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Summer Boating on the Chesapeake Bay

Thursday, August 25, 2011

No Plans

BMC Lighthouse Point Marina
August 19th to 21st

Fire Eater
Hula Dancers

Okay, so another weekend where we don't leave the slip.  But it seems that's just what the doctor orders sometimes.  Friday night was the big VIP Customer Appreciation Party at BMC Lighthouse Point Pool & Cabana Club, so I spent the day organizing and preparing and setting up and going over lists and worrying about the weather.  Once the caterers arrived and everything was done as much as could be done, I went down to the boat to shower and change, and just then the wind picked up and the rain started.  Oh no, I thought.  Here come the storms...  But low and behold, 15 minutes later the rain stopped and the sun came out.  We even had a sunset, which is incredible considering that surrounding counties had severe thunderstorms with torrential downpours.  The only damage was the loss of a single candle!  The party was a huge success with over 400 people coming out to enjoy the authentic Hawaiian cuisine & hula dancers.  Many thanks to everyone that made the party possible and for the staff for doing a terrific job in making sure everything was up to par.  I slept well knowing it came together beautifully! 

The Vortex
I knew we were in trouble Saturday when I walked down the dock after some last minute clean up efforts at the marina, and found Buddy in the middle of an afternoon party on the INXS.  Which turned in to a day long party.  One by one another boater was coaxed on board and it soon became clear we were staying dockside on this Saturday afternoon.  Clark, Kevin, Cheryl & Dave, me & Buddy, all victims of what I came to call the Stiffler Vortex.  We did manage to make it up to the Tiki Bar for some lunch, where it was nice to see a familiar crowd - Steve & Angie, Loretta that used to work for BMC stopped by, even Dr. Tom made an appearance.  Billy & Scotty introduced us to the shot of the summer -Fireball Whiskey.  Thanks Randy, for buying the bar a round.    Naptime came not long after.

Saturday night we sat at the picnic table and talked with the passersby (the beauty of F pier).  We soon learned what Comic-Con was all about when Rocky & Bullwinkle came strolling down the pier...  About 10:00 pm someone had the great idea to ride the bull at PBR, and so off we went to Power Plant Live.  Once there, the crowd didn't seem too eager to get in line, but my point was that if we had come this far, why turn back now?  So Cheryl and I braved out the line while discussing strategy and decided we would conquer the bull & our fears together.  Forty five minutes later, up we went and less than thirty seconds later, down we went!  But WE DID IT!   (We have the bruises to show for it, but unfortunately, no one got a picture of us.)  
Rocky & Bullwinkle & Guests

Cowboy at PBR
Sunday came and I was up with my swimsuit on planning to hit the pool; however, the storms soon squashed those hopes.  So we met with Missy & Randy and talked about the good times the day before and made plans for next weekend and called it a day and headed home. 

It just goes to show that some times the best times are the times that aren't planned.
Power Plant Live

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Guest Blogger Sara Ingram Takes the Helm

No boating for me this week, so many thanks to Sara from Premier Ride for picking up my slack, and on the perfect weekend too - PIRATE & WENCHES WEEKEND!  We've been for the last two years and it's always a great time with good stories to tell, not to mention the perfect excuse to break out the early Halloween costumes to donn a sexy pirate or wench outfit!  Thanks again Sara. 
Pretty Sara

Pirates & Wenches Fantasy Weekend
Rock Hall, MD
August 13-14, 2011
I am honored to be a guest blogger this week. We were disappointed that Harbor Shark would not be joining us for Pirates & Wenches Fantasy Weekend in Rock Hall this year.  All In and Premier Ride had plans to cast off at 10am Saturday morning…but first, Premier Ride’s Captain and First Mate (wearing my pirate hat) commandeered the air floor from Harbor Shark’s dinghy—our first pirate booty of the weekend! (Karma kicked in, and just beyond the Key Bridge we had to momentarily stop because our dinghy was being hit by our own wake which caused it to shift and fill with water.) 

The day was hazy with few boats on the water, making the cruise calm enough that one of the Premier Ride crew studied for the DAT!  The plan was to tie up to Grateful Escape who had already found the perfect spot in Swan Creek. Bob & Barb are the pirates who never age—the world would be a better place if more people were like them! 
Studying for the DAT

Everyone but the Premier Ride crew, who worked & studied a bit more, set off for the first pirate event on the beach.  The land-lubbers returned, just as Premier Ride’s crew, with beads, bandanas, hats, tattoos and swords prepared to venture to land.  We docked and ordered our first shots and sandwiches at Haven Harbor—yum! 
Premier Ride Crew
The rain subsided and the adventure continued.  A Rock Hall Rickshaw (works strictly for tips) approached but was going the opposite direction of Harbor Shack; two minutes later as rain started to fall again, and he returned to give us a ride!  More drinks, pictures & shots—thank you to our bartender who kept my secret when she saw me pour most of my shot on the ground…!

We spotted a boat (Impulsive, Severna Park) without fenders getting damaged by the rough waters.  The piling to which it was tied had broken and bent the rub rail exposing fiberglass.  We and two others tried to reduce further damage by retying the lines and securing a fender on the piling. PFFFT! It had been pierced by the bent rub rail.  A passer-by called the Harbor Shack and Waterman’s to request announcements to be made in hopes to alert the owner.  Note to self:  when tying up to hard objects, use fenders! 
Boat damage from busted fender

All that work made us hungry, and amazingly, John at Waterman’s was able to seat us immediately; steamed crabs, Caesar salad, corn on the cob, and of course, shots (What, what, what, what?  Pirate Rules!)


Wench of the Year
I saw the Soggy Dollar, so we walked over to thank them for their flamingo beacon that has guided Premier Ride back to BMC countless times.  Noteworthy Sightings include Capt’n Black with his sword, Johnny Depp, a Dundalk Pirate, Justin Beiber, our bartender Carol (thanks for returning the Visa Black Card left behind last week!), and more...  A special congratulation goes to Lana who was awarded Wench of the Year! 

The weather on Sunday made most our raft up decide to get an early start home.  Only All In and Premier Ride stayed a few extra hours.  We decided to stop at Waterman’s for crabs before returning to Baltimore.  It was a ghost town!  Hard to believe the place had been packed full of pirates and wenches just hours earlier.   It was a peaceful quiet ending to a crazed weekend of pirate adventures!  Arrrgh! 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Weekend in August

Bodkin & Bear Creeks
Cheshire Crab & Hard Yacht Cafe
August 6th & 7th

Cheshire Crab
This week was a mishmash of unplanned boating.  We didn't have any plans, other than to stay on the boat for the weekend.  Saturday morning I went to the Farmer's Market in Fells and shortly thereafter received a call from Buddy that we were going on Samantha's Dancer for lunch at the Cheshire Crab in the Bodkin.  When I got there, the engines were running and everyone was standing on the dock ready to pull off the lines.  No time to unload the goodies from the market, so I just climbed aboard and off we went.  It was then that I got a good look at the crew.  Five men and me.  Oh, sounds good, right?  Until they started talking.  The entire trip was boys talking engine parts and bathroom humor.  Perfect. 
Buddy & Doug enjoy the ride

Lexi missed us!
 The weather wasn't fantastic, a little overcast and pretty choppy on the bay, but we barely felt it on  Samantha's Dancer.  There weren't that many boats out for a Saturday afternoon.  We had no trouble docking and walked up the hill next to the huge yellow & white structure and into the restaurant.  It was crowded with several private parties - both adult and child parties.  They have a great deck, both covered and uncovered tables, but this day we decided to dine in the air conditioning.  They had $50 and $70/dozen crabs.  We went with the $70 and they were meaty and good, but not hot.  Most likely reheats, which was a disappointment. One thing that never disappoints there though are the shoestring onion rings - a favorite.  They boys tried to "fix" the tv, made lots of noise, drank a few pitchers of beer, gave the waitress a hard time, made a mess and then left...  But it was all good and everyone had fun and no one got hurt. 

Key Bridge

The weather on Sunday started out better.  We were going with the All In to the Hard Yacht Cafe.  You never know who will be a part of Kevin's crew, so I was pleasantly surprised to see such a nice group for the day, and especially that it wasn't over-crowded.  We enjoyed a nice cruise out to the bridge (my husband likes to say that he's been under that bridge many more times than he's been over it, but growing up in Pasadena, I can't say that's true for me), around Ft. Carroll and in to Bear Creek. 

Rick (he's single ladies!)
We tied up at one of the long docks out in front of the restaurant and headed in.  Once again, we opted for inside dining.  The Hard Yacht hosts an eclectic ambiance, mostly beachy with some sport added in.  It kind of looks like they add on whenever they run out of space with the little rooms, decks, shacks, and what have you.  It's cozy and they usually have music but on this day the musician didn't show up.  The food is delicious.  The crabs were good and local and the beer cold.  I finished up a little early and went back to walk the dog.  I headed straight for the pastel adirondack chairs out on the lawn, where I took the opportunity have a sit and just may have drifted off for a few...  A beautiful thing. 
Hard Yacht Cafe decor

We headed to white rocks for a swim, but as soon as we anchored we saw lightning in the distance.  We decided to make a run for it to get back to shore and we ALMOST made it (almost being the key word).  As we were in position to dock it started pouring.  Captain Kevin did a great job of getting us in the slip in the middle of the storm.   We sat on the boat until the rain subsided, where we sang along with the music and took turns trying on the cowboy hat and Kevin and Crystal indulged in the new summer hit - alcohol infused whipped cream. 

Jill looking good!

Crazy Kevin & Crystal
What a way to end the weekend!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Lazy Days of Summer

Sassafras River
July 29 & 30
We met our friends Bob and Barb over 10 years ago through our good friends on The Illusion and have been boating together ever since.  They keep their boat in the Sassafras River and we have heard time and again how beautiful their river is and how clean the water and on and on.  We've always meant to make it up there but somehow the summers always got away from us and so finally, FINALLY we made it to the Sassafras!

But not without our share of boating frustrations. Buddy has been working diligently all summer trying to repair the dinghy.  He has patched and rolled and inflated and deflated that thing more times than I care to count.  I threatened to order a new one and went so far as to pick it out with the help of a trusted resource, but he was determined (hard headed) to make it last for this season.  So after using fix-a-flat for dinghies a second time, he brought the dinghy to the boat, inflated it just before we were ready to leave, and guess what?  It didn't hold air.  DOH.  No dinghy for us in the Sassafras.  Good thing we have generous friends. 

So we left a little off schedule Friday afternoon with the All In on our stern.  Packed with food and swim toys, we left the Baltimore harbor (and our deflated dinghy) behind.  We had smooth seas and sunny skies for the two hour trip north.  It is a world of difference from the industrialized port of Baltimore to the tall cliffs and green landscapes of Cecil County.  From the mouth of the river, the Sassafras provides lovely, scenic cruising grounds.  It twists and turns and is home to lots of wildlife and many beautiful estates, one of which belongs to the DuPonts of Delaware, with its picturesque green boat house and gazebo. 

We met up with my birthday twin, Barb (just a few years apart) and her husband across from the DuPont Estate to anchor, making sure to leave plenty of room for the others we were expecting.  It was quite a mix of boats from BMC, Middle River and the Sassafras.   A great, great group of folks.  So we tie up, get settled and start the generator to cool down from the ride, only to hear shouts from the back to shut her down - too much smoke.  Uh oh.  Must the impeller.  Dang it - we don't have a spare.  Off to Georgetown to get a new one.  Over an hour in the sweltering heat of a hot engine room (thanks for fanning the captain, Eric), and we have a new impeller.  Good work Captain.  Guess what?  That's not the problem, it's the water pump.  Hmmmp.  No dinghy, no geni.  Lucky we have generous friends AND like the heat.

Fanatical as some of us are about the sunsets, on this particular Friday night there would be none for us, so we headed over to Signals at the Skip Jack Marina for dinner.  We had planned to dine outdoors on the patio, but the heat and threat of a storm moved us inside.  There were 16 of us seated at two separate tables and we pretty much had the place to ourselves, which was probably best (we weren't exactly quiet).  The meal was reasonably priced and the food good.  I had the Steak & Cake, and the crab cake was fantastic, living up to its name as "Best of the Bay".  Again, the key lime pie was tasty (what I had of it anyway - inside joke).  We made our way on dinghies in the dark back to our raft up, where we disbursed to our respective boats.  Some took dogs ashore, some went up on the bow hoping the meteor shower would start early, some had a night cap and talked quietly with the neighbors. 

First fish*

Strawberry shots
Saturday was a fun filled day of leisure.  The boys did some fishing (caught a few cat fish), we read and swam, went for dinghy rides, made new friends and ate like kings.  This is not a recipe blog, but I have to mention the shot Gary had us doing.  It's not only delicious, but beautiful!  Use fresh strawberries and carve out the inside, pour in some Godiva Liqueur and top with liquor infused whipped cream.  Gorgeous and yummy.  Gary also put up a dance pole on his boat (!).  The only use it got while I was there was by the guys though.  I hear it's good exercise...  Anyway, we swam more, ate more, watched a boat get towed, even dived for a lost necklace (sorry to say no luck).  Unlike Friday night, Saturday promised a fantastic sunset.  We grabbed a blanket and a cocktail and headed out to the bow for the sunset ritual.  The river runs east-west, so you get awesome sunrises & sunsets without having to take the dinghy out.  She didn't disappoint - it was amazing.  Afterwards, there was a huge dance party on the Grateful Escape.  
Noodle swim party*

Even Lexi went for a swim*
Sunday brought more of the same leisurely activities:  swimming, dinking, eating like kings.  A final picture show of the weekend on board One Restriction and the Harbor Shark was heading south.  An enthralling weekend on an enchanting river.  A weekend most of us didn't want to end, and some decided to extend.

Lily Pads*

Waiting for the sun to set*

Sunset in the Sassafras

*Pictures compliments of Sara Ingram