Monday, September 7, 2009

A Not Very Laborious Labor Day

We are in our fourth and final anchorage before we return to Baltimore tomorrow. We have been extremely fortunate to have had three beautiful sailing days, and five days of great weather, relaxation, good food, good friends and much laughter.

When we left Baltimore we sailed to the eastern shore of the Chesapeake to Swan Creek, near Rock Hall. On Friday we had a nice sail up the Chester River, to the Corsica River, to anchor in a relatively quiet anchorage. We rafted up with our friends Lisa and Kirk. Thierry had brought along the sailing dinghy, and it didn't take him long to get her into the water and take her for a sail. On Saturday we left the anchorage and motored down the Chester to an anchorage near Queenstown. I understand there really isn't much of a town in Queenstown, but there is a nice anchorage. There we met up with two other couples and we all rafted together. It was great fun – to see folks we haven't seen in a while and to just talk and laugh. We celebrated Kirk's birthday with a wonderful carrot cake made by Lisa.

One of our party left on Sunday and three of us remained. Kirk donned a wet suit and tank and went into the water and checked the bottom of all of our boats – cleaning off barnacles that had attached themselves to our prop. Thierry noticed a big difference today when we left the Chester River to head back to the eastern shore. By evening, our somewhat quiet anchorage became quite crowded with both sailors and power-boaters. I think we made enough noise to drown out whatever sounds were coming from the others around us.

We are currently at an anchorage about two hours from Baltimore (our home port), after a great sail across the Bay – we were sailing at a speed over 7 knots. On our trip down the Chester River and out to the Bay we joined what looked like hundreds of sailboats on their way to (I assume) their respective home ports. It was quite a site.

We picked up some crabs from a couple of fellows selling steamed crabs from their skiff last night. We'll eat them tonight along with left over pasta. Although it is cloudy outside and there is a threat of rain, it is still comfortable and we are savoring our last evening aboard.

Since we've come south, I finished one book, read two (albeit somewhat short) and am almost finished a third. The one I finished, “Casa Rossa” by Francesca Marciano was a story about three generations of women who spent a portion of their life at a farmhouse (Casa Rossa) in Puglia, and the events (men) that shaped their lives. I really enjoyed this book. There are frequent references to food, with many of the key ingredients (not recipes per se) in Italian. So, I'll have to take the book home and ask Dad what they are talking about. The book makes me want to go to Italy – and to try some new pasta dishes! Because of the book I bought a magazine, Cucina Italiana, that I have never seen before hoping to get inspired... it was only okay.

Lisa loaned me a book, “The Madonnas of Leningrad”, which was wonderful. This book took you from past to present, in the memories of a woman who suffers from Alzheimer's. Her past memories take her back to Leningrad in the winter of 1941, when the city was under siege by the Germans. Some 2000 people lived in the basement of the Hermitage during that winter, where our main character resided. She had worked as a docent in the museum before the war, and during her stay, she memorized the original placement of the artwork that was removed to protect it from damage or theft.

I also read Iain Pears' “The Bernini Bust,” a detective story that brings an art dealer to Los Angeles where two murders occur relating to some stolen artwork from Italy, which required the assistance of a female detective from Rome who solves the case along with her art dealer boyfriend. An okay, easy read. I am now almost finished reading “Bel Canto” by Ann Patchett. I believe this was one of the books selected by our reading group when we were away. This is about a group of people, including a famous opera singer, who are held captive by a group of South American militants. I a,m enjoying the book so far, being about 2/3 the way through.
So, as you can tell, we've been getting lots of R&R. Water, sun, friends, wind, music, laughter, a good book, and an amazing Skipper; what more could one ask for! It's been a great couple of days!

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