In Solomans Island on the Patuxent River!! 38:19.88N, 076:27.57W
Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Mon 10 Aug 2009 19:28
We made the 50 mile leap down from the Eastern Bay yesterday whilst we had a favourable breeze which, whilst not great for sailing at least sent the Chesapeake waves in the same direction that we were wanting to go. We waited an extra day at Shaw Bay as the previous day had dawned wet & miserable. A good opportunity to catch up with a few chores around the boat and knock off a few chapters of the various books we were reading. Such a hard life!
The previous night had seen a cold front approach from the west which insisted on passing through the Chesapeake in spectacular fashion, with another thunder and lightening show for which we had free tickets. Just a shame that the show started at 0300 so yet again it was out of bed rushing round the boat throwing any portable electronics we could get hold of into the microwave for protection. That achieved we went back to bed and watched the lightening show which was almost continuous for an hour or so. I'm not sure about Nikki but lying in bed with these storms passing over I do wonder just what a lightening strike would be like onboard Ajaya, especially as we sleep forward, and the mast is next to the main entrance aft Would we be like some Afrika Corp Panther tank crew climbing out of tiny hatches with our pants on fire after a direct hit from one of Monty's finest. Only in our case we would have to dive into the surrounding water which is teeming with jelly fish at this time of the year - not a danger Rommel's crack Panzer Division faced in the African desert. But it still leaves me wondering. The other stupid thought that passed through my mind was that this particular anchorage we were floating in 20 ft of water. Usually we have about 2 ft under the keel which would make for a gentle landing onto the muddy bottom should the unthinkable happen and us sitting on the coachroof casually awaiting rescue. Here we would actually sink! and be left clinging to the mast. Worse still, the nearest boat to us this particular evening had about 12 hyperactive teenagers onboard, so I mentally decided I would go down with the ship on this particular occasion. But in any case we were spared the worst of the storm so my crazy thoughts were all in vain after all..
The trip down the Chesapeake was uneventful. Nothing onboard broke which made a change from recent events but we did end up motoring all the way. At least the batteries had a good charge and we arrived in Solomons Island late afternoon, anchored outside the Maritime museum and immediately looked for the nearest wifi link-up to check for messages. Oh! how cruising has changed. Also, having not had access to a washing machine since leaving Herrington Harbour has meant that our pile of laundry has become dangerous to be around so we have checked into the Spring Cove Marina just 100 yards away to make use of their Laundromat facility. After all we have been using their free wifi out in the anchorage since we arrived so at least we are giving them something back. There is also a swimming pool there with, apparently, underwater speakers. I'm not sure how long I can hold my breath to listen to the piped music but its got to be better than swimming in a bay full of jellyfish.
(Nikki): Washing - now there is a problem. Hand washing in this humidity is a no no - it doesn't dry - just goes mouldy especially when there is no wind. Dirty washing also goes mouldy in storage waiting to be washed even if it is dried first! Have read many books & listened to advice to no avail. The only answer seems to be laundrettes where everything is tumble dried & consequently shrinks! Plus this often means a stop in a marina where we can't plug in anyway (110v V 220v) & take advantage of all the amenities we are paying for. We actually prefer to anchor off! Any good ideas or solutions from seasoned cruisers in the tropics or this side of the world would be appreciated - mailasail blog followers know how to e-mail us!!! We do not have air con - just melt on a daily basis from 9.00 am to 21.00 pm!!
The adjacent Patuxent River has a lot of history to relate of. It's the next river north from the Potomac in the Chesapeake on the western side. Our stroll along the river front this morning had us reading the various information plaques on the boardwalk and once again us evil Brits were causing trouble back in 1812 by harassing the locals in their boats and making a thorough nuisance of ourselves. We then brought in reinforcements from Bermuda to make matters worse, the locals retreated and then scuttled all their boats further upriver. The river was also home, in the between war years, to a ghost fleet of captured German battleships from WW1 which were moored on the Patuxent River for many years. Today the US Air Force has their base on the opposite bank of the River to Solomon's and daily we are graced with the roar of jet engines at full throttle taking off at impossible climb angles into the surrounding skies on training flights. It's also a training school for test pilots some of which go on into astronaut training. Over the weekend another familiar noise was evident. The sound of many Harley Davidsons roaring through Solomons Island. Just about every variety of HD seemed to pass us as we walked through the small community. Most riders being of a more senior status no doubt enjoying the Harley revival that seems to have caught on in a major fashion over here. In fact we seem to see more of these than any other make of bike - perhaps they are just more noticeable because of the noise they make. Loads of lady riders as well - what would the hells angels chapters have made of that all those years ago.
So we have the hottest day of the year so far and its all we can do to put one leg in front of the other. Our dear friends are questioning our very sanity in heading up the Potomac to Washington DC in this heat, but then the heat can make you go insane so there's the excuse for going. Besides the thought of this boat having sat in a small boatyard on Hayling Island for 4 years arriving in the very capital of the USA has a wonderful appeal, a surreal moment that we really don't want to miss during our travels - insane or not.
St Michaels waterfront (see last blog)
Screw pile lighthouse on display at the St Michaels Maritime Museum. (See last blog)
St Michaels - a view from our anchorage out into the Miles River (see last blog)
St Michaels - View of the 'Patriot' (ugly, but endearing) which carries sightseers out into the Miles River. It broke down full of
passengers whilst we were there !
Solomons - The long boardwalk skirts the Patuxent River. To the right is the only road into the resort.
St Peter's - The oldest church in Solomans Can't remember the denomination! Quaint though, with it's
stained glass window depicting a sailing ship..
High & Dry! One way to keep your 'yacht' safe on the river. Popular with powerboaters this is the
first sailing boat we have seen suspended.
In Solomans they like to paint their fire hydrants.
A bronze cast depicting a 'Chesapeake Bugeye' sailing craft with the inscription
"A Memorial to those who fished the Bay and built their Boats"
Spring Cove Marina - lots of marinas offer bikes to borrow or rent.
The pool at Spring Cove (with the underwater speakers) - very welcome on such a hot day. The pool bottom was cleaned
overnight by an automatic Hoover unit that looked like K9 from Dr Who.
We like to keep with the tradition of "Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun"