The beginning of the end of the trip starts predawn in an empty
parking lot. The best $1.50 I spend on the trip is for a bus ride
down the shore to get my jeep and trailer. The bus driver
even makes a detour for an unscheduled stop to get me
closer to the marina. How nice!
The seasons had certainly changed
since I cast off from Cambridge weeks earlier.
Chestertown is till quiet, just SPARTINA,
the SULTANA and a few other boats in the marina.
I sleep aboard, enjoying the calm peaceful mornings.
After a day or two still just a few boats in the marina,
the SULTANA heading out for her daily sails
with groups of school children on board.
An early arrival in the MARYLAND DOVE,
just recently built and launch by
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
And then the KALMAR NYCKEL comes in.
Next is the PRIDE OF BALTIMORE, the crew waving from the decks.
Followed by the GODSPEED out of Jamestown.
And a night at the speakeasy called Zelda's,
with friends buying rounds of drinks.
I see my other friends there too.
Dawn comes with tall masts and flags snapping in the breeze.
The tall ships, including the LYNX, head out for passenger sails.
The Schooner Virginia is full of guests.
The MARYLAND DOVE too.
And the KALMAR NYCKEL.
Tall ships and a couple small boats too, it's a good turnout.
How does a retired two-star admiral
end up pouring Dark and Stormies
from the cockpit of SPARTINA?
And it does seem like a good idea
to fire a canon late at night.
Good wind every day as we sail with the tall ships.
And I see my friends again.
I get an unexpected question from a friend on the Schooner Virginia.
"Can we put some stuff on your boat?"
"Sure, why not" I say, not realizing the "stuff" was cases
of beer and bottles of rum.
And a boat built to get away from people becomes
the place for the crowd to hang out in the evenings.
Evening after evening.
Until the last round of
Dark and Stormies.
Haul out at dawn and head home.
The trip is done.