Annapolis is many things to many people. For us, it is a sweet spot to stop to fill our hearts. Family, friends, boat, in that order, are our priorities. We had the great fortune to fill up on all three in this sailors’ town.
Originally, we were not going to come into the Chesapeake Bay at all. We were going to sail from Cape Cod Canal or New York City, straight to North Carolina. We tore our main sail one last time two weeks before departing Maine, and realized that we needed to replace it. The patches were overlapping and the material was as threadbare as my favorite jeans. Bacon Sails would have it ready for us in Annapolis if we came through this way. So we changed our plans, routed ourselves up the Delaware Bay and down the Chesapeake. Just before leaving Maine, Bacon said the sail was complete and they could mail it. We took this offer and carried on with our Chesapeake plans anyway.
Arriving in Spa Creek, we passed the Boat Show location and were amazed by how many sailboats could be crammed into this tight spot. Just a mile down the creek, Eric caught our lines at his dock where we stayed for three nights. Eric and his wife had sailed an Island Packet throughout the Carribbean and across the Atlantic, and generously filled our heads with fabulous ideas and enthusiasm. Anne and Jim met us soon after to shuttle us around Annapolis. We cruised with them 27 years ago on our sailboats in Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, and other a few other places, and this day we cruised in their car. They took us to pick up six new batteries, and after this delivery, back to West Marine to pick up an anchor.
Jim and Anne invited us to dinner, along with their son Bruce, and Eric and Carleen for an evening of wonderful sea stories, great food, and even better company. Cruisers are like family; no matter how much time goes by, reunions feel like you never were apart.
The Boat Show was overwhelming. A new Sailrite sewing machine was my huge hope, and I made a beeline for their booth. Sewing eight layers of leather sold me. This machine goes through it like butter. Next, Bill had a few things in mind: another anchor (we returned the Rocna to West Marine!) and plenty of rope. This show has something for everyone. Many people go to examine the many new and used boats for sale, others want to find fancy clothing and accessories. We skipped these offerings completely. We did appreciate all the free advice the booth staff had to offer. We now have a much better understanding of how to employ our spinnaker chute, maintain our Yanmar, manage our boom brake, clean our dodger windows, and anchor our boat. Thank you folks!!
Next up, was our visit with my brother Rick, his wife Mañana, and their two sons, Nick and Michael. They chauffeured us, and our heavy purchases from the Boat Show to the boat. That walk would have been a killer! Rick and the boys were immediately comfortable on the boat. Rick has spent weeks sailing with me and with others and it shows. The boys are just naturally athletic, intelligent, and eager to try new things, so they also quickly adjusted and set up their sleeping quarters for the night as if this was perfectly normal for them. Mañana was a bit tentative at first, needing assistance to get aboard, and not sure what to make of this type of living arrangement. But she soon made herself at home, which for Mañana, is cooking. My role was to show her where everything was: pots, bowls, knives, veggies, chicken, and spices. Within an hour, we had a fantastic meal and she was ready to cook more meals. Watching her move through the stages from confusion to “I love to cook on a boat!” was heartwarming for me. Sometimes I feel that people think I’m crazy to love this boat life, but watching Mañana adapt so quickly makes me want to bring everyone aboard.
The Farmers’ Market the next day was amazing. Maine’s Farmers’ Markets are nothing in comparison. I stocked up on all my fresh produce needs. Thanks Bruce and Sue for taking me! They have a Whitby 42 and three children; Sue teaches high school math; they both have engineering degrees… Bill and I have been living parallel lives with them! If we lived in Annapolis, I’m sure we would be together often.
After more meals aboard, complements of Mañana, more visits with Jim and Anne, and one more quick stop to the Boat Show, we had to shove off the dock and carry on heading south. Good Bye Annapolis; you’ve treated us very well. We will be back some day.