After a couple of weeks in the Annapolis area, I decided that Baltimore, the next stop, would be between 2 to 4 weeks. Much as I would have liked it, a run to New York City is just not worth the aggravation if there’s not time to continue beyond up the Hudson and NY canals. To run from Baltimore to NYC would entail heading to Philly, then across DE to Jersey. The NJ portion of the ICW is very skinny requiring runs with high tides. The alternative is to run the outside – the open ocean – with not that many easy harbors and cooperating winds and weather. And once there, the process would soon need to be reversed to head back south. So Baltimore seems like the place to end the northern travel —— this year.
The trip was 45 nm with a relatively brisk wind out of the northeast and eventually 2’-3’ seas off the starboard bow. And it was chilly!! In fact, for the first time, other than 5 minutes during a heavy rain in NC, I piloted from the enclosed lower helm for about a half hour or so. It provides a surprisingly different perspective – one I don’t prefer.
Soon after rounding the point at Kent Island and heading north, I overtook and passed a slow freighter. I decided to give in to my inner wuss and go below to pilot the boat. Maybe after 15 min or so, I hear Last Resort being hailed on channel 16. I responded and was informed it was a container ship a half mile astern who informed me that on our current courses and speed, he’d catch up and we’d go under the Bay Bridge together (per AIS). He requested that he be allowed to pass me on his port side. I was shocked as from the Pilothouse my rear view is blocked and so I didn’t have a clue he was near. Actually, I thought it was the long passed freighter and couldn’t imagine how it caught up.
The home for at least the next two weeks will be the Anchorage Marina. It has nearly 560 slips, all floating docks with full length floating finger piers on both sides of the boat. There are 8 long main docks off from a brick paved pedestrian promenade with, other than the 3 story marina offices, laundry and captain’s lounge, are bounded on the land side by condos. The main docks are all secured by card operated gates. The facilities are all first class. I am on Dock B. Dock C is the longest main dock and dead ends at a T Head – a long cross dock which provides the ‘breakwall’ to the rest of the marina and provides tie up on the outside to vessels too wide for berthing between the finger docks – like catamarans, 100’ + yachts etc. The area at the intersection of the CDock and the THead is interesting. Inasmuch as this is pretty much downtown like, land is a premium. So at the end of CDock they have boater facilities. A number of slips have been filled in with floating dock platforms which have a large grilling area, picnic tables, lots of seating, stereo and, drum roll, a swimming pool with patio. The swimming pool to a full 6’ depth and its patio and chaise lounge area all float on the water and rise and fall with the tide. It’s not big but it’s a pool and it’s pretty cool.
The marina is on a major street (Boston St) and there is no shortage of restaurants etc. I have not been a traveler in large cities for the most part but this area reminds me a lot of DuPont Circle, Washington DC, where daughter Vicki and her husband Jon first lived when they got married. Heavy concentration of downtown city type living with every imaginable commercial service and nightlife within easy walking distance. There is a large Safeway and an Ace Hardware right across Boston St from the marina. West Marine is 3 blocks away. More restaurants than you can count. Motorized scooters you can use via UBER and others at every corner. The 2 or longer mile long, wide brick promenade is always busy with joggers. And so far I haven’t seen any homeless nor what appear to be bums. Thought this was Baltimore?
I decided to extend my stay from 2 weeks to a month. The marina had a “BOGO” sale (excluding electricity) and that was too good to pass up. Their price per foot was the least expensive even before the 2 for 1. During the stay in Baltimore, daughter Vic and her husband came from DC to visit twice and I picked her up once for another visit. Also got to visit for a day at her house (the drive back and forth is very difficult for her). So between my stay on the Potomac and here in Baltimore, I got quite a few visits in. Good! Also making plans to visit, from wherever I am at the time, by driving up over Thanksgiving.
On evening my TV watching was interrupted by loud noises. Opened the sliding doors to the cockpit and was treated to a half hour +/- fireworks show from Ft McHenry (the site Frances Scott Key had in his vision when he wrote our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner). Not exactly sure what the event was but it was spectacular.
Broke out the grill on the flybridge for the first time and after replacing the burner and heat shield (thank you Amazon) got to initiate it. It will get more frequent use in the future.
Also used the extended time, in one location, for some internet shopping. One of the by products of my time with Owl Creek Boatworks (see the early blog entry from the Fort Myers area) and their nearly 6 weeks on the boat (one day fixing my grounding blunder and the rest of the time fixing their own ineptness) was their workmen traipsing in and out. The entry way ‘throw’ rug was ruined by their filthy shoes to the point where two cleaning attempts by Stanley Steemer failed. Within days of being cleaned the diesel and oil footprints would re-emerge. Looking back, it’s a good thing that this large area throw rug was there as it saved the carpeting.
Anyway, I used the time here to shop online for a replacement for the entry area rug and pilot house runner. Over the month I ended up buying three, one of which I gave away as I got too ambitious with color. The second was a bit “active” so I saved the runner part to use in the hallway between the staterooms. The third selection was the charm for use as the salon entry area rug and for the pilothouse runner.
Also on the agenda while here for the month was to start thinking of winter plans. I’ll be starting a slow return south leaving from Baltimore. My boat/hurricane insurance mandates staying north of the FL/GA line till November 1st. I also want to get the boat hauled and the bottom repainted on my way. After BoatUS grounded me in Southport and spent nearly an hour trying to drag me out, the diver I hired to pull my props also videotaped the bottom of the hull and there has been a lot of the new (Feb 2019) bottom paint badly scratched and/or rubbed away by that dragging. So I want that fixed. Since I won’t be able to stay on the boat while it’s hauled (“on the hard”) I’m thinking maybe I can get that done while gone for Thanksgiving – maybe even get the boat buffed and waxed! Have started making inquiries for mooring in the Keys and reading up on cruising the Bahamas though the northern Bahamas will need a couple, or more, years to recover from Dorian before being really accessible.