Once again the wifi is proving tricky and I can’t get photos uploaded at the moment, so rather than wait for the wifi fairy to deliver, I am posting this wordy wordy episode sans visual cues!

We made our first overnight trip for months, down to Cape May. One nighters are always tiring, as we don’t sleep properly,

Sleeping Beauty!

Sleeping Beauty!

……..so we were happy to pull into Cape May at seven in the morning and take a nap. By mid day we had upped anchor and moved around the headland into the mouth of the Delaware where we would be able to catch the early morning tide up towards the Chesapeake and Delaware canal. After a very rolly night we were relieved to set off at sunrise.

Dawn at our Cape May anchorage

Dawn at our Cape May anchorage

Having made such good speed up the Delaware we changed our plans and caught the current going west bound through the canal. 20 miles later we dropped anchor in the Bohemia River for a peaceful night and a lie in!

Monday 18th October, we set off for Havre De Grace; our first stop in Maryland. Jan and Norman, our friends onboard ‘Bandersnatch’, have sailed our route south from Gloucester to Jacksonville FL for the past 20 years, so they gave us some good anchorage tips. This one included tying up to a ladder in the corner of a boatyard that locks its gates after dark! Luckily, once again, the natives were very friendly and within minutes of our first foray ashore, we had the code for the gate and directions for the best bars in town!!

Havre De Grace is at the very top of the Chesapeake and the water here is only slightly brackish, so is a favourite migratory stop for geese, swans and various species of ducks. For years it was a centre for leisure and commercial hunters and boasts its own Decoy museum…….we now know far more than we knew there was to know about the use of decoy ducks, their making and deployment!! Like all over exploited resources, however, the duck hunting diminished numbers to such an extent that there was a moratorium on hunting and Havre De Grace lost its main attraction! Today the town is a low key tourist destination and a dormitory town for Philadelphia and Baltimore.

We decided to hire a car for a couple of days and drive into Philadelphia to do some sight seeing. Just by chance, we managed to park around the corner from the main heritage centre where the declaration of independence was signed, the Liberty Bell is housed and where Benjamin Franklin lived.

Selfie at the Liberty Bell.

Selfie at the Liberty Bell.

Down by the dock we strolled through a park and came upon an Irish memorial series of plaques and sculpture commemorating the suffering of the Irish at the time of the potato blight and their desperate voyages aboard the famine ships.

One of the most moving pieces of sculpture i have seen. it depicts the Irish potato famine and a famin ship arriving in Philidelphia

One of the most moving pieces of sculpture i have seen. it depicts the Irish potato famine and a famine ship arriving in Philadelphia.

 

Despair

Despair.

Suffering.

Suffering.

Hope.

Hope.

 

Returning after our second day in Philly and an educational visit to the State Penitentiary, we found that a Steely Dan tribute band were playing the other side of the fence from where we left the dinghy. The boatyard employees and ‘live aboards’ had set out picnic tables and a barbecue our side of the fence and needless to say, we were invited to join them….. and Marcus was plied with beers!

The following day we were picked up by beer provider Tim, the bosun at the yard, and his wife, Anita, and driven to the supermarket. Such random acts of kindness from people we meet are what make this life so great.
After sitting tight on the boat, sitting out a gale all Friday night and all day Saturday, we were glad to get going again on Sunday.

The next stop was Baltimore, once again an anchorage suggested by Jan and Norman, right in the middle of Baltimore’s old port. We had a great time here and did a lot of sight seeing on foot. Marcus spent a whole afternoon in Starbucks trying to update the laptop and I took a walk to a post office and managed to get them to receive a package for us to pick up. Said package was a replacement screen for Marcus’ tablet, which didn’t bounce when it was dropped on the floor in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

The weather is definitely getting colder and we have been using the heater at night. Unfortunately, whoever thought it was a good idea to install the water outlet through the gas locker, knew nothing about the consequences of a blocked outlet!! Although we were running it in short bursts, the locker was filling and overflowing into the middle bilge…….the one that we have to pump out manually! Thanks to a dose or two of muriatic acid and a good rifling with the trusted, rusted coat hanger, we now have the luxury of heat. It doesn’t take long to get the main cabin cosy.

Baltimore proved to be a great stop. We strolled around the gentrified Harbour area and took a self guided tour of the city. Closer to the anchorage is the old town of Fell’s Point. The buildings here are of red brick and the streets are cobbled. Mr Fell, who gave his name to the place, was a shipping magnate of the day and loaded his ships with tobacco and other cargo and they returned with ballast of bricks and stone from England.

A red brick street in Baltimore

A red brick street in Baltimore

No wonder the town felt friendly and familiar. A great many Brits and Irish emigrated to Baltimore and despite the prohibition years, there is still a pub or bar on most street corners! We found a treasure….the 1919….. The owners, Sally and John, made us very welcome and it turned out that John is originally from Bristol and knows St Warburghs and has admired my ‘brother in law’, Martins house!!
The 1919 has an eclectic mix of artefacts covering every available surface so, it being Halloween, it was no surprise to find two locals, Jeff, sitting at the bar carving a pumpkin and his wife, Jane, sifting through the pumpkin pulp to harvest the seeds. We had a great evening in a real local pub.

Armed with the hand held radio and the trolley, Marcus dropped me ashore with a full bag of laundry for the trek to the launderette to catch up with the washing. With me out of the way, Marcus got down to one of his least favourite jobs……..changing the impellers on both the main engine and the generator. The following day we left Baltimore for a short hop round to Annapolis.

Farewell to our anchorage in Baltimore

Farewell to our anchorage in Baltimore

The winds were from the north pushing down the Chesapeake…….had we listened to the local weather we may not have set off, as there was a ‘small craft warning’ in place. As it was we sailed on the full Genoa and the engine, on just over tick over, controlling the tail end, as we hand steered at 8 knots. We arrived at the anchorage only to find that the entire Annapolis dinghy racing fleet was out on the water! We managed to pick our way through the multiple races and ended up taking a buoy for two nights. Annapolis had a distinct feel of Lymington; the shop lined hill of the Main Street; the grandeur of the 18th century brick town houses and the columned porticos of the government buildings.

A bridge we didn't hit on the way to Annapolis

A bridge we didn’t hit on the way to Annapolis

The Capitol building in Annapolis. It was the seat of government during the transition after the civil war.

The Capitol building in Annapolis. It was the seat of government during the transition after the civil war.

Halloween paddle board parade in Annapolis.

Halloween paddle board parade in Annapolis.

Halloween costume adjustment by a professional.

Halloween costume adjustment by a professional.

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With the ever chillier weather, we didn’t tarry long and decided to make the next hop down to Solomon’s Island, where we had a warm welcome from Bandersnatch. We spent the evening we arrived at a restaurant with Norman and Jan and two Canadian cruisers, Gary and Diane.

The following morning, we upped anchor and moved up the river to near Spring Cove Marina to meet up with Michael and Claudia on ‘Kassiopia’. It was wonderful to catch up with them. The last time we saw them was when we were in Jacaré, Brazil, two and a half years ago. Cruising friend ships are made swiftly and run deep!

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