BMC Logo

BMC Logo
Summer Boating on the Chesapeake Bay

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mixed Company

 Rock Hall
July 24th, 2011

With the temp in the 100's this weekend, we just didn't feel like moving on Saturday and so skipped the relaxing weekend at Still Pond with friends.  Instead, we did something we rarely do and something that Buddy frowns upon strongly.  We mixed friends, family and clients!  We sat at the Dark Horse Tavern Saturday evening and went through our phone list inviting those to whom we've promised trips on the boat.  We're pretty active boaters and usually go out overnight and so getting everyone on board in a summer can be a challenge.  This was the perfect opportunity.

We wound up with six guests on board, plus Buddy and I (and Lexi dog).  We met at the marina gate at 11:30 and set off exactly at noon.  Our mismatched crew consisted of my young cousin and his roommate, two dear friends from MoCo, and a client and his lovely girlfriend - none of which had ever met before this day.  So we had all the generations represented - 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's.  I can see how this could be considered a risky or awkward event, but for some reason, on a boat everything is good.  My young cousin is quite the talker and had everyone in conversation before we even made it out of the marina, so by the time we pulled in between the water towers at Rock Hall, everyone was best friends.  Or something like that.

Harbor Shark Crew

Steve & Ellen hard at work
We pulled in to a slip out front and spent a few minutes debating on whether to sit indoors or out because the heat was still pretty stifling Sunday.  Before we had made up our minds, Michela-MacGyver had already scoped the scene and found the coolest spot on the deck (in the back of the tent between the two fans).  So we braved it and ordered lots of food and drinks and crabs and dug in.  I love it that they are dog friendly.  Our waitress Jodi was fantastic, even in the heat and she loved Lexi.  The ribs were the bomb and the crabs were local.  They only had mediums, but many of them would have been considered large elsewhere, and were oh, so tasty!  They key lime pie was yummy too.

Thanks Jodi!
 We decided to take make a stop at the Tiki Barge on the way back for the city view and some tropical vibes.  My cousin lives in Federal Hill, and just getting near the place we heard his name being shouted from the bar - what a way to make an entrance.  Things were definitely jumping at the barge on a Sunday afternoon.  I must declare that it really is the best outdoor bar in the city on a hot summer afternoon.  I'm not saying that because I'm partial (I admit that), but because up on the 2nd level of the barge, there's always a breeze blowing and it's just such a fantastic view of the city, you actually feel immersed in it.  It's the perfect place to take guests -and they make a pretty darn good orange crush too.

Tiki Barge on a Sunday Afternoon
At this point, my little cousin (well, he's actually late 20's, but he'll always be my little cousin to me) had gone off to find his friends and the rest of us were getting worn out by the heat and the day, so we set off leaving Justin & Kyle behind. 
Donna & Jim (MacGyver)
We returned to our slip, said farewell to our MoCo friends and enjoyed the company of Steve & Ellen on the back deck while the sun set over the marina...  Who says you can't mix business with pleasure? 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Things People Do...

Aquapalooza & Fairlee Creek
July 16th & 17th, 2011

If I were a better writer, you readers would have quite a field day reading about Aquapalooza.  I'll do my best.  It's everything you envision it to be and more.  Imagine a thousand boats converging on the protected side of an island in the middle of summer with dogs, kids, beer, music and rafts.  And then multiply it by a hundred later in the day when everything gains momentum and the beer is flowing and the heat is steaming and the music is beating...  It's craziness and zaniness and wow - what an event!  Kudos to Marine Max for organizing it. 

After spotting the blue hull, we managed to maneuver our way through the obstacle course of boats & bodies to the All In and Premier Ride, who were rafting together along with a few other boats we didn't know.  Once tied up, I took a good look around-  and WOW again, what an event.  We guessed over a thousand boats were there.  I spent some quality time on the bow with Barbie, my old hairdresser, and met some new friends.  Just when things started to get a little out of control (beer bongs and old ladies sandwiched between young boys on a jet ski (she appeared to be either napping, drunk or god-forbid, dead -all I could think of was Weekend at Bernie's), we made our way out of there.  For those that made a day of it, it sounded as if a great time was had by all, hanging out in the water, mingling and meeting new people, listening to music and especially people watching!

I'm such a nervous nelly that it's really difficult for me to enjoy myself watching mayhem unfold.  Plus, I couldn't hear the band because one of the boats tied up with us brought his own generator and speakers and had his dance music blasting off the bow of his boat. 

Generator & Subwoofer on Bow!
And I like live bands, so it wasn't hard for me to leave the scene once the captain gave the signal, except for the getting out part, which is like slolom boating with boats and swimming people and dogs and PWC's (back to the nervous nelly part).  At least I wasn't the captain and all I had to do was bring in the lines...  Thanks captain, for bobbing & weaving us out of there.  

Off we went towards Fairlee to meet some friends of ours that were coming back from a cruise up to Atlantic City and Manhattan (talk about a boat trip!).  I took a nap on the back of the boat and enjoyed the breeze until I felt us slow down at the cut.  It's such an interesting approach in to Fairlee that I hate to miss it.  I like watching us turn the corner and feeling the current under us and seeing Jelly Fish Joel's and the palm trees and babies on the beach.  We found a nice open spot, set the anchor and then INXS was pulling in. 

The Stifflers show purple pride!

 We took the dog to shore and then the four of us went to Jelly Fish Joel's on the dinghy to listen to some music and enjoy a kooky drink.  The frozen drinks are refreshing and the band was playing crowd favorites.  The new bikini crush station and ice luge are a nice addition (I don't remember that from last year), and the attendant was a perpetually happy person that danced non-stop and aimed to please.  I got in to the band (or maybe the kooky drink got in to me) and danced in the sand next to the mermaid, before heading back to start dinner.
We had a combo meal (INXS and us) with steak and sausages, crispy potatoes and grilled peppers painted with olive oil, along with corn on the cob and a nice bottle of wine.  For many years we've been preparing the crispy potatoes, and they're always a big hit.  See below for the recipe.  We had a nice time, enjoyed watching the sunset and quiet conversation. 

Capt Buddy on the grill
The wind was blowing a bit and the sound of the waves hitting the hull and the anchor chain tugging were a little much for me so I wound up sleeping in the aft cabin for some quiet.  This also made for a bit of a chop on the ride home Sunday.  Nothing the shark can't handle!  It actually rocked me to sleep on the back deck, while getting some sun.  Perfect for rejuvenating for Monday morning. 
       Another spectacular summer weekend on the Chesapeake...
Crispy Potatoes Recipe
  • 1 whole baking potato cut in to small squares
  • 1/3 of a vidalia sweet onion chopped
  • generous portion of butter
  • generous sprinkling of old bay
  • fresh pepper to taste
Wrap the ingredients in aluminum foil and place directly on the grill for 15-20 minutes (until potatoes are soft and crispy on the bottom).  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Throwing Caution to the Wind

Rock Hall
Saturday, July 9th on board the All In

We had no plans for the weekend and even spent Friday night at home, but headed down early Saturday for boat chores.  Of course once you get there things have a way of evolving... and it wasn't long before we threw caution to the wind and boarded the All In with Captain Kevin and crew members Crystal, Roy, Lynette, Buddy, me and Lexi-dog). 

Bay Watch on the Chesapeake

We drifted near the bridge to wait for Premier Ride and his crew who had been at the Hard Yacht, and then headed past brown rocks in Stoney Creek to Nabbs Creek so they could check out the Nabbs Creek Cafe.  We ascended upon the place, taking over much of the outside deck.  We were a little early for the music - he was still setting up, but once again had friendly service and cold drinks (no meals this time).  The Dreamsicle Crush sounded delicious - I'm trying that next time for sure!  Premier Ride was planning to cruise to Rock Hall for crabs and an overnight stay, and crazy Captain Kevin said why not ?  So we headed out along side them. 

Premier Ride Cruising

Waterman's at Rock Hall
 The Royal Caribbean cruise ship "Enchantment of the Seas" was leaving at the same time, so we cruised with her for a bit before pulling ahead.  She's a beautiful ship. and one on which we'll be on board shortly (we've been watching these cruise ships come and go with wanderlust so often we finally booked ourselves a 5-day cruise to Bermuda!).  The bay was gorgeous, not a lot of traffic, and Waterman's had slips waiting for us upon arrival.  We were front & center, while Premier Ride was tucked in for an overnight stay.  We sat at the high top in front of the bar to accommodate our large party.  Roy was first to sit down, and he knows the owner (or a friend of the owner), so he took it upon himself to order lots of food for the table which was perfect since it took everyone varying amounts of time to get there.  One of the crew members aboard Premier Ride had dropped her sunglasses overboard, and after several unsuccessful attempts with a hook, finally jumped in and retrieved them - FIRST TRY.  Way to go Angel!  By the time we sat down we had ribs and corn and soup waiting and crabs on the way.  Fantastic!  Good food, crazy conversation, lots of laughs and a couple of pops before the sun started to set and we needed to start thinking about making our way back across the bay.  First, I had to walk the dog (of course), where I found an interesting jalopy. 

I think it's either from the set of Water World or left over/in preparation for Pirate Weekend (always an experience!).  The band was setting up, Buddy tried out his first "plank" to submit to BMC Plank Wars on Facebook, and then we headed out toward the sun.

Years ago we did a lot of day boating and would see the most incredible sunsets.  This day was just like that.  The inner harbor is directly west of Rock Hall and sets up an unbelievable ride home.   It's mesmerizing to watch the sun go down on a warm summer day from the water.  It was cloudy as the sun was setting and we didn't think we'd get a sunset, but the last few minutes, she dropped down out of the clouds.  It's quite an experience, and if you've been boating at sunset, you know what I mean. 

Setting Sun on the Chesapeake

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Good Friends, Family, Food and Fun!

4th of July Weekend
Middle River/Kent Island/Rock Creek

Wow - what an enjoyable weekend!  Good friends and family and food and fun!  We stayed in port Friday night to see Trace Adkins.  That's a story in itself, but I won't get in to that here. So we had a drink with Scott & Kim at the Tiki Bar first (marina customers that moved to Utah - always great to see them), and then headed over on Clark's boat to anchor behind Pier 6, where we were able to hear most of the concert before being shooed away...  Called it a night after that.

Cruising (that's All In behind us)
Saturday morning we had lunch at the Bay Cafe, where I was once again impressed by their shrimp salad - SO good.  We left for Middle River around 2:00 pm and WOW - talk about boat traffic!  It was crazy between Ft. McHenry & the bridge and Middle River was just ridiculous!  We were staying at a friends' house, which we like to call the Doovie Del-Mar Marina.  They've had as many as a dozen boats docked on their pier before, but for this visit there were five of us.  The Middle River fireworks were that night, and the neighbors had a HUGE party and were kind enough to invite us over.  Thanks neighbors - the beef was incredible and we enjoyed the music too!  Just before sundown, Cap't Randy from INXS, who was staying at the River Watch, did a drive by and picked up the entire "non-party" to go see the fireworks.  Just 4 of us remained at the house to watch the them from the dock.  I was part of that group and it was nice sitting at the end of the pier and having a quiet conversation before the rowdy party returned in full force.  Middle River did a fantastic job with the fireworks - kudos.  Thanks again Dave & MA for opening your home to us and being most gracious hosts, as always.  Even when not planned!

Doovie Del-Mar Marina

Sunday morning we lounged and had breakfast and talked about the night and  and made new plans and then four of us boats set off for Kent Island.  I had been wanting to get to The Bridges for their $50 dockage to have a nice meal and to check out the music at the Jetty, so here we come!  They have a wonderful outside deck at The Bridges.  It overlooks the Narrows where you can watch the fisherman on the point and the boats coming and going.  Orlando Phillips, Rast-American, was playing, and bonus - they're dog friendly, so Lexi & Mercedes were able to join us.  We had the tuna sashimi and hummus apps which were fabulous.  Later we had dinner there as well, where they conveniently added the slip fees in to our bill.  After dinner, the Jetty was rocking with Hot Tub Limo and our girls were quite popular with the band, having their picture taken on stage! 

Our Sundancers
I woke early and walked Lexi.  Kent Island is great for walking.  The Cross Island trail runs along the Narrows there, but you can also walk over to Red Eyes/Annie's.  We had lunch and crabs at The Jetty (it IS the 4th of July).  They were local crabs and very tasty indeed.  It's been a while since I've been to the Jetty - I like what they've done to the outside beach area.  Kids were playing in the sand, and they're dog friendly too.  After lunch, Buddy and I split from the group to head to a family cookout in Rock Creek.  The bay was beautiful!  It was clear and flat (if a little overcast) and the boat traffic wasn't nearly as bad as Saturday. We stayed for dinner and enjoyed delicious fall-off-the-bone ribs before returning to the harbor in time for the fireworks, where I had fun dancing to my patriotic CD and waving the American flag.  What a fantastic 4th! 

Wine bottle chandelier at The Bridges

We're a patriotic group!

Happy 4th!