Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Sailing up the Chesapeake and urban exploration

 Our journey has led us north in the Chesapeake Bay where we have had a few days of amazing sailing!  We had a beautiful downwind sail with our twin headsails on our way to Annapolis, Maryland.

Check out this video for some sailing during the trip to Annapolis. 

Raising and dousing our spinnaker sail (called a “ballooneur” on the Amel boat) takes some work. Lana and Stu have it fairly dialed in at this point. Check out this Timelapse video to see the action. 

We are often up before the sun rises for these day sails. The first light can be just as breathtaking as the sunsets, out here on the water. 

The day before we set sail to Annapolis, we were in a town called Solomons at the mouth of the Potomac River. It had a wonderful art galley with a Makers Room which we spent a few hours in.  We made some awesome works of art. 

In Annapolis, we explored the US Naval Academy. This is where they have trained their Naval Officers for almost 200 years. We were tied to a mooring just off of the town and could hear “Taps” every morning at 6 am when the recruits would start their callisthenics.  The buildings were incredible and the public had amazing access to most of the campus. 

The Navy started buying Wright Flyers from Wilbur and Oroville in 1911, only a few years after they invented the first airplane.  This one was suspended on display in their massive lounge & mess hall. 

One of the Naval Academy Museum curators had a chihuahua named “Ziggy Rex”. He is an unofficial Navy mascot and was really into cuddles. 

We were lucky enough to spend the 4th of July in the Annapolis Harbour. The fireworks were spectacular!

Annapolis was very quaint and interesting, but we had heard that Washington DC was a “must-see”.  It did not disappoint!  There were so many amazing museums and sights to see. We packed it all in over 3 days.  First, we went to the International Spy Museum. It was fun, but also super educational and interesting.

Next, we began to explore the many incredible Smithsonian Museums - there were about 10!  This is the Smithsonian Institute Building in the middle of DC. Beautiful!

We also stumbled upon the NASA Headquarters Building. 

The Air & Space Museum was spectacular, with so many amazing displays and interactive exhibits.  We learned about black holes, space suits, Mars Rovers, and so much more. 

For the Trekkies, they had the original Enterprise prop from the 60’s TV Show “Star Trek”

The museum was home to the original Wright Brothers Flyer. Such a cool piece of history!

The Air & Space Museum also had a gigantic hangar full of historic aircraft and displays.  The Space Shuttle Discovery was a highlight, for sure. 

In other parts of the building, a huge number of remarkable planes were crammed into every nook and cranny (or hung from the ceiling!).

This X-1 airplane was piloted by Chuck Yeager and was the first to break the sound barrier in 1947. 

It was sobering to see such historically significant airplanes, and be reminded of the enormous destructive potential that they possess. The Enola Gay was the bomber that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945.

The next morning, we got an early start and walked around to see the sights around the National Mall and Reflecting Pool. The Washington Monument was huge and was the tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1888. 

The mornings were relatively cool in DC, so we took our time and explored the WWII memorial and other sights around the reflecting pool.

The Natural History Museum in DC was absolutely massive. It would take a week to explore every exhibit, but we managed to hit the highlights in over a few hours.  The dinosaur skeleton displays were unbelievably good. 

They had a full size model of a Megalodon hanging from the ceiling.  It was about 60 feet long. Bigger than our sailboat!

In the geology section of the museum, they had The Hope Diamond. It was enormous and is valued at over 250 million dollars. 

The Early Humans exhibit was really good. At one interactive display, you could find out what you’d look like as an early human- Micah looked the best of all of us. 

The Museum of American History included a great Pop Culture Exhibit with many props and details from our favourite shows. 

Back on the boat, we have lots of downtime as well.  The girls end up giving each other spa treatments occasionally.  Other popular pastimes include reading, playing games, cleaning, fixing things and watching shows together. 

Stu had a quick trip back to Canada to attend an in-person memorial of his dear friend Andrew. It was a bittersweet 36 hours, and it was amazing to share memories with all the people, in Canada, who meant the most to Andrew.

The girls stayed back in the US and got to visit with the new owners of Oyai for a couple of days.  They visited Assateague Island where wild horses run free.  Micah was in heaven. 

They also spent time at Dewey Beach and played carnival games and explored the busy waterfront. 

While exploring the areas around Annapolis, DC & Dewey Beach, we ended up renting a Tesla. We are converts to the electric vehicle after a week with this bad boy! During the charging cycles, we often did “Careoke” which passed the time quickly. 3 out of 4 family members got into it - watch the video to see which one wasn’t a big fan 😄

We are now planning to head to the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay and explore some of the cute, historic towns over there. Sadly, that is also where we will say goodbye to Oyai in a couple of weeks.  She has been so good to us and taken care of us so well.  We will spend a few days in Oxford, Maryland, packing up and cleaning the boat for her new owners Noel & Sue.  After that we plan to head north (on land!) to New York City and spend a week there.  Stay tuned for all of that action!

No comments:

Goodbye Oyai & Hello New York City!

After leaving Annapolis, we explored the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay for a couple of weeks.  We sailed to a quaint little town called St...