Hello fellow adventurers and virtual crew members!
Captain John Smith here reporting on the run to Annapolis and two days of shore excursions. The crew toured the US Naval Academy and the historic town of Annapolis.
I explored these waters back in June of 1608. I did not step foot ashore back then because I was still looking for that elusive Northwest Passage. The rivers in this area were short, and I heard rumors of a larger river north of here that could be the one. We went further north and did not spend much time here back then. The crew of the Discovery Barge did draw maps of the waterways we explored and these charts were used by future captains who settled in these parts. Check out the buoy for more information.
On Monday, September 21st, the crew headed North on the run up to Annapolis. The reach was much rougher than anticipated. The wind was out of the North/Northeast at about 13 mph. This made for 3-5 foot seas as the crew entered back into Chesapeake Bay. The crew navigated into the waves for about 6 hours before finally reaching calmer water in the mouth of the Severn River.
Upon entering the River, the crew was met with what looked to be a sailboat race about to get underway. There were 6 sailboats, all identical with about 6 crew members each. As they approached the Naval Academy, the crew encountered about 40 sailboats maneuvering around like ants at a picnic.
The crew managed to navigate through the madness and arrived at the Annapolis City Dock where the dock master directed them to tie up along the bulkhead on a stretch of water called Ego Alley, right in the heart of Historic Annapolis.
The crew was two boat lengths from the end of the Alley. The name comes from the idea that boat owners cruise up the waterway to be seen in their boat, then execute a u-turn and leave. The area is lined with willing folks watching the non-stop parade of boats up Ego Alley. A great place to people watch. It has been very entertaining.
On Tuesday, the crew walked over and toured the Naval Academy and Visitor Center. The tour started at 1130, so the tour guide took them over to the dining hall where they watched 1400 midshipman fall into formation and then march into the hall to eat while the band played Anchors Aweigh.
The chapel was the next big stop on the tour where the tour guide said that each Saturday they host 7 weddings year round. He also mentioned that there is a one year waiting list for the chapel.
The tour ended at the final resting place for John Paul Jones. He is famous for his fierce determination in battle and turning the phrase “I have not yet begun to fight” when the British asked him if he was surrendering the Bonhomme Richard.
What the skipper did not remember from his history lessons is that following the American victory for independence, John Paul Jones went to fight for Russia in the Turkish wars. Upon returning to France he died in 1792 at age 45 and was initially buried in Paris at the Saint Louis Cemetery. After the French Revolution the cemetery was forgotten and an apartment building was built over the grounds. By the early 1800’s, John Paul Jones was lost to history.
Theodore Roosevelt was wanting to build a world class Navy and wanted to use John Paul Jones as an example for future Navy Officers to follow. It took six years to locate his body. In 1905 he was removed from Paris under much pomp and circumstance. Then his body was escorted to the US with an escort of three ships. When close to the US, seven ships joined the parade. In 1906 his remains were re-interred in a special sarcophagus at the Naval Academy Chapel.
On Tuesday the crew strolled around the red lined brick streets of Annapolis taking in the history of the area. There is a Tavern across the road from where they are docked. George Washington actually had drinks in the Tavern back in the day.
The town has a real vibe going on around the waterfront. People start showing up around 0600 to get their Starbucks coffee, and the area stays busy till well after dark.
Also just across the road is an ice cream store which claims to have been serving ice cream since the late 1700’s. If you have been in business that long you must be doing something right. The skipper has tried several samplings and has to admit that it is pretty good ice cream.
Lastly, the crew met a couple of interesting folks down on the waterfront. One couple just completed the Great Loop crossing their wake here in Annapolis. They actually are on their third boat of the loop. They sold the first two boats when people came up to them and made cash offers to buy their boat, twice.
The other person was a professional political campaigner who works with officials in DC. He lives in Annapolis and commutes to DC, when in town. He mentioned that he flies all over the US consulting and helping candidates. He got his start by volunteering during campaigns back in high school and has turned it into his career.
Click on the link to watch a video of Still Waters II leaving Ego Alley and the Annapolis Waterfront.
The crew really enjoyed the charm of the town, but need to keep pushing north. The plan is to spend a few days exploring the rivers while headed to Baltimore on Monday.