Monday, August 5, 2019

Rest Stop in Oxford, Maryland

August 5
Chesapeake Bay

We left Oxford early this morning after a nice rest stop anchored in Town Creek in the middle of this pleasant, boat-centric little town.

We left the dock on Tangier Island early Saturday morning, dodging crab pots in the dark as we headed into Chesapeake Bay with a cool, fresh breeze and a north-east-south semicircle of cumulus clouds in the distance threatening thunderstorms later in the day.

We never encountered any thunderstorms, nor any significant wind, so the 10 hour motor trip to Oxford was uneventful, relaxing, but not boring. After dropping the anchor in less than eight feet of water in shallow Town Creek, we scooted over to the town dinghy dock and walked to dinner at Pope's Tavern. There we enjoyed a dinner featuring soft shell crabs and a nice wine list. Raw oysters and soft shell crabs have been frequent items of my diet since arriving in South Carolina. I like both, but the oysters take first place.

Oxford is a small town of nice homes on tree-lined streets. Judging from the real estate prices and demographics, these are mostly second homes or homes for retirees. There are probably twice as many more boats in the marinas and boat yards than the 600 permanent residents of the town. The boatyards have been around for a long time, 50 years or more and include the yard of The Hinckley Company, builders of fine classic sail and motor craft and Cutts and Case Shipyard, who specialize in wooden boats, which by the passage of time and technology, can all be considered classics.  At Cutts and Case, we talked with one of the owners who was busy laminating a new wood frame member to be spliced into one that had rotted on a 60 year old boat being restored.

I enjoyed roaming around these yards, which reminded me of the old boatyards I used to visit when I was a kid on Long Island, Tooker's on the Carmen River, Swan Creek in East Patchogue, Frank M. Week's yard on the Patchogue River. I used to look at the boats and dream of having a boat that I could go cruising on. A dream that came true.

We took the opportunity of our rest day on Sunday to visit the fuel dock to top up on diesel and then to change engine oil and filters back at anchor. It was HOT in the sun working in the engine compartments and I'm always frustrated by the clean up of spillage from the horizontally mounted oil filters takes far longer than the oil change itself. Especially frustrating when hot and sweaty. I missed Roy. I noticed a bit of water in the starboard sail drive lubricant and lubricant leaking from the top of the port sail drive. I'll deal with that when we haul out next month.

We cooked dinner and Sunday was over. Amazing how a day can pass so quickly sometimes.

This morning was another pre-dawn departure, of which we are getting into the routine. Up at 0500, engines on by 0530, up anchor before 0600 and we are on our way for a 10-12 hour day of sailing. The early morning was cool and calm, but the air felt humid and heavy, a line of rain clouds to the south, the horizon a bit hazy. I had to dodge a labyrinth of trot lines marked by flagged buoys at either end, much like they are in Mexico and Central America, but with more organized color-coding.

We're now approaching the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and it is still cool, the rain clouds have dissolved and there is a light breeze from the northeast...on our nose, again.

It's hard to believe that we will be in New York City in only four days. I've been checking the weather for our ocean passage there from Cape May, NJ and it might be a nice sleigh ride in 20 knots of southwest wind. That would be a nice last ocean passage for The Voyage assuming no rain or thunderstorms.

Church in Oxford, Maryland

Intermezzo's track since leaving La Paz, Mexico on January 6th. We've covered a lot of miles. Not many more to go on this Voyage.