October 29, 2022
After spending a few days in Saint Michael’s to enjoy a relatively quiet bay, and let Jinhee take a few phone calls we moved on to Baltimore. In Saint Michaels we did take some time to enjoy a couple of nice restaurants, worked on some boat projects and even a visit to Saint Michael’s Maritime museum (for me).
The town is quite beautiful, with homes and gardens that are exceptional. I don’t know whether ‘cute’ is the right word, but they are a marvel in my mind. If I had any gardening skills, I would aim for these yards as a standard.
The museum is a working yard, with active ship repair and building activities ongoing, but the methods are antiquated, like the boats. I was on a ‘sprint’ through the museum, so I didn’t stop to watch much of the activity. They were starting to steam and bend a beam. If I had more time I would have liked to see that monster (about an 8” beam) get bent.
I also spent a lot of time learning more about the oyster harvesting in the Chesapeake. I learned about the travesty of the oyster over fishing last year (perhaps at the Great Bridge Museum) and was fascinated by some of the details here at the SMMM. The thrust of it is that about 98% of the oysters have been wiped out and at the height of the ‘gold rush’, there were gun battles over territory. Brutal, particularly if you’re an oyster.
We had perfect weather until we pulled up anchor, then the wind blew long and hard during our entire transit to Baltimore. Thankfully we are no longer in a hurry, so we just relaxed and enjoyed the ride, bumps and all.
In Baltimore we have been in the company of many other Nordhavns, including N47 Dagny, N55 Red Rover and N64 Zulu. We were lucky to finally meet Kevin Jeffries and Allison Huff Jeffries, Dave from Dagny (who has been sharing bike storage tips with me for a couple of years) and Steve and Kristin on Zulu. We followed Grace of Tides into the inner harbour, and we discovered Dirona (another famous Nordhavn) is also in the inner harbour. We are in the company of greats.
With Jinhee getting increasingly comfortable aboard, we have been improving all sorts of things. Today was a big project, but it only took 20 minutes. We removed the portside table from the salon, and WOW! What a difference it makes!
The whole salon is opened up now and the portside settee is more appropriate to what we expect to be doing on the boat. The original design was, from my understanding, around more entertaining and having a ‘drinks’ table for people to visit and socialize. Since our primary use is more for living aboard, this will be a positive change. It is worth noting that the $50 carpet from Target fills the space nicely. (Now to figure out how to get the table home for storage. Ugh!)
We have spent some time walking through the harbour area. This waterfront area (Fells Point/Canton) is very nice with many cool stores, restaurants (although we haven’t visited any restaurants) and easy access to shopping. I was also able to put in a short bike ride on Thursday.
Given much of the press about Baltimore we were not sure what to expect. (The last president referred to Baltimore with the words “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and a “very dangerous & filthy place”, but like most things that the man said, we assumed it was incorrect.) As I rode my bike away from the tourist/consumer area of Fells Point and the inner harbour what I discovered instead were some nice areas and friendly people. To be sure I have now seen about 0.1% of the city, but like most places I visit, I am amazed at the discrepancy between what I expected and what I see. It’s usually a positive discrepancy and this city is no different.
On my ride the decline in buildings and infrastructure in some areas was clearly noticeable, but the city was notably clean despite some rough buildings. The roads were in pretty good shape as well in the places I rode my bike. More importantly the politeness or perhaps kindness of the people was what stuck in my mind. Without telling the stories here, I had very brief interactions, for mere moments, with four people on my ride and each time, I thought wow, they were really nice. In any case it was notable. As a cyclist, the way the roads were laid out and the cars behaved was also a (very) notable improvement over most of Virginia.
The Jones Falls trail was a nice little trail within the larger Baltimore area and offered a nice visual break from the city and our maritime views.
We are tied up at Anchorage Marina, and the comments about great people easily extend to the workers here. They are helpful, approachable and super nice. We have enjoyed great service in many places, but this marina stands out, for the amenities and service, and unlike some of the other ‘great service’ marinas, it doesn’t cost extra here for people to do a great job.
With WestMarine just a few hundred steps from the boat, we have unleashed a little bit of money on the city of Baltimore as well. We believe we have found our matching deck chair finally (it should be in next week), and we have a 50A/240V power cord extension for those times when we need to go bow in to a slip, as well as a great new waterproof knapsack.
This morning we drive to New York City for a little bit of sightseeing and a little bit of work. Its a bit strange to get your dose of ancient history in the US, but NPR turned me on to an exhibition of the ‘first author’ Enheduanna and since I will be in NYC, I will see what I can pick up. I am fascinated by the transmission of history and ideas and I expect this will add some colour to my understanding.
Finally, my sometimes crew Paul and Michelle normally sail on a Nonsuch 26, and yesterday afternoon, I had one chug past Home Free at dock . . . beautiful, spacious and very safe boats. ‘Catalyst’ is another great example.