Sunday, June 18, 2017

6/15-6/18 To Solomons, Onancock and Tangier Island

6/15 We headed back down the Choptank and across the bay back to Solomons, MD.  We docked at Calverts Marina again after fueling up.  For all loopers, we have sad news to report.  The iconic, well worn Mercedes is no more.  As it turns out, we were one of the last to drive it.  It was a diesel with a glow plug.  The odometer showed over 222,000 miles but the odometer had been broken for some time.  Someone, not me, drove it over the speed hump at high speed and after that the Mercedes would only go in reverse.  As of our visit, they had purchased another old Mercedes.  This one is gasoline powered.  It was in the shop so we didn't get to drive it. 

In the afternoon, I explored the Calvert Marina property.  Calvert Marina is on the former Naval Amphibian Training Base from WWII.  At the point on the end of the property is this statue in tribute to Naval Watchmen.  There was a wonderful warm breeze and I laid out my beach towel and read under the trees. 

6/16 We headed south and back across the bay to Onancock, VA.  We had visited there last year on our loop and had enjoyed this little town so much, we planned to go back.  It was a beautiful cruising day.  The water was so flat on the bay that we could see crabs swimming along on the top of the water.  We also saw many fish splashing and some rays.  This is a beautiful sculpture on the waterfront in Onancock.

We felt welcomed back to this little artsy town.  On Saturday morning, I walked up to the farmers market.  I came back to the boat with homemade bagels and fermented sauerkraut with caraway seeds.   I love unusual items at these local markets.

Leaving from just 7 dock spaces down from us was the Tangier Island Ferry.  We opted to take the ferry out to visit Tangier Island.  Tangier Island is an island in the Chesapeake Bay.  It is a watermen community with about 500 year round residents.
The island was part of the travels of John Smith in the 1600's.  Almost everyone on the island is involved in crabbing or oystering.  The island is very low lying and has been eroding since the 1800's.  The island has a school for grades K-12 and this past year had 70 students.  The residents mostly use golf carts and bicycles to get around the island.  It has one grocery store, that has one brand of everything you can think you need.  For instance, they had Suave shampoo and conditioner.  The ferries bring special items from the mainland and our ferry captain brought a big cake for a celebration from the bakery in Onancock. 

As you approach Tangier Island, there are crab shanties surrounding the harbor.  Each watermen has a shanty where they keep their boat, crab traps, and crabs who will become soft shell crabs.  These shanties are very scenic.  In some of the pictures below, you can see that they have electricity and phone lines running out to the shanties.

Summer tourism supplements the crabbing industry.  Several ferries run from Maryland and Virginia shuttling mostly day tourists to the island; although there are two bed and breakfasts to accommodate overnight guests.  As we disembarked, there were several women waiting with elongated golf carts to take us on a 15 minute tour of the island.  It is a small island.  The one church and the school are the center of the activities for the islanders.  The shops and restaurants were being run by the women on the island and the men were on the water.  There was a group of teachers involving the children at the church with activities, like a parachute game.  Electricity and phone lines come underground to the island and some have satellite TV.  It seems that everyone works very hard but everyone we met seemed very content. 

We visited one of the restaurants for lunch.  I had a soft shell crab sandwich.  The crab was so fresh, I felt like it must have been caught just a few hours before.  It really was tasty. 
After lunch, we walked up to the ice cream store for dessert.  The small museum was very detailed.  It outlined the history of the island and the erosion.  It showed pictures of the island during Hurricane Sandy with all of the streets flooded.  There was a very good film about the people of the island and how they live as watermen.  It was a fine take in.   

I enjoyed this view from the marsh of the church steeple over the homes.
Here was a set of birdhouses that depicted the town. 
The afternoon thunderstorms threatened but the ferry picked us up just in time.  Fortunately, the rain had hit Onancock before we arrived back there.

Last year, Jay Davenport one of the Onancock Transient Hosts took us to church on Sunday.  We called him again and he had remembered us and followed our blog while we looped.   He was so nice to pick us up again this year and take us to Mass.  After Mass, he joined us for lunch at Janet's, a great breakfast and lunch spot in town.  Jay shared his sailing trips around the Chesapeake.  He was right when he said it was like spending time with an old friend.  What a nice man!

On the dock today, there was this unusual butterfly. 

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