best sail on a cruise - sailing from East Bluff Bay across Pamlico Sound to Ocracoke on a sunny day with wind out of the southwest. Perfect!
favorite gift of a tee-shirt - a bright red NOLA Crawfish King shirt from my friend Shaggy (I suppose he has a real name but I don't know it) as he came through town for the annual Bayou Bugaloo on the Elizabeth River waterfront (I'm wearing it in the last photo of this post)
best glass of iced tea - sitting on the porch at Rob Templeton's shop on Silver Lake in Ocracoke, sipping iced tea and talking about books, boats and sailing.
best day to have a shallow draft - sliding over the shallows of Cedar Island Straits on our way from Tangier Island to the Little Annemessex, seeing the crabs look up at me from the eel grass in very, very shallow water
worst sight at a boat ramp - two huge concrete blogs, later to be adorned with a "ramp closed until further notice" sign at my favorite launching spot on the Eastern branch of the Elizabeth River
biggest storm - a vicious downpour and hours of lightning as a cool front meant hot moist air while anchored in LaTrappe Creek off the Choptank River, humid air meeting cold air, it was raining inside the boom tent
best pieces of old boats as art - rudders of old wooden boats, faded and cracked by the sun, they were beautiful as they leaned against a shed at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels
most unwelcome sound - the clanking sound of my waterproof camera, the trust Pentax Option 90-W, as it hit the outboard and fell through the well into the Pasquotank River tacking up to Elizabeth River on the final day of the spring cruise
worst day of navigation - day five of the fall sail on Chesapeake Bay where I started the day following the channel into Dogwood Harbor instead of Knapp Narrows on Tilghman Island, then finished the day thinking I was anchoring in Dividing Creek off the Wye River when the creek was a mile or so upriver. D'oh!
most live creatures delivered in a box - 300 crawfish from Louisiana Crawfish Company for the neighborhood spring boil
best modification to Spartina - adding a tube cleat to the foredeck as a downhaul for the mainsail, something Stuart of Dabbler Sails had told me I needed but it took me a full year to believe him
favorite classic workboat - a skipjack tied up on the working waterfront at Deal Island on the first day of the fall cruise
most hidden anchorage - The Frying Pan off the Alligator River, the narrow entrance hidden by a row of cypress trees out in the water leads to a beautiful, protected anchorage back in the swamp
favorite dock - the one at Hospital Point on the Pasquotank River, where I started the spring cruise and also drop in on day sails to visit on the patio with my friend Millie
best post hurricane meal - steamed crab legs, scallops, shrimp and crawfish shared with a colleague at Pop's Raw Bar in Buxton after Hurricane Arthur passed over Pamlico Sound, pushing sound waters up on Hatteras Island
favorite fish caught at five knots - the small striper caught near the mouth of the Choptank River while surfing downwind on a blustery day, the water rushing by putting up more of a fight than the fish
saddest news on the waterfront - the Schooner Virginia being put up for sale
best anchorage - I could never find the name of the creek off of Leadenham Creek so I called it Paradise, a beautiful protected spot where I read, swam and napped on day eight of the fall cruise
best unexpected gift from a stranger - two bottles of Pellegrino sparkling water from a woman who stopped to take a look at Spartina in the basin at Cambridge where I had stopped for lunch on a hot day
best crab cake - Ruke's on Smith Island, they just don't get any better
best photographs of Spartina shot from a Herreshoff-designed boat - photographs shot by Roger from his Herreshoff ketch Gwylan during the Downrigging Festival in Chestertown
best time spent with a friend I had never met - a brisk walk through St. Michaels and then lunch on South Talbot Street with Kristen, after years of online discussions about equipment and adventures on the water we finally meet
stiffest wind and chop - trying to leave Edge Creek only to be hit by wind and waves rolling up the Choptank River and Broad Creek
best nap - after I decided not to sail into the wind and chop coming up from the Choptank River and Broad Creek, anchoring in Edge Creek for a breakfast of scrambled eggs and then a deep, deep sleep
favorite chef to have on board - Dave, also known as Baydog, right, and his brother Huck at the Downrigging Festival
most treasured gift from an artist - a hardback copy of Maverick Sea Fare from artist/writer Dee Carstarphen, one of a handful of first edition copies that she has held on to for decades
best dinner - with my daughters at Bertha's in the Fells Point area of Baltimore, followed by an O's game and Charm City doesn't get any better than that
best rule broken - Webb Chiles' rule that he will only sail with certain people. Webb waved the rule and took me out on GANNET for a sail, something I could never have imagined when I first read his books in the 1980s.
the thing that worries me the most - my penchant for shooting self-portraits in men's rooms while cruising
best day of December sailing - December 1 on the Pasquotank River, just a wonderful day to be on the water
Wow. Did all that really happen in one year?
Have a Happy New Years!!!