Icicles on the pulpit
We're under way again - Hurray! It's been a full-on day but it's exhilerating to be making progress South, even if only 50 miles or so. What makes it even better is that we had a great sail all day.
We got up early to depart by 0900. I was fast asleep when the alarm went off so it was hard to wake up and then get out of bed into the freezing cabin. It soon warmed up, though, and I had my breakfast then went off to get Jabins to read the electricity meter. Then get the tender up onto the davits, unplug the shore power, pay for the electric - not as much of a rip-off as expected - and we were off just before 0900. The wind had died down a bit overnight so leaving the dock wasn't as tricky as I'd thought it might be. The crew tidied up the mooring gear and then we were out into the bay outside Annapolis with the sun shining and the wind picking up nicely. We put the genoa out and we were sailing. Lovely.
We soon turned southwards down the Chesapeake with the wind blowing between 15 and 20 knots on the starboard beam and Saxon Blue just hammering along at about 9 knots. It was seriously cold. The spray coming up off the bow wave was splashing over the pulpit and forming icicles as it dripped off. Thanks to the boat healing and the wind blowing, the icicles were at an angle of about 45 degrees. Bill was questioning whether we were about to see an iceberg.
We passed a couple of ugly car carriers on our way down the bay but there was precious little other traffic and no other sailboats atall. We took it in turns to stand watch and go below to warm up and had some hot soup for lunch to keep our strength up. Kali wanted to show Bill how to rig the twin headsails so we bore away a bit and put the poles up which was as beautiful as ever. Then we had to drop them again and bear up into the wind for a beat into the channel towards Solomons Island. We had to put a tack in but managed to sail right up to the entrance channel markers before starting the motor so an excellent day of sailing.
Solomons Island (which isn't really an island any longer as it has a causeway connecting it to the rest of Maryland) has a deep, sheltered harbour and loads of marinas and berths. We chose one that was sheltered from the wind with us being blown off, got set up and came alongside. Then it was time to get below with the heating on full blast and warm up with a cup of tea. Luckily, we had some delicious biscuits/cookies, too. Well, not really luck, just Kali doing a great job of getting the stores sorted out. As part of our educating Bill into the ways of Englishness, I demonstrated dunking my biscuit into the tea. He had a go but, oh no, a schoolboy error! He held it in the tea too long and it collapsed with a gentle plop as he tried to remove it. Much laughter ensued.
By this time, Kali had borrowed a pink bicycle and Andrea and I had decided to go for a walk. We set off along the causeway towards the village and past a succession of churches. They're all brand new, massive and look actively used. The thing is, there are hardly any houses so they must either have a church for every family or people must commute here on a Sunday. Every house has a "Trespassers keep out" sign so I suppose the place must be mobbed with visitors in the summer but there was nobody around tonight. We walked all around the island, narrowly avoiding being mown down by Kali on the pink bike as she hurtled along, gazing at the amazing crescent moon and the brilliant red sunset.
Then it was back onboard Saxon Blue, get our stuff and head to the washrooms for a shower, back onboard again and head out with Bill to an Italian restaurant that the marina staff had recommended. We had a great night. There was a very good singer entertaining us all evening and excellent food. The owners made us feel very welcome and I think we were the only non-residents eating there. Bill and I couldn't manage to eat all our pasta so we've each got a plastic box full of it for our lunch tomorrow. It's almost expected that you'll take your uneaten food home with you here so all the restaurants have boxes to put it in. Given the size of the portions, it's a good idea.
As we left the restaurant, we met Kali on her bike. She'd spent the evening in the cafe doing some writing so we all walked back to Saxon Blue together in the freezing wind. I'd left the heating on so it was lovely and warm when we got back onboard. Even so, the kids have gone out for a drink - they must be mad as it's well below freezing out there and they're riding around on bikes.
Altogether a great day and an excellent start to the next part of our trip. It was cold but, with Saxon Blue just eating up the miles, it felt great.
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