Spooky Pubs and Fresh Seafood in Baltimore
While hurricane winds battered some of our favorite islands to the south, the crews on our September sailing trip from Rock Hall to Baltimore had to settle for no wind at all. After the usual arrival and stowing exercises on Thursday evening, our eleven doughty sailors set out across glassy calm waters on Friday morning. With nary a puff of wind, they made haste motoring across the Chesapeake Bay and up the Patapsco River – might as well get to the marina with time to relax before the evening’s activities.
Approaching Lighthouse Landing Marina, aboard Katie Lizz first mate Rudy was at the helm. Mia had no idea that he had never docked a boat on one of our trips before. She called the marina and got the slip assignment, then relayed the instructions to him while having crew set up dock lines. Rudy guided Katie Lizz just past her assigned slip, then backed to port. Naturally a bit of breeze came up just about then, pushing the bow to port. Crew got a line to a dock hand, who helped warp the boat in while Rudy worked the throttle like a master. Congratulations to Rudy on his successful first docking!
A few minutes later Wind Dancer arrived with new skipper Bruce at the helm. The surprise breeze gave him trouble as well, so he wisely aborted a couple times before eventually getting the boat lined up and backed into the slip. Congratulations to Bruce on his first passage and docking as skipper!
When the dock hand offered a ride to the office on his golf cart crews got their first hint at the size of the marina. At some point during our stay Mia measured the steps from the top of the access ramp to Katie Lizz: 800 steps. And the heads and showers were on shore by the swimming pool.
The crews had a great dinner at Bertha’s Mussels in Fell’s Point. Afterwards seven people took a “haunted pub crawl” tour around the neighborhood. The guide – a young, female theatre major with long magenta hair, Goth attire, and a “bouncing orb” atop a walking stick – offered stories about each pub before sending the group of about twenty people inside for a beverage. She also talked about the history of Fells Point and Baltimore, information that seemed somewhat more reliable than the ghoulish embellishments. Mid-way through the tour a man who had been over-imbibing tried to join the tour. In fact, he tried to take it over, standing next to the guide and interrupting with his own unintelligible stories. She handled him perfectly, with respect and gentle persuasion to let her do the talking. Eventually he realized he had an appointment elsewhere and left. The tour group congratulated the guide on her management of the situation.
Saturday morning there was time for a leisurely breakfast before heading out for the day in Baltimore. Most of the crews had tickets to the Baltimore Seafood Festival in nearby Canton Park. Theresa, who isn’t fond of seafood, travelled to the inner harbor by water taxi to visit Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse. Bruce and Cindy took a car to the National Aquarium for a behind the scenes tour.
At the seafood festival, guests had their choice of creative and traditional crab, oyster, and fish dishes, and a wide variety of beverages. Among the favorites were crab empanadas, oysters wrapped with bacon and deep fried, and crab cake sandwiches. The best seating was in the food demo tent, where Mia and Henry stumbled upon a bourbon tasting session. Henry was the only one who’d purchased the VIP package that included a half dozen steamed crabs. He’d assumed that everyone bought that ticket, but found himself working his way through his crabs on his own.
Stuffed and tired, a number of the crew made their way to the marina pool, which had been kept open a couple extra weekends after Labor Day. Good thing too, it was in the eighties and sunny, and there was still no wind. Wind Dancer’s crew each found dinner that night on their own, while on Katie Lizz they warmed up a selection of appetizers and had a tossed salad.
The plan for Sunday was to sail out to a quiet anchorage along the Patapsco and raft up. The forecast for Sunday was for more hot, still air. Crews agreed to delay departing the marina where the boats were plugged in with air conditioning on. Several went to the National Aquarium, some relaxed aboard, and some went to Fort McHenry. Returning in the early afternoon, they reassessed the forecast and decided that air conditioning made for comfortable sleeping. Everyone chipped in to stay one more night. And the pool contingent had one more afternoon in and by the water.
Everyone got together in Katie Lizz’s cockpit that evening for a traditional appetizer dinner, with plenty of meatballs, wings, chili, pizza, and cheese and crackers to go around. And adult beverages too, of course.
At last it was time to depart Lighthouse Point Marina. Monday morning crews had a light breakfast and cast off the lines around nine a.m. The sky was cloudy, but those clouds had brought a breeze with them. As soon as they were in the river both boats raised sails and enjoyed a beam to close reach out into the Bay. It was so nice to be sailing they didn’t even mind when it drizzled for a while before the clouds broke up.
All too soon they were back at Haven Harbor, offloading and saying their
good-byes. It was not quite the trip they’d had planned, but it was a lot of
fun and everyone got in lots of healthy walking!
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