In Back Creek, Annapolis. 38:57.75N, 076:28.92W

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Sat 25 Jul 2009 16:44
We've moved on from Herrington Harbour North, our comfortable marina 'home' for the last 5 weeks, having replaced our elderly domestic battery bank, a leaky hydraulic steering ram and the windlass control box, which was beginning to play up. The outboard engine now has a new gear shift lever which means no more having to start it in gear as Nikki gamely clings on to the back of Ajaya whilst the engine warms up. However,  the problem molar in Phil's lower jaw remains untreated until September when we fly back to the UK to have it fixed and catch up with as many family and friends as possible over a 3 week period. Ajaya will be hauled out at HHN whilst we fly back from Baltimore (just in time for the Southampton Boat Show!).
Meanwhile, we have a few weeks of cruising left to see more of the Chesapeake which restarted with a trip into the Rhode River between Herrington and Annapolis. We really fancied a couple of days somewhere peaceful to chill out - the sort of cruising we love. The Rhode River offers this, although, situated on one side of the anchorage lies Camp Letts, run by the YMCA. This is the archetypal Summer Camp so loved by Americans who pack their children off for most of the summer holiday. Alan Sherman's 'Camp Granada' song sums up exactly what Camp Letts is, kids are sailing etc, and so they were, as well as being towed round the river riding on a huge inflatable banana having a great time. Later we gave the outboard a long run round the whole anchorage including a closer look at Camp Letts.  There certainly seemed plenty to do ashore as well as on the water.  It didn't spoil our enjoyment of the anchorage by 1800 they were all finished for the day and no doubt sitting round a camp fire singing camp fire type songs.
Last night we witnessed a terrific thunder and lightening show about 20 miles away, fantastic lightening earthing to ground whilst lighting up the night sky for miles. We prepped the boat for action in case we were hit with strong winds in the night. Luckily they moved away and the worst we endured was some rain. It pays to be ready though.
As always after a long spell of inactivity in a marina we mess up a few things on the first day out as we struggle to get our sea legs back and remember what everything does. Our biggest faux pas being leaving our navigation lights on all night instead of the anchor light - whoops! Then today as we were stowing the mainsail the port lazyjack fitting flew off the mast leaving the mainsail spread all over the bimini which took a while to tidy up. Then one of the halyard jammers refused to 'jam' the line that runs through it. So, we still have a few things to sort out as on any boat.
Today we have moved to Annapolis, the spiritual home of sailing in the USA. Back Creek is our stop for the next few days as we catch up with friends and try and see some of this famous nautical city. It's wall to wall boats here and we are anchored cheek by jowl with other craft. The holding is very 'iffy' so if it blows we could be in for a busy time, which no doubt will happen at 0200 in the morning!  Oh! the joys of being back on the hook!!
Technical Note:  The skipper has changed the anchor from the 20 kilo Bruce to a 16 kilo Delta we were carrying as a kedge.  The Bruce had dragged twice in good holding ground during blows where the wind had shifted 180 degrees, we felt this was because it had scooped gunge in the spades which had not shifted so it was unable to reset itself.   The jury is out on the Delta as it has been difficult to set in the most gloopey of river bottoms which is quite bewildering.  One of the most useful things we have fitted is the deck wash hose - the Chesapeake mud flings itself all over the deck as the anchor is being lifted.  The CQR may get an airing yet we'll see how it goes.
Rhode River - exploring by dinghy.
Thunder storms again!
Thomas Point - the last "screwpile" lighthouse in the Chesapeake.
Back Creek Annapolis - wall to wall boats & masts as far as the eye can see.