Wow! I have never seen so many sailboats in one place in my life. As we reached Annapolis, where we planned on attending the upcoming in water boat show, the sailboat traffic was crazy! There were boats sailing EVERYWHERE! The Navy sailboats were out with their beautiful spinnakers flying, there were groups of smaller sailboats in organized races, and tons of others out enjoying the beautiful day. I was stressed! Way too many boats for me to deal with when I was heading somewhere new and unfamiliar. Much to Jim’s dismay, I made him take down the sails so I could see and maneuver better.
We headed up Back Creek hoping to drop anchor there, but it was already way too crowded for our comfort, most likely with other boaters also heading to the boat show later in the week. The next creek still in the immediate Annapolis area, Spa Creek, would have involved waiting for a scheduled bridge opening at 6pm, which also would have meant waiting for a 7pm bridge opening if we found nowhere to drop anchor. Wanting to be settled before nightfall, we headed instead about two miles away to Weems Creek, and it was there that we ended up grabbing a U.S. Navy mooring ball and stayed safely moored for close to two weeks. These balls are free to use, as long as there isn’t a hurricane headed up the Chesapeake, in which case the Navy moors their boats on them. We also found out that not only are the moorings held in place with helical screw anchors (screwed into the the creek bottom), but there are also cables running from the anchors across to both shores. Needless to say, we felt pretty darn secure there!
One of the highlights of our stay in Annapolis was a guided tour of the U.S. Naval Academy. For $10.50 per person, we received a two hour tour of the campus led by an elderly gentleman who was full of all kinds of information. Seriously. It was one of the best guided tours that we’d ever taken. We were lucky enough to have arrived just before the lunch hour, which meant that we got to witness the midshipmen in their noon formation. Quite cool. The crypt of John Paul Jones…also quite cool. I didn’t even realize that Roger Staubach played football for Navy, but his Heisman trophy, along with Joe Bellino’s, were both on display. Quite cool item number three!
Speaking of cool things…Jim decided to do some crabbing while we were in Weems Creek! He hooked a chicken neck on a line and dropped it to the bottom, and then every so often would check it by lifting it slowly off the bottom. Apparently Jim could feel the extra weight if a crab had grabbed onto the bait, so if he had one on the line, he would continue to lift it until the crab was just below the surface of the water, at which time he would attempt to scoop it out with a net. He was successful five times, and had a few close misses! Fortunately, the five he successfully netted were all males (keeping females is not legal) and large enough to keep.
After some Googling to figure out what to do with our crabs, we steamed them in the biggest pot we have on board, which is a smallish pressure cooker. Well, once we were actually able to transfer them from the bucket to the pot that is! While they were in the bucket we were keeping them in, they just hung out quietly, but as soon as Jim tried to grab one with a pair of tongs, they all woke up and started scurrying and grabbing onto each other. He pulled one out and two more were attached to it…looked kind of like that Barrel of Monkeys game! Of course since our pot was so small, they also tried to climb out before Jim was able to get the lid closed. It was quite entertaining!
After successfully steaming them, we set about to trying to eat the darn things. Thank goodness for the internet and Google or we would have had no clue how to go about actually eating these blue crabs, including which parts you aren’t supposed to eat! I think it took the two of us almost two hours to pick our way through those five crabs…an awful lot of work for a very small amount of meat (we read that each crab has about two ounces of meat!), but boy was it tasty!
And then, of course, there was the boat show, but I think I’ll give that one a post of it’s own!
I can’t leave, however, without sharing these beautiful shots of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge taken by Jim. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!