Onancock, Va, to St. Michaels,MD, and then to Tilghman Island, MD with a visit from Jeff for Father’s Day  (June 9th – June 21, 2017)

Onancock, Va, to St. Michaels,MD, and then to Tilghman Island, MD with a visit from Jeff for Father’s Day (June 9th – June 21, 2017)

When we came up with the idea of spending a whole summer on the Chesapeake Bay we thought we would have plenty of time to explore the whole area. Once we settled in to making plans, though, we realized there are more inlets, rivers, islands, creeks, and towns to explore here than we could ever cover in a couple of months. It is overwhelming to look at all there is to see and do here, so we both made lists of “must dos” and we started our journey from there. Now, though, we find ourselves just going with the flow. Many days we look at each other and say that we’d like to stay where we are for another day, and so we do. This is going to be a summer of relaxation and fun, and we are enjoying our cruising life.

IMG_9036A walk around Onancock on Saturday morning.IMG_9039IMG_9041IMG_9053IMG_9052-2IMG_9034IMG_9046At the farmers’ market.  IMG_9045Entertainment was provided by this lady.IMG_9048This gentleman was proud to be related to Calvin Coolidge.  He made beautiful cutting boards out of scrap wood.  Of course I bought one!IMG_9055Walking the streets of Onancock was a pleasure to the senses.  Magnolia trees bloomed wildly and the rich, heady aroma filled the air.IMG_9060Lovely, old homes line the street of this town which was founded in 1680.  It was a port for steamboats that traveled between Baltimore and Norfolk.  Today the town has about 1500 people and is one of the largest towns on the eastern shore.IMG_9039-2IMG_9052A great blue heron watched us as we traveled around on Tangent, our dinghy.IMG_9230At the Onancock Wharf.IMG_9238IMG_9059IMG_9241IMG_9043Views from the anchorage.IMG_9050IMG_9249

Our first stop on the Bay was in a small, historic town named Onancock (pronounced oh-NAN-cock). We anchored in a basin near the town marina on the evening of June 9th, and moved into the marina the following day. I was anxious to get to town for their weekly farmers’ market, and we are always happy to explore the little towns we find. Onancock is absolutely charming. The main street is filled with antique shops, churches, a movie theater, a playhouse, and adorable little restaurants and cafes. It is one of those towns that welcomes its visitors; the marina even gives lists of local resident volunteers who will come and pick up boaters and take them to stores around town for free. We stayed in Onancock until the 13th, walking around town, taking a trip to the beautiful Tangier Island (see our previous post), riding the dinghy up and down the creeks, and just enjoying the spectacular scenery. It was a perfect beginning to our summer on the Chesapeake Bay.

IMG_9258One thing is for certain, ospreys have a thriving population in the Chesapeake Bay.IMG_9262

The next few days were traveling days, with runs that were longer and without a lot of scenery. The southern part of the eastern shore of the bay is spread out and we wanted to move up to the coast to get to some of the stops we had planned. We stayed in Crisfield, MD, then moved to St. John’s Creek in the Solomon Islands, and to Dun Cove, just north of Tilghman Island.

IMG_9261Walking from the dinghy dock near our anchorage to the town of St. Michaels.  That’s Jeff in blue and John in black.IMG_9266IMG_9267IMG_9269IMG_9270IMG_9271IMG_9272IMG_9274An antique and classic boat show was taking place on Father’s Day weekend.IMG_9276IMG_9283IMG_9289A picture to treasure.  AfterMath on the left and Prerequisite on the right.IMG_9296Prerequisite at anchor.IMG_9309It was great to have Jeff with us for the weekend.IMG_9313After Father’s Day breakfast in town.IMG_9317

On Friday, June 16th, we moved AfterMath to the beautiful San Domingo Creek in St. Michaels, MD. St Michaels is just perfect, with shops, a maritime museum, homes lining the streets with perfectly manicured gardens and delightful porches, a multitude of restaurants, and easy access for boaters. One side of St. Michaels is lined with a busy marina, and we will go there soon, but for the weekend, we stayed in the quiet anchorage with almost no other boats. However, the best part of the stay there was that our son, Jeff, who lives in Annapolis, sailed down to see us on his Cape Dory, Prerequisite. We were so thrilled to have him join us for the weekend. St. Michaels is one of Jeff and his family’s favorite places, and we now understand why. Sarah and the kids were off to Texas for a few days while still she was still on maternity leave to visit her family and to introduce the rest of them to Ford, and Jeff, who is back to work in the Coast Guard, was up for a single handed sail.  He came over on Friday after work and stayed through till Sunday to celebrate Father’s Day with John. We had such a wonderful time together and we thank him so much for joining us at this beautiful spot.

The weather was a little unsettled on Monday, so we just stayed put in our anchorage, finally leaving yesterday, Tuesday the 20th for a visit to Tilghman Island. Tilghman is a tiny island joined to the mainland by a bascule bridge over Knapp’s Narrows, a little inlet that separates the two. The bridge here is said to be the busiest in the nation and I believe it. It opens on demand for boats to pass through, and there are a lot of boats passing by every day! It seems that the bridge no sooner gets closed than it opens again.

IMG_9348That’s AfterMath docked at Knapp’s Narrows Marina, Tilghman Island, MDIMG_9351These signs that show the boats of Tilghman Island line the streets.  People sponsor a boat to support the youth association and the museum.IMG_9353IMG_9355Tilghman Island Country Store is one of the few businesses on the island, and it has great ice cream!IMG_9356A park in town.IMG_9361A view from lunchIMG_9362One of the never ending bridge openings at Knapp’s Narrows.  Crabbing is big business here and crab boats are constantly heading in and out.IMG_9371Sunset is different here, but gorgeous.

We are now docked at Knapp’s Narrows Marina, right near the busy bridge. The marina here has a pool, for which I am very happy! I haven’t been able to be in the water for a while. The southern part of the Chesapeake has a lot of stinging nettles, which are little jelly fish, and I have really missed swimming and floating. While the island does not have any tourist traps or entertainment, it is charming in its own way. There is a general store a little way down the road, a gas station that sells just about anything you can think of, some restaurants that serve very fresh seafood, boat traffic going by, crabbers leaving and returning with their catch, and, especially that pool! So, although we planned to stay here just one night, we decided to stay an extra day. Tomorrow we will go back to St. Michaels and stay at an anchorage on the marina side.

We are finding our life on AfterMath to be relaxing now, just as we hoped for. In a week we will be at Jeff’s house and have time with our family. We are anxious to see all of them, of course!  Our summer is going just as we expected and all is well in our world.

Here is where we are today:



Tangier Island (June 10, 2017)

Tangier Island (June 10, 2017)


I don’t know when it was that I first heard about Tangier Island, but I know it was a long time ago. As you may have realized by now, remote places fascinate us and Tangier Island fit the bill! The Chesapeake Bay is contained to the east by what is called the Eastern Shore; to the west of this shore, in the middle of the bay, is the small island known as Tangier. It is only accessible by boat or by small airplane and it has remained a world to itself. For me, visiting this island was a bucket list item and I couldn’t have been more excited to get there.

IMG_9062Captain Mark Crockett.  Crockett is one of the three most common names on Tangier.  The others are Pruitt and Parks.IMG_9065Plenty of colorful lifejackets aboard the Joyce Marie Ferry to Tangier

After much research, John decided that taking AfterMath to Tangier could be difficult. The tides, the current, the lack of anchorages, and the small marina there all made the trip sound riskier than we liked, so we docked at a quaint little marina in Onancock (pronounced oh-NAN-cock, more to come on this town in another post) and found a small ferry at the same marina that made the trip to Tangier every day except Monday. The ferry is really just a crabbing vessel that has been converted to take passengers on the one-hour trip to the island. It is run by Captain Mark Crockett, who has lived his whole life on Tangier. He comes to the Onancock Wharf at 8:00 each morning makes a trip back to Tangier at 10:00 AM, returns passengers back to the mainland at 3:30, and then he heads back to Tangier again for the night at 5:00. Captain Mark was a very friendly man who ran a punctual and comfortable boat service. There are bigger ferries from other towns going to Tangier, but we were happy to be riding on this small vessel that made us feel part of the town before we even arrived.

IMG_9070Crab shacks in all states of repair line the harbor at Tangier.IMG_9075IMG_9077IMG_9081IMG_9085IMG_9091IMG_9074IMG_9093IMG_9097At the docks, this young man was happy to show off his catch of the dayIMG_9098IMG_9108IMG_9110

Tangier Island has historically depended on its watermen. Crabs, oysters and fish have always been the main source of income, especially the crabs. The island is known as the soft shell crab capital of the U.S. and as soon as our ferry neared the island we saw a multitude of crab shacks on posts out on the water. In these shacks the crabbers keep their freshly caught crabs in large saltwater basins where they are watched over until they shed their hard shells. As soon as their shells are shed, the crabs are removed and packed up to be shipped to New York and other large cities throughout the states.

IMG_9115Milton Parks, at 86, is quite the legend.  He owns the marina and generally entertains everyone he meets.IMG_9126IMG_9128IMG_9133The walk around town brought us past some lovely houses and beautiful gardens.IMG_9138The most common mode of transportation on Tangier is the golf cart.  Bridges just aren’t wide enough for cars and it’s a very small town!IMG_9139IMG_9142IMG_9146A bed and breakfast on Tangier.IMG_9149IMG_9154IMG_9160It seems that everyone drops their shoes off on the path to the beach.  IMG_9155IMG_9158IMG_9165IMG_9167IMG_9169The maximum elevation of the island is 4 feet.  This is how many residents keep their vehicles just a little bit higher.IMG_9170The local fire departmentIMG_9171Many homes have graveyards in their front yard.  This is not being done anymore, but lots remain on Tangier.IMG_9174IMG_9180Tangier’s museumIMG_9185IMG_9189There seems to be an abundance of graveyards on Tangier.  This one is next to the Methodist Church.  Many graveyards have washed away as the island has shrunk over the years.IMG_9190IMG_9192The island’s medical center.  Two nurses live on the island and a doctor comes in once a week.IMG_9194Boats bring mail in each day.  There is no mail delivery, though.  Residents must head to the post office to get their mail.

Another interesting characteristic about Tangier Island is the language of the residents. Because almost everyone on the island is a life long resident, descended from English settlers almost 400 years ago, the dialect has remained unique and charming. It is hard to explain, but, to me, it sounded somewhere between a southern accent with an Irish tone but it is described to be more Elizabethan than anything else.

IMG_9196The Methodist ChurchIMG_9197

Tangier is an island that is strongly based on religion. There are two churches in town, one Methodist and one non-denominational Christian church. Most businesses are closed on Sunday and there is no alcohol sold on the island ever.

Unfortunately, Tangier Island is shrinking. It is shrinking in economy, population, and physical size. The economy is shrinking because of regulations placed on the crabbing industry by our government. Watermen have had five months of crabbing removed from their season, and, while the cost of gasoline, maintenance, and crew has risen, the price paid for crabs has remained stable over the years. This means that many of the watermen are giving up their businesses and are becoming tugboat crew on the Chesapeake Bay. Islanders are trying to improve their tourist industry by adding little gift shops, but there are only a couple of restaurants on shore and only two were opened yesterday, Sunday, when we visited.

IMG_9147The white building on the left is the K-12 school.  All of the teachers are life long residents.  They go to college and come back to teach here.

There is only one school on Tangier and it houses grades K – 12. On average, eight or less students are in each grade. Every grade does have its own teacher, though, and high school students are provided with teachers for each subject as well as the opportunity to take distance-learning classes. The boys of the graduating class traditionally went on to work with their fathers on the water, but in the past few years they have, instead, joined the military or gone on to college, most never returning to live on Tangier. That fact and the fact that the island is physically shrinking due to erosion and literally sinking land, has brought the population down from 727 residents in 2010 to about 450 this year. It is expected that Tangier Island will completely disappear in the next 30 years if something is not done to stop the loss of acreage.

IMG_9209Heading back to the dock.IMG_9211Our ferry, the Joyce Marie.

So, this trip to this beautiful, quirky, friendly island with the proud, friendly people who live there was pure joy for me. We left the dock in the morning, took a $5 a person golf cart “historical tour” that encircled the whole island in 15 minutes, had delicious crab cake sandwiches at Lorraine’s for lunch, walked to the marina to meet Milton Parks, an 86 year old legend who owns the marina there and who entertains without even trying, walked to the beach, walked the one and one-half mile circle of the island, were stopped by some local residents just to chat and hear about where we were from, checked out the museum and watched its video, went in to see the gorgeous historic Methodist Church there, and returned in time to get back on the Joyce Marie that brought us back to Onancock. This was a day I will always remember. It is probable that this island will disappear in our lifetime. It was a glorious way to spend a day and it reminded us again to live our lives when we can. Tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Making our way to the Chesapeake Bay (May 24th – June 8th, 2017)

Making our way to the Chesapeake Bay (May 24th – June 8th, 2017)

For the past couple of weeks we have been on the run! Until a couple of days ago pretty much every day has been a long travel day. Some days we have traveled as many as eleven hours! But now we are slowing down again, taking some time to relax and enjoy the scenery and the culture. We are finally “cruising” again.

We left our anchorage early on the 24th and traveled to Port Royal Landing Marina near Beaufort, SC. It was a terrible day as far as weather was concerned. When we arrived at the marina it was raining sideways and the wind was blowing so hard that it blew a huge sign off its post, breaking it into three sharp pieces, and nearly impaling John as we tied up. We had to leave the stabilizers on at the dock because the waves were bouncing us around so much. Finally the wind subsided and we had a comfortable night at least.

IMG_6651Enjoying what seemed to be an airshow just for us along the ICWIMG_6667IMG_6682IMG_8854The beautiful scenery along the waterway.

The next day we traveled along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) to the lovely Church Street anchorage in South Carolina. As always, the ICW continues to be lovely and fascinating. On this day, we were entertained by some fighter jets, the F22 Raptors. They flew in large circles overhead as we traveled the otherwise uninhabited and gorgeous river of the waterway. We continued our long days on the 26th to another anchorage where we were the only boaters to be found, the Awendaw anchorage in South Carolina.

IMG_8868AfterMath docked next to the restaurant at Wacca Wache MarinaIMG_8869This gentleman was a great entertainer.IMG_8870IMG_8873Tiffany was a lot of fun!IMG_8874Our view from AfterMath of the restaurant.

Beginning to feel as though we lost the fun of experiencing new places due to our long, ten and eleven hour trips, we happened upon Wacca Wache Marina in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. There we found again the peace and relaxation that cruising is meant to bring. A tiny marina with a cute little restaurant right on the ICW, we were helped to dock by a friendly staff in a cedar lined inlet that was just what we needed. We went to the restaurant, right next to AfterMath, and were told we would have a 20 minute wait, but that we could go sit on our boat and they would call us when they were ready. A lovely lady named Tiffany, who was also a teacher in her past, served our dinner and we had so much fun bantering with her and enjoying the life we love so much.

IMG_8879Every day brings new and changing scenery.  It’s what makes the waterway so much fun.
IMG_8895IMG_8897The homes along the ICW vary from tiny to huge.IMG_8898IMG_8899IMG_8905IMG_8907The only pirates we have seen in the past two years have been aboard these friendly looking ships.IMG_8909It was Memorial Day weekend and everyone was out to enjoy the water.IMG_8912


Recharged after our night at Wacca Wache Marina, we excitedly traveled through the busy waterway and on to Southport, North Carolina. Besides changing states, we especially looked forward to meeting up with our good friends, Vera and Rolf Redin and Jan Kirk. We had seen them all a couple of weeks earlier for Don Kirk’s memorial service in Bethel, CT, but now it was time to see them at their home. Vera and Rolf had us all at their house for a wonderful cookout for Monday, which was Memorial Day, and the next day the five of us gathered on AfterMath for some fresh caught shrimp before heading out to a fun dinner together at Fishy Fishy, a restaurant in Southport. As always, seeing friends along the way is a highlight of this vagabond life we lead, and seeing our friends of more than 40 years along the way was the best imaginable.

IMG_8916A tiny island with a flag, a fake palm tree, and a parking meter.  The crazy ICW!IMG_6691

IMG_6694The retired tanks turned target practice in Camp LejeuneIMG_6695IMG_6697

We had some work done on AfterMath in Southport, as we had a leaking impeller housing (don’t worry, I don’t know what that means either), and then set out for one of John’s favorite anchorages, which is near Camp Lejeune. In the past there have been a lot of helicopters flying around that anchorage, but we really didn’t see too many the day we arrived. There are, however, some pretty interesting tanks and military vehicles on the grounds of the camp, and we passed them the following day. I commented to John that they looked pretty disintegrated, but he thought they might have been used for target practice. With a further look at the pictures, I found he was right. They are so full of bullet holes that they look like lace!

IMG_8928Our beautiful, calm anchorage for the night.IMG_6701

On June 3rd we once again arrived at an anchorage where we were the only boat around. It was a long and winding path to get in, but it was absolutely gorgeous. In the morning, the water looked like glass, with perfect reflections and we hated to pull anchor. Outside the anchorage there stood a sailboat in the mist. From our perspective it seemed that the boat was floating in air. There was no distinction between water and sky. I wished I had stopped and asked him for his email address so I could have sent him his picture; sail boaters love pictures of their boats.


The next day brought us down the Pungo – Alligator River Canal, a wonderful stretch of the waterway through beautiful forests and flatlands. In the evening we arrived at the Alligator River Marina, a marina we had stopped at several years ago with Jeff’s boat. We spent the night there before crossing the Albemarle Sound. Years ago this sound was a big deal to me. I would put a patch on and hope for calm seas and light winds. This time we both said to each other, “It’s not the Mona Passage!” It’s funny how your perspective changes.

IMG_8937Coinjock MarinaIMG_8939

Monday night was spent in Coinjock, NC. Coinjock is a eclectic place that is loved by cruisers. It is an extremely helpful marina, very dog friendly, and has a cute little store and a nice restaurant that is famous for its prime rib. We decided to try out the roast beef that night and we were not disappointed. You can get the 16 ounce or 32 ounce cuts; we both chose the 16-ounce and brought leftovers home for the next day. The beef was great, but equally wonderful were the homemade potato chips and ranch dressing they serve while you are waiting for your dinner. I probably could have made a meal out of them!

IMG_8944IMG_8949Enjoying the park at the Atlantic Yacht BasinIMG_8983IMG_8994-2

You never know what you may find along the way.  Here, right next to our boat at the park,  we found a Hump Day Food Truck Day in Chesapeake, VA.

IMG_8998-2IMG_9005-2The fireboat bringing Chessie, a mascot bear, to the food fest.IMG_9010-2IMG_9014-2

On June 6th, we made our way to our first stop in Virginia. We arrived at the Atlantic Yacht Basin Marina where we bought diesel fuel to last us through our summer cruise on the Chesapeake Bay. Interestingly, there we found a couple of brokers who knew our boat before it was AfterMath. They had listed it for the previous owners and recognized it immediately. It was fun to talk to the men and tell them about our great adventures so far.   We stayed at the marina that night, but the next day, as the weather looked dreary, we moved across the river to the free dock at the lovely park there. I was so happy to get off and check out the park and then to take Kirby for a nice long walk in the woods yesterday afternoon. I kept thinking how the trees have changed throughout our voyage. We have been from Connecticut, to Canada, to Grenada and now up the ICW. We’ve moved from deciduous trees to pine forests, to palm trees and back to pine trees. Anyway, it was a lovely to walk in the perfectly maintained park along the water where magnolia trees grew and bloomed wildly and fragrantly, and the pine trees grew tall and green.

IMG_9018This is a sign at the one lock we needed to pass through after leaving Coinjock.  It raises you only four feet but it was the slowest lock we have ever experienced.  We were sure that the 60 foot ones in Canada took far less time.IMG_6715Norfolk, VA is always a fascinating place to travel through.  Boats of every kind are there.  This year we went through as they were preparing for a Harbor Fest.IMG_6718IMG_6724IMG_6734IMG_6743

IMG_6750IMG_6752Of course, we always love the many kinds of aircraft we see as well.IMG_6760The Coast Guard Eagle – a treat to see.IMG_9027We found ourselves anchored right in the middle of a sailboat race!

Today, June 8th, we continued up the ICW through Norfolk, VA. Norfolk is always fun and interesting to see. Lots of ships, busy air traffic, and the city make the trip fun. It is so amazing how much of America you can see just on this waterway along the coast. The scenery is always changing. Tonight we find ourselves in an anchorage that is frequented by helicopters, airplanes, and a sailboat race. Today we passed by Navy ships and tall ships as they prepare for the Norfolk Harbor Fest. Tomorrow we enter the Chesapeake Bay, our goal for the summer. We left Grenada on October 30th and have traveled 2974 nautical miles, or 3422 statute miles, since that time. Our days are filled with beauty and variety, and that is wonderful. We do miss some important things, like our granddaughter’s very first dance recital, which is breaking my heart (break a leg, Madison, we love you so much). Life is a trade off though and, all in all, I will never regret taking this trip of a lifetime.

Here is where we are today: