Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Everyone Dressed in White, and it’s Not a Hospital!

Days on cruise:  61

Distance traveled today:  48.7 miles

Travel time:  5 hrs, 36 mins

Total odometer:  1,318 statute miles

After a particularly quiet night at anchor except for the cacophony of birds at sunrise this morning, we headed back to the Chesapeake Bay before 8am.  We had a new weather  “first”:  FOG!  It wasn’t too heavy, and visibility was still at least a mile, but it was interesting trying to find the many crab pots, some of which have black (!) floats on them, in the gray water, gray sky, gray fog. This could be Colvos Passage where we live back home, except the temperature here is 25 degrees warmer.


We passed yet another attractive lighthouse marking a huge shoal more than a mile offshore in the Bay. What is it about these places that holds such allure?


Both our radar and AIS system showed us this military vessel ahead in the fog, but since we could see it anyway, we weren’t at risk of getting run over.  AIS is the Automatic Identification System which tracks and identifies vessels equipped with the system.  We have an AIS receiver, so get alerts on our chartplotter about upcoming vessels which tell us where they are, the name of the vessel, and how many minutes and seconds before we collide if we remain on course toward one another.  We don’t have a transmitter on our system, so other vessels don’t see us with AIS.  We’re happy to take responsibility for staying out of their way, as most vessels equipped with AIS transmitters are much larger than we are, and can’t turn or stop quickly.


We arrived at Annapolis mid-day, got set up in Annapolis Harbor, dropped the dinghy and went to the Naval Academy for a tour of the campus. There were only 5 people in our tour group, so plenty of opportunity to ask questions of our tour guide. Here’s the campus seen on approach by water.


How many of you who went to college ever lived in a dorm like the one below? Not us. It has exquisite marble halls and stairways with gorgeous railings, high ceilings and beautiful chandeliers. We saw a dorm bedroom and it looked well-equipped, clean and comfortable.


Did the entry hall to your dormitory look like this?


We were told stories about Naval Academy training and traditions, watched a short video, were told how people come to be accepted to the Naval Academy, and what the 4-year program entails today. It sounds rigorous and like great preparation, both academically and for life as a military officer.


Below is the home where the Superintendent of the Naval Academy lives and entertains dignitaries.


We’re getting more exposure to military history and installations on this trip than we’ve had previously, and our respect for the work these folks do, conditions under which they live, and things they accomplish has expanded greatly through new knowledge, despite the fact we’ve always had great appreciation for the way of life our military forces defend for America.


The harbor here is so full of boats that they’ve established a mooring field so more boats can fit into the same space than they would if each was anchored instead. So we’re on a mooring ball for $30/night for a couple of nights.  No electricity or water, of course, but we don’t have to wonder if our anchor might drag during the night, and there’s a dinghy dock, trash disposal and bathrooms we can use on shore (though we prefer using the heads on our boat).  It’s only a 3-minute dinghy trip to downtown Annapolis from our boat.

There are some interesting boats moored nearby.


Memorial Day weekend is coming up, and this is also Commissioning Week, during which the next class of Midshipmen completes their 4 years of training, graduates and gets their Navy or Marines assignment. Cathryn’s Dad attended the Naval Academy many decades ago and learned to sail here on the Severn River, so there’s a little family history here.

No comments: