.  It was just at that point the little ones began to get restless and so we headed back to BMC to let the family disembark at the fuel dock and then us four (& our 4-footed friend) set off in search of CRABS!
Tiki Bar at Mike's North
We decided we'd give Mike's North in Rock Creek a go since we hadn't tried it and have heard good things about it.  The cruise was easy, no wind and small seas.  An easy 1/2 hour ride and we were pulling in past the white rocks and up to the docks.  There are plenty of slips available,  but it was easier for us to go on the T-head. 

The new deck is beautiful with a huge tiki bar and colorful umbrellas, and it sits high so you can look out over the bay.  The crabs were mediums and tasty; the clams casino delicious and the beer cold!
After a slice of key lime pie, we were off to do some swimming.  The water is the perfect temperature this time of year, and fortunately we didn't see any jellies!  Chase Anton had a blast jumping off the front of the boat and lucky for me I still have some upper body strength since we couldn't put the swim ladder down with the dinghy on the back! (A challenge, for sure.)  

Fun on the bow!
We wrapped things up before sunset and headed on back towards our slip, the three of us taking time to nap on the back in the bright summer sun.  Waking in time to do a little bow riding and a great Titanic impression before sliding back in to the slip and talking about the fun of the day.  We weren't even packed up and off the boat before Chase Anton uttered the words so typical of teens the world over:  "Can we go to Game Stop now?"  I guess some things are truly universal!

I didn't take any pics on this trip.  The pics came from the Facebook pages of those mentioned!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Curtis Creek, August 5th, 2012

Buddy was out of town last weekend so I was on my own.  Sunday morning after waking up, I rode my bicycle to the Farmer's Market for the fresh peaches I had been craving and then was heading to the pool to work on my tan when I ran in to some locals at the Tiki Bar.  As I approached I was asked "Hey, you going on the boat with us?"  My immediate response?  "YES!".  I'm pretty much always up for a boat ride.  I didn't know who was going or where we were going, but it was a beautiful summer day, so why not?  
Flag at Ft. McHenry standing out & Captain Clark at the helm

Our crew for the day consisted of Captain Clark, Steve & Angie, Billy the Pirate, Scotty, his parents, Danielle, John & Laura on Samantha's Dancer.  The original destination was Hard Rock Cafe, but somehow we wound up heading towards Reckless Rick's.  It's an easy ride out of the Harbor, Ft. McHenry on your starboard, over to Curtis Creek.  This is Baltimore at its most industrial, but once you pass the Coast Guard Station and the army reserve base (where my dad retired as Tug Boat Captain), it becomes more residential and scenic. 


Turn right at the American Legion Post 277, where I'm an Auxiliary member and grew up going to Christmas parties and Easter eggs hunts.  My parents still go to Friday night fish frys (when they're open).  It's on a gorgeous plot of waterfront property with its own Tiki Bar and is on the edge of going out of business - such a shame. 

Okay, back to Sunday afternoon...  as we approach Rick's, the dockhand had us dock on the neighbor's pier (!), and was there to help us tie up and off we went for lunch.  It was SO windy and hot outside, that we opted for inside dining, althought that's a hard call because the outside is all tropical and beachy, while the inside is pretty much a bar.  We ordered lots of apps to share - wings & nachos, pitchers of beer, all brought to us quickly by a smiling waitress (if you go, ask about why the waitresses stay so long - it's a good story).  The nachos were the best I've had in a long time (that's all I tried). 
Beach at Reckless Rick's
My brother lives in the neighborhood so I gave him a call, and just for me, he pulled himself out of the pool and rode over in his jeep.  Great to see you Sean! 
My Bro

After playing some pool and a taking a photo shoot outside, we were ready to head home, just as a storm approached.  As we were debating whether or not to leave, the storm went by and the sun came out, lucky for us!  So we enjoyed a nice - crazy (in a good way) may be the better word ride home with lots of laughs along the way.  There's a lot to be said for spontaneity.  I didn't see the pool that day, but I did get another blog! 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Feinstein's Annual Dinghy Poker Run Weekend

Feinstein's Annual Dinghy Poker Run Weekend

Middle River, July 27-29, 2012

Doovie Del-Mar Marina
So it's called an annual event, although this is the first time in 4 years that they've had the party.  And we were so happy to return!  You can't beat a party thrown by Dave & MA.  You just KNOW it's going to be an event to remember.  They live in a gorgeous home on the water, make everyone feel welcome, and think of every last detail for their parties - The Ultimate Party Hosts (UPHs)!  It used to be that we all came in to the Doovie Del-Mar Marina & Resort for the weekend, took part in the Dinghy Poker Run and then held a large tent party in the evening.  Then we got older and realized the dinghy poker run took a lot of effort and so the UPHs decided to forego the party for a few years.  Now it's back in the form of a weekend getaway (lucky for us!) and we watch from the docks as the dinghies go by!
Dinghies going by...

We headed over on a beautiful Friday evening, Lexi dog and Missy as guests aboard the Harbor Shark.  We had a nice chat and less than an hour later, were pulling in to our slip. It's amazing how many boats the UPHs can fit on their pier - hence the name Doovie Del Mar Marina & Resort!  This year they borrowed three of the neighbors piers and according to Dockmaster Doovie, had 26 boats (21 guest boats, with another 5 stopping by).  They started arriving around noon on Friday and the last boat didn't leave until noon on Monday!

Sunset on Middle River
We enjoyed a gorgeous sunset while catching up with friends before heading over on dinghies to meet some others at River Watch for perfectly cooked crabs (thanks for hooking us up Mark!).  We came back and all appreciated a nice quiet night at the end of the dock enjoying the balmy summer air and some laughs before turning in.  (Translate: saving ourselves for the Big Event on Saturday.)

And what a day was Saturday!  The theme of this year's event was a Greek Toga Party (openly admitted to be snatched from BMC's Customer Appreciation Party!) and of course, the UPHs had pre-planned lots of activities.  Olympic Games were played where we competed for medals in everything from Hula Hooping and Corn Hole to Who Can Drink Beer Out of a Baby Bottle the Fastest & Tug of War!  It's funny to witness the competitive nature of the men (boys) among us.  While the women's tug-of-war game was taken seriously and we definitely gave our all, it was comical to watch the men go about it in a completely different manner.  They insisted on choosing a captain, picking teams and strategizing before we could begin.  And once they started, you should have heard the grunts & groans!  Several of them still have bruises and rope burn to show for their efforts.  Enjoy that homemade chocolate medal guys!

After a hard day's work, we had some downtime to prepare for the next round:  TOGA PARTY!  We had all brought/made/bought greek-themed dishes and had a humungous smorgasbord!  SOO much delicious food to choose from!   Most everyone dressed in costume, some very elaborate.  Kudos to those that handmade their costumes - we have some extremely talented friends.  It was a difficult decision to decide BEST TOGA, thank goodness for the talents of Lana who took charge as our host and ran the contest.  Judging was by audience applause.  The Olympic Medal Ceremonies were next.  Congrats to the winners - well deserved!  Dancing & debauchery followed until deep in the night (or morning as may be the case) , and as Davey put it - if you didn't have a good time, that's on YOU!
UPHs - Dave & MA

Female Finalists

Sunday was clean up and relax day.  After the group photo & ironing of the decal, many of us stayed around through most of the afternoon.  We were happy to see Joyce when she stopped by since she was unable to make the party.  We ate leftovers and got in the "cool" hot tub.  And then one by one we were on our way from another fabulous weekend on the Bay.  We pulled out around 3:00, the water flat, the weather perfect.  Did I mention I LOVE summertime?
Great Friends!

 Thanks for a Great Time Dave & MA!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Beach Week

Chincoteague, VA
July 14 - 21, 2012

Last year Buddy took me to Chincoteague for the first time and I wrote about how it took me back to an era of times gone by.  We returned this year and I was once again taken back, but this time to my childhood, when every year we made the trek to Ocean City and usually timed it when aunts & uncles and their families were there too.  A week at the beach with family, friends, sandy feet, lazy days, fishing, biking, eating, reading, no plans, no schedule.  This year we held a reunion or celebration of sorts with the Koolhofs, Straughans and Hughes families.  And what a time we did have!
Jester Wallace House
We left mid-morning Saturday only to hit Rt. 50 traffic near Annapolis.  Buddy was surprised.  Apparently he hasn't done Saturday-to-Saturday beach rentals.  No worries, we took our time and reached T's Corner 10 miles after Mike & Alice.  First things first - we met at the Chincoteague Inn for a lunch of fresh oysters.  While sitting there, we saw Eileen & Allan arriving at the town dock on their boat, coming in from Cape May. (Congrats to them for making their first circumnavigation of the Eastern Shore on their "new-to-them" 34' Pursuit.  They should write a blog on their trip!  FYI... dockage at the town dock in Chincoteague is $1.00/ft, including electric)  Vanessa arrived not long after.  The rest of the clan converged on our welcoming beach house - the Jester-Wallace (same as last year) and we all set off in a whirlwind for 2nd Saturdays on Main St., when the stores and galleries stay open late.  With so many of us it was hard to keep track of who was where, but funnily enough we found each other upstairs at Don's (go figure) enjoying icy cold beverages.  More fresh seafood for all!  (I see a theme here!)
Mophead & Nessa
The next day we beached it.  We lounged & swam while Buddy & Vanessa were surf fishing.  The ocean was as warm as I'd ever felt it.  The wind was out of control though, so I put my chair at the foot of the waves while enjoying my toes in the water and ___ in the sand!  Buddy caught a croaker but he was an inch too small. 

We enjoyed a special dinner that night as Mike and Alice surprised us with a 10 pound prime rib complete with fixings.  Sunday dinner with the fam, lots of wine, over sized baby dolls and a dimly lit attic make for great ghost stories!  Buddy was a huge hit with the younger crew with his over-active imagination and stories of Bethany and Shawanda.  pitter-patter-pitter-patter...

Pretty much the same for the next five lovely days.  Beach, food, beach, dinner, fishing, dinner, beach....  One day Allan took his boat 65 miles off shore to the canyon and we all reaped the rewards of mahi mahi three ways - baked, grilled & blackened!  (They earned it - 5' to 6' waves all the way out!)  We found steamed crabs $30 for 1/2 bushel and ate to our hearts content with enough left over for fantastic crabcakes.  We biked to the Blueberry Festival and indulged in freshly made blueberry pie and poundcake.  We cooked out.  We took the Sand Bar Shuttle where Tug enjoyed his first romp on the beach.   We played bingo at the fireman's carnival (and I won - TWICE! Thanks Mom-Mom!).  We went for ice cream.  We drove through the refuge looking for ponies.  We played rummy and told jokes on the porch.  We did what millions of Americans do every summer - we were a family at the beach.  And it felt so good.  I love faraway places and exotic cultures, but sometimes you just can't beat good old fashioned fun!

Wayward herd swam over too soon!

Allan & Tug onboard Solitaire

Sand Bar Shuttle

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

One Hot Summer Night

One Hot Summer Night

Fairlee Creek, MD
July 7th, 2012

We debated long & hard over going out this weekend with a forecast of 108 F, but eventually decided to go for it.  We had friends that would be there and what were we going to do at home anyway?  Once the decision was made, we set in to action packing and packing.  It never ceases to amaze me how much STUFF we need to take with us for a single night out.  We needed a cart, of course, groceries, water, beer, dog food, swim suites, towels, and the list goes on...  To my surprise & delight we added a last minute crew member, none other than Vahle, and we cast off and headed east. 

It was a warm cruise, but we had a great time crossing the bay before approaching the Fairlee Creek inlet, about an hour in total time, cruising at a comfortable 22 knots.  We had no trouble at the intlet, made our turn in to Fairlee and oh-my-goodness!  We had never seen so many boats!  Looks like everyone had the same idea.  We dodged the rafts, dinghtys, boats & swimmers and made our way to the Feretti, INXS, sitting like a beacon at the back of the creek. 

The gang had dinked over to Jelly Fish Joel's so, we tied up with the help of Where To, where we were promptly invited to lunch!  Gotta love boaters - so generous in welcoming a soggy bunch on board!  Delicious burgers, dogs & sausages, as well as a local (PA, I'm guessing) concoction of cucumbers in a sauce made from melted candy red hots.  As Buddy put it "very unique"!

Swimming was next for me, I couldn't get in soon enough with the triple digit temps.  I made a new friend in the water, 11 year old Cassandra, and we decided to test our agility by swimming around the entire boat raft!  By then the crew had returned, whereupon I was asked the dreaded question - "What happened to the blog?"  I was wondering if it would come up this summer, and there it was, hanging out there.  I didn't have an answer other than no pics (and laziness), so here we are...

We took Lexi dog to shore and saw that an entire area of the creek had been roped off.  After running in to some friends swimming in the shallows, we were informed that there were to be fireworks that night!  Hurray!  We put the dog below in the air (she finally figured that out), and set ashore for Jelly Fish Joel's.  Kooky drinks all around!  They serve tasty blender drinks - Mudslides, Rum Runners, Margaritas, etc. and you can add a dark rum floater on the top - if you dare!  We met up with some friends there with their daughter and grandson, took a dip in the water, sang along with the band and one of our bunch even met up with a young lady and decided to take a walk on the beach. 
Former Raven Michael McCrary was at the bar, having a great time, and very patient with fans.  He gracefully took pictures with everyone that asked, including an unmentioned member of our crew that just when the camera was about to snap, pulled out her Steeler coozie (to a bunch of boos!).  An hour later we made a few dinghy runs to get everyone back to the boats and once we had dinner started, realized we were down one crewmember - oops!  Hmmm, the one that met the lady, what to do?  We were about to send out a search group, but just at that moment we heard splashing - what could it be?  a dolphin?  a school of fish?  NO, a swimming Vahle!  All the way from Jelly Fish Joel's - and remember, we are WAY in the back of the creek!  (Too bad I don't have a picture of our olympic grade crew-member - quite a site!)
Buddy with his long hair
Dinner was delicious, and as always, we had too much food.  Steaks and shrimp, kabobs & corn-on-the-cob, even a trifle for dessert. We finished up just in time for fireworks - Amazing and right over our heads!  (I love it when they fake the ending a few times!).  Most of our group called it an early evening but it was still so warm and humid, I opted for a late night swim before Buddy & I snuggled on the bow to stargaze.

Painkiller at Bo Brooks
The next morning brought more hot temperatures and our friends All In & Premier Ride. They had been firework seeking since the 3rd of July running around the bay (Rock Hall, Sassafras, Chesapeake City & Wharton Creek). We had a nice chat hearing about their adventures on the bay while enjoying an unbelievable mango smoothy courtesy of Crystal.  Not long after Buddy and I quietly slipped out of the raft up and headed west again.  Once we reached the Key Bridge you could feel the wall of heat coming off the city.  Another hot one!  We tied up in the slip, had one more drink at the Tiki Bar - Buddy's first Painkiller, with the official Pussers Rum - and were homeward bound. Until next time...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 15th, 2012
Shakedown Cruise 
Captain Buddy*
And it begins!
Is it time to boat again already???  Feels like I was just writing these blogs and feeling melancholy over the coming winter….  Alas, Spring has sprung (more like summer) and here we go!  With the weather report claiming temps in the 80’s, Cap’t Buddy was all over getting down to the boat to assess winter’s harm.  Dirty on the outside, a little dusty on the inside, but otherwise, so far so good.  A quick once over, and we were wanting more.  It was time to get those engines fired up and see what the old gal could do.  A phone call to a couple of friends, and we had ourselves a shakedown cruise ‘n crew.  

The HarborShark performed stupendously.  She ran great – no smoke out this year, thanks to a little pre-season maintenance, and with the exception of a loose radio wire, all systems were a go.  The skies were blue, the temps up, the harbor crowded – one would think it was the middle of summer.  We even had the pleasure of our summertime boating friends, which made the illusion that much more convincing. 
Shakedown Cruise n' Crew*
Our friends are the ultimate socialites and brought along their “party-in-a-bag”.  It wasn’t long before we were munching on olives and fancy cheeses, chicken salad in lettuce cups and more while enjoying the beautiful city vistas.  After a ride out to the bridge and cruise around the harbor, we said farewell to our boating crew (see you again Memorial Day!), and headed back to the marina for round two. 
Congrats Billy & Anne!
The “All In” was gracious enough to extend an invitation for dinner at the Hard Yacht for his inaugural cruise.  A new cast boarded and off we headed toward Bear Creek.  This time we had newbie boaters with us, which is always fun!  The All In also gave a stellar performance as we drank in the early summer weather conditions.  We were joined by two other boats, Premiere Ride and Billy’s Boat.  We also saw a group of other BMC customers there – shout out to Billy the Pirate & Scotty – thanks for the fireball!  A great day to be out and the place was packed, but they accommodated our large group quickly even though we didn’t have reservations.  We had a tasty meal and a champagne toast to the happy couple that had gotten engaged Saturday.  That made three betrothed duos at the table.  So uplifting to be around all that young love!
As the sun was setting, we re-boarded and set out for home port.  A gorgeous evening and a fabulous start to the 2012 boating season.  Now I really hope the weather doesn’t turn and make us wait another month or so before we see these temps again.  That would be a cruel trick, Mother Nature!
Picture courtesy of Sara Ingram
*Pics by Molly McConnell

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Festive December Boating

Saturday, December 3rd

I've been very remiss in my writing, even though I've had several great opportunities to blog.  I've taken two cruises - a 5 day Royal Caribbean cruise to Bermuda from Baltimore and an MSC cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to the Bahamas, where I could tell stories of big seas, seasickness, and new found friends.  We've also taken the boat out on several occasions for short periods of time.  I even miss it- I got used to being ever vigilant of good shots, good stories and good quotes).    Anyway...  last weekend we took a short jaunt to the harbor for the day and I thought this was a good opportunity to put it on paper (or at least in to words). 

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and so much to do all over the city that day- bands in harbor east, tubas in the harbor, the boat parade, the light show at the power plant, and I was ready to get in to the holiday spirit.  We had lots of friends that would be downtown too.  So I talked Buddy in to going to the city and staying on the boat before it was winterized (it wasn't very hard). 

When we got to the marina, Clark said he wanted to take his boat out so we unloaded, turned on the heat and headed over to F pier.  I immediately noticed something VERY attractive about Clark's boat (not that it isn't a beautiful vessel anyway), but the cockpit was WARM!  A HEATED COCKPIT!  I was in heaven since anyone that knows me knows I hate to be cold.  He fired up the engines, and off we went.  We cruised around the harbor and enjoyed seeing how crowded & festive the city was.  It was especially entertaining when we pulled up alongside the wall at the Inner Harbor.  There were over 100 santas walking from Tir Na Nog, in front of our boat and on in to Federal Hill.  (The annual Santa Stumble that benefits inner city schools).  We were cracking up - some of the santas were even themed!  There were viking santas, elvis santas, geeky santas, skinny santas, fat santas, even a jewish santa!  They were certainly spreading good cheer!
We decided that would be a great place to watch the boat parade and tied up in front of the old J. Pauls (didn't even know it was gone!).  Right away we had some friends hop on board, and just as the santas were drifting out of site, then what to our wandering eyes should appear?  But 200 tubas coming in near.  No kidding!  Tubas, tubas everywhere.  They played beautiful holiday music for an hour and then the tuba parade began again. 

Next up?  The Baltimore Parade of Lighted Boats, of course!  A few more firends came aboard to watch the boat parade, now in it's 24th year here in Baltimore and put on by the Fells Point Yacht Club.  Well over a dozen boats of all shapes and sizes were decorated in varying degrees to festively entertain.  My personal favorite was Santa's Sleigh, with the Choo Choo Train (and accompanying life-like horn) in a close second.  There were two aweome boats from BMC Lighthouse Point (that I know of) there to represent our marinas.  And the whole time I was toasty warm in the cockpit!! 

So after the fabulously festive day we had, we said so long to our guests and started the engines, made our way back across the harbor to the marina, where I finally had to step out in to the cold night's air.  A bonus boat ride in December - LOVE IT!