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Summer Boating on the Chesapeake Bay

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...