Ahoy from the Solomon Islands in MD!
We headed over here from Crisfield, MD two days ago in an attempt to beat a purported strong cold fount that was forecast to sweep through the area later that day. We had a awesome sail up the bay with 15-20 kts from the SW. I had wanted to make it to Oxford, MD which was another 25 miles N, but I didn't want to get caught in the frontal passage. About an hour away from the Solomons the wind died and the skies got quite dark. We decided that we should probably pull into the Solomons instead of trying to make it to Oxford.
We made a mistake in assuming that the pricing at the marinas was going to be pretty much the same and we picked the Solomon Yacht Club because they had full length finger piers and wireless Internet. Well, their pricing was $2.15/ft + $4/30A + another $5 that I never quite figured out. Thus for the low price of $96 we spent the night. Their wireless Internet is a home router stuck in the window of the "Captain's Lounge" and barely provides any coverage. I had to bring the laptop above to get a single bar of signal strength. They do have bikes that you can use, but they're not in very good shape. Their cable worked well, but that may have been the other $5 charge, and watching the news wasn't worth $5.
It's a good walk from the marina to the main street which runs along the Patuxent river. They have a nice boardwalk along the river which is peppered with shops across the street. At this time of the year many of the shops were closed and the boardwalk was very quiet. We went to the Calvert Marine Museum which was very interesting and well worth the $7 admission. Based upon advice from a shopkeeper we went to Captain's Table and had a mediocre meal. The Putuxent Naval Air Station is across the river where they test new aircraft, including the Joint Strike Fighter. This provides some fun watching, but I can assure you that noise mitigation is not one of their criteria!
The next day we headed towards Oxford. The winds had switch to the NW and the forecast showed that they would be 10-15 kts. The winds were light as we headed out of the marina and rounded the point to head up the bay. We were headed pretty much due N and the winds were more or less on the head. As we worked our way N the wind and seas continued to increase. At one point I saw 27 kts apparent and we were only doing 3.0 kts or less. At this rate we would be out there for another 7 hours! We decided to turn tail and head back to the Solomons. We had a great down-wind sail!
We decided to pull into Calvert's marina which was only $1/ft + $3/30A. They don't have bikes in poor repair and they don't have wireless Internet, but you can get free wireless from Four Winds Cafe which is next door. A local company provides good coverage to the harbor for $5/day. Calvert's has a courtesy car which you can use for an hour and overall I think that they offer a much better bang for the buck. About a mile from Calvert's you'll find the AnnMarie Sculpture Garden which is run by the Smithsonian. It's free and well worth a visit.
After we came in we heard a knock on the boat and it was Ashley from Blind Date who we haven't seen since Margarita, Venezula! We had them over for drinks and appetizers and we had a great time catching up. We decided to stick around for another day so that we can go out to dinner with them and the winds are turning S tomorrow and we'll try to make it to Annapolis. Yeah!
-- Geoff & Sue
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