Arriving in Baltimore

Saxon Blue's Blog
Harvey Jones and Andrea Stokes
Mon 15 Nov 2010 11:58
Sunday night

I'm sitting at the navigation table looking out at the sunset over Baltimore harbour. We're right in the centre of the city, surrounded by high-rise buildings. It's a superb natural harbour with a main arm that meanders right into the heart of the modern city so that we could have moored up alongside the massive downtown aquarium but chose to go alongside in a marina and hopefully get a bit more peace and quiet instead.

There was a real Sunday feeling all day today. It was sunny again so the temperature soon started to rise and we pottered about getting ready to depart. I trimmed my beard so look slightly less like a barbarian and had a long shower in the marina facilities so smell a bit less like one, too. Then we dropped our lines and headed out down the back creek and into the Chesapeake. Once again, it was full of boats. VHF channel 16 was buzzing with locals complaining about not catching any fish - honestly, these colonials don't understand radio etiquette. We joined in by not catching any fish either although managed to refrain from broadcasting the fact.

It was so clear that we could see the buildings of Baltimore well before we arrived. The city is surrounded by modern docks and we passed some interesting ships. There was a huge ugly hospital ship and a strange vessel that looked half private yacht and half tramp steamer. Nearby was the Pride of Baltimore, a famous topsail schooner which takes trips out from here. In the basin at the centre of the city there is a nineteenth century US sailing warship and a submarine so we looked at them while dodging tourists in pedalloes.

I had a good chat to my family on the way into the harbour. It's nephew Nathan's birthday tomorrow and I knew they were all going to be at Penny Lane having a celebration tea so I rang and chatted to them all. It was lovely to be part of a family event although it does make me a bit sad not to be there in person. I also missed out on a delicious dinner.

Kali and Bill have gone off to explore for an hour and then we're going to meet up and go out for our tea. I've just finished a book about Antarctic whaling in the early 1950s by a doctor who went with the fleet. It's a great story and he's unequivocally in favour of the enterprise, as much for its innate heroism as any practical result. I think they all knew that such effort in the pursuit of margarine wasn't really sustainable. It's an interesting point, though, that the world would become (and perhaps now is) more mundane without such men pitting themselves against the elements in pursuit of the largest prey ever hunted.

Perhaps we all have to search a bit harder to find a justification for comradeship and struggle now that life is that bit too comfortable. Maybe that's where Sea Shepherd and the other eco-warriors come in. Strange, though, how much harder it is to find reward without a destructive cause. Blood-lust and the joy of hunting are much more primal and powerful urges than looking after things and preserving them. "Blowing shit up" is just so much more fun.

Anyway, enough theories, the kids are back and it's time for dinner.


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