Monday, October 11, 2010

Portsmouth, VA to Fells Point, MD, October 10 and October 11, 2010

We boarded the Spirit of Independence early Sunday morning and left the dock by 8:45 AM. Captains J.C. and Joy waters were aboard along with myself Allen Graves, Jim Dyson, Faye Bailey, and Whitney Rayl. Joe Elder, David Cartier and Joan Gustafson came along to bid us bon voyage at the dock. Once underway we swabbed the decks and got things shipshape. The day was cool with perfectly clear skies, but little wind. Watches were divided into port and starboard with four hours on and four hours off.

Schooner 'Spirit of Independence' departs- destination Fell's Point Baltimore, Maryland.
My first watch - the starboard - I was at the the helm and it was great to be behind the wheel of the Spirit again. Traffic on the bay was light today with just a few pelicans, and oddly enough butterflies. Before eight bells Joy grilled hamburgers for the hungry crew and we dined with the incredible backdrop of the Chesapeake.

Commercial ship heading south on the Chesapeake Bay.

Joy Waters cooking lunch. Photo by Jim Dyson.

By evening all the shutter bugs came out with cameras in hand to photograph the sunset and work on silhouette pictures. Once the sun had set the crescent moon followed and an incredible celestial show began. The darkness of the bay helps with night stargazing and we were not disappointed. The Pleiades's rose and then like an incredible heavenly conveyor belt the constellation Taurus rose, then Gemini, and later the iconic Orion. Near the Great Square of Pegasus were were even able to see the Andromeda Galaxy which is the most distant object you can see with your naked eye. Jupiter was present and with binoculars most found at least one of the Galilean moons. Even shooting stars were spotted by the crew on watch.

Sunset on the Chesapeake.

Whitney Rayl honing her sextant skills for nautical navigation.
I did manage to get some sleep between midnight and 4 AM. Back on watch the wind was coming nicely out of the east and by 5:30 we decided to set sail. No sooner had we hoisted the sails, the winds shifted around to the north and died. However, as if to make up for taunting us to set sail, Mother Nature did not disappoint when it came to the sunrise.

Sunrise on the bay just south of Annapolis, MD.
Sunrise near an anchored commercial ship.
Dawn Monday morning brought us to the Bay Bridge at Annapolis. We changed watch and had a hearty breakfast of sausage and egg biscuits. From their we headed onto and entered Baltimore, toured the harbor and moored the Spirit in Fells Point.

Bay Bridge at dawn.
Allen Graves at the helm with Captain J. C. Waters in the wheelhouse.
Schooner Racing on the Bay will be reporting daily throughout the the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race with Allen Graves, Captain J.C. Waters and the crew of the schooner 'Spirit of Independence'.


  1. Wow, great pictures Allen! Glad you all made it to Baltimore without any problems. Have fun!

  2. Nice read and pics. Top shelf! Now the fun begins. Hoping you can cut that time in half for the return. Fair winds+ .