From: (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 Waterfront
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:
The Pride of Baltimore II
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:
Historic Chestertown Home
Historic Chestertown Home
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...
Deer and Geese
[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. - Bryant