From: email@example.com (Bryant Vann)
Subject: Chestertown and environs... (2 long)
Date: October 7, 1999
Ah, fall -- there's a little chill in the air (Rio's MIGHTY glad he learned to use the litter box on
board instead of having to trek to shore in the wee hours of morning!) and soon the leaves
will start to turn here -- time for many right coast trawlerites to prepare for the trip south
and time for many others to start thinking about the dreaded task of winterizing the boat.
Still there's LOTS of time left to enjoy the cruises -- some say this is the prettiest time of
the year in the Chesapeake. I don't think I could argue otherwise. ...and, hopefully, the land-
falling hurricanes are gone for the season.
We just spent a few days in Chestertown -- a lovely town way up the winding upper part of
the Chester River -- a town in the process of restoring itself to recapture some of the
excitement that must have been there when wealthy sea captains called it home. One
couple is spending well over a million $ to restore one of these old and gorgeous homes on the
water. I hope they'll showcase it when they're finished!
The Captain's home on the Chestertown waterfront that's being restored:
Chestertown, of course, is where the famous Chestertown Tea Party took place back in
May of 1774 (shortly after the one in Boston gave them the idea) -- and where a big festival
to commemorate this brave act is now held every year in May (with S/V Pride of Baltimore
II usually standing in for the S/V Geddes). Here's a photo of the new Pride O'B:
If you like Savannah, you'd love Chestertown -- PLUS you can anchor in the River here (or
do the marina thing, if you prefer) and dinghy to shore or just listen and watch the town life!
An old friend of ours just retired from "our" old company and moved there full time. He
hasn't caught the boating bug yet, but it's hard to imagine he'll be able to resist -- waking up
every morning to the sight of that lovely river at his doorstep. Just as we were about to
leave, we spotted ANOTHER old friend and his wife by the City Dock (their son lives here) --
a fellow who retired from our company about the same time I did -- of course they didn't
recognize me -- must've been the "do" (braided this time!). We swapped some stories -- only
occasionally interrupted by lapses ("senior moments" his wife called them!).
Here're some more of the homes in the Chestertown historic district:
The night before we anchored Salty Lady in the Corsica River -- in just one of a dozen or so
neat spots along that beautiful river -- just across from the old Soviet Union's waterfront
"retreat" (Hey, if the Perpetrator-in-Chief can do it with his friends on the Wye, the
Russkie's ought to have their OWN place in "paradise," right?). Rio got to visit a beach
again -- been a few weeks since he got to romp like he really likes. This beach didn't look like
much from the boat, but it opened up into a large flat area once we landed -- impossible to
tell that before.
The weekend before, we visited the Trawler Folk at Georgs' Solomons Trawlerfest. Just the
afternoon to see old friends and make some new ones (AND tour some of the boats, as well!).
I know we told folks we weren't planning to go at all, but we forgot to ask Rio, who really
wanted to meet some of his TWLerite fans. He had a great time and so did we. He made a
few good friends of his own -- most notably a young man from Oviatt Marine named Ed who
said he would hold Rio while we got the Cook's Tour of their DeFever Grand Alaskan 60
(WOW! Only the second boat we've seen the Admiral would give up our KK-42 for -- the
other was the Chapin's 55' Florida Bay Coaster, North Star). I don't know if Ed fully
appreciated just how special he was because Rio didn't put up a single objection to being left
on the dock to play with him -- Rio usually puts up a HUGE howl whenever the Admiral
leaves him ANYWHERE!
Yesterday we took our folding bikes to a nearby public dock and biked into Rock Hall to mail
some things at the Post Office, have lunch at Tony's Pizza (they brought some chairs out
front so we could eat our hot subs on the porch with Rio -- nice folks), buy some "stuff" at
the boutique at Haven Harbor Marina (one of the prettiest marinas we know of -- Rio had a
blast there -- doin' "wheelies" on their lawn and using the "dog walk" -- JUST like the big
dogs!), pick up a Halloween bat windsock thingie at the Ace Hardware (BIG plans for a
Halloween raft-up with our sailing friends -- we've been working on our "outfits" for days --
got our indian corn and pumpkin already (though today's projects include putting the stem
back on with 5200 -- it broke off yesterday somehow!), and buy some produce at a market
along the way -- honor system -- you pick out what you want and put the money in the box --
gosh, we haven't seen THAT in 30 years!.
This morning Salty Lady's anchored in another of the Bay's uncounted, nameless, cozy
coves (the location of THIS one is Top Secret), and I'm watching the first rays of the sunrise
highlighting the hundreds of geese on the water. The air is filled with hundreds more (the
birds are so big they show up easily on the radar!) and the there are thousands still in the
fields just over the tree-lined shore. (It's illegal to "bait" the fields to attract geese, but it's
hard to keep the farmers from being just a wee bit sloppy when harvesting the corn!)
Yesterday morning the "watch geese" must have spotted someone because we saw the
entire flock lift off at once and fly over us -- it was hard to carry on a normal conversation for
the honking chorus -- with every bird determined to out-honk the rest. On the way up here
we noted about a thousand or so ON SOMEONE's LAWN! Folks, we are talking a
SERIOUS goose-poop problem here! We understand the geese now "contribute" FAR more
to the water than the boaters EVER did. This cove also has bald eagles and in the summer
the deer often swim across the creek with their youngsters to romp on the shore.
Another deer and a few of the thousands of geese at TS Cove...
[shameless self-promotion mode ON again] And for all those who've asked (nearly one), the
"kid's" CD is actually selling! Wow! Almost 10,000 so far! This probably ain't gonna be
another Hootie and the Blowfish thing, but, hey, you gotta start somewhere. TNN is
supposed to air an interview with the band this Saturday on This Week in Country Music!
Way cool! My kid's the one with the five-string banjo (horrors -- ELECTRIC!) -- maybe
they'll do the song where he and Earl Scruggs play the duet Mark wrote. Thanks to all
who've bought a copy -- and to those who're even THINKING about doing it! [shameless
self-promotion mode OFF]
The latest boat project has been to test a new electronic compass (KVH Azimuth-1000) --
maybe even to replace the old card compass at the pilot house helm. The Admiral likes it so
far. So do I -- it's the first compass I've ever owned that seemed to believe it's on the same
boat I'm on -- auto-compensating -- WOW, is that ever wonderful -- do ONE slow 360-degree
turn and it's DONE! The main reason for adding this has been to stabilize the radar display
when the weather gets snotty -- using the Head Up mode smears the targets -- even the big
ships -- a lot when the boat yaws. Now, in the Course Up or North Up (Or True Motion, if
you're moving) modes, this problem has been eliminated -- every new sweep is laid directly
on top of the last ones so the smearing is gone. Our Autopilot is ancient, so ITS compass
has to be manually compensated -- what a tough job THAT is! I THINK I've finally got it
done, but I gave up with an offset of almost one degree and a first harmonic error of just over
a degree -- plus a second harmonic of about half that. (Of course, we'll either keep the old
steering compass handy if all else fails, but it's pretty neat to finally have a warm fuzzy
feeling that GPS and LORAN are telling the truth!) Now I just add the numbers from the
deviation table to set the pilot and the boat actually points in the direction we want to go!
Someday maybe I'll update the AP with a unit that interfaces with the other stuff onboard
(AND has auto-compensation), but for now, this'll do.
Dee-dee-by-Gawd, Cap'n! Take care all.