After the eventful sail from Tangier Island to Solomon Island, the sail up to Annapolis was a piece of cake. We tied up our boat on a city mooring in the middle of the city, and were reunited with our friends again.
The city of Annapolis is very much focused on boating, especially sailing. On Wednesday evening, hundreds of boats -from tiny to our size- compete in weekly competitions just outside of the city. It was a delight being on the mooring and seeing all these boats sail past us. Many of them don’t even have an engine, just like I was used to before we bought Scehawk. The little lasers flew their spinnakers, J-class boats gave everything in the competitive class and a lot of older ‘beer-teams’ joined the fun.
The city itself is very pretty, like a little British town. Brick houses, parking problems and loads of people on the street and the water. We enjoyed the showers and free laundry machine that came with the town moorings (well, not free of course, a whopping $35 dollars a night). We like the town and availability of boat stuff so much that we decided to do our Atlantic ‘prepping’ here. We needed to do some small jobs like renewing the spinnaker halyard, getting some spare filters for the engine, re-sealing the windows, fixing up the dinghy and a million other small things. And of course provisioning, the most dreaded task of all.
Inspired by the Wednesday Eve sails and how fun that looked, we decided to take Bora Bora and Scehawk for a sail. We have been joking that we should swap boats for a day, but as every boat has such an own manual with 1000 strange little things you need to know, we just crewed on each others boats. Both our boats are the same length and beam, but totally different in design. Ben has been complaining about the slowness of their boat, but the day we took Bora Bora for a sail she was charging at 6 knots! It was a lot windier as when we took out our boat, which was doing a disappointing 2,5-3 knots that afternoon. It was so different to steer this much heavier boat, with a much more powerful engine and hydraulic steering (so you can’t feel what you’re doing).
We got really lucky and a friend we made in the Bahamas could arrange a space on a dock for us for free! We took advantage of this situation, stayed a full five days and rented a car to drive around a little bit as well. Annapolis is pretty central and we could reach Washington in under an hour, and Philadelphia in 2,5. Pretty close, according to our new perception of time.
We both never went to Washington before, so that was an awesome day for us. We rented city bikes and drove around like real tourists. We saw the White House, Lincoln Memorial and some older parts of the city which were surprisingly pretty. We cycled until our noses turned red under the harsh sun (we usually hide in the shade) and our legs were sore.
Four years ago, Thomas and I went on a road trip through America (from Philadelphia to Chicago), so we already knew Philly a little bit. We remembered that there was one awesome breakfast place, called ‘Dutch Eating Place’ for which we saved up 2,5 hours of appetite in the car. The pancakes and French toast didn’t disappoint! Afterwards we strolled around town, walked over to the river side, watched people and went on a hunt for one of the earliest post-modern houses in America.
We saved up the best for last, and provisioned for the ocean crossing in Annapolis. We bought two car loads of food at Trader Joe’s and Walmart. We only had two minor crises: we couldn’t find any UHT milk or canned hot dogs. Google knew where to go for UHT milk: some kind of weird dollar store. We got lucky and they had enough in stock, because we can’t do an ocean crossing without milk! The checkout lady asked us curiously: ‘Are you drinking all of this?’ (24 cartons of milk..) So we explained that we don’t have a big fridge and we need to stock up for an ocean crossing. And that it was very difficult to find, as everyone in America has a fridge. Not like the Cape Verde Islands, where you can even buy UHT yoghurt which doesn’t need refrigeration!
We still didn’t find any canned hot dogs though, all of them are fresh and refrigerated. How are we going to survive 2800 NM without hot dogs!?