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Solomon's Island Annapolis Back Creek July 4th Jabins Boatyard
  Solomon's Island, Maryland

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Solomon's Island




Solomon's Island




Solomon's Island

June 18th, left Reedville to head north to Solomon's Island. The wind was forecast to be southwest 5-10 knots. The journey took us from Virginia to Maryland and across the mouth of the Potomac River. The wind was very variable, from west to nothing from various directions to 26 knots as we crossed the mouth of the Potomac. So, the journey was a mixture from adrenalin producing sailing at 7 knots plus with our starboard toe rail close to the water to idling along at 3 knots waiting for the next blow, to motor sailing. Distance 43 nautical miles.

We've been to Solomon's twice before. A main inlet just up the Patuxent River, spreading out into 3 or 4 smaller inlets. All very scenic but full of marinas, boatyards and yachts of every possible description. A boat spotter's' paradise. It's like a miniature version of Annapolis.

Anchoring can be tight as there are only a few places wide enough to swing and these are usually crowded. We found our spot and went ashore to the Holiday Inn Marina, from which a short walk leads to a shopping area, with groceries, restaurants and the inevitable West Marine store.

That night we had yet another thunderstorm with a lightning and thunder show right overhead followed by torrential rain preceded by a hailstorm.

June 19th, and with a northerly wind forecast yet again, we thought of staying in Solomon's for another day. We even considered going into a marina, offloading all our surplus gear from Dream On, renting a van and driving 50 miles or so to find a suitable storage facility on the outskirts of Annapolis to save time later. However, common sense prevailed and we decided to face the very light northerly and head halfway to Annapolis, to Little Choptank River on Maryland's east bay coast a journey of 23 nautical miles.

The northerly started off as a northeasterly. We came out of the Patuxent River heading east and tried to sail with some northerly gain across the Bay. But the wind would not cooperate, so we motor sailed for the most of the trip. When close to the turn into the Little Choptank, with a calm sea and 4 hours of daylight left, we decided we might just as well continue to Annapolis.

The best sailing wind for the whole day? - Just before we had to take the main sail down on entry into Annapolis.


The ugliest ship on the Bay




Maryland cliffs outside Solomon's Island. (Fossilized sharks teeth). Fish traps to avoid in foreground




Solomon's Island

  Annapolis, Maryland

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A blustery day in Annapolis


Dinghy dock in "Ego Alley" Annapolis


Dream On moored in "Ego Alley"


Main Street, looking back towards the waterfront

Arrived Annapolis on 19th June and anchored opposite the Naval Academy as we did on our previous visit in October 2005. This is a great place to be. Very active, Thousands of boats, a great waterfront of cafes, restaurants, coffee shops, bars and shops with always something going on.

We arrive here with mixed feelings. Annapolis  is an exciting, enjoyable place to be. It is the end of our journey from Brunswick. Dream On can take a break.

But it is also the end of a chapter. Dream On now goes on sale for real. We have to find a marina that will become her new home until sold. We have to de-personalise her and tidy her up for showing to potential buyers. We have to find storage for our stuff that is going to the new boat.

First priority was to seek further medical attention for Geoff's strange and lingering insect bite. Now well over a month old and just not clearing up. The very convenient Medical centre in Annapolis cut a very large hole in Geoff's arm and discovered an alien body. Doctor looked at Geoff and said, "I don't think this should be in there." Sent it off for pathology testing and it turned out to be the larva of a botfly! Geoff had claimed he had felt something moving in there and was right.

The local cure in Belize is to wrap bacon around the bite. The larva prefer the bacon so crawl out. Now we have bacon in the first aid kit! Two weeks later and Geoff's arm is healing well.

But back to Annapolis. What a lively, active place to be. During most of our sailing we are mixing with "Mature" folk who have retired and taken to cruising. Annapolis is a young person's town. Most of the sailors here are really serious racers, mostly young and we assume still gainfully employed. Gives us a very different view on the sailing world.

We found a storage place and took Dream On into the Annapolis mooring field, which gives secure mooring just off the very lively waterfront and "Ego Alley", the appropriately named little channel that goes right into the waterfront. You want to show off your boat or your bikini clad ladies on the front deck? This is the place to do it.

However, early morning when the crowds are not yet around, this is a great place to dock for an hour, unload to your car on a neighbouring parking meter, charge the boat batteries and fill the water tanks. And, if a potential buyer walks past and sees the "For Sale" sign, that's a bonus.


Naval Academy training ships on exercise


All ship shape. Young officers in training.


State House

  Back Creek, Annapolis

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Looking down Back Creek towards Annapolis Landing Marina



Back Creek

After a few days on the mooring field at $25 a night and a couple of trips into "Ego Alley", we moved around to Back Creek to anchor. Back Creek is separated from Annapolis by the Eastport peninsular. No lively water front but wall to wall marinas and a constant stream of sailing boats passing by heading for a day out on the Chesapeake.

Eastport was politically absorbed into Annapolis at some point in history, but in 1995, the residents of Eastport rebelled, light heartedly claimed independence from Annapolis and named the peninsular "The Maritime Republic of Eastport." This is where most of the boat yards and marinas are based, along with a whole range of restaurants and bars.

We've had thunderstorms almost every night which we are told is common for June. Many of these have had strong wind gusts and very heavy rain.

Here we caught up with Ann and Lynn from the yacht "Seatramp" berthed in Brunswick. They had travelled up by RV and are parked a few minutes dinghy ride away at the Annapolis Landing Marina. Their "Landtramp", (the RV) flying the Texas flag. Ann and Lynne come here every year to work for the local summer and autumn boat shows.

We also caught up with Jim Huber, "Crazy Jim" who is in Chestertown just across the Bay. Met him for dinner in Eastport.

From our Back Creek anchorage, we can dinghy in to a very shaky public dinghy dock then either walk, (20 minutes) or cycle (10 minutes) into the centre of Annapolis or to the local shops of Eastport.


Dream On anchored in Back Creek

  July 4th Celebrations

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Ann, Geoff, Ed and Connie at the William Paca House



Looking down the formal garden to the gazebo.



The formal salute after the reading of the Declaration of Independence



Our third 4th July in the US.  We guess as Brits we should not be celebrating but commiserating the loss of America. But when you think about it, these guys have made a reasonable job of running it on their own.

We admire the Americans for their patriotism which perhaps we have lost in the UK. We also never had independence, so never had an equivalent day to celebrate.

Annapolis, as state capital of Maryland, is a historical city and was very much a part of the independence movement. Our day started with a visit to the Paca House, the original home of William Paca, a lawyer and signatory to the US Constitution and three times governor of Maryland. Joining us on this visit were Lynn and Ann from "Seatramp" and Ed and Connie from "Surprise." We met Ed & Connie in Brunswick in early 2006. They now live close to Annapolis.

We were given a tour of the Paca House. The various room's activities were described by people in costume and playing the role of the time, speaking in the language and vocabulary of the time. Despite the questions raised, they stayed within their role. When Mrs. Paca's surgeon was asked if her illness was from mosquitoes, the reply was, "No sir, from poisoned air." (The link to mosquitoes having not yet been established in 1776). When Ed told the surgeon that he and Connie had just visited Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington, (also now a museum), the surgeon replied, "Ah, so you know His Excellency the General, do you sir?" All very clever.

Parts of the Declaration of Independence were read out by costumed role players during the day.

The slave cook was also very convincing talking through the days activities for "Her ladyship" and describing the cooking instruments she was using. Stayed in character and role all the way through.

There was a parade later in the day through the city followed by the band of the US Naval Academy, but we missed that.

In the evening we were invited to Annapolis Landing Marina, where Lynn and Ann have their RV parked, for a "Pot Luck" BBQ and then a great view of the firework display just across Back Creek on the Eastport peninsular.

Another night of rain and thunderstorms. Hundreds of boats left Back Creek in Eastport and the marinas of Spa Creek in Annapolis before the display to anchor in the Severn River estuary just outside Annapolis for a better view of the fireworks. The thunderstorm came through just before the display was to start, so those boats had a really wet time. The display was delayed for clearer skies but was extremely impressive with the best firework finale we have seen.

Of course, within minutes of the end of the display, we watched as anchor lights went off and running lights went on for the convoy of returning boats to start. Dream On, anchored in the middle of Back Creek was only a two minute dinghy ride away, but we left a little time for the convoy to reduce before venturing out to cross the traffic.


Bridge over the ha-ha to the gazebo



Revolutionary period costumes




Revolutionary period costumes


  Annapolis, Jabins Boatyard

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Navy Academy band concert on the Waterfront


Navy Academy band concert on the Waterfront



Jazz in the Quiet Waters Park with Lynne and Ann, Adrian and Claire



Lynne, Ann and Iza with "Landtramp"

We enjoy the liveliness of Annapolis. Always something interesting going in this historical and picturesque town. 

The only problem is that Annapolis is in Maryland and every time we come to Maryland, Iza breaks something. 

In October 2005 it was a rib or two. And then, in July 2008, it was her right wrist. 

She went for a ride in Annapolis on one of our new folding mountain bikes on 19 July and came upon a large pothole which came off better than she did. (The roads in Annapolis are not bike friendly!). 

Iza called Geoff from a private house in a sorry state having managed to wheel the bike for a while, then stopped at a house and asked for help. They very kindly gave her a lift to the local clinic in Maryland who confirmed the wrist was broken. 

From then on it was a trail of medical visits, culminating in an operation in Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore on 30th July. 

Meanwhile we moved Dream On prematurely into the marina at Bert Jabinís Yacht Yard in Back Creek Annapolis so that Iza did not have to clamber into and out of the dinghy. 

We had been due to take Dream On for a final trip to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore the day she fell of the bike. Instead we visited there by road after her first appointment with the hand surgeon based in Baltimore. 

Thanks to good friend Jim Huber in Chestertown for providing the recommendation to that surgeon. Things were sorted out very efficiently once we made that contact.

Iza broke her wrist on 19th July and was operated on in Baltimore on 30th.

Broken bones are never well timed. We were half way through packing Dream On and moving all our stuff into storage, so that by the time we flew to UK on 10th August, the boat would be empty and ready for a new owner.  

Despite the time spent in medical facilities and the limitations of some serious pain, we managed to complete the task, placing everything in a local storage.

As we had not planned on selling Dream On when we travelled to the US earlier in the year, our return flight on BA was booked out of Atlanta, being their closest operation to Brunswick where we assumed Dream On would spend the summer.

So, we had an 800 mile drive to Atlanta from Annapolis before flying to the UK on 10th August for 5 weeks.


Racing yachts abound at Annapolis


Looking over Baltimore Inner Harbour


Dream On. Her final dock.



Dream On. Bert Jabin Yacht Yard and "For Sale"


Heron on the prowl at Jabins

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