Crisfield MD to Solomons MD

Crisfield MD to Solomons MD

Crisfield Municipal Marina MD to Calvert Marina, Solomons MD


It was a rough day for more than six hours of two to three foot waves and 12-15 knots of wind. It was more monotonous than anything else, since it was too bouncy to read or work at the computer and too difficult getting around the boat to do anything.  We were not merely lunging, we were launching, air borne on waves. The momentum moved my body like a jockey crouching and hunching, with my stomach in a delayed-forward action.

Before we left this morning, we met a couple at Crisfield desirous to see the inside of our boat — two of several people we saw looking at our boat from the walkway.  We enjoyed talking for awhile which gave us a late start at 11:00. I enjoyed being leisurely since Tom had said that we didn’t have to be in a hurry, since dockhands would be available to help until seven or eight o’clock in the evening.

Unfortunately, the people at Solomons didn't get this memo and usually left at 4:30, so there would be no one to help us tie up. As we neared the area, the lady on the marina radio told Tom that we could go to a dock with a starboard tie on a floating dock. That spot required an electrical splitter, which we could get from her if we could make it by 5:15.  If not on time, we would have to go to another dock area and tie up to our port side with dock level fenders. Tom told me not to be anxious about a last minute notice to get fenders and lines set up. I told him not to worry that we might never find these places among the multitude of docking areas.

Suddenly taking priority over either of these potential problems, the auto pilot jammed as we came into port. Tom thought he had shut it off on the flybridge before he came down to the nav station inside. I said I didn't think it was off since I couldn’t turn the wheel.  It was stiff, he confirmed. Then the wheel made a horrible metal-masticating sound like the metal steering column was caught in a garbage disposal. "It’s not off on top", he said simply, leaving me standing there to watch everything swiftly come into a closer focus. He climbed back up to the fly bridge and finally after multiple efforts, the wheel turned smoothly again down below. 

Once Tom was back at the wheel, I went out and tried to set up the bow line. I found the secondary anchor had rattled loose and its ominous-looking, large, sharp, odd shaped parts projected maniacally at odd angles from the bow deck. The thick electric shore cord was caught up in it, as well as the sharp six-inch gaff hook for catching whales. I couldn't get through the tangle to deal with the bow line.  We were coming into the narrow, boat laden part of the port now and he needed to steer, but I bothered Tom anyway to move the heavy parts. Of course that meant I was responsible to steer to some unknown-where through the traffic jam.

At 5:05, Tom made a good approach to the “before 5:15” dock, but couldn’t get the stern to settle in next to the dock with the current pushing us away. Since we had the luxury of docking around the corner, Tom decided to do that. As he approached that side beautifully, the horrible metal-crunching sound started again, and I assumed he had lost the steering. I hoped he could stop. When we got “close enough” to the dock, I leapt off, propelled by adrenaline, while holding the spring line from mid-boat. I tied it around the piling and cleated it. Then I hustled and reached for the bow line just beyond my reach, jumped repeatedly, and finally caught hold of it.  Tom had secured the stern line and helped me get the bow line settled. The fenders were well-positioned, so we were in — just that easily as it turned out.  Why do I feel anxious? 

It was 96 degrees in the cabin, so I was grateful that again we would have AC in a marina. Yet, I think I might have endured the anchorage without a need to dock.

This marina is an extensive place with major areas of slips and docks.  We were on the far side away from the town and all the main restaurants and activity associated with the waterfront town loosely called “Solomons”.

We looked over to people in little groups either walking fully clothed in the water or sitting and drifting in the water crossing to go to dinner. With the camera zoom I could just make out the dinghies that supported them. 

We walked to the little restaurant closest to us, only a half mile away. Some old guy was helpful to direct us to the place. He said he had never eaten there because he lived close by, so he couldn’t vouch for it. Thinking about the logic, I couldn’t envision him going to a restaurant because it was far away either. We were startled that several other old men walking around looked like his triplets or part of some larger brood. Tom got a complex about wearing a similar beard and looking like a relative.  I told him he walked differently.

The menu seemed strange to us with “Half Fried Chicken” which gave us the half-baked idea that you might have to pay extra to have it completely fried, or perhaps to have the other half broiled. There seemed to be endless possibilities about what was meant, and we amused ourselves with those considerations. Next to that on the menu was “Half Jerk Chicken” perhaps serving teen-aged chickens, or ones even less well behaved than other chickens, which started up the conversation all over again. Those were the only choices for platters. Two of the sides were “Greens”, a Maryland name that defies further definition for some vegetable that happens to be green, and "Hobo beans” which conjured up the image of beans stored in the fuzzy dregs of a Hobo’s pants pocket before being cooked in a rusty pot. Then the reference to the bean-eating, rootin’-tootin’ around the campfire scene from “Blazing Saddles” also surfaced. Apparently we were tired and hungry and had defaulted to infantile humor.

We decided to split a 9.5 oz hamburger with cheese and caramelized onions.  The mushrooms were from a can, so we passed on them (but they bothered to slice fresh potatoes and fry homemade potato chips). One of the other choices for toppings was Spam for $1.25, but we decided not to splurge on that.  A "secret sauce” accompanied many dishes, which piqued my interest but not enough to buy anything with it — especially if they thought Spam would go well on a huge hamburger or if they might have extra Spam to mix in a sauce.

The hamburger was quite good and certainly enough for the two of us.  We saw several tattooed diners sitting around and drinking beer who proved capable of devouring the whole hamburger, with extra spam, without help, enjoying the evening out with their biker boyfriends, who no doubt consumed two. Gotta know your target consumer.

Side note: I felt I had given Spam a bad rap here based on childhood memories of my encounter with the substance. My family had always referred to it as “Mystery Meat” from the time we looked and poked at it on the plate, so I looked it up for good news on the stuff.

According to Wikipedia:

“By the early 1970s the name "Spam" became a genericized trademark, used to describe any canned meat product containing pork, such as pork luncheon meat. With expansion in communications technology, it became the subject of urban legends about mystery meat and other appearances in pop culture. Most notable was a Monty Python sketch which led to its name being borrowed for unsolicited electronic messages, especially spam email.

Hormel claims that the meaning of the name "is known by only a small circle of former Hormel Foods executives", but popular beliefs are that the name is an abbreviation of "spiced ham", "spare meat", or "shoulders of pork and ham". Another popular explanation is that Spam is an acronym standing for "Specially Processed American Meat" or "Specially Processed Army Meat".

The difficulty of delivering fresh meat to the front during World War II saw Spam become a ubiquitous part of the U.S. soldier's diet. It became variously referred to as "ham that didn't pass its physical", "meatloaf without basic training", and "Special Army Meat". Over 150 million pounds of Spam were purchased by the military before the war's end.

The most interesting item to me on Wikipedia was :In 1963, Spam was introduced to various private and public schools in South Florida as cheap food and even for art sculptures. Due to the success of the introduction, Hormel Foods also introduced school "color-themed" spam, the first being a blue and green variety which is still traditionally used in some private schools of South Florida.

I remember seeing Spam sculptures, but it was at the mention of blue and green Spam that I re-rejected Spam. I have never liked meat that was rigor-mortis grey and have been highly suspicious of iridescent meat, and I am now adding meat that is blue and green or aqua to the “Avoid” list.

Spam is inexpensive.

I found these excerpts from the Spam website:

In 2012, the eight billionth can of Spam was sold. There are 12.8 cans of SPAM products eaten every second.

In Southeast Asia, a SPAM® brand gift pack would be considered an appropriate wedding gift. SPAM® products are regarded as luxury goods, with gift packs selling for as much as $45 U.S. So if you travel there for business, leave the cigars at home and pick up this delicacy for an introductory exchange.

The Philippines’ SPAM® brand craze is so strong that it inspired a restaurant based entirely around the brand. The SPAM JAM® restaurant in the Philippines is a magical place where you can order SPAMBURGER™ hamburgers, SPAM® Spaghetti, SPAM® and Egg, and a multitude of other SPAM® dishes.

In Hawaii, SPAM® products are practically the national food. It’s served everywhere from grocery store delis to fancy restaurants. Even McDonald’s features several SPAM® items on their breakfast menu. This fanaticism fuels sales of 7 million cans of SPAM® products per year in the Aloha State.

Guam may be a tiny island, but its appetite for SPAM® products is humongous. How humongous, you say? The average annual SPAM® product consumption comes out to 16 cans per person. Guam has also been the site of SPAM® Games, where locals sample and honor the best original SPAM® recipes.

So OK, back to my journal.

There was a pretty “heavenly-rays” sunset on the way back as we returned to the boat before the predicted storm, which never occurred. 

At our dock there was much to look at.  I thought that the old building next to us was beautiful as a typical, traditional dock house.  

Also, if you wanted to see a real lighthouse up close, this was a great opportunity at the Solomons Maritime Museum.

The lady kayakers were out enjoying the evening. One gal liked to color-coordinate with her boat.

The marina info leaflet was quite interesting about this site, as it had been the Naval Amphibious Training Base for attacks in World War II. Then this ship came in and parked on the pier next to us.

Again, we "have WiFi”, but I can’t download the news or send anything out.  Tom would have to explain that technical difference.

That night, the boat that was 3 slips over from to us had a huge screen TV that I could easily watch, but our AC drowned out the sound. Instead, as usual, I went out to look at the lights on the opposite shore, the stars, and the mystery of the water. The peace of the world confirmed, it was time to turn in.

I was up at 5:15 on our last morning of this trip, having been awake for an hour or two.  Just as I was about to go back to bed, Tom got up, so I sat and had tea with him. A succession of Deadrise boats headed out early into the pink dawn. 

I spotted a group of 30 Canada geese, so I scrambled around the docks to watch as they glided about in harmony passing quietly under the harbor docks and through strips of sunlight that transformed their coloring. 

As soon as they got to the end dock, they just turned around and went the other way.  Maybe their “tour of the harbor” was part of their trip agenda at Solomons or part of their daily exercise swim. None seemed concerned or squawked that they had gone all that way just to get to a dead end; so many little things differentiate another species. They were joined by a couple of ducks that had been waiting on the bank for their return trip.

Back at the boat, there were some household duties. To empty the garbage required a walk to the only receptacle which was on the other far side of the marina.


I passed this odd little house that posed many questions.  Why was this door built up there without steps and how do you jump up and unlock the door at that height? Why plant a garden right there to walk out onto? Pretty garden though. As I walked around, there was another door with steps on the next side, just 6 feet away, so maybe this nice door was just the fire exit? I now wonder if the back wall had a door with a tiny walkway connecting to the large building about 2 feet away with its row of windows facing it or a door on the other side for jumping out to the parking lot, or if the architect considered a window. Maybe it is a 3-Dimensional “Plan ahead” sign.

It was interesting to see a permanently braced-open door and updated security lights to guide someone along a rotted deck at night. It looked like a series of tiny “apartments" attached to the huge building used for boat repair. I wondered who got the space with the new building just in front of its window. Their buildings are in disrepair, but they probably do impeccable work on the boats. The place has atmosphere reflecting decades of history.

The enclosed white picket fence will add to the renovated-cottage look some day. Someone is working on that unit with new siding, plants and drapes evincing the human spirit yearning for a “home”. Who knows, maybe it will be a new trendy area now that “tiny houses” are becoming so popular.

While I was wandering about, Tom fixed and tested the steering wheel and autopilot and declared it better than ever. It turned out that parts of the whole structure holding the autopilot had become unbolted, probably over some period of time.  The “Hampton Wave” as I referred to it, might have been the initial culprit, and subsequent shuddering traumas had given it a real disconnect. I had empathy, having felt my body was a little out of sync from that day. 

Boat reliability was important as this would be our longest day of this trip in our final push to get home. Tom was ready to go when I got back and we left at 8:45 A.M., a new Kathy and Tom record! So that is what it takes to get out early, and in this case, even before the military.

Many boats went to the south, but we headed out on the northern route into this lonesome scene, and it remained a solitary adventure most of the day.