The Motor Vessel "Once Around"

The Motor Vessel "Once Around"
The Motor Vessel "Once Around" in the Florida Keys

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Simple Twist of Fate

So… it has been awhile…but you will understand soon...
Here's a hint.

Moonstruck finally showed up in Deltaville and our next stop was a little further up the Rappahannock River to the small town of Urbanna, where we spent a couple of days.  The town is small.  But, it did merit a house of the day:
Due to some bad weather expected out on the bay, we decided to just move across the river and up the Corrotoman River to a very nice and well protected anchorage.  We enjoyed a great dinghy ride that evening exploring the Corrotoman and a quiet night on board Once Around.  Over popcorn and a movie, we and Moonstruck made the decision to go to Washington DC next, which is about a hundred miles up the Potomac River off the Chesapeake.  Neither of us had ventured that far off the beaten path as we transited the Bay during our Great Loop trip…so what the heck.  Seemed like a good idea.
Once Around at anchor on the Corrottoman River
The trip to DC from our anchorage took two long cruise days of about 70 miles each. 
George and Martha's place...Mount Vernon from the Potomac River

Fort Washington

The Capitol Building as we approach DC
Reagan National Airport
We managed to get slips at the Capital Yacht Club, which is within walking distance to the museums and monuments.  But first, the crews of Moonstruck and Once Around enjoyed a day at the National's ball park.
And a beautiful day at that!
During the cruise up river, I had called the office at home and talked to daughter Dina, who (as fate would have it) just happened to be going to DC on business that same weekend.  This immediately set me to thinking...and about ten minutes after hanging up with her, I ran my crazy idea by the Admiral, “Wouldn’t it be cool if she could bring the grandkids here and leave them to spend a couple of weeks with us?”  
Long story short, our grandkids, Ben (8) and Lia (6) arrived in DC with their mom on Sunday, a week ago.  The five of us spent Monday going through the American History and Natural History Museums, visiting the Lincoln Memorial and doing a drive by of the White House in the pouring rain. 
Ben, Lia, Grandma and Nono with the Washington Monument as a backdrop
Dina had business meetings the rest of the week, so we waved good bye and Once Around with its two additional new crew members, headed down the Potomac and up the Bay to the Solomon Islands, Maryland, a boating Mecca on the Bay. 
Lia and Ben on the flly bridge
Princess Lia with a Chesapeake Lighthouse in the background
We stayed at Spring Cove Marina, which was top notch and included a huge swimming pool, a hit with Ben and Lia and just fine with us too, given the heat and humidity.  We took several dinghy rides exploring the creeks around the Solomons.  Lia made one of the trips in Moonstruck’s dinghy which of course Doug let her drive.  With Ben driving ours it became “a race”, of course!  Hard to do when you are in a 5 MPH zone, but these two are as competitive as any two siblings anywhere, and they managed to both feel they had won the race!
Ben at the helm of our dink!
With Lia on the Moonstruck dinghy...let the competition begin!
At the Calvert Museum in Solomons
Ben loves to fish and reeled in a few small stripers and about a dozen Croakers from Once Around.  I swear, this kid was totally focused on fishing for 2 or 3 days.  I think we spent $60 on bait and never landed a keeper, but it was worth it! 
Ben, the fisherman
Too small to keep...the fish, not the kid!
Ya just gotta learn to relax, Buddy!
Glen, a real nice local boater on the docks, took a liking to Ben and showed up on day 3 or 4 with some string, tie wire, chicken necks and a net.  He strategically placed about six of these “traps” over about 150’ of span of dock, and taught Ben how to tell when a crab had latched on to the chicken neck, drag him up slowly and net him.  Ben must have travelled umpteen miles walking up and down those docks and tending the crab lines (he slept real well that night!).  He also managed to land about a dozen blue crabs!  Ben and Glen deposited each crab into “the bucket of doom” as they called it, and lowered the bucket back into the water to keep them alive and fresh.

Ben shows off his latest crab
I was not entirely sure my grandson hadn’t just provided Glen with a nice meal of crabs, but on the morning of our departure, Glen showed up with about half the catch already cooked.  Ben was overjoyed, and when we landed in Annapolis, invited Doug from Moonstruck over to help crack and clean the crabs…I think Doug might have even gotten a taste, but Ben and Lia ate most of it!
Four of us cleaned crab...two of (them) ate most of it!
Today we all went to the US Naval Academy and took a walking tour.  What a remarkable place.  We all agreed how good it was to see tax dollars actually spent on something as worthwhile as producing tomorrow’s leaders of our Navy and Marine Corp.  Tomorrow we hope to return to the Academy to visit the exhibit commemorating 200 years since the War of 1812.  Of course, it highlights the Navy’s involvement and will be a great prelude to our visit to our next stop, Baltimore.  You might recall that was where the Navy successfully defended Fort McHenry from the British during that war, inspiring Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner in celebration.
I guess I should mention the weather.  We’ve been dodging thunderstorms for weeks.  By dodging, I mean keeping off the Bay for days at a time due to the crazy systems coming through from the Gulf and the Midwest.  While in port we have witnessed several major thunderstorms and even rode out a tornado warning.  Today there were flash flood warning in Annapolis, and we were soaked when we returned to the boat from our tour.  But, we are careful boaters, (even more so with our grandkids aboard) so don’t worry about us.  When the going gets tough…we hide out and wait!  We’ve watched movies, played Scrabble, Old Maid and Too Many Monkeys, and thoroughly enjoyed our little crew.  The next several days look like they will be spectacular (weather wise).  And when it’s nice here, it’s real nice!  We hope to anchor out for a night or two and then wind up their visit with a stop in Baltimore.
Life is Good!

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