Hardtack And Grog – How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Pre-vacation – on Saturday, July 14, we loaded up the non-perishable foods, linens, and other assorted things and stowed them aboard Dragon. That evening, we packed our bags and double-checked all of our lists, then tried to get to bed fairly early so we could get an early start on Sunday. whiterabbit showed up a bit after noon to learn the routines of the critters and to get the lay of the land. She went to the boat with us on one of the deliveries, so she got to see where we’d be vacationing:

Port side settee
Starboard settee
Nav station and quarterberth

Sunday: FCD and I got up around 5. He left to finish a couple more chores aboard, and I started backing the perishable foods. Daughter and Future Son-In-Law got up around 6-ish, and the three of us were on our way before 7. We finished loading the boat with our stuff, we put the mainsail on, and FCD ran to Lowe’s for a small stool, since I forgot to bring one from home. He also got 2 bags of ice for the icebox. I moved the cars to the longer-term parking area, and by 9, we dropped the lines and were on our way.

It was hot. One of the first things we did as we headed to the bay was put up the awning to shade the cockpit. It was also rough on the water – partly from all the boat traffic throwing wakes and partly from the rather brisk wind. And did I mention it was hot? The brisk wind didn’t benefit us much because it was coming from behind us, so we were running with the wind. We did use our headsail a couple of times, but it was easier and faster to just go under power.

Da crew:

As we were making our way north, it became obvious that we weren’t going to make Baltimore that day. This boat is slower than our last one, and those 2 knots made a difference. Once it was apparent that we’d have to spend the night in Annapolis, we called ahead and arranged for a slip at the Annapolis Yacht Basin, which is located at the end of Ego Alley (for those of you familiar with Annapolis.)

It was a relief to get out of the bay and into the calmer waters of the approach into Maryland’s capitol city. There was a LOT of boat traffic (duh – Annapolis!) but most people there seem to know and observe the rules, so we arrived relatively unscathed. A little exchange on the radio told us our slip assignment for the night, and the marina had a guy waiting for us when we pulled in. It took a little tweaking and fussing, since we were trying to teach FSIL how to handle lines, but eventually, we were tied up and plugged in. We had a great slip – it was very close to the shower house.

FCD went to pay for our stay, and discovered that the kid who helped us tie up was waiting for a tip. Another boat owner had tipped the kid $50!!! :eek: Unfortunately, FCD didn’t have any cash on him. Plus it never occurred to us that we’d ever tip the guy who caught our dockline. Oh well.

We immediately hit the showers – ah the bliss of cold water! Then we ate one of the frozen meals I’d brought (chicken, rice, and broccoli – it looked like critter hork I’ve cleaned up off the carpet, and it tasted really meh) then we took a walk up Main Street and got milkshakes at Chick & Ruth’s. The younger couple wandered around a bit while we older folk went back to the boat and crashed. So ended our first day.

Monday: We got up early and got underway about 7. It was cool and calm and a lovely morning, although there was a bit of ship traffic on the bay. We’d made the transit from Annapolis to Baltimore many times, so it was an easy time at the helm. Plus we figured out that the autopilot really did work, and that was a nice discovery.

Let me pause to explain our instrumentation aboard. We have GPS which feeds a chart plotter. The display is maybe 12” diagonal, with a triangle representing the boat placed on the chart pretty doggone close to our position. The accuracy is measured in feet – it’s a great tool. It can calculate our heading to a waypoint, our speed over the ground, how far we’ve gone, lat/long, and a bunch of other stuff that I didn’t mess with. We’ve also got a knotmeter, which tells our speed through the water, a depth sounder, which tells us how deep the water is, and a windspeed indicator, which shows speed and direction of the wind.

If we had a newer autopilot, it would connect right into the GPS unit and it would steer to the course that we’d program in. But it’s a pretty old model, so I’d just take the heading info from the display and adjust the autopilot manually. It was very good at holding a course, so once I had everything figured out, pretty much all I had to do was watch for boat traffic.

I admit, when FCD was buying this stuff, I called them toys. But they’re not toys. They’re tools. And they’re really great tools! Oh yeah!!

Back to the cruise. We left Annapolis around 7, and we arrived at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore around 11. We took a slow ride past Harbor Place, then stopped to fill with diesel before going to the marina. We were staying at Harborview, which is the marina where FCD lived for 2 years. They have really nice facilities, including a pool on a barge at the end of the big dock. They also have nice, long floating docks, which makes tying up a piece of cake.

We got cleaned up, and went to the Water Taxi stop for our ride to Fells Point and the bar where my sister works. As we rode to the transfer point in Harbor Place, FCD chatted with the captain about his experiences driving the taxi. I think he still misses driving those boats. We switched to the boat that would take us to Fells Point and I told my sister we’d be stopping for lunch first, as we were all starving. So we ate and rehydrated and generally enjoyed the air conditioning. Then we walked half a block to the bar where my daughter got her aunt to serve her legally.

After visiting for an hour or so, our fun meters were pegged and we decided to head back. Once again, the young ‘uns wandered around while we oldersters returned to the boat. We got into our swimsuits and cooled off on the barge. By this time, there was a brisk breeze, and it was warmer in the water, but it was still refreshing.

Oh yeah – while we were on the second water taxi, the captain mentioned that the Goo Goo Dolls were performing at Pier 6 that evening. From the main dock at the marina, you could see the lights that hung above the stage at Pier 6, and you could hear, fairly clearly, the performance. I expect it would have sounded more clear to me if I recognized any of the songs. Oh well. They were done by 10. And thus ended Monday.

Tuesday: When FCD lived at Harborview, he frequented a little restaurant called Rallo’s. We went there for breakfast on Tuesday morning, then across the street to the grocery store for some food supplies and snackies. Good way to start the day. The main thing planned was to visit the Maryland Science Center – for free because our darling daughter works at the Orlando Science Center. So off we went to get all scienced up.

It was a lot of fun – many hands-on exhibits that kept us amused for a couple of hours. If it wasn’t for all the little kids running around and making noise, it would have been even better. :stuck_out_tongue: But we did enjoy ourselves and learn some stuff. And when we got done, I called my sister again, because she wanted to come see the boat. We agreed to meet back at the marina for lunch, and we hoofed it back. My sis showed up with one of her roomies, and we had a nice visit and lunch. Until things got out of hand.

My sister has been helping a friend take care of his livestock, and she was telling how he lost some chickens to a fox. She went on to say that she suggested her friend get a llama, because foxes are afraid of llamas. And then there would be an additional chore of grooming the llama. At which point I asked if Grooming the Llama was actually on page 87 of the Kama Sutra. The conversation went downhill from there, and much laughter was involved. And Grooming the Llama is now our inside joke. Except I just told you all about it.

I also found out that my darling daughter had gone and gotten a tattoo. Kids… :rolleyes:

After sis and her roomie left, we all went to the pool, then laid around the rest of the afternoon. FCD wanted to eat dinner out that night, so we got cleaned up and walked back to the pavilions. I wanted to go to Phillips for seafood until I saw how expensive they were. We ended up going to Hooters, and we even had dessert (chocolate mousse cake for me – yummmmm!) Afterwards, we walked around looking in the shops. I got a new housing for my cell phone – it’s bright pink and covered with kitties! :smiley:

Oh yeah, and there’s a Lindt shop there. I didn’t buy anything, only because I was so stuffed, I couldn’t even think of getting chocolate – can you imagine?? FCD and I were quite tired, so we left the kids and headed back, stopping at Rash Field to watch the trapeze school in session there. Yep – you can take trapeze lessons in downtown Baltimore! When they took a break, we went back to the boat and got comfy. The young ‘uns followed a bit later after they watched the trapezers themselves.

We wanted to get to bed early so we could leave about 5 the next morning. I gathered my clothes and toiletries so I could make a quick trip to the shower in the morning, then I crashed, and that ended Tuesday.

Wednesday: Destination - St. Michael’s on the Eastern Shore. We got up at 5, and we were underway by 5:30. There was just enough light that we didn’t have to worry about the channel markers, and by the time we got past Fort McHenry, it was mostly full daylight anyway. The kids slept, and we enjoyed the cool morning breeze as we headed south. I was at the helm and FCD brought me breakfast. Hardtack and grog. OK, poptarts and diet coke, but we called it hardtack and grog. Sometimes ya gotta improvise!

Once again, the autopilot worked like a champ, and we had a good passage across the bay to the Miles River. The Miles is a snaky river, with lots of shoals, so knowing where we were and where the marks were was very important – duh! However, through the magic of GPS, we always knew exactly where we were, and water depth was never an issue. Our biggest problems came from the big boats who threw huge wakes that made us rock something awful. But we plodded on.

There aren’t many places to stay in St. Michael’s, and we’d always wanted to stay at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, so that’s what we did. However, that meant we had to join the museum in addition to paying for dockage. Plus we didn’t have access to a pool. But the museum there is really cool, and many of the buildings were air conditioned, so that was a bonus.

It was a brutal day – hot and humid and no air moving to speak of. We walked into town to get ice cream, but it was just too hot to be enjoyable, and we were all ready to go home by this time. Bear in mind, this is July, no rain, lots of sun, and our boat isn’t air conditioned. We had 4 small fans – one each – that was our only way to stay cool at night. And they weren’t working too great. Our fun meters had been pegged.

So the plan for Thursday was to depart at 5-ish again and get home in the early afternoon. And Wednesday came to a close.

Thursday: We got up at 5, got dressed, dropped the lines, and were on our way by 5:30. More hardtack and grog for breakfast :smiley: and amazingly enough, more big boats setting us a’rocking even at that early hour. It took just over 2 hours to get back to the bay, at which point, we set our autopilot course and hardly had to adjust it for several hours. The day started out cool, and there was a constant breeze across the beam, so the trip was pleasant.

At one point, I lay down and dozed a little, but I was thinking about all that needed to be done once we got back, so I started packing. The area above the settee was full of dirty clothes, the big clear plastic bag had dirty towels and linens, and the black back was full of pillows. The other totes had assorted clean clothes and miscellany. We had everything but the perishables packed and ready to go long before we arrived. I called whiterabbit to let her know she could take off any time she wanted to, since she had a long drive home.

It was such a relief to see Drum Point, especially when we saw it up close. I was a bit concerned because we had about 10 knots of wind and we had to back into our home slip. But our first attempt was almost perfect, and with minor tweaking, we readjusted and backed right in. My daughter and I handled the bow lines while the menfolk took care of the stern. In almost no time, we had the van loaded. And we were soon home in air conditioned comfort.

It was a good vacation in that we learned a lot about our boat and its systems. It was horrible in that the Chesapeake can be brutal in the summer. The next time we take a long cruise, it’ll be in September or October. The winds are more reliable and the temperatures are more moderate. So maybe next year. Just 2 of us. The kids will be on their own. :wink:

Sounds like a neat vacation (despite the heat). I imagine that things will be more and more fun as you get to know the boat.

So…what kind of tatoo?


Ladybug on her left leg way up high. No bigger than a thumbprint. Makes me so proud… :rolleyes:

No, I don’t like tats. I know she’s an adult and all that, but I still don’t like tats.

Yeah, I was going to ask about the tattoo as well.

Good to hear you had fun on your vacation.
Edited to Add: At least she didn’t get “Thug Life” tattooed across her stomach.

FCM if it’s any consolation (and I know it ain’t) my sister let her daughter get one of those swirly girly pink/purple tattoes between her shoulder blades for her sixteenth birthday. I didn’t say anything, but… :rolleyes:

Glad y’all had a good time. It sounds like you and FCD refrained from makin’ FSIL walk the plank so I’m guessin’ y’all feel better about him? You should have at least made him swab the deck or some other equally icky piratey chore thing.

Hard tack and grog… ya know, I think if’n I had a choice between hardtack and a Poptart, I’d have to ask what could possibly be the difference. :smiley:

I don’t know that we necessarily feel better, but they know how we feel, and he promised to email us with his plans. We asked them what they intended to accomplish while living with us, and I think that’s what he wants to spell out when he has a chance to think about it.

We shall see. I can still hope for my preferred outcome…

[sup]I[/sup] [sub]am[/sub] [sup]glad[/sup] [sub]you[/sub] [sup]had[/sup] [sub]a[/sub] [sup]good[/sup] [sub]time[/sub]!

Preferred outcome? You want him eaten by a grue?

Preferred outcome is an amicable dissolution of the relationship when they realize that it’s not a good idea. I’m not holding my breath for that one.

Anyway, speaking of sailing, we’ve got a tentative date with another Doper and Doper spouse to spend a day on the bay, actually sailing. We won’t go anywhere, but we’ll mess around and see how well we get around under sail. I’m not expecting a lot from it because our mainsail is nasty and bagged out (a replacement would be at least $1100 - I got one quote for over $1500) and the genoa isn’t much better (another expensive sail…) But it’s all we’ve got for now. After the kid graduates, we’ll be taking the $$ we’ve been sending her and save it to get new sails - next summer if we’re lucky.

I had said to **FCD ** that we should really just get a trawler since we putter along under power more than we actually sail. Except the sailboat is paid for and a trawler would require a big mortgage. Plus when the engine dies, you’re pretty much stuck if you’re a trawler, but with sails, you can still move somewhere! Yes, that’s happened to us.

Sounds fun and the pictures were nice too.

The boat looks all trim and nice too. It’s obvious that you and FCD put a lot of loving care in her.

Great post, FCM! Glad that you enjoyed your respite, however brief. The boat looks very nice, too - you guys did a lot of work in a short time frame, it seems, though maybe that’s just me.

Hah, hard to believe that you didn’t buy any chocolate from that Lindt place. Even if you were stuffed, you could have bought a bar to save for later. :smiley:

No mention of Rum, Sodomy & the Lash? :smiley:

Rum, Sodomy, AND the Lash?
You had to invoke all three, didn’t ya?

Well, if FairyChatMom has been raising Cain with Rum & Sodomy, then the Captain will have to use the Lash, now won’t he?

Poor Cain.
solemnly shakes head

Rather than rum, they discussed strawberry vodka. Instead of sodomy, there was Groom the Llama (did you miss that part??) And there may have been a discussion involving a lash, but I wouldn’t swear to it.

What kind of pirates are you!? Grog is rum, silly! Unless, of course, it’s diet Coke. :smiley:

Obviously, we’re the Diet Coke kinda pirates. Yarrr!

Not exactly.