Autumn in Herald Harbor, Annapolis, USA
12th September - 8th October 2006
Once we'd dropped Joe, Christine's Dad, off at
BWI airport for his flight back to the UK, we decided to use the opportunity
to call on our British friends Pat and Liz, who had hauled their catamaran, Catspaw,
at a yard in downtown Baltimore. We thought we'd just stop
by for a spot of tea and to catch up with their latest news, however, we
hadn't realised it was Liz's birthday and we were invited to join them at a
fancy restaurant to help them celebrate. Of course we weren't
suitably dressed to dine in style but had to make do and Christine, who'd
somehow managed to get the front of her white T-shirt covered in oil at the
airport, tried to start a new fashion, by wearing her T-shirt backwards to
hide the stains. Dinner in a fancy restaurant was a real
treat, the food was delicious and a good time was had by
Getting back to the boatyard proved more of a problem. Pat and Liz had been to the restaurant before but only on foot. The route home was rather more complicated by car and we found ourselves heading rapidly towards New York on the freeway! Finally with the aid of her three "merry" navigators, driver Christine, tracked down Catspaw and Pat and Liz were safely returned home.
In anticipation of the rapidly approaching autumn, it was time to focus on getting Anju ready for the trip south. We got back to work on our job list. A high priority was replacing the mouldy window in our cockpit cover, allowing us to stay dry and warm and see where we were going at the same time. Janine kindly offered the use of her sewing machine for the job and in the course of training her apprentice, Janine ended up doing the tricky job herself! Now that Christine was familiar with the wonders of using electricity to speed up sewing projects and with Woody and Janine's huge dining table available as a work area, we decided it was time to replace our ragged cockpit sunshade with a brand new Sunbrella model.
Sure you don't want to sew this for me too Janine?
During a visit aboard Anju for the fitting of
the sunshade, we decided to run the engine in gear for a few minutes, as we
often do when the boat is standing for a while, to keep the propeller as
clean as possible. Unfortunately, on this occasion, we
inadvertently went into reverse instead of forward gear, running over our
own anchor lines in the process. Immediately as the ropes
wrapped around the propeller, the engine cut out and on realising our
mistake we rushed below to check for damage to the gear box or flexible
coupling. We were lucky, everything was fine but now Phil had to
dive into the murky waters and untangle the lines from the prop.
This was a pretty scary task in the dark brown water teeming with
jellyfish. With visibility of only a few inches and wearing his
pajamas for jellyfish protection, Phil managed to find the prop beneath the
water and get Anju untangled. During
his visit beneath Anju, he gave the propeller a good clean with a metal
scraper, to remove all the resident barnacles. It was a job he'd
been putting off, so at least it got done, ready for us to leave.
The next job we'd been avoiding was heading aloft to check over our rigging. As Phil had braved the murk, Christine was volunteered and set off up the two masts, magnifying glass and polishing cloth in her pocket to check all was well. It was a good job she'd got down again before a bad thunderstorm hit the area later on, bringing a tornado to nearby Severna Park and causing Woody and Janine's house to suffer yet another powercut.
With the job list well underway, it was time for some fun. First came the long-awaited "fun-with-shells-day", which the girls had been promising themselves for months. The poor dining table was now converted from sewing workshop to shell craft area and Janine and Christine spent two fun days creating shell handicrafts.
The girls managed to fit in a girls-day-out,
including a visit to our designer hairdresser, Stephanie, for a new hairdo,
created in the stylish setting of the antique shop car park!
We managed to find a couple of fun trips to interest the boys too. First was a car show laid on by the Corvette Club of Annapolis, of which Woody was a member. Cars were polished with fervour, with exhibitors racing against the deadline, when "rags down" was called and the judging began. We could have used a couple of the polishing enthusiasts on our boat!
One of Janine's masterpieces
Should they allow ducks to drive?
An outing to the Annapolis Boatshow was
cancelled due to a severe case of continuous heavy rain. By the last
day of the show, when the rain finally stopped, the enthusiasm had waned
More enthusiam was raised for a trip to Annapolis' Oktoberfest, where we sampled the delights of German cuisine, mostly sausages and potato salad washed down with Pils. For desert Woody introduced us to Funnel Cake, which seems to be a huge squirl of doughnut on a plate, covered with liberal amounts of sugar. Perhaps it should be renamed the Annapolis Carb-Fest!
All in all it was a bad couple of weeks for our
waistlines. With so many of Woody and Janine's neighbours having
been so kind to us during our stay (again!), it was time to party with them
all. We began with inviting for dinner Greg and Shirley, who's
generosity had meant we had our very own set of wheels during our time in
Herald Harbor. A week later we found ourselves at their home
enjoying dinner with them, Shirley's mum, brother and his wife.
We sampled local seafood in great company at Chuck and Lisa's house. One weekend we threw an impromptu drinks and pizza party aboard Anju for Chuck and Lisa, together with Dave, who had kindly let us tie our dinghy to his dock all summer and James who had bailed the dinghy out all summer! Free tours of Anju were included for those who hadn't been aboard before.
Heidi and Woody try the High Carb Diet
Entertaining our neighbours
We knew the time to leave was fast approaching
when date of the Ocean Cruising Club Rendez-vous in Annapolis was upon
us. We took Woody and Janine along too and we all got the chance
to chat with other members, many of whom we'd read about in the newsletters
but never met before.
After one or two more farewell parties, the dreaded day came, it was time to haul up our anchors from the thick, black mud of Valentine Creek and give them a good clean, before they stank the boat out. Luckily Greg had a power-washer which greatly assisted us in this unpleasant task.
Finally on the 8th of October Anju crept through the shallow water of Valentine Creek and we waved goodbye to all our good friends there, until next time.......
Do we really have to go, boo hoo.
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