Published: October 7th 2009October 7th 2009
Summer 2009 - Life in the City
We arrived in Baltimore and took a slip at the Anchorage Marina a few days before the big 4th of July weekend. This is a great marina for live aboard cruisers, since it has a West Marine a block away, a Safeway supermarket across the street and at least 50 bars & restaurants within walking distance. As usual we were assigned docking space on their outer floating pier due to our width of 22’. This provided us with a good view of all of the vessel traffic entering Baltimore harbor. We saw schooners, skipjacks bulk sugar ships and all sizes of yachts and pleasure crafts go by.
While cruising north I saw an ad for a “Captain Wanted” to drive the water taxis in Baltimore harbor. I applied for the job and was initially told they had filled the openings but would keep my application on file. In early August I got a call asking me if I was still interested in working for them. So, I began working 4 days a week as Captain of a water taxi. The taxi calls are regular stops around the inner and outer harbor. The
Heading Out of Fells Point
boats varied in size and carried anywhere from 26 to 88 passengers at a time. It turned out to be a fun job. I have always enjoyed boat handling and it gave me a chance to meet a lot of interesting people. Most of the passengers are tourists and they seem to come from all over the country. There were even people from many different foreign countries that rode my boat. One day I was asked by some very nice Philippino ladies if they could have their picture taken with “The Captain”. When the Yankees came to Baltimore to play at Camden Yards, the boats suddenly were filled with avid fans decked out in their Yankee blue baseball jerseys. Most were interested in riding the taxis out to Fort McHenry to see the birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner.
One evening as I was undocking the boat at the Harbor Place stop, a large power boat cruised by blaring rock music and had several “young ladies” dancing to the music in their very skimpy bikinis. Just as they passed by in front of my boat, the girls dropped their tops much to the surprise of the 30 or so
passengers I had on board. I quickly announced on the PA system that there was no additional charge for the show. It seemed like there was rarely a dull moment while transporting people around the harbor.
One of the things Nancy and I enjoyed the most of our summer in the city was the ability to take evening walks along the waterfront promenade that circles the redeveloped harbor. There are now nearly seven miles of brick covered walkways that line the harbor area from Canton to Locust Point. Also, we could walk through many of the neighborhoods like Fells Point, O’Donnell Square, and Canton. I was able to walk downtown to Camden Yards to see the Orioles play baseball. Nancy enjoyed walking to Fells Point and buying fresh bread and rolls directly from the H&S bakery that produces much of the goods sold in local supermarkets.
Nancy’s Mom is now 85 and recently wisely decided that she no longer needed to be driving in the Baltimore’s traffic. So, she offered to lend us her car for the summer. This meant we could now take day trips to Annapolis, the Eastern Shore and other sites in the area. Also, we
Dressed as soldiers from 1812
took a ten day trip to Toronto to visit some of our Canadian cruising friends. We stayed with Claude & Bernard of the catamaran, “Ti Matou”. They took us to see the sites in downtown Toronto and planned a night at the Toronto Multihull Cruising Club which included a dinner with several of our cruising friends, including Dave & Jan from “Siggy’s Dancer”. It was Wednesday evening, so the members were having their usual evening race. One member had a new WETA trimaran at the club and was allowing people to take turns sailing it around the harbor front. It was fun to see so many people out enjoying the water on a week night.
We also spent time with Doug & Sharon of “About Time” in their home in Guelph, Ontario. They took us to Parry Sound for a weekend at a beautiful lakeside cottage. The cottage was built into the side of a very large hillside. The only way to get to the site was by using a boat, or in this case an outboard powered barge. Here we enjoyed kayaking, canoeing, campfires and some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere. It was a very relaxing weekend and
provided a nice break from the summer heat and humidity in Baltimore.
One of the best parts of this road trip was the drive north through the Pennsylvania mountains and into New York state through the Finger Lakes area. We did stop on the way north at Niagara Falls. Everyone should see the falls at least once. The power of the water rushing over the edge is truly remarkable.
When we returned to Baltimore, I was invited to join my some of the management people from my former employer, Ceres Terminals, in a golf outing and dinner at the TPC golf course just outside Washington, DC. The guests included some of my former customers and the golf was followed by a fine meal in the club. The following day I again joined the Ceres folks at the annual Propeller Club crab feast in Middle River. This is a huge gathering of the maritime community with a crowd of 4000 or more. I saw a lot of the people that I worked with during my 30 years working in various ports around the country.
It is now early October and the nights are getting colder. We are about
to cast off the dock lines once again and head south. Our plans are to return again to the Bahamas and see more of the hundreds of islands that we have not yet visited. We hope to use Georgetown Great Exuma as our base for the winter.
There are more photos below