We have certainly slowed things down. We spent four days at anchor on the beautiful Chisholm Creek in southern Virginia. The fresh water and laid back lifestyle was very welcomed. After ‘chilling out’ we moved on to the historical city of Yorktown, Virginia.
Yorktown was the site of the last major battle of the American Revolution where the American forces , led by
June 10 - July 4, 2007
George Washington, and French forces, led by General Rochambeau, defeated the British army led by Lord Cornwallis. Along with colonial Williamsburg (the former capitol of Virginia where most of the American Revolution leaders served) the region is home to one of the most patriotic settings in America. All Americans should go there to re-invigorate the ideas of democracy and the courage to obtain those goals!
From Yorktown we sailed north up the Chesapeake Bay to Solomons and Oxford, Maryland. While at Solomons, we made arrangements for El Regalo to receive some major modifications that include the installation of a bow thruster and a wind generator. The bow thruster will help us turn the boat while in marinas (she’s 52’ and does not turn easily with a contrary wind) and the wind generator will reduce our need to run the diesel generator (for charging the batteries). Our power consumption on board is more than we expected. When adding up the power requirements for a lap top computer, navigation, radar, gauges + refrigerator and freezer. Our solar panels are insufficient and even running the engine will not generate sufficient power for all our “extras.”
We left Solomon’s with 10-15k winds; of course they were right on the nose for the next destination. After zig zagging across the Chesapeake for 3 hours and making little progress, we turned on Mr. Motor and promised ourselves (once again) that we would only pick our destination AFTER we checked the wind direction.
We decided to be contrarians about where to anchor in Oxford by anchoring across the bay from all the other boats. The anchorage was perfect; 10 feet of protected water, no other boats, beautiful wooded shoreline with gorgeous mansions. It was almost a ‘perfect’ setting. At 4:30 in the morning, a
Oxford, Maryland demonstrated the charm and history of Maryland. George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore of the Irish House of Lords, in 1629 applied for a charter (colony) in the Americas so Catholics would have an area free from persecution. His son was awarded the charter in 1632 and named the territory, Maryland, in honor of King Charles’ wife, Henrietta Marie, of France (Catholic). The Maryland state flag is the only state flag that displays family crests. The black and gold is the family crest of Cecil Calvert, 2nd Lord of Baltimore. The red and white is the crest of Cecil Calvert’s mother, the Crosslands. Ironically, Catholicism was later band by the colony and all of the original Catholic churches were burnt down.
Oxford is a laid back city with charming buildings and tree lined streets. Most of the houses have a plaque stating when they were built; many of the wood houses are two to three hundred years old. The streets are immaculate and very neat. Most of the houses have beautiful flower gardens during this time of year. The city parks provide spectacular views of the Tred Avon River with sailboats, and other boats, passing down the river to the Bay. While in Oxford we did a lot of nothing other than minor repairs to the boat, walk and bike ride around town and eat fresh crab; which brings up a funny story about our first night at anchor.
boat came within a few feet of our boat, no big deal although it woke us up. The boat, a commercial crabber, kept passing close to us. JoDon told me, “I think he’s deliberately trying to annoy us.” Well, the guy was very angry at us but we did not understand why and we were thoroughly confused with his going back and forth like he was driving a plow over the water. Finally the guy rudely yelled, “Move your boat. You’re on top of my lines. You should be at a marina.” We were pissed off with his attitude but I told JoDon that we did not need to end our story with a scene from the movie, Deliverance, so we moved to where the other boats were anchored. As it turns out, they were having a small festival that Saturday morning and our new anchorage was more perfect than the last. Thank you Mr. Crabby Crab-man!
During the next few days we studied how the watermen of Oxford harvested crabs. At one end of the bay they would put down a marker and attach small ropes that would stretch across the water about ½ a mile. The ropes would have a small loop about every 20 feet where they attached inedible chicken necks (we knew this because the crabbers left the frozen boxes on the hot wharves to gain scent). Crabs are attracted by the smell and try to pick off the chicken meat. The crabbers then would drive their boats down their lines and check for crabs. The crabs do not let go of the chicken necks until they reach the top of the water. The crabbers would then quickly try to catch them with a small net attached to a long pole as they dropped into the water. Crabbers have many lines down under the water so that’s why they looked like they were plowing a field, going back and forth, over and over. Crabs are not cheap, but they are so tasty when boiled fresh with hot spices and washed down with a cold beer!
From Oxford we continued north up Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis, the sailing center of America. Annapolis is also the state capitol of Maryland and home to the Naval Academy and St. John’s University. It is also one of the oldest cities in the United States and certainly one of the best preserved. We attended church on Sunday, St. Anne’s, that had been established in 1692. That’s a long time for anything American, much less a church!
disappointed in the early American colonial history, the historical sites and the quaint shops and restaurants.
The Naval Academy has its own story, one to make all Americans proud. The “plebes” or first year midshipmen (as students of the Academy are known), have a brutal summer of intense training before fall classes begin. We were at anchor within a few yards of the Naval Academy and I felt sorry for the young men and women yelling in unison while exercising and jogging at 5:30 am. As I rolled over back to sleep in my comfortable bed, I knew “life is good.”
Annapolis is one of the most charming cities that I have ever visited; maybe what Guanajuato is to Mexico Annapolis is to the United States. Annapolis is somewhat off the well beaten tourist track but it is certainly worth the effort to travel. You will not be
The final night of Annapolis was spent watching the impressive 4th of July fireworks show on board El Regalo. Adam Gaston, Ty Gaston’s son and midshipman at the Naval Academy, joined us for the festivity. It was an awesome display of fireworks! The fireworks were set off from the shoreline of the Naval Academy over the harbor. Hundreds of boats had anchored to see the display and the scenery of the evening was spectacular. It was quite an event to witness while learning about the life of midshipmen.
What’s next? It depends on which way the wind blows!
Journal 2; Yorktown, Oxford, Annapolis