Wednesday, November 11, 2015

St. Michaels

St. Michaels.  What can I say?  Very disappointed that the MASCF was cancelled, but what can you do with strong winds, heavy rains, high tides and, oh yeah, a hurricane on the way.  Three of us showed up for festival, myself and two marsh cat guys - Pete and Kevin, both regulars on the Chesapeake floats.  By mid-afternoon on arrival day the event was cancelled.  Pete hauled his marsh cat but Kevin kept his in the water for some afternoon sailing.  Spartina was still in the water with the jeep and trailer 150 miles away in Cape Charles.  And the storm was coming.

Kristen, aka Kiwibird, was great.  She had enough on her hands with running the museum, trying to decide what to do with the small craft festival, concerns about protecting the museum grounds and their floating fleet of classic boats that would need to be secured for the storm.  But she showed up at the dock, gave me a hug and says "let's go" and I say "where?" and she says "lunch!"  And we sat and ate and talked, pausing now and then to listen to a group at a nearby table read aloud the weather warnings from their phones.  Back at the museum I spread out some gear to dry in the shelter of a porch, then began working the phone figuring out how to get to Cape Charles.  The museum crew was busy moving all their boats around the point to where they would be protected from the forecast winds and waves and I get a text from Kristen saying move Spartina around the point asap and they'll get her protected along with the museum's fleet.  I do so, tying up to starboard of the Patriot and Kristen comes down with two dock masters and they help me move over a couple of slips to even better protection.  I can't thank them enough for the assistance.

Spartina secured, I found a car service out of nearby Easton that can get me to Cape Charles then next day.  Not cheap, but that's life.  My wife had been offering to drive up from Chesapeake to get me, an eight hour round trip, and good friend Barry was checking to make sure I had a ride but no way was I going to have him spend 11 hours on the road to get me back to Cape Charles (Barry was plan "a" for getting back to Cape Charles in the pre-storm days, he was going to be there to enjoy the festival then drop me off in Cape Charles on his way home.  Great plan, don't you think, if not for the storm.)

Kristen checks in a few more times in the afternoon, asking if I need any help.  She finds me a dry spot to sleep, wishes me well and makes sure I have her phone number just in case I need anything else.  I enjoy dinner down on South Talbot Street with Kevin who came in off the water after a breezy sail, an enjoyable dinner where we talked of small boats, sailing trips and friends we have in common.

The next day was the pricey car ride south (pricey, yes, but when I think of all the trips I've made with no significant expenses, the offers of free launching ramps, free docking and free storage for the jeep and trailer while I'm gone for a couple of weeks, well I still come out ahead in the long run).  Dark clouds and rain, watching the hurricane on my phone headed for Hatteras and an email from the boss saying "how about heading to Hatteras."  Back up to St. Michaels with the jeep and trailer, a quick thank you and goodbye to Kristen and then a couple of museum guys help me work Spartina out from between the other boats.  I haul out Spartina and then unrig her in a pouring rain, then drive the four hours back home in even more rain.  Spartina was back in the garage well after dark and all I could do was spread the sails out to dry because I had to start packing to head to Hatteras the next morning.

It was an interesting couple of days after a fun and challenging sail up the Bay.  By the time I got back from Hatteras - the storm changed course and wind and waves were all that showed up in the Outer Banks - I could hardly remember the trip.  So glad to have the note book, the log and photographs.  It was a great trip.  Now it's time to start thinking about spring.

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