One salient aspect of the cruising life is freedom from schedules, sort of. Our days are driven less by the calendars of others and more by tides, weather, maintenance schedules, provisioning needs, all schedules of one sort or another. Schedules provide a certain security and predictability in our lives. We anticipated spending a month on the Chesapeake and within that month were several anchor points, the Sailboat Show in Annapolis and meet ups with friends and family, a schedule of sorts.
On the Wednesday prior to Columbus/Indigenous People’s Day Susan and I considered our options. Our good friends Tally and Mark, who live near DC, have a very busy schedule, we planned to meet them over the holiday weekend along with my nieces, Sara and Kate who also live nearby. We started looking for a marina with vacancies and found only one, one that was first come, first serve. A plan was needed.
If we had our way we would have stayed on anchor, sailed to the marina and met Tally and Mark the next day and Sara and Kate a day later. That plan had a risk, a risk that there would no slips at the marina. Then what? Our plan shaped by events around us changed.
We left Shippen Cove on Grays Inn Creek, off the Chester River on Wednesday morning. Leaving an idyllic setting for a marina in Galesville, MD where we would stay for six nights before leaving for Annapolis and the boat show. Sailing Motoring out into the Bay we approached the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, an unofficial boundary between the upper and middle bay. The bridge arching some 160 feet above the water is high on my list of least favorite bridges over which to drive. The bridge is high, the lanes narrow, the traffic intense, and the guard rails designed to create acrophobic apoplexy. I’ll take the George Washington Bridge at rush hour any day over a crossing of the Bay bridge. Period.
Passing under the Bridge at noon (better passing under), we arrived at the start of the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. Suffering from the same weather as us (no wind), the schooners drifted across the start line as we motored south past Annapolis and onto Galesville where we hoped to find a slip for the weekend.
We were fortunate to find a slip at the Pirates Cove Restaurant and Marina. Initially a bit apprehensive about the location but by the end of our stay we were happy with our find. Galesville is a quiet little community with a few marinas, two restaurants and a post office. Stretching our legs, we took a break from boat tasks and walked around the block. Yes, the one block.
Our good friends Tally and Mark arrived Saturday morning, their car vaguely resembling a UPS delivery van filled with packages we had ordered and had shipped to them, along our way. (Shopping online is an ongoing challenge for cruisers who have never-ending address changes.) We rely on friends along the way to receive packages, store them and deliver them when we meet. The most happily anticipated package was the 10-foot inflatable kayak Susan ordered so she can get of the boat (and away from me?) when we’re anchored out. Getting it out of its bag and inflating it was a group activity, half completed before reading the instructions.
As happy as we were to receive our orders we were perhaps happier with the pleasing brunch of fresh fruits, cheeses, and pastries Tally and Mark provided. Fresh food is always welcome by cruising sailors. Later in the day we walked through the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center a few miles from Galesville. Originally native lands, during the late 18th and early 19th Century is was a plantation. Eventually the land was allowed to revert to its natural state. The interpretative signs along the trails provided insight into the history of the land and the people who lived and worked here. It was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. By the end of dinner, we were making plans, as much as one can plan while cruising, to meet again mindful of the sailor’s adage, we can plan when or where but not both.
After a couple of days of boat work and preparing for the next leg of our journey, my 23-year-old twin nieces Sara and Kate joined us for dinner. It had been too long since we last visited, they were delightful company and our time together was precious. Escaping the cold winters of Vermont, they attended college in North Carolina and are currently living in the DC area. We made plans to meet again on our northward journey next spring.
On to Annapolis.