Chestertown & Annapolis

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Chestertown & Annapolis


Chestertown, Maryland             St Michael's, Maryland               Annapolis, Maryland

10 to 23 October 2005


Chestertown, Maryland

We arrived back in Chestertown on 10th October, having flown from London to Toronto, spending five days in Toronto, then driving down with an overnight in Buffalo. There was a great deal of cleaning to do on Dream On, along with other technical jobs and bottom painting in order to prepare her both for a launch when the tide was exactly right and for the visit of Geoff's sister Carol and her husband Bob.

Chestertown is a historical town, with beautifully preserved houses and home of Washington College, the oldest college in America.

The town is also the base for Sultana, an exact replica of the original British warship by that name that was used in the 18th century to enforce the tea embargo. The new Sultana was built by the people of Chestertown from original British Admiralty drawings. Sultana is used as an educational boat and takes 2 hour sailing trips down the river and in the Chesapeake Bay. We met up with Sultana again in Annapolis.

While preparing Dream On for launch and visitors, we met up with Jim Huber again with his yacht Champagne. He was heading off downriver with one crew member, overnight to Annapolis and then on down to Florida. Hopefully we will catch up with him at some point.

Carol & Bob were actually flying into Charleston, so when Dream On was virtually ready for launch, we drove the 600 miles to Charleston to collect them. We spent a couple of days in Charleston enjoying the city for the second time and some really great weather. (It had rained in Chestertown virtually the whole week since our return). We also visited one of the major old plantations, Magnolia before we left. On the way back to Chestertown, we stopped for a quick tour of the centre of Washington.

Arriving back in Chestertown on late on Thursday 20th, with a launch booked for Dream On for the 1030 am high tide on Friday 21st, there were still a few jobs to complete. We stayed on board accepting the challenges of the "bladder ladder" for one more night, while Carol & Bob stayed in a local motel.

After the launch, and three months of inactivity, Dream On's engine refused to start. Although Geoff persuaded it to start with a little perseverance, we missed the tide so had to stay tied up at the launch dock overnight. While there and loading supplies in the rain, Iza managed to miss her footing and fell down the ladder into the boat, landing against the navigation table. With very badly bruised or broken ribs, we visited the local hospital to be told there was no real treatment and it would take a couple of weeks to repair.

Once out in the Chester River, we noticed the yacht Infinity. It did not look quite the same as the one owned by Frank and Gretchen whom we had last seen in Beaufort, as the dodger and bimini looked different. Also there appeared to be no-one on board and we had not seen Frank and Gretchen around. In addition, they were headed for Maine for the summer and the Chester River is a cul-de-sac. So, we assumed this was a different Infinity.

We left Chestertown on a very cold, wet morning to motor down the Chester River, anchoring at Corsica River. The next morning we motored through the Kent Narrows to anchor at St Michael's for the night. We ended up anchoring for two nights as the remnants of Hurricane Wilma passed by bringing high winds, rain and very low temperatures.

26 October to 6 November Annapolis

The crossing of the Chesapeake from St. Michaels on 26th was very windy and cold but clear bright skies. Rounding Bloody Point Bar light where two currents converged was hard work, but once out in the Bay we were able to make 6 knots.

On arrival in Annapolis, we tied to a mooring ball in the centre of the harbour, very close to the waterfront and city centre of Annapolis. There are thousands of boats in this area and each weekend many more arrive for the restaurants and social scene. Together with Carol & Bob, we made a quick exploration of the main city area, rented a car for the following day and enjoyed the city dock's shower facilities.

Early on 27th we drove Carol & Bob to Baltimore to catch their Amtrak train to Charleston and then the flight home to UK. As Iza's ribs were still very painful, we decided to stay in Annapolis for a few days to give them time to heal and take the opportunity to upgrade our alternator. We stayed one more night on the mooring, then moved to anchor a little further away, just off the US Navy Academy. However, during this move we decided to pick up more fuel and water. Our arrival and departure at the fuel dock was very smooth, but once out in the main, busy channel, the throttle cable snapped. We reached the anchorage area with Iza at the helm and Geoff operating the throttle from the engine compartment.

On our way into town to buy a new throttle cable, we saw Infinity at the mooring we had just vacated. It turns out that we did see the boat anchored off Chestertown. They had been just as surprised to find Dream On in storage there when they were exploring the town, before heading off to Seattle for a few days. They were equally surprised to find Dream On launched and gone when they returned to the boat. They had a great time cruising Maine and recommend we visit some time. Infinity headed out a couple of days later and we last heard from them heading south in the Alligator and Pungo Rivers Canal, bound for Beaufort.

Our throttle cable was fitted within 24 hours in case we had to make any emergency moves. Our recent visitors, Carol & Bob will be happy to know that we also took the opportunity to adjust reverse gear selection so we know we can stop! The alternator took a little longer. Buying the alternator was the easy part. Getting new brackets made and finding drive belts to fit turned out to be the challenge. However, by 5th November, we completed this with far improved charging results.

Annapolis is a fabulous place and we could spend a fortune on dining here. There are so many appealing restaurants that we have to show great restraint. Town centre was only a 5 minute dinghy ride away from our anchorage and our anchorage gave a fabulous view of all the harbour activity. A number of cafes gave us unlimited access to the internet for the price of a coffee.

Annapolis is the sailing centre for the east coast. During the summer it is hard to get a mooring and the anchoring is cosy. Now, late in the season it is quieter during the week but most afternoons and at weekends the harbour fills with hundreds of boats, dinghies, J class racers, all varieties and sizes of sailboats Sitting on Dream On we watched the action with fascination and sometimes trepidation. Not everyone obeys the rules of the road or knows where or how to anchor safely.

Being anchored just off the US Naval Academy, we were entertained by a continuous stream of cadets jogging around the Academy waterfront. Just behind the waterfront we were able to see the Navy US football training games. In town, the effect of the Academy is everywhere. Smart and very polite cadets in naval uniform walking around town. Many shops orientated to navy gear, memorabilia or souvenirs.

The weekend of 5th and 6th November was Navy Homecoming and a US Navy frigate came and anchored in Chesapeake  Bay just outside Annapolis. Added to the harbour activity was a constant shuttle of boats from the Academy taking navy families out to visit the frigate. At night she was fully decked out with lights.

We enjoyed Annapolis very much, but it is time to move on. Washington here we come!

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Link to Chestertown and Annapolis Photos



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