Leaving Annapolis after a full week we headed for Oxford Maryland on the Eastern Shore for the last stop in our “Friends and Family” tour. We visited with fellow Sabre sailor Rick who gave us a tour of the area, shared lunch, and graciously helped us support the local economy at a small-town hardware store.
The next evening, we went to dinner with Syracuse friends Mike and Kathy. Back in Syracuse their sailboat Colorme was docked next to Second Star’s predecessor. Mike and I retired from the same school district and it has been several years since the four of us had been together. The evening was filled with laughter and stories, some of which might have been true. It was great to see them!
From Oxford, we headed south to Solomons with the intention of sailing over to Smith Island, a small waterman’s community accessible only by boat. We had looked forward to spending an afternoon exploring the island, however, the weather had different ideas. A forecast calling for several days of gale force winds prompted us to wait in Solomons for a fairer forecast.
While in Solomons we visited the Calvert Marine Museum. One of the attractions is an original screwpile lighthouse. Screwpile lighthouses were common throughout the Chesapeake, with only one remaining at Thomas Point Shoal near Annapolis. The Drum Point Lighthouse was removed and restored on site at the museum. Anna Weems Ewalt was born in the lighthouse in 1903, her recollections of the time her grandfather was the lighthouse keeper guided the Museum’s restoration. With one exception the lighthouse is furnished with period pieces from that time. As the story is told at the museum, this one item was a source of great annoyance to Anna. Time spent at the museum is time well spent.
The gale kept us pinned in Solomon’s for six days. As soon as the weather broke we motored down the Bay to Reedville, VA to wait out the next gale. Reedville is a small town with several marinas in the well protected creek and one large fish processing plant. The plant processes menhaden into a variety of products including cat food and Omega fish oils. Menhaden support an important commercial fishery on the East Coast. Initially we learned about menhaden’s importance at the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston, NY as they were also an important part of the Hudson River Valley’s commerce. The Omega Protein company is the major employer in Reedville and the second largest fish processing plant in the US. However, its practices are not without controversy with concern about sustainability and environmental impact, not to mention the smell.
Our stay at Buzzards Point Marina was short, wet, and remarkable. Water levels on the Chesapeake are governed by both tides and winds. Strong southerly winds will move water up the bay and when combined with high tides flooding occurs. In 2019 we witnessed this firsthand during the Annapolis Boat Show, at Buzzard’s Point we witnessed the phenomena again. Gale winds drove water up the bay and into Crockrell’s Creek where it flooded the docks with every high tide. I did manage to get off the boat to dispose of trash and take a shower, otherwise we sat in a very well protected marina unaware of the storm conditions save for the flooded docks and persistent rain.
After a two-night stay, we headed out Cockrell Creek speeding past the fish plant and its pungent and nauseating aroma. Southerly winds persisted as we motored forward in a 15 knot breeze on the nose. After a quiet night on anchor in well protected Bryant Bay, we set sail, yes, we sailed for a change, towards Norfolk VA and ICW Mile 0.
After a month exploring the Chesapeake, we prepared to enter the ditch.