Bikes & Bridges

Sunday 18 September – Monday 19 September

We awoke at our anchorage in Oxford on Saturday to a bright gray morning.  We docked up at Mear’s Yacht Haven, rented a couple of bicycles, and set off to explore the town – boys on foot, girls on bikes.

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Susannah and I rode through downtown Oxford and out to the town cemetery.  It was beautiful and right by the water, and had gravestones dating back to the early 1800s.

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Paul and Townes explored the downtown area, and Townes even got to ring the bell in front of the museum!  Meanwhile, Susannah and I concluded our bike tour with a second stop at the Scottish Highland Creamery for some Nutter Butter ice cream and pumpkin truffles (both homemade).

Once back aboard La Mia Stella, we raised anchor and set sail.  It was a relatively quick journey to Ball’s Creek, where we anchored and got to enjoy the afternoon on deck while Townes swam off the back of the boat and posed for presidential campaign photos.

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It was a pretty quiet Sunday afternoon with hardly another boat in sight.  We were torturously close to Richard Higgins’ Soft Shell Crabhouse on shore, but with no dinghy, we were out of luck.  We did consider a few DIY options, but the captain put his foot down when Susannah started gearing up to paddle ashore on one of the cabin cushions.  We had such a serene anchorage in Ball’s Creek that the lack of soft shells didn’t dampen our spirits, and we spent the evening above decks enjoying the fresh air until it got dark and the mosquitos came out with a vengeance.

TR Quote of the Day:

While bouncing a wine cork down the companionway stairs…

“This is the most fun I’ve ever had with a cork!”

The next morning, Ball’s Creek cemented itself even more securely in our hearts as the nicest anchorage of the trip.  We had a lovely sunrise to encourage us to get under way early.

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It was the first truly sunny day we had since the first time we tried to set out from Annapolis, and even Townes (King of the Stateroom) didn’t want to be below decks!  We went back through Knapps Narrows – Townes did a stellar job blowing the horn (one long, one short) to signal the liftbridge – and we enjoyed the views even more this time with the sun above us.

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We stayed on deck all day and enjoyed the calm conditions.  The bay was as smooth as glass and there was next to no wind, so we had to motor most of the way to our destination, but it was a nice relaxing afternoon to be on the water.  We cracked open the cooler and stretched out – our overworked second mate Susannah even got in a power nap while I read The Fisherman and His Wife with Townes.

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Our midway point (and more importantly, lunch destination) was Kent Island Narrows.  We had a great meal of fresh seafood and Townes provided a great meal of vending machine pellets to the ducks and seagulls.

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After we were fully fed and watered (or daiquiri-ed, in some cases), we got back underway and passed under our second and third bridges of the day.  The liftbridge at Kent Island Narrows was no problem once it was open, but the second bridge came so close to shaving the top off our mast that I think it shaved a few years off all our lives as we were watching it.

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Our final destination for the evening was Rock Hall.  Overall, the place doesn’t have too much going on and the consensus from the crew was a resounding “eh,” but we did perk up at finding a tiny grocery store with claustrophobic aisles that somehow was stocked with all our wildly obscure or unwaveringly specific list items – most importantly, Nutella!  Rock Hall was not an eventful stop, but here are some pictures of the mutinous first mate stuffing the captain in the rear locker, and a good shot of our boat:

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Into the brig with ye!

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TR Quote of the Day:

During one of his brief forays above deck while under full sail…

“Don’t get excited – I’m not up here for long!”

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