Good Morning, Baltimore!

Tuesday 20 September

We were rocking and rolling all night long at our anchorage in Rock Hall – Townes proclaimed it thoroughly annoying.  It seemed to foreshadow the conditions of the next day, because Tuesday morning brought the first truly inclement weather we’ve had to sail through!

We had to cut straight across the Chesapeake Bay from Rock Hall to Baltimore with wind, rain, and low visibility.  Townes tucked himself away in the stateroom while the captain stayed at the helm and Susannah and I manned the lines – it was definitely all hands on deck sailing!  We were actually glad of a chance to put on our foul weather gear, though.  It would’ve just been a waste of space if we’d packed it all and never gotten to use it!

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After a couple of hours, the rain let up a little, but it was still blustery and overcast.  There wasn’t another boat in sight and as Townes put it, “it looks lonely out here today.”  It was a nice sort of melancholy, though – Susannah said there’s beauty in that sort of day as much as a sunny one, and I think she was right.

We made it across the bay and into the Patapsco River, where first mate Townes was lured above decks by the sight of passing freighters, barges, and tugs that were any LEGO enthusiast’s dream.  We sailed underneath the Francis Scott Key Bridge and into Baltimore harbor, passing the stars-and-stripes buoy that marks the spot where ol’ Francis viewed the attack on Fort McHenry that inspired him to pen The Star Spangled Banner.

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We passed the Naval Hospital Ship Comfort, the Domino sugar factory, and sailed right into the inner harbor.  We found a great spot to dock right in front of the visitors center and the Intercontinental hotel, in view of the old ship Constellation, the Hard Rock Café, and a submarine painted like a shark.  Barely ten minutes after we docked, the cloud cover let up completely and gave us a bright, sunny, pleasantly warm afternoon to enjoy the waterfront.  On the request of our first mate, we spent the majority of the afternoon at the Maryland Science Center.

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We went through exhibits on Chesapeake Bay marine life (which included a giant map on the floor where we could walk along the path of our sailing trip!), the human body, Antarctica, and space.  Townes found some friends who were just his size:

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There was an American flag that had actually been to the South Pole, and a spacesuit that had actually been to the ISS – we even recognized a familiar face in the shuttle crew that had taken it there…

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Hi Uncle John!

We stayed at the Science Center so long that the staff had to kick us out when they started closing up, although they did it rather gently by playing “So Long, Farewell” over the loudspeakers.  We took a quick walk around our area of the waterfront, stopped in a couple shops, found wifi to post our blog entry from the past couple days, and check out the Constellation up close.  Finally, we retired to La Mia Stella to prepare for some very special dinner guests.

We were joined by Michelle, a friend of Paul and Susannah’s from their snowboard rep days, and her sons Ian and Logan.  They got to catch up and share stories, and we all enjoyed a delicious feast of fresh local seafood that Michelle brought – shrimp, halibut, and Maryland crab soup – as we watched the sun go down over the Baltimore skyline.

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We were patting ourselves on the back as we looked out over the picturesque harbor and then back to the Intercontinental and the Marriott, because we were sitting right on the view that all those hotel rooms asked hundreds of dollars for!  It was a great evening of old friends and new acquaintances (we realized this morning that we totally should have taken some pictures but were too busy talking and laughing!), and we only called it a night when first mate Townes fell asleep right on deck.

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TR Quote of the Day:

After asking Julie to finish her dinner so he could sit on her lap…

“I’m SERIOUS about cuddling.”

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