Herald Harbor

16th July - 11th October 2004


From the moment we arrived in Annapolis and were whisked away by our friends Woody and Janine to a delicious welcome dinner at their house in Herald Harbor, we were overwhelmed by their hospitality and generosity!    They kindly allowed us free use of their home (the hot showers were a particular hit) and their cars for the duration of our stay, which understandably stretched from the planned couple of days into a stay of almost three months!     We'd met in Martinique the previous year and spent only a couple of weeks together before, but were greeted like long-lost friends and in no time at all felt like family!

Woody and Janine welcome us their world.

We soon became a familiar sight to the other residents of Snodgrass Road as we dinghied ashore and strolled up the road to visit our friends.   Greg and Shirley Cross, who lived closer to the water, had spotted us dragging the dinghy onto the shore each day, which sometimes involved wading through thick mud at low water.    Greg asked if we would like instead to use the dock on a nearby house which he was care-taking, instead of having to wade ashore - we didn't take long to take him up on his offer!  

Anju in Valentine Creek - the view from Greg's house.   She was popular with the residents as her three anchor lines discouraged the jet-skiers and water-skiers from disturbing the peace!


Woody and Janine trying to decide what to order at

 Chick 'n' Ruth's.

In between all their work on their building projects and Janine's antique and interior design business, Woody and Janine managed to find time to take us sightseeing.   Our first trip was into Annapolis on a wet Sunday morning for the Annapolis institution of brunch at Chick 'n' Ruth's diner, where a table is always kept reserved for the Governor and Senators!   

A few days later Janine took us into Washington DC on the train, to visit one of the Smithsonian Museums.    Not only does Washington DC have an abundance of wonderful museums but they are all free of charge!  

Our next visit to Washington was by car, on a quiet Sunday, to see the famous monuments of the city.    We were able to drive right into the centre, see many of the sights quickly from the car and then at a more leisurely pace on foot.

Us 'n' Abe.

Where y'all from then?


In just one day we managed too see the monuments to revered late presidents including Lincoln, Washington and Jefferson,  memorials commemorating those lost in the Korean and Vietnam wars and the brand new World War II monument.    We strolled along the reflecting pool and past the Capitol Building.  We didn't get to visit the White House on this visit as apparently you have to queue early in the morning for a pass, so that will have to wait for next time!   Later in the afternoon we toured the beautiful National Cathedral which was only recently completed after decades of construction work. 

So much to see, so little time - where next?


Lunch break at one of Washington's classier spots.

National Cathedral - at least they finished it before our visit!


One day Phil had a brainwave!   Twenty five years ago, he used to work in Brecon with an American called Roland Steiner, who had left to move back to the Baltimore area.   He decided to try and track him down and with the aid of the internet, soon found that there was only one person of that name in the Maryland area phone book, so gave them a call.   Sure enough it was his friend Roland and we were invited to his beautiful home.    He was surprised when we arrived in style in Woody and Janine's Mercedes!    The guys had a fun afternoon catching up and it was great to meet his wife Heather, who treated us to cheese and wine and delicious French pastries.  

Friends we'd met in Grenada, Graham and Lesley from Bahrain and Bill and Janine from Virginia told us by e-mail that they were all getting together at Bill and Janine's house in Virginia in August, we were invited along as well.    Again we surprised our hosts by arriving in style in the Mercedes!    We spent a wonderful two days in their company and even went for a pleasure sail, a concept new to us!    Having said that, it was quite fun just being a passenger for a change!


Catching up with Roland.


Sailing on Bill and Janine's boat

 (Graham, Lesley, Janine & Phil)

Fun après-sail back at Bill and Janine's house.


Our stay in Valentine Creek was during hurricane season and we were very glad to be there with our three anchors firmly set.    Florida took several bad hits from hurricanes and on September 7th we were devastated to learn that one of our favourite places, the island of Grenada in the Caribbean, had been badly hit by hurricane Ivan.    Close friends Pam and Chas lost their boat Night Owl when another boat dragged her off her mooring and onto the rocks, Graham and Ann's boat Rasi was hard aground, Eugene and Kirsten's boat Sandpiper was badly damaged in the yard, where almost all the boats fell during the passing of the storm.    With about 730 boats in Grenada at the time and most of those which weren't lost being badly damaged, we were just so relieved that all of our friends were safe and well.  We'd spent some of hurricane season in Grenada the previous two years, as it was considered within the safe zone by our insurers.    We were lucky to have picked this year to visit the USA and experienced nothing worse than some blustery and unsettled weather as the hurricanes made their way north. 

The Chesapeake Bay area is renowned for its seafood and Greg and Shirley decided it was high time we learned the art of eating crabs from the shell.    We were invited to their home, where we found the table covered with newspaper in anticipation of the mess we'd make!   Greg had steamed the crabs with the famous local Old Bay seasoning and they were delicious.   He taught us how to get the crab meat out of the shells without wasting any!   


He kept his crab traps on the dock where we tied the dinghy and later showed Phil how to empty the crabs out of the baskets and how to steam them in a cooking pot he gave us for the purpose!   

On another occasion during dinner at Greg and Shirley's we told them of our plan to hire a car and take a road trip to the mountains of West Maryland and Virginia.   Suddenly we weren't hiring a car anymore, they generously lent us their Jeep for the trip.    We had a great time!   Click here for Mountain Road Trip

Lessons in Crab Eating (Janine, Shirley, Greg and Phil)

Phil tries it for himself - emptying the crab pot and seasoning the catch!

Much of the rest of our time in Herald Harbor was taken up with work on the decorator showhouse project with Janine. (Click here for Decorator Showhouse Project).    However, we did manage to find time for a few more parties.   As quasi-family members we were invited to Woody's birthday party and that of their Granddaughter, Sam.    Neighbours Chuck and Lisa came aboard Anju for a tour and drinks.   Janine's business partner Stephanie invited us for a fun evening at her home to meet her friend Glenys, who was of Welsh ancestry and put us to shame with her fluent Welsh language skills!

As September ended and October arrived it began to get cold.   Although the days were often still hot, we often had to fire up the diesel heater aboard Anju for the evenings and for the first time since we left Europe, we had a duvet on the bed at night, sometimes a blanket too!   It was definitely time to head south but it made no sense to leave after spending so much time in Annapolis, without first attending the Annapolis Boat Show in early October, so we delayed our departure a little longer.   We weren't looking forward to saying goodbye to all our new friends anyway.      

We spent a fun day at the boat show, looking at the expensive toys but in the end decided we were happy with the way things are aboard Anju.   The only thing we came away with was some new Teflon stuffing material for the stuffing box on her prop shaft.   Not a glamorous purchase but essential as the stuffing material is what stops the water coming in through the hole in the hull where the prop shaft goes out!

Before we left Valentine Creek we were given farewell gifts by our friends, Greg and Shirley had brought us praline from their trip to Savannah, Chuck and Lisa kayaked to the boat with their parting gift of tea and biscuits with a nautical theme.  Even on our last day in the area, Woody and Janine took us sightseeing to Baltimore where we were able to enjoy the Columbus Day parade before heading home for our farewell dinner their home.  

The time finally arrived to try and retrieve the three anchors we'd set before our trip to the UK in July!   First we retrieved the Fortress which was set from the bow as a second bow anchor.   It was easy to retrieve and to clean, with the help of the hose set up ashore for our use by Greg.     Now we had to try to retrieve the stern anchor, a Bruce.   After our small stern anchor (a Brittany) wouldn't set, we'd used a bigger Bruce to stop Anju swinging in the limited space in the creek.  However retrieving the bigger anchor was tricky as it was firmly dug in.   First we tried hauling it up with the trip line from the dinghy which was hopeless and exhausting.    We have no winch on the stern of the boat for anchor hauling, so finally we decided we'd have to haul the stern anchor up last, using the windlass on the bow.   Of course first we had to check there was enough water in the area where the stern anchor was lying, as we had only a couple of feet below the keel where Anju was lying.    Out came the lead line, we sounded out the depths near the anchor buoy.   Luckily there was enough water, so finally we hauled up our main anchor first then turned Anju and hauled up the stern anchor using the windlass as well.    We were happy, as always, to have such a great windlass!    We knew leaving Valentine Creek would be hard but it seemed Anju didn't want to say goodbye to her friends either.

With heavy hearts, we finally left Valentine Creek on 11th October to head south in search of warmer weather!

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