The same couple with whom we went to the Virgin Islands years ago gave up their sailboat in favor of a pleasure trawler.
They grew up in Annapolis, Md., and until recently always had access to a sailboat. Until five years ago, they always owned a sailboat, but they came to the realization that although it is enjoyable work, sailing is work all the same. A trawler is not as wind friendly or as good looking, but it is a utilitarian boat. It is powered by a larger gasoline engine than a sailboat. It thus does not require as much work by the crew to sail along. Of course, there is always maintenance to be done on any boat.
They invited us to join them for a regatta in the Chesapeake Bay, and we were quick to clear our calendars for such an event. John and Rose kept their boat in a sheltered spot at the east end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. We met them at their marina along with another couple who were going to join us for the cruise. Along with them we enjoyed a Chesapeake Bay seafood dinner of scallops and rockfish. The Atlantic Blue Crabs would come later.
As we headed south the next morning, here and there one or two other boats would join our flotilla. The entire event was sponsored by a couple of yacht clubs that provided the itinerary and organization. This mixed bag of people and boats was a fun experience to be a part of because of the variety of activities it made available. Every night we rendezvoused and rafted up for a cocktail party or other social event. During the days there were races among the sailboats. The several power vessels like ours provided the audience.
One of the entertaining events was "Hide and Seek," in which each of the mother boats launched a dingy to try to find five different boats hidden in the inlets of the bay where we were to spend that night. Playing cards provided by the Regatta Committee were handed off the hidden boats to all who found them. Not all of the hidden boats were found by all of the participants. The next morning one of the members of the sponsoring yacht club, who had a house on the banks of the bay, provided a lavish brunch around their swimming pool. Prizes were distributed there for the hide-and-seek game of the evening before.
We were cruising along the western shore for the most part, and at this point the regatta was over. We four and our traveling companions in another boat broke off from the fleet and sailed for the south. We visited towns on the Virginia Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake. Our favorite may have been Onancock. Walking about there, we came upon a handsome historic house museum, Ker Place. They had just closed for the day but being the friendly people of the Eastern Shore, they offered to give us a private tour. We learned about the customs, history and 18th-century architecture of the area. Walking back to the boat, we happened on members of the flotilla and joined them for another Chesapeake Bay seafood dinner.
As we sailed along, we saw many osprey or sea eagles. They build nests on abandoned directional buoys. The nests were substantial, made of twigs and sticks. Sometimes there were babies in them. Unlike other times we had been on the Bay, it seemed there were no jellyfish in the water. Usually the jellyfish increase in numbers when the water becomes more saline. They decrease after a heavy, prolonged rain. Fortunately for us, that was not a factor. We noticed that the Bay was much cleaner than the last time we had sailed there. Pennsylvania had improved flood control along the Susquehanna River, which is the source of most of the water in the Chesapeake.
Stopping along the way at other Eastern Shore towns, eating seafood at every opportunity, we made our way back to the Marina we started from. That night we had the ultimate dinner of succulent, freshly caught Atlantic Blue Crabs, the pride of the Chesapeake Bay. A fitting ending to our short leave from wonderful Ohio.