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Summer Boating on the Chesapeake Bay

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Aloha, Mahalo

BMC HarborView Marina, Inner Harbor
June 25th

We made the arduous journey across the harbor to BMC HarborView for the Inner Harbor Yacht Club Luau this week.  And while we didn't chalk up many nautical miles (nor use a lot of fuel - bonus), it is like going on vacation to stay in a marina that's not your home base.  We set out around 4:00 pm to do a harbor loop, and it always makes me feel good to see the Inner Harbor teeming with tourists.  The paddle boats were all out with a waiting line, the outdoor cafes were full, boats lined the wall, and people were parading on the promenade.  We pulled in to our slip about 15 minutes later and tied up on I dock, just at the foot of the luau tent.  We could see them setting up and it made for a colorful display with the tableclothes, decorations, flags and palm trees.  HarborView is looking great these days.

First order of duty is to walk the dog as usual (no matter how close or far, we always have to walk the dog).  And I may complain about the chore it is, but I am always happy to get my bearings in new surroundings.  I walked out through the main gates at Harborview and took a left toward the parking lot and around the townhouses on Key Highway and back down Harborview Drive to complete the circuit.  It's a friendly and attractive community, with lots of places to walk.  Little Havanas was packed, and Tabrizis was setting up for a wedding. Lots going on in the city on a Saturday night, and it was time to get where I was supposed to be.  I headed back to the boat to change in to my hawaiian attire and up we went to enjoy the festivities. 

My Sister & Me
The food was catered by the Tiki Barge and was absolutely delicious.  Pulled pork, seasoned beef, hawaiian rice and HAPPY SALAD (my favorite from the days of the Tiki Bar at Lighthouse Point).  The Dancing Dockmaster (Christos) struck again and had Diane, the IHYC President dancing away.  Many of us won prizes in the raffle.  Never belonging to a yacht club before, it was a good experience.  We're looking in to joining this fun bunch where we saw some old friends and met a few new.   

The Dancing Dockmaster & Diane
Knowing a few locals in the area, we invited them to visit us on the boat.  So after the luau, we headed to the boat with our friends for Buddy's famous Dark n Stormies, which led to a visit to the Tiki Barge (a MUST when you stay at HarborView).  It was Saturday night and it was crowded.  A mixed crowd, a beautiful view, good company and a cold drink!  Nice...  The younger of our group then took the party to Federal Hill for dancing, while Buddy and I decided to call it a night.

In the morning it was nice to walk the dog and have a dog friendly establishment right in the marina. Sorso Cafe had a hot cup of coffee, fresh fruit and granola, and clean water for the dog. 

I must say, it's been years since we've had a party on board, and it's nice to entertain.  We've lived next door to the marina for a long time and recently moved away.  It's a completely different boating experience when your boat is your weekend home.  You get the full "marina experience".  I think we've both missed that and are very much enjoying this summer.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Fine Farewell

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

In Memory of Cheryl Lightner
For Cheryl,
   By Cheryl

"It was official.  I was a boat owner.  Holy crap.  Some may call it impulsive, others, just plain crazy, but it just felt like the right thing to do at the time.  It wasn’t like I had planned it.  How was I to know that an invitation to a party would end like this?  Actually, it was one of the best things I could ever have done for myself.  It was a gift.  An expensive one, granted.  But, it was MY gift.  From me – to me.  And that gift was a 34’ Sea Ray.  I am her She Captain and she is my freedom – freedom from work, freedom from every day life, freedom from land, freedom from crowds, freedom from pain, and most importantly – freedom from fear.  She is my escape and she is my refuge.  She has been my salvation and she has been my teacher.  She has taught me to listen to my inner voice, follow my instincts and trust in my self.  She has taught me to grow, she has taught me to let go, she has healed my spirit and enlightened my mind.  She has allowed me to dream without interruption and listen for guidance from above.  She has ignited my passion and deepened my soul.  She has saved me, mostly from myself, and allowed me to heal in the physical sense as well.  She is truly a gift, and one for which I will be eternally grateful.  Everything for a reason.

What is it about fear?  Why are so many afraid?  Afraid of just about anything.  “Aren’t you afraid when you leave the dock?”  I have been asked on more than one occasion.  Hell no!  I am excited!  Fear doesn’t enter into my mind.  Does that make me strange?  Does that make me different?  Does it make me wonder?  Well, I suppose I can answer yes to all three questions.  Does that bother me?  Again – hell no!  I know no different, and for that I am glad.  When I leave my slip, I leave behind all of my worries (not that I am a big worrier, but that’s the best way I can describe the sensation).  I am free.  Just breathing in the freshness of the sea air lifts my spirits.  It’s like an explosion in my lungs that permeates throughout my body resulting in the awakening of all of my senses – it is quite exhilarating.  I am ready to receive.  I am at peace with all.  All I can do is smile and express my thanks for being fortunate to be given this blessing.  The wind blows through my hair and I press on.  Gently nudging the throttles to rise to plane – there’s nothing like it.  It is my passion, and I have no fear."
-Cheryl Lightner

Friday, June 17, 2011

Landlubbers Back in Time


No boating for us this weekend, we drove to Chincoteague Island, VA instead.  But since you CAN boat there, I figured I'd write about our experience.  Buddy and I were the lucky bidders at a silent auction on a house in Chincoteague.  We headed out early Friday morning for the 3 1/2 hour trip.  It's an easy, pretty drive through the flat countryside.  A left turn at T's Corner means you're on approach and once you get past the daunting/fascinating Wallops Island you begin the long, beautiful, marshy approach in to Chincoteague and over the new bridge and there you are on Main Street.  A charming downtown populated with a couple of restaurants, some shops and bookstores and B&B's.  We stayed in the Jester Wallace House on Jester Street.  A truly charming beach home with 3 1/2 bedrooms, 2 baths and well equipped with everything you need (minus a few modern amenities like TV/internet).  (The owner is accommodating and friendly and to her credit tried to have the cable hooked up before we came, but it's not quite season there yet and she wasn't able to get it done). 

Jester Wallace House
My husband spent many summers on the island with his family as a child camping, fishing, crabbing and clamming; however, it was my first trip to the island (we were an Ocean City family).  We unpacked the car and Buddy was anxious to go exploring the island he had once known so well.  We drove out to the inlet as he talked and reminisced about his childhood, then down Maddox past the ice cream parlors, bicycle rentals, crab shacks and seafood houses to the entrance to Assateague Island.  Not much has changed and he knew the names of the businesses and told stories about locals he had met and things they had done as kids.  We paid the $8.00 weekend rate (it's $5.00 daily) and drove through the refuge all the way to the ocean.  To me it looked like an expansive, beautiful beach with lots of room to spread out (unlike Ocean City in the summer time when you have to hunt for your spot).  According to Buddy though, the dunes were washed out and the beach was half the size it once was.  There are nice eco-friendly facilities across the parking lot.

Chincoteague ponies

Chincoteague Island Lightouse
When we got back to the house, Buddy was a little anxious about what we were going to do there with no internet or tv...  No worries here though - it's a dream to me.  We spent three lovely, quiet days exploring the island, tasting lots of salty Chincoteague oysters and clams, fishing and biking around the island.  We played rummy on the screened porch at night and window shopped on Main Street in the evenings, chatting with the friendly locals.  Our house didn't have a radio, but I got the feeling that if it had, I would have turned it on to hear doo-wop playing and wolf man jack as dj. 
Buddy catching flounder

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day Boating

Nabbs Creek Cafe
Friday, June 3rd was our 11th Wedding Anniversary and so Buddy and I stayed in port to enjoy a quiet evening out instead of heading to Still Pond with our other boater friends.  We had been debating on going to The Bridges on Kent Island Saturday night ($50 to dock overnight!), but since we had the dog with us, we decided to day boat instead!  We called family & friends and set off for Nabbs Creek Cafe in Stoney Creek with our crew (Molly, Trisha & Monica) to enjoy lunch. 

 We set off around 1:00 pm, did a harbor loop, passing the crowded inner harbor ampitheater, saw the Sea Dog going out completely full and cruised by the Tiki Barge, which had nice crowd (no one shot us with the water guns though!).  Nabbs Creek is the old Maurgale's and the new owner has revamped it.  It has a nice outside tiki bar atmosphere, and this week KIX was playing outside.  There was a cover, but since we were only there for lunch we didn't have to pay.  (Who knew KIX was even still around???).  The food was good - the burger especially! 

Buddy loved his burger!
We devoured the nachos app, the burger was HUGE and fresh, my jerk chicken wrap was very spicy!  Our waitress was friendly and the bartenders wore Hammerjacks t-shirts! (I think that was in honor of KIX).  We explored a little of Stoney Creek, which is very active with water skiiers, tubers, PWCs, beautiful lots and some beaches too, before heading back to the marina just in time for twilight, my favorite time of day.   Trisha and Monica took off, Buddy took a nap on the back of the boat while Molly and I enjoyed a glass of wine..  Another beautiful day on the bay!

My beautiful neice

Friday, June 3, 2011

Spectacular Summer Start

May 27-30, 2011 
Memorial Day Weekend

About mid-week the weather started looking better & better and we started getting super excited about the first trip out for the season.  We had 6-8 boats that were planning to come and it’s always a mad dash to see who can raft with who because we usually get too large for the inside cove at St. Michael’s.  Turned out we (Cap’t Buddy, me & Lexi-dog) couldn’t get out until Saturday morning (five of the others left Friday).  The “All In” followed us out, and it was a beautiful cruise, mostly sunny, 80’s  - a perfect start to the 2011 season.  We got a spot inside the cove, where we tied up along side four other boats that were already there.  There was another raft up across from us that were part of our group too (the big boys), so we were 9 boats in total.  It’s going to be a good weekend!

We got settled, said our big seasonal hello’s with lots of hugging & kissing, had a drink and set out for Big Al’s Seafood for crabs, clams, shrimp, salads (no claw meat crab cake though).  Our large group took over every outside table and had to sit in shifts and the weekend was officially started!  Big Al’s not only serves great food, but it’s a tradition in our group for Memorial Day weekend.  We made it back in time for a cocktail or two and some conversation before heading out for the infamous sunset dinghy cruise.  We all got a little wet with the 1 foot waves in the harbor, but that didn’t stop Bobby from heading on out to the open sea!  His poor crew was soaked when he finally realized we weren’t following and he came to tie up with us.  That night was to be our big night in town with dinner at Ava’s (pizza & wine – what could be better?), but unfortunately our group was so large that they couldn’t take us all together, so half us split off and agreed to meet at Characters for dancing after dinner.  I was part of the group that tried the new place in town – Marco’s (Italian/Asian).  Interesting combination, but the food and service were impressive (my Thai Salmon was excellent), and they had live music inside.  They recently built a large deck outside which was perfect for the early summer evening.  As planned, we all met up later for dancing, but were sadly disappointed at both Characters & Carpenters for their choice of musical talent on the Saturday of Memorial Day.  No live music at Characters and the band at Carpenters wasn’t our taste so we decided to throw our own party back at the boats…

Sunday morning brought lots of sunshine and the perfect opportunity for the girls to take their power walk.  We discovered walking trails that we hadn’t seen on previous visits to St. Michaels.  The looked brand new, are dog friendly and point out the local watershed & wet lands information.  The girls did a little window shopping along Main St. (the winery didn’t open until noon), while I waited with my poor dog resting in the shade under a tree after the 2-mile walk.  (She’s a little out of shape after a long winter). 

We spent the day going to the beach across the Eastern Bay in Leeds Creek.  We’ve been doing this for years and it has always been a large, deserted beach we have all to ourself.  This year there was quite a bit of erosion, but we managed to fit our large crew on the beach with enough room to set up some games.  One good thing – our trip this year didn’t coincide with horseshoe crab mating season, so the beach was free of the doubled up prehistoric looking creatures!  Also, the water temperature was quite mild considering its still May.  Some even went swimming.  The ride back was adventurous – taking some waves over the bough, but at least Lexi didn’t break her tail this year.  No damage and the water was warm.

The winds kicked up a little more around the time of sunset, so we rebelled against David’s sunset dinghy tradition and held a deck party on the Grateful Escape.  Think of 20 people singing & dancing on top of a boat in the quaint St. Michael’s harbor.  Those poor patrons at the Inn at Perry Cabin!  At least we toned it down after dark.  We all cooked out that night and you can’t imagine how creative our group can get with a grill.  They serve up some dishes that the restaurants would be proud to have on their menu.  Rack of lamb with rosemary and olive oil, bar-b-que ribs, pork chops, steaks, you name & we can fix it.  All the trimmings too.

Monday, Monday… woke up to some high temps today.  There will be no walking, that’s for sure.  Buddy and I went in to town for some last minute shopping and breakfast at Carpenters (great Eggs Benedict).  I picked up a nice gift at Mind, Body & Spirit and an adorable 2nd birthday present at Chesapeake Outfitters before heading back to start the leaving process.  It’s always a drill – put everything away, get the dinghy up (although the Hurley davit is awesome!).  We like to do what Buddy calls “swiss cheese” it – a little a time.  We were ready to pull out around noon and off we went.  We had planned to stop at the Bridges for lunch, but it’s so hot we’re going to head straight back and sit by pool at the marina. 

What a FANTASTIC weekend.  It’s going to take a few days to recover from this one! 

Until next week...